Gay Straight Alliances have positive impact on schools; Pittsburgh 92.9 not so much …

A GLSEN study on the impact of student Gay Straight Alliances found that schools are generally less tolerant of homophobia, while LGBTQ students are less likely to hear gay slurs, more likely to perform well academically and feel safer in the classroom. 

Wow, a supportive environment makes a difference for the well-being and academic progress of gay kids.  Who would have thunk?

Not Gay and Beth of WLTF FM 92.9 and their parent company, Steel City Media.  As I blogged last month, this morning duo allowed a caller to make a joke about a “dissing” tee shirt that read “If you aren't gay, why is your girlfriend calling me?” They ended the call and moved on.  No comments repudiating a gay slur, nothing. 

So, I complained using the form on the website, directed to the Program Manager.  A few days later, PM Chuck Stevens told me would investigate and get back to me. The, I received an response from “Gary “

> in regard to your email…you had to be listening to someone else.

> there is no way you heard that with us. first of all, while it is

> impossible to meet the standards of every listener, i can assure you

> such a remark would not get by. if by chance you were listening to

> us, then it was taken out of context.

>

> i agree, such a remark is insensitive. it just didn't come from gary

> or beth. we value all our listeners and appreciate your input.

Huh.  So, I took it out of context, even though there was “no way” it happened in the first place.  I hope someone scripts this guy's witty banter, because wits are not his strong suit.

Note that I never said Gary & Beth MADE the comment — simply that they allowed it on the air and that they didn't put it into context with any comments of their own.  There is no way on God's green earth they would let a comment about a dissing shirt that was racist or anti-Semitic on the air.  But it is okay for a grown adult – a parent –  to mock gay kids. That's the message from Gary & Beth in the morning. 

I complained again to the program manager. In essence, he refused to take responsibility for the call.  He claims that Beth's statement that she doesn't like those shirts is the same thing as saying that mocking LGBTQ teenagers is wrong.   I don't like your shirt = picking on gay kids is wrong.  I missed that in my thesaurus. 

I proposed that Gary & Beth invite GLSEN onto the show to talk a little bit about the impact of intolerance in the schools.  Mr. Stevens disregarded my suggestion.  Shocked, are ya?  WLTJ just wants me to shut up and go away.  They have no intention of highlighting gay anything on their programs.

It is disappointing that Mr. Stevens didn't recognize an opportunity to undo potential harm caused under his watch.  If he can't allocate one small segment to the message that all kids deserve a safe learning environment, what does that say about his station's priorities?

Gary & Beth.  Homophobia in the morning.  

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  • I really don't understand what the problem is here. An idiot called in to a radio show, said something stupid, and the hosts got him off the air and moved on. That is exactly the right thing for them to do. Why would they want to draw attention to some jerk by discussing him? I really feel sorry for the people at the radio station who have to respond to your harassment.

  • I'd hardly call a few email messages expressing my opinion and asking them to schedule a segment on bullying in the schools – harassment. If they can't take criticism about their show content, that's a poor reflection on their professionalism.
    You may not be concerned about the call and that's fine.
    I happen to think the “stupid” comment was directed toward children and warranted a better response. There's a difference between a stupid adult comment on the McIntire or Paulsen shows and a stupid comment about children.
    I complained, I didn't get the response I wanted so I blogged about it. You had an opportunity to respond and criticize my perspective. Is that harassment? Nope. It's dialogue.

  • well, that was an insensitive remark. imagine what would have happened had the caller made a certain remark regarding race, perhaps the “n word”? what would have happened? would beth and gary have just moved on as though nothing happened? no, i'm sure they would have apologized to the audience. this is the same thing. are you even gay? do you not understand the reasoning behind rectifying this situation? i would rather (and do) listen to npr than that mindless chatter in the morning anyway.

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