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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.