BY JONATHAN W. THURSTON
Beginning Monday, there will be a weekly radio segment on a large commercial station in Michigan dedicated to LGBT conversations. Indeed, the 910 AM Superstation will start broadcasting this first-of-its-kind segment on LGBT issues Oct. 23 and every Monday after that from 8-8:15 p.m. with likely time extensions as the program grows in popularity.
Kevin Adell, the owner of the 910 AM Superstation, is excited about the new program called “The Agenda.” When asked about what inspired him to start this program, he had much to say about the inclusive nature of the station: “Wanted to make sure that 910 AM Superstation is [a] platform for all voices in the community … and that we represent everybody.” Adell seems quite aware of suppression of minority voices in the media currently, and he strives to combat that, at least on his platform. He seeks to represent “all voices that haven’t [had] the opportunity to speak on radio media platform[s] … and not exclude anybody.”
Public radio stations in the past have given voice to the LGBT community. In 2013, WDET hosted a series about the landmark radio program from the early ’70s, “Gayly Speaking,” which has been preserved in SoundCloud. Similarly, David Meitzler has been uploading podcasts of recordings of “Closets Are For Clothes” and “Radio Q,” programs produced by the Gay Radio Collective for the University of Michigan campus radio station WCBN from the late ’70s to the early 2000s.
To host his new program, Adell has hired the executive director of LGBT Detroit, Curtis Lipscomb, and the executive director of Equality Michigan, Steph White. “Kevin Adell started asking around about how to add an LGBT show to his line up,” White says. “He works with Mort Meisner, who is the uncle of Andy Meisner, Oakland County’s Treasurer. Andy reached out to me and the conversation flowed from there.”
White asked Lipscomb to join as her co-host “to make the show more representative of our community and to strengthen the show’s ability to include his grasp of Detroit history and current culture. Besides, he’s fun and funny, which is always good on the radio,” she said.
Each of the three members of the program has very specific goals in mind for the future of the segment. “My goal,” Adell says, “would be [to] increase the listening audience. And make the station more popular. Prior to my purchase of 910 AM from Disney no one had heard of it.”
That’s right: before 910 AM Superstation was to be the host of an LGBT segment, it was a station for kids’ music. However, maybe the new changes will keep the segment just as educational, if not moreso.
Lipscomb himself has community-oriented goals: “I hope this opportunity helps to increase the visibility of Michigan and Detroit’s dynamic LGBT culture.” A big part of this visibility relies on opening up discourses on current issues. He adds, “I hope we educate the public on issues that impact same-gender-loving people. Lastly, it would be an honor to share the experiences of our community and welcome those who fight for freedom and safety.”
And White wants to dispel some of the myths about LGBT people in Michigan, too. “I want to increase basic public education of our lives,” she says. “When we show up, reveal the realities of our lives, demonstrate our commonality, we can combat the myths and reduce the amount of hostility our community faces, as well as pave the way for expanded legal protections.”
Seeing how these political questions – huge issues to unpack -plays out over a fifteen-minute period will be interesting, and, hopefully, it will spark as many questions and discussions for listeners as it does answers. Many of the topics we can expect to hear about in this program are centered around current affairs in Michigan but also across the country. “Steph and I are eager to to share stories and commentary around arts and entertainment, politics, social justice and health and wellness,” Lipscomb says. “Listeners could also hear about our personal and professional perspectives on the movement. We would invite our professional partners and shared work. Through various social media platforms, we can respond to the inquiries of the public.”
White adds that they will also discuss “some of the economic impacts and endeavors of our community.”