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Partial Listing of Program Volunteers

 

GAY & LESBIAN RADIO

Officially described as a "listener-sponsored community radio station," KPFT (90.1 FM) has been much more to the gay & lesbian community in Houston. Since the station began in 1970, it provided the only radio outlet for LGBT expression and information in the city. Gay community icon Ray Hill was one of the founders, and hosted the first regular gay & lesbian show, Wilde 'N Stein, from July 1975 to 1980, at which time he became KPFT's manager. One of the Wilde 'N Stein regulars was Mike Miesch (1980 to 1987), whose dedication kept him hosting the show (despite declining health due to AIDS) until one week before his death. When the AIDS epidemic was being sensationalized by the main stream media, programming at KPFT was a source for reliable and accurate information, especially for those who did not have access to printed materials that were being circulated.

Jack Valinski joined Wilde 'N Stein in 1982 and has been a constant presence through many shifts and changes. The station did some abrupt format timeslots in November 1992, cancelling both Wilde 'N Stein, and the lesbian/feminist show Breakthrough, resulting in much public protesting. In March 1993 Valinski returned with a show under a new name, Lesbian & Gay Voices, which later was renamed Queer Voices in January 2002. The list of long-time volunteer broadcasters of that show include Deborah Bell, Suzanne Anderson, Glenn Holt, JD Doyle, Bryan Hlavinka, Jenifer Rene Pool, and many more.

The lesbian/feminist program Breakthrough ran from 1979 to 1992, with original hosts Nancy Fleming and Rita Saylors, succeeded by Pokey Anderson and Cherry Wolf. The longest continuing LGBT program remains the late Saturday midnight staple, After Hours, which debuted September 6, 1987. It offered a more casual and relaxed approach, led by its founder Buddy Johnston. Jimmy Carper soon joined, in 1989, as sidekick and then took over as producer in January 1992.

The common denominator of all these programs was the way they touched listeners. There was a long list of volunteers who were the source of programming and technical talent. They gave their time to reach out to the community, especially to people in the closet who were in need of information and a sense of community. There are plenty of anecdotal stories of those listening in secret with a radio under their pillow, or literally sitting with a radio and headphones in their bedroom closets. These shows reached and continue to reach out, not only to those seeking current news, interviews and commentary, but for some listeners through the safety of radio, they received a first connection with the gay world.

Link to Queer Voices and Link to After Hours