The news that Dr James Dobson’s 32-year-old Focus on the Family Daily radio show will become the first religious radio programme inducted into America’s National Radio Hall of Fame this November is continuing to spark controversy and outrage among gay activists.
For decades, Dobson and Focus on the Family have been active anti-gay advocates who have used their power and influence to work against issues including gay civil rights, marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and DOMA (Defence of Marriage Act) policies.
The news that Dobson’s programme will now be honoured for its anti-gay message which can be heard on more than 4,000 stations worldwide in 27 languages, is considered by many in the community to be a major slap in the face.
Ironically Dobson beat out big names like Howard Stern, Bob Costas and Dr Laura Schlessinger in winning induction into the Hall of Fame, by receiving the majority of the 70,000 votes cast in an online poll by the public, members of the Museum of Broadcast Communications and a select list of 2,000 radio historians and industry leaders.
In response to the announcement of Dobson’s honour gay activist Wayne Besen organised a campaign against the Hall of Fame that resulted in several hundred emails demanding that Dr Dobson be removed from the list of nominees.
“It is an affront for the Radio Hall of Fame to honour James Dobson, a right wing demagogue,” Besen says.
So far the Radio Hall of Fame has not shown any sign of rescinding the honour despite mounting pressure to do so.
In a public statement, Bruce DuMont, the chairman of the National Radio Hall of Fame (NRHF) said the organisation’s selection process is not based on the politics or religious beliefs of the candidates but solely on “tenures and accomplishments in the radio industry.”
“Our only criterion is the number of years in the business,” Dumont told the Chicago Reader.
“He’s [Dobson] been broadcasting more than 15 years on more than 3,000 stations. He’s qualified.”
Still, Besen and the pro-gay group Truth Wins Out have vowed to protest the November 8th Radio Hall of Fame Awards Dinner Induction ceremony in Chicago.
There were more kudos for Dobson recently when conservative Senator Sam Brownback introduced a resolution in the US Senate congratulating Dr James Dobson and the Focus on the Family radio programme for their induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
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