I just finished reading a letter that really touched me. It is from a 15 year old gay man, in Pomona, California - "Brad" writes:
"... many people at school and home suspect I am gay. I get the regular teases and name calling from people, but I just ignore them. I listen to your program every Sunday with my earphones on so nobody will hear me listening ..."
In another letter, "Linda" a 17 year old lesbian in Missouri, writes:
" ... I thought I was alone and attempted suicide. The Lesbian and Gay Hotline in St. Louis ... recommended that I listen to your radio show. I loved it! It's like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert!"
But the program Brad and Linda have been listening to is in jeopardy: "This Way Out" has not been able to attract sufficient underwriting to insure its long-term survival on the air.
What prompts young people like Brad and Linda to write to "This Way Out"? Is it because of the timely news, entertainment and information they can hear every week?
Is it the features, the poetry, the interviews with lesbian and gay leaders, the lively and engaging production? ... or maybe the great selection of music, especially from lesbian and gay artists - all in a highly produced, snappy format?
That too, but I think it is because since 1988, "This Way Out" has been sending a clear and compelling message to listeners in seven countries that lesbians and gay men the world over are leading valuable lives, contributing to their communities, and being admired for their accomplishments.
"This Way Out" has made this contribution to lesbian and gay communities without the benefit of corporate donations, government funding, or even a subscription base to pay its bills.
It has received awards from the National Association of Community Broadcasters, GLAAD, and PFLAG. It's been written about in publications from the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press, to the National Gay & Lesbian Journalists Association newsletter.
Even though the show is produced by a dedicated corps of volunteers around the world, it has some significant costs to meet, such as recording tape, satellite fees, and equipment repair.
I am not just asking you to write a check. I am asking you to really get involved. Here are some ideas:
One friend of "This Way Out" recently hosted a birthday party and asked his guests to write checks to "This Way Out," rather than sending birthday presents -- he raised nearly $800!
You'll notice that there is no pledge form, no return envelope, no postal reply card in this mailing. Quite simply, those things cost money, and "This Way Out's" volunteers have to put their few precious dollars to work on the air. So, take out your own envelope, and do your part!
I've done lots of radio shows, and I've had the most responses from interviews I've done with "This Way Out" -- it really reaches our communities.
Show your support for tolerance and understanding, for pride and acceptance, by committing your time, your energy, and yes, your money, to this most worthwhile cause.
PS: "This Way Out"'s mailing address is P.O. Box 38327,
Los Angeles, CA 90038, and they're a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit under the name of Overnight Productions (Inc.).
"This Way Out" is always glad to hear from you - give them a call at (818) 986-4106 if you have questions or comments, or online at TWOradio@aol.com.
*UPDATING THIS LETTER: Thanks to over 100 individual donations we've received to date, plus a commitment from The Advocate to underwrite half of our monthly operating expenses through November of this year (they have an option to renew for another 6 months, but we've yet to receive confirmation of their renewal), we've had enough money to keep the program on the air. There's an urgent need for funding to cover the other half of our monthly operating costs, and to establish more long-term financial stability for the program.
The Gill Foundation has expressed interest in helping to underwrite the program, but only in response to challenge or matching grants from other funding sources. Individual donations continue to be a vital source of funding for us -- so thanks for whatever you can do to help!
Greg Gordon Coordinating Producer
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"This Way Out"
Last updated: 1 July 2002
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