A few weeks ago, Professor Stephen Hawking was quoted in The Guardian newspaper saying “there is no Heaven; it’s a fairy tale.” Shortly after, two radio “shock jocks” in the Houston market decided to take issue with Professor Hawking’s words by belittling his condition and questioning his abilities. I won’t repeat their attack, but it was immature and offensive to all people affected by ALS.
In response to their attack, a Facebook group was formed to boycott the radio personalities and the advertisers on their network of stations. The goal was formed to not just demand an apology but to make this a teachable moment by demanding that the parent company, Clear Channel, also air multiple PSAs. In addition, Clear Channel agreed to a 30-minute interview featuring Steve Perrin, the CEO of ALS-TDI. All of the boycott group’s demands were met.
This marks a major event in awareness for ALS. An organized grassroots movement was formed via social network tools and used those tools to achieve a goal long-sought in the community. This is only the beginning, and a perfect example of the kind of the cooperative relationship we need to foster with media, local and national.