A CALL TO ACTION: As Published in BayWindows
When I received that fateful phone call from 22-year-old Greg Kimball who told me what transpired when he called KISS 108’s Sunday Night "Teen Help Guru," Dawson McAllister Live, one of my first questions to Greg was, "Who is Dawson McAllister?" My lack of knowledge of this program (which is syndicated by 165 other radio stations across the country) astounded this young man. But why should I or anyone else over 30 know who Dawson McAllister is? He is on late night radio, gears his program to the problems of youth, promotes himself as a peer, a friend of those 13 to 25 and with a quick look at his "Hopeline" promo on YouTube, one can see that this is a fast-paced, modern, "I understand you like your parents could never" appeal to get kids to talk about rape, drug addiction, sexual abuse, and a wide variety of relationship issues. And Dawson McAllister’s qualifications to speak to kids as young as 13? Well, McAllister is a Christian Youth Minister, the very one in fact who directed ex-gay leader and now president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, to head that organization and "repair" his own homosexuality.
But for me Dawson McAllister is much less Christian Youth Minister than he is Stephen King’s "It." There is something creepy about this man’s approach, rarely speaking about religion on air, and almost never talking about LGBTQ issues on his live talk show on KISS 108 and other stations. However, if a young person is unfortunate enough to call into Dawson McAllister Live and reveal that he or she is LGBTQ like Greg Kimball did, the nature of this program and McAllister shows its true fangs. Kimball was told, "God considers homosexuality the same as murder, incest, and drug addiction," and then was directed to Dawson’s favorite anti-gay organization, Exodus International, being provided its phone number, hours of operation, and URL. And it gets worse: these kids are only allowed to call in from a non-blocked phone number, are asked their full names, asked if their number is a cell phone, and asked if they can be called back. A week of phone calls and emails to KISS 108’s parent company, Clear Channel, by activists from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus (MGLPC); the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; Parents, Friends, & Families of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG); KnowThyNeighbor; Change.org; the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); and Truth Wins Out were able to get Clear Channel to put pressure on McAllister’s show to remove links and to stop directing questioning youth to Exodus. While pressure to disassociate from Exodus was successful, McAllister’s "Hopeline" still directs youth to second stringer Focus on the Family as follow-up phone calls to the helpline by KnowThyNeighbor.org, Exodus’ blog, and McAllister’s own website proved.
So where is KISS 108 in all of this? Shamefully absent in acknowledgment of what a program like Dawson McAllister Live is doing to not only LGBTQ youth but to all youth. While it seems that the LGBT community is supposed to be content with KISS 108’s content promoting people like KISS 108 personality, "Gay Jim," and DJ Matty in the Morning’s interviews of out gays such as Tim Gunn, our LGBTQ youth, at the most vulnerable time when they are reaching out for help, are being tricked into and subjected to such negative messaging as was experienced by Greg Kimball. And worse as they are then put into the hands of Focus on the Family. KISS 108’s lack of response and attempts to wash its hands of this by directing people to log complaints with Clear Channel are not acceptable. I personally have been banned from commenting on Matty In the Morning’s Facebook page about McAllister and what he is dong to LGBT youth though, if I had chosen another subject like "Tiger Woods’ Mistresses" (a common topic on KISS 108 FB Fan Pages) I would still be allowed to comment.
We need to tell KISS 108 directly that it needs to remove Dawson McAllister Live from its airwaves. Our youth cannot and must not be subjected to this. We will never be able to quantify the damage already done, but we can do something about what is happening here and now in our own backyard. Call KISS 108’s switchboard during normal business hours and leave messages with management, your favorite DJ’s, the producers of your favorite shows and tell them that this has got to stop. Tell KISS 108 to "Take Dawson McAllister Live off the air and stop hurting LGBTQ Youth."
KISS 108 Contact Page: http://www.kiss108.com/pages/jobs.html?feed=105118&article=301026
KISS 108 Switchboard: 781-396-1430
KISS 108 DJ’s:
Matty in the Morning: Matty@Kiss108.com
Billy Costa: Billy@Kiss108.com