Commentaries | KERA News


KERA has refocused its approach to commentaries on the radio and the web. We aim to explore the issues of the day, but not in the type of pieces you’d routinely find on op-ed pages of newspapers. Instead, we do it through storytelling and personal experiences.  

Diversity is a primary goal – across politics, ethnicity, age, geography. KERA aims to sound more like North Texas, with a wide variety of voices covering a wide variety of topics.

Immediacy is key. When reflecting on a news event, the piece should be turned around within a couple of days. Airing more than a week after a news event is often too late. And, when a news event can be anticipated, we try to air the commentary the day of that event.

Brevity is crucial. The piece should not exceed three minutes. Read aloud and time the commentary before submitting it.

So is food for thought.  A good radio commentary gives the media consumer something to think about well after its presentation ends, not just the writer’s point of view.

Here are a few examples that fit the criteria:

How To Submit

Submit commentaries by email, with a suggested two-sentence host introduction and a one-sentence “tagline” for the host to read that describes the commentator (Ex: “Jane Doe is a writer from Dallas.”) Please include your complete contact information: email address, phone number, Twitter and Facebook handles.

Whom To Contact

Sam Baker, Senior Editor

Email: | Phone: 214-740-9244 | Twitter: @srbkera

Today’s theoretical advancements are profound but commentator Rawlins Gilliland suggests that historic precedent is a sobering remembrance of things past.

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This time of year, many families find themselves in a period of transition as kids depart for college. Commentator Chris Tucker has these thoughts on a big change in his life.

Texas already bans the use of cell phones for calls and texting for bus drivers and novice drivers (during the first 12 months). We ban hand-held cell phones and texting for all drivers in school zones. There’ve been calls to do more nationwide, but commentator Merrie Spaeth questions if it would really work.

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State law now requires high school athletes who show concussion symptoms to be pulled from competition and receive written medical clearance from a medical provider before returning. Dr. Munro Cullum has helped design concussion testing programs for teams in the NFL and NHL for more than a decade. He wishes more athletes would take the requirement seriously.

One of the newest ideas for how to reform failing schools is called “parent trigger laws.”  Commentator Anne Foster has long pushed for more parental involvement, but she questions this approach.

It’s human nature at any age to seek heroes with whom we self-identify.  But commentator Rawlins Gilliland questions how this applies when would-be role models remain invisible.

We should all strive to use correct grammar, but commentator William Lawrence says it’s very important when it comes to political speech.

Summertime, fresh air, blue skies can bring to mind healthy fresh produce, though you don’t expect it to happen near downtown Dallas! Commentator Joan Davidow shares her new weekly farming experiences and looks at how we could all take steps to a better life right in our own back yard. 

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Critics of late have targeted his health care overhaul law and his economic policies, but President Obama has scored points with commentator Stephen Whitley on at least one issue.

The national economy remains challenging with unemployment over eight percent.  But commentator Rawlins Gilliland says he knows how some American manage when jobs are few.

In a shrinking economy, you wouldn’t expect the Dallas art scene to burst with new growth.  Commentator Joan Davidow believes four small, out of the way art spaces are enlivening the area art scene.

William Holston turned 55 this year.  While others may be looking ahead to retirement, he decided it wasn’t too late to start over again.

The Texas House Public Education Committee heard testimony Tuesday about the impact of the state’s new standardized test on education. Whatever the word on the STAAR test, commentator Anne Foster wonders if it isn’t time to reconsider our approach to standardized testing overall.

The computer age revolutionized the ways children learn and communicate but commentator Rawlins Gilliland questions too much of a good thing.

Kirtland Records

A North Texas musician decided to go the extra mile on his latest release, borrowing from the world of art and employing some local star power. David Okamoto has a review.

Mediation’s begun to try and resolve the controversy between the Nasher Sculpture Center in downtown Dallas and the Museum Tower next door. At issue is glare from the Tower’s reflective glass and its impact on the Nasher’s outdoor garden and indoor galleries.  Commentator Lee Cullum weighs in on the controversy.

Dallas Business Journal

For some, a withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan could not come soon enough. But in this commentary, Jim Falk, president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, takes a different view.

No one is immune to the aging process, but commentator Rawlins Gilliland says to remain viable, you can't observe life passively. 

Columbia City Blog / Flickr

Commentator Chris Tucker has some thoughts on a new book that helps to explain why we believe, argue, and vote as we do.

Several months ago, we heard from a listener after a state legislator talked about the great potential in charter schools.  Bret Wooten felt more should be said about the great potential offered by traditional public schools.  Here’s his commentary.

I have a degree in industrial electronics, a U.S. patent, had my poetry published, managed thousands of people as the director of a billion dollar company, visited all 50 states and five countries. Now, I am a husband, father and small business owner.

Oh yeah, and I’m dumb.

We've seen enormous advances for those denied equal access to the American dream.  But Rawlins Gilliland asks if some missions to be inclusive have begun to backfire. 

Friends and family last week said goodbye to art patron and collector Nancy Hanley. Commentator Joan Davidow worked closely with Hanley at museums in Arlington and Dallas, and remembers her impact on the Texas art community.  

The special prosecutor in the case Wednesday announced neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmermann of Florida has been arrested and charged with  second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Whatever the outcome of the case, it reminds commentator Frances Cudjoe-Waters some things haven't changed.

Amid the annual cookie sales, the Girl Scouts are celebrating their centennial this year. The organization has evolved during that time, and commentator Merrie Spaeth likes some of the recent changes.

Spring’s in the air - literally, in fact. On this actual first day of Spring, commentator and poet Rawlins Gilliland takes a fresh look at life and love.

Austin’s club scene and the South by Southwest festival has helped make the city a focal point of music and social media. But commentator David Okamoto remembers an album from a Fort Worth singer that proved to be a sign of things to come.

March 9 is the deadline to apply for Superintendent of the Dallas school district. Commentator Jennifer Nagorka attended a recent community engagement meeting that got her thinking about what she wanted in DISD’s next leader.

Efforts to raise awareness about a movie celebrating a group of African American fighter pilots was cause for concern for commentator Rosalyn Story.

We’re all good at one thing or another, but said talents aren’t always recognized or appreciated. Here’s a commentary from Rawlins Gilliland.


Planned Parenthood of North Texas will hold its annual awards luncheon today (2/16/12) in Dallas. And the minds of many attending likely will be on the organization’s recent controversy involving the Susan G-Komen Center for the Cure.  The situation’s also on the mind of commentator Lee Cullum.