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Update (9/21/2011):  Yet another bullied teen has taken his own life.  If you're thinking of suicide, please just stop.  You are OK just the way you are.

Pick up the phone and call 1-866-488-7386 toll-free to talk with someone at the Trevor Project's suicide prevention hotline at any time of the night or day.

Visit the It Gets Better Project to see how others deal with what you're going through.  But please just stop any self destructive behavior. There are alternatives.  Give yourself time to use them.

Press coverage:

Front page article in the 10/6 edition of The Journal News

Important note:  This is the OutCasting page from years ago, when the show was a local program on WDFH in New York's lower Hudson River valley.

OutCasting is now public radio's LGBTQ youth program, nationally distributed on more than 40 public radio stations affiliated with the Pacifica Radio Network.  The show can also be heard online.

Please visit our new site:

  http://outcastingmedia.org

WDFH FM 90.3
Westchester Public Radio

Starting on Thursday, October 6, at 6:30 p.m.

OutCasting, an LGBTQ Youth Radio Show

 WDFH-FM 90.3 and WDFH.org working with students from area schools, colleges, and organizations on the program; funding urgently needed

OutCasting, a new public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, is now heard on WDFH, the only community public radio station in the lower Hudson valley.

  • On the air:  Thursdays 6:30 p.m., Saturdays 1:00 p.m. (90.3 FM in the lower Hudson valley and via live stream)

  • Listen on-demand here

  • Podcast:  http://wdfh.org/outcasting.xml

  • Please donate now to support OutCasting and other programming on WDFH.  We can't do programs like this without your support.

  • Read the major front page article about OutCasting in the 10/6/2011 edition of The Journal News

In the past year, the LGBTQ community has seen major advances: marriage equality in New York, the Obama administration’s speaking out against DOMA, the start of the It Gets Better campaign, and the repeal of the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" military policy.  In stark contrast, there have also been several highly publicized teen suicides, including yet another one on September 19.  Not long ago, The New York Times published an article about anti-gay groups that actively oppose anti-bullying programs in schools.  The article quoted Candi Cushman, an educational analyst for the notorious anti-gay organization Focus on the Family, as stating, “the advocacy groups are promoting homosexual lessons in the name of anti-bullying.”

 In this unsettled environment that juxtaposes progress with ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry, a group of teenagers in the lower Hudson River valley is starting a new public radio show to explore the issues directly.  The show, titled OutCasting, is scheduled to debut this fall.  It promises to give voice to the LGBTQ youth community with a combination of insight, reflection, respect, and a little humor.

WDFH is working directly with the students in its new studio, training members of a new generation of media activists by teaching them how to produce a regularly scheduled show from concept to broadcast.  This includes identifying topics to cover in each edition; scheduling guests; preparing, conducting, and recording interviews; editing and assembling the show for broadcast and online distribution; and promoting the show through press releases, social networking, and other tools.

WDFH started work on the program early in 2006, but the effort was cut short when the station lost its previous studio space.  With its new studio now operational, it re-started work in the winter and spring of 2011 by contacting the faculty advisors of Gay-Straight Alliances and similar student groups in local high schools and colleges.  With the assistance of these faculty advisors, students who were interested were invited to join WDFH in working on the show.  A core group of six students has been working on the show over the summer.  Now that schools have reconvened for the fall, outreach will resume so that the number of students participating can increase.

 For the students working on OutCasting, it is much more than just an after-school activity. When asked why this show was important to her, Nora, one of the student participants, said, "I'm strengthening my voice as a supporter of LGBTQ rights through radio.  Not only am I working for a cause I truly believe in, I'm also developing media skills that I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else."

Marc Sophos, WDFH's founder and executive director, was shaken by the recent news of the apparent suicide of a bullied 14-year-old, Jamey Rodemeyer, in upstate New York.  He noted that a television news program opened with the anchorman saying, "We begin tonight with a story about something we don't normally cover here.  But an awful lot of people in Williamsville are hurting tonight because of a suicide there."  Mr. Sophos countered, "Why don't they normally cover stories like this until they erupt into violence and suicide?  There is far too much focus in the media on events and too little on issues, and it's damaging our country.  It's like shining a spotlight at the outward symptoms of a disease without trying to understand and eliminate the underlying causes."

He said that OutCasting will be an on-air and online resource for young LGBTQ listeners but that the program is also aimed at a general audience that wants to better understand the complexities of LGBTQ identities.  "Our country can't seem to stop tying itself up into knots over LGBTQ issues," he continued.  "There is so much deliberate misinformation out there and it's hurting and killing kids.  We hope that OutCasting will be able to inject some humanism, and specifically an LGBTQ youth perspective, into the media conversation."  

The first episode, to be broadcast on October 6, will focus on the role of Gay-Straight Alliances in schools.  It will include a discussion among several of the students behind OutCasting and an interview with Mary Jane Karger, the Hudson Valley regional co-chair and a national board member of GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).  Upcoming programs will feature discussions with Dan Savage, the journalist, writer, and columnist who co-founded the It Gets Better Project, and Brian Ellner, one of the main strategists of the successful legislative campaign for marriage equality in New York State.

The show will be broadcast locally on WDFH 90.3 FM in the lower Hudson River valley and will also be available worldwide on the station's website, http://wdfh.org, via podcast and on-demand delivery.  Due to a recent signal expansion, WDFH can now reach a potential audience of 400,000 people in central and northern Westchester and eastern Rockland.  As an affiliate of the Pacifica Radio Network, WDFH plans to share OutCasting with other affiliate stations across the country.

THE NEED FOR FUNDING

WDFH must raise funding in order for OutCasting and other programming to continue.  In particular, we are trying to reach foundations, businesses, and individuals who support LGBT issues and the empowerment of youth.  All contributions are fully tax-deductible.  We need your help, so please step up to the plate.

ABOUT WDFH

WDFH is the only public radio station in the lower Hudson valley.  Our history has been well documented by The New York Times, The Journal News, The Gazette, The Enterprise, The Westchester County Business Journal, WNBC-TV, and other media.  Thanks to a recent signal expansion, WDFH’s signal, at 90.3 FM, can now reach a potential audience of 400,000 people in central and northern Westchester and eastern Rockland.  We can also be heard anywhere online at http://wdfh.org.

Unlike most other public radio stations, WDFH is run by volunteers who bring their passions and their vital interest in our local communities into the station’s programming.  WDFH produces in-depth public affairs programs such as In Focus and Recovery Talk and broadcasts other public affairs programs from independent producers around the country.  As the local broadcast affiliate of the Pacifica Radio Network, we air two daily national news programs, Democracy Now and Free Speech Radio News.  WDFH also broadcasts a freeform mix of rock, folk, blues, and jazz.  We are entirely nonprofit and noncommercial and are registered as a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 For more information, please Marc Sophos, WDFH’s founder and Executive Director, at marc -at- wdfh -dot- org.


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