U.S. Federal Communications Commission regulations prohibit on-air fundraising at any public radio station except during "pledge drives" to raise money for a station's operations. This prevents direct on-air appeals for donations by and for any specific program.
Commercial radio stations rarely make their airtime available for gay/lesbian programming (at least not at an hour when most people could listen), fearing a "backlash" from conservative listeners or sustaining advertisers.
Few major mainstream foundations are inclined to underwrite "controversial" projects (such as an internationally-distributed lesbigay radio program); many funders also specifically decline to award grants for any form of "media".
These economic realities have prevented us, as a community, from utilizing the tremendous potential that radio offers as a tool for support, outreach and education -- even though, compared with most other media, radio is the least expensive to produce. With sufficient funding to promote "This Way Out" so that its existence is well-known in the community, the program would serve as our peoplesí tribal drum, to inform and activate -- and be accessible even to those most deeply in the closet ("I listen to your radio show on my headphones behind my closed bedroom door so no one will know I'm listening"). And like no other media form, radio reaches anyone who happens to tune in; if an informative and entertainingly-presented program is there, people (regardless of their sexual orientation) will listen! How many non-gays do you know who will go out of their way to pick up the latest issue of a gay/lesbian magazine or newspaper?
Despite the longevity and overwhelming success This Way Out has achieved since its debut in April 1988, it merely hints at the enormous but untapped potential of this globally-available weekly lesbigay radio show. Please share the audio equivalent of our vision for this program and ask, "How can I help?"
As an all-volunteer operation, "This Way Out" operates on a frayed shoestring budget, and depends on grants to pay basic operating expenses (satellite distribution, long-distance telephone, recording tape, office supplies, etc.).
Unfortunately (as you might expect), there are only a limited number of charitable foundations that would consider underwriting this type of project.
Some notable past and present benefactors of "This Way Out" include The Paul Rapoport Foundation, Christopher Street West, The David Geffen Foundation, The Morgan R. Pinney Trust, The Imperial Movie Capitol Court Of Hollywood, The Leo Model Foundation, The Colin Higgins Foundation, The C.P. Estes Guadalupe Foundation, Queery.com, PlanetOut and The Advocate, the award-winning national gay and lesbian newsmagazine. Most of our fabulous computer equipment has been donated by The Gill Foundation, with the help of Digital Queers.
If you know of any other foundations or grant-making agencies which you think might be open to funding a project like ours, please let us know.
Individual charitable donations are also gratefully accepted! If you like, we'll acknowledge your donations on the air; just specify the name(s) you'd like us to use.
Grants and donations can be made through our parent organization, OVERNIGHT PRODUCTIONS (INC.), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit California corporation (Federal Tax ID: 95-3786721).
Read a special urgent letter from Kate Clinton explaining why you should support "This Way Out".
Thanks for helping to keep queer radio alive and on the air!
A $OUND INVESTMENT!
Public radio serves many Americans extraordinarily well. Each week over four million listeners make a public radio station their favorite station by listening to it more than any other service available on the radio dial... over the course of a year, over 25 million listeners will listen to at least one public radio station.
In most ways, the nonprofit organizations serving the nation's lesbian and gay population fulfill the same functions as those devoted to other minority communities; they strengthen common bonds, and they respond to the unique set of problems that stem from historical disenfranchisement in American society. Much work remains to be done to increase the availability of funds around this issue. The actual amount of support for lesbian, gay and bisexual organizations or projects remains well below one percent of the total philanthropic dollars spent this year.
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"This Way Out"
Last updated: 1 July 2002
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