By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Apr 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Often on the airwaves, the voices tend to be one-way. Commercials sell their services or goods, singers and musicians entertain you, announcers tell you the weather conditions and read headlines.

But on some spots on the dial, the tone is different. Time is given to talk, to express feelings, share thoughts and seek engagement.

Eric Von, host of The Morning Magazine, weekday mornings on WMCS-AM 1290, starts the day on the station that bills itself as "The Talk Of The Town." He talks about what's going on in the community and beyond, he has guests that speak to issues and he takes calls from the audience. But it isn't just talk, he understands and practices the art of conversation.

"It's about listening," Von said earlier this week, sitting in a familiar chair at his table in the studio on Capitol Drive in Milwaukee. "I listen a lot ... away from the mic as well as in front of it. I listen to the callers to better understand the issues we cover."

Von treats the conversation like one that you would have with family and friends at a desk or the kitchen table. He says that his table is every table you talk around, whether it's a card, coffee or dinner table.

"I sit on the couch and I have a conversation with my wife. In here, it's like that. I sit here at the table and am able to get deeper than the surface in a conversation," he said, pointing out how it is important to be able to speak at different levels in order to get his guests to feel comfortable talking.

In talk radio, usually less than 1 percent of the listening audience bothers to call in. Von says that sometimes he may get criticized for letting some callers take too much time to get to their point.

"Sometimes they are nervous, uncertain when calling in for the first time. I try to give them a little confidence boost," he said, while he has to treat the callers with a velvet glove. "Sometimes I'm told that I let them go on for too long, but I know if I had handled it differently they wouldn't call back."

In his 25 years in the media, Von's covered a number of local and national issues, speaking to hundreds of people with differences in opinion and varied experiences.

"In facilitating a conversation I don't want to ever put words in their mouths," he said. "I may assume the lead (in the exchange), but they are the story. I can bring them to the water and let them drink, and I hope they are thirsty and keep drinking."

New look: WISN-TV Channel 12 launched a new site design for this week. The new layout changes where some items were located throughout the site, but the new navigation bar at the top works well to help readers find what they are looking for.

TV pioneer: Many of us will remember Dick Clark, who passed away after a heart attack on Wednesday, for different reasons. The former "American Bandstand" host and his production company brought many firsts to television, and his innovations can be seen today in shows like "American Idol," "The Voice" and "The X-Factor." I will always remember him for "$25,000 Pyramid" game show.

The hint: God speed
The answer: Things you say when someone passes away.

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.