Media plays a very influential role in how the society perceives an issue, perhaps the most important one in today’s world.
In a time when media literally has the potential to turn the tables on any issue and influence the masses’ opinion to a very large extent, a huge responsibility lies with the media to take up on issues that need real attention, for example LGBT issues.
It is high time that radio shows, television serials, films and other forms of media stopped parodying and mocking the LGBTQ community and made better content which would actually help bring the much deserved equality.
Here are some radio channels and shows that have taken up the very important step.
- GAYDIO (U.K)
Gaydio became the UK’s FM radio for the LGBT community when it launched full-time on Friday 18 June 2010. It is broadcasted on 88.4FM in Greater Manchester, on DAB digital radio in Greater London, parts of the Home Counties, the Sussex coast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cambridge, Portsmouth and online through their website, mobile apps and the UK Radio Player.
Gaydio was conceived by Ian Wallace and Toby Whitehouse originally to cover the 2006 Manchester Pride festival – the Pride parade, the main stage acts and several events from around the festival site.
It has now expanded into digital radio acquiring Gaydar Radio in 2013. The station has around 850,000 listeners, making it one of the biggest LGBT media platforms in the UK.
- PRIDE RADIO (USA)
In June, 2015, iHeartMedia Minneapolis-St. Paul launched USA’s first FM radio station dedicated to LGBT listeners. The new channel, Pride Radio is an extension of iHeartMedia’s digital LGBT channel, iHeartRadio which positioned itself as a “place for amazing music and entertainment” as well as “a destination to express opinions, be heard and connect”, as mentioned by the Executive Vice-President of Operations Hartley Adkins.
The broadcast station, even though focussed on the LGBT community in content and programs, it is not exclusive to them. According to Program Director Don Parker:
“Pride Radio is ‘Gay, Straight, and everyone in between”.
[Source: Huffington Post]
- JOY 94.9 FM (AUSTRALIA)
JOY 94.9 is the first and only for the diverse LGBT community in Australia. JOY 94.9 began its first test transmission on 1 December 1993 (World AIDS Day) in Melbourne. Now with an ensemble of talkback, podcasts, music, specialist culture and lifestyle programs, announcements promoting community events, counselling and support services for the LGBT communities, it is listened to by 341,000 people in Melbourne and more online in their web platform.
After the 2016 census that revealed that the country had around 46,000 homosexual couples, there were much debate and discussions regarding the same-sex marriage rights in Australia, which is not yet legalised. Joy 94.9FM received a bomb threat during this time because of the same issue. Their Bourke Street premise was evacuated after the threat was emailed to the studio.
- GAYSA (WEB, SOUTH AFRICA)
GaySA Radio is the an internet radio station broadcasting from Pretoria, the South African capital. Staffed by 30 unpaid volunteers only, this channel addresses several LGBT related issues in South Africa and arranges fundraisers. It is the only one of its kind in the country.
While these countries have entire channels dedicated to the LGBT people, in India, to make such a thing happen is quite difficult a task. It is almost next to impossible to bring together the number of people it takes to run such a channel and expect them to work for something that is still treated with stigma.
- THE GAYDIO SHOW (ISHQ 104.8 FM, INDIA)
However, FM channel 104.8 ISHQ FM has come up with the first ever LGBT FM radio show in July, 2017 with an objective of giving the much need voice, quite literally, to this misunderstood, ignored and discriminated part of our society.
Hosted by social rights activist Harish Iyer, this show looks to bring forward heart-warming tales of the gays, lesbians and trensgenders of India and tell it from their point of view. On every Sunday at noon, the radio audiences of Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai witness one such member of the society taking the bold step of coming up and sharing their stories.
About the conceptualization of the show, Shradha Singh, Programming Head of ISHQ FM said:
“There is no defined role of love. We have a conviction that love is all inclusive and wanted to bring it to the forefront.”
- QRADIO (WEB, INDIA)
On September 11, 2013, India got its first ever queer radio channel, Qradio – Out and Proud, dedicated to the LGBT audience. Operating from Bangalore, Karnataka, it hosts a variety of programs like talk shows, music, debates etc. on its web portal.
Qradio is the brain child of Anil Srivatsa, the CEO and co-founder of Radiowalla.in, who said to PTI:
“LGBT is a large special interest group left out of main stream media and social representation and this is a natural fit to our vision. The LGBT need media representation and a common ground to gather their thoughts and spread them from one place.”