Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Les Kinsolving: Right-Wing Gadfly

"Ladies and gentlemen, you are tuned to uninhibited radio and you can join me in becoming a broadcaster on this air tonight (with) anything that's on your mind, interspersed with my commentaries or special reports...(T)his freewheeling mixture of yours and mine is what makes this show, and why we call it, uninhibited radio."--Les Kinsolving Show introduction, WOR-AM, New York.

Tommi Avicolli's report in the Philadelphia Gay News (April 18, 1986) makes it clear that Les Kinsolving's New York and Philadelphia shows aren't entirely uninhibited. A better description would be dishonest radio. By not fully quoting the phone sex ad that appeared in PGN, Kinsolving left his listeners with the impression that the rest of the copy was in language unbefitting what he called "family radio." The part he left out invites readers to call so that the guy on the other end can "let it all hang out and tell you how it is. What it feels like. Graphically detailing their hot sexual needs, fantasies and experiences."

Kinsolving, however, is not consistent in refusing to recite what others might consider raunchy language. In the "United States Air Farce" segment of his WOR show he mentioned the April 12 gay and lesbian "Flaunt-In" at the University of Pennsylvania in which 25 students "took blankets to the college green. They lay on these blankets and lay on each other for five and a half hours of hand holding, hugging, and kissing." He went on to say that "pro-homosexual posters were either torn down or mutilated with messages concerning AIDS or there were such shouted epithets in the dormitories as 'LGAP (Lesbians and Gays at Penn) sucks as nobody can deny.'" And then before going to the next item, the Looney Tunes theme is played. Where was his purported concern for the bluenoses in the audience? Why didn't he bring up the fact that although some LGAP members were involved in the "Flaunt-In," the organization did not endorse it, and that some members thought it to be in bad taste? Kinsolving's only motive was to paint an ugly and distorted picture of the gay community.

The carnival-like approach he uses makes his boisterous pronouncements seem like harmless showmanship, but don't be deceived. His show is helping to create more fear, hate, and hysteria. And the know-nothings in his audience are eating it up. by labeling gay men as "sodomites" and "buggers," and dismissing gay activists as "offensive militant homosexuals," he is giving encouragement to gaybashers.

In his WOR press release, Kinsolving is quoted as saying: "My show makes people sit up and think." It would be more accurate to say that he causes listeners to sit up and think and express vile thoughts about society's underdogs.

Kinsolving identifies himself, among other things, as a clergyman. Hangman would be more like it. His belief that people with AIDS should be quarantined reveals his cruelness. But that should come as no surprise. This is the same man who supported the U.S. government's internment of thousands of loyal Japanese-Americans during World War II. Some priest!

PGN, in an editorial, declared that Kinsolving is "a public hazard." To some extent, he is. I would not advocate his removal from the airwaves. We must protect the free-speech rights of those with whom we disagree as well as those with whom we agree. But the members of the gay community can let the stations that carry his show know that they are not happy with the way they are being characterized and that they would like equal time on those stations or have programs produced that counterbalance Kinsolving's views. If they refuse, then pressure should be put on their advertisers, just like the Moral Majority has done to protest objectionable TV programming. No radio station can survive without advertising revenue, and gay men and lesbians are consumers of much of what is advertised in the media.

It is certainly not in keeping with the First Amendment for one group of individuals, in this case heterosexuals, to hog all the broadcast time, while gays and lesbians, a traditionally despised group, are expected to sit back and be vilified without uttering a single word of protest.

As far as I know, WMCA, in New York, is the only commercial radio station anywhere to devote three hours to gay and lesbian concerns. That was one weekend night about two or three years ago. There needs to be more of that kind of programming on commercial stations, more often. And soon.

The above is from an unpublished article that was written in June 1986.

Les Kinsolving's daughter recently published a book about her broadcaster father called Gadfly.
She was interviewed by Alan Colmes on his radio show about the book.

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