Hey there kids and kittens!
Gaynip here with a serious axe to grind about a story out of Sacramento that makes my blood simmer in my veins even as I have had a few days to marinade on the topic. I’m not sure which part of me is angrier, the lesbian or the radio broadcaster. Actually, scratch that. The radio broadcaster part is angrier by leaps and bounds.
The story is out of Sacramento California, specifically KRXQ 98.5 FM “Rob, Arnie and Dawn in the Morning” (also in syndication in Reno, Nevada on KDOT 104.5 FM) which aired May 28th. You can listen to a half hour skim of the show in question here:
Let me just summarize that the segment or “bit” as we call it in the biz starts off discussing an Omaha, Nebraska story about a set of parents who support their daughters wishes for a transition. The whole situation deteriorates from there with “jokes” about child abuse and defamatory comments about transgendered children.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the show:
“If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels.”-Arnie
“You know, my favorite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.”-Arnie
“Dawn, they are freaks. They are abnormal. Not because they’re girls trapped in boys bodies but because they have a mental disorder that needs to be somehow gotten out of them. That’s where therapy could help them.”-Rob
I will applaud the efforts of Dawn, who during the entire segment did her best (often yelling over the ignorant comments of her co-hosts) to defend the transgendered community. She didn’t have a whole lot of information on the subject, but I should point out that when radio hosts discuss items, they generally don’t go into serious research (talk radio shows/formats the exception) on a topic. Dawn was probably told “At 11:50 we’re going to talk about this story” and each of them will have a point or two to offer up on the subject. I’m sure Dawn didn’t think that the topic would be that explosive or run for that long. I think, given her limited information, she did her best.
GLAAD was made aware of the situation by a follower of their blog (www.glaadblog.com) and the story took off from there. They put out a call to action, and people sent letters, e-mails and phone calls. 11 sponsors have pulled their advertising dollars since the comments aired:
- Bank of America
- Carl’s Jr (CKE Restaurants)
- Wells Fargo
- Nissan North America
- Guitar Center
As a radio announcer, I understand the concept of ratings, especially in large markets (like Sacramento and Reno) and how a morning show constantly has to push themselves to be hip, fresh and edgy to beat out the competition. Radio announcers also inject their shows with their own thoughts, opinions and some biased editorials. That’s what makes us “personalities”, otherwise it would be a series of songs/commercials on auto pilot. It’s what gets us fans and a listenership. That having been said, as a broadcaster it is in our best interest to serve our communities to the best of our efforts and not abuse the power we are given. A microphone is a powerful tool, but like anything it can be abused (remember Don Imus?)
There will always be misinformed or ignorant people who don’t believe in being transgendered. There will always be people who consider it some kind of deviation (one of the guys compared this to “animal love” or bestiality). If you’re going to take the other side of an argument on any issue (especially sensitive ones like this) it should be better researched, well informed and intelligent. No name calling, no mention of violence and don’t open the phone lines to the ignorant (they had to censor a call) and give them a soapbox to shout upon.
The morning show has met with GLAAD, they have a retraction on their website (http://robarnieanddawn.com/) and they plan to air a special show on Thursday morning (7:30AM pst) where the hosts will issue an apology and phone lines will be open (A note: If you plan to call in, please remember to be civil. No need to stoop).
Frankly, I don’t think these two actually feel any remorse for their harsh words. They aren’t going to simply change their minds when they clearly feel so strongly about this topic. GLAAD has apparently suggested “transgender media training” which would be completely appropriate for the situation. It will be interesting to see if the apology will be enough to sooth advertisers into spending with the station again.
What you can do:
Contact KRXQ and let them know how you feel on the issue (Again, TB & I stress being respectful and civil) and demand that Arnie and Rob be held accountable for their comments and establish some standards when it comes to using their media platform for condoning or promoting hatred or violence against anyone.
Vice President & General Manager
On Air Personality
On Air Personality
I agree with the statement on the “Rob, Arnie and Dawn in the Morning” website. They have failed on all levels. They should be ashamed, not as broadcasters but has human beings. I look forward to the show tomorrow morning.