Posted by The Wake Up Call on October 12, 2011
This morning, during the Wake Up Your Brain question, the word “gay” was used in the question. A listener named Kevin was very upset about this segment and commented at www.facebook.com/radiowakeupcall
Take a listen to the segment. Then read the comments. Were the members of the Wake Up Call out of line during the segment?
On a side note, we are not posting this audio in an effort to prove that the Wake Up Call is being picked on. We always want to do what is right. If the general consensus is that the Wake Up Call crossed the line, then we will be happy to right this wrong. Why? Because that is what we do. We do what is right. Our intentions were never to be hateful or hurtful, but if that is how the segment came across, let us know. Comment at www.facebook.com/radiowakeupcall
Thanks. Here are the messages:
Kevin (a listener) wrote this original message on Facebook: You guys should be ashamed of yourselves today. Discussing about what men think is, “gay,” or not. Using the term, “gay,” as a perjorative is not acceptable. As you apologized even before you read the story, you obviously knew it would be offensive. I guess when KRXQ’s morning program did the same thing in 2009 you weren’t paying attention to what happened to them. Sad, sad, sad….
Here are the replies that followed:
Gavin Wake Up Call Hey Kevin. I appreciate your concerns on this and, as the brother of a gay guy who I love more than anything, I go out of my way to stop the use of “gay” meaning “stupid.” That being said, we were quoting a study in a men’s magazine that we found. But beyond that, I’m not sure if was used in a perjorative way. At least not the way I took it. If smiley faces are considered somewhat feminine (which I think they are) then I think it’s okay to say that it’s a little gay. I’m not saying they’re stupid, I’m saying their less masculine.
I’m sorry you were disapointed and offended by us. My brother was listening and seemed to think it was funny because after we did it he texted me “I’m offended : )” Know that there is no bigger champion of the LGBT community in Sacramento media than us. If you have any other concerns or want to talk about this more…don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us again.
Jason Wake Up Call Kevin, I apologized because the study was put out by a guys magazine. They worded it the way I read it. As a show, we are all very aware of how hurtful the word gay can be if used this way. Now, why did I choose this question? Two reasons. One, if it is “gay” as the study showed….then I am happy to be “gay” because I send smiley faces all the time. Two, it gave us a chance to slip in the message that it’s not appropriate for people to use “gay” with a negative connotation.
Kevin, what I did this morning was choose to NOT edit something I found online. The reality is, the word gay is still used as a negative word. In my opinion, we did more GOOD by reading the study as is, than by changing it up. Why? Again, we were able to say that we apologize if this offends anybody, but this is how the study came out.
In my experience, ignoring or editing issues is not the way to make change happen. You need to raise the issue. If only one person asked somebody else…”why did they apologize for saying the word gay”, then I think my mission was accomplished.
Kevin, we obviously touched a nerve with you, but I hope you can step back and look at what we did. Our comments this morning could have been hateful and hurtful, but they weren’t, because we aren’t hateful or hurtful people.
We’ve actually been called out for being “too pro gay people” by a few listeners. I’m not making that up. Why? We, as a show, openly support gay rights. If that’s “too pro gay people” then ok….we’re “too pro gay people”.
I like to think that I am personally just “pro good people”. Gay or straight, if you are good to me, I am good to you. If you treat me with disrespect , I will ignore you.
(oh and halfway through writing this, I found out that Gavin was also writing back to this comment. If our points are similar, that is why. I have no idea what he wrote)
Kevin (listener): I don’t think you did anything to point out that using gay as a perjorative was a bad thing. I think you perpetuated it. It doesn’t matter if you have a gay brother or are good people or from Philly (like I am) or have done great things in the past re: LGBT issues. You guys screwed up today. Go back and listen to the recording of the segment and see what you think. Listen to it as a 15 y/o kid would. And did you know that yesterday was National Coming Out Day and that Frank Kameny, one of the LGBT community’s greatest leaders died at 86 y/o yesterday? Very poor timing. This isn’t about one gay guy being hypersensitive. This is about a real problem that you added to today. I don’t expect you to be role models but would you get away with making these comments about any other group? Think about it.
Bob (listener): Great points, Kevin. I let that word slip out in that context from time to time, and it is probably something I learned to do when I was 15 (or 13, or 11). But if I think about what I say before I say it, I don’t want to, and choose not to, use the word gay in a way that insults many people I love and respect.
Jason Wake Up Call Kevin. I will go back and listen to the segment from this morning’s show. I’m am sorry that you feel the segment set a bad example. I can’t change your opinion.
I will say that it does matter if you have a gay brother. It does matter about what you’ve done in the past. We have spent the past four years developing a relationship with our listeners. We share our lives, opinions, and values on the air every single morning.
There are always going to be things we say and do that anger our listeners. If that didn’t happen from time to time, we would be a VERY boring show. Now, there is a HUGE difference between being honest and opinionated and being rude, hateful, and disrespectful.
You say we were out of line and that we screwed up. I will go back and listen to the segment and let you know. People who know me, know that I am 100% willing to admit when I am wrong.
We did know about yesterday being National coming out day. We wanted to do something on the air, but due to the strict time restrictions we are under, we didn’t do a full blown segment on the subject.
To say it is really poor timing is not fair because there are always things in the world that make something “bad timing” for somebody.
This is something that might end up coming up on our show again. I love these discussions. It’s just hard to find the time to fit them into our show.