Although radio man David Gilmore likes to refer to himself as the "purveyor of fascinating stories of the gay community," his technical title for the past five years is that of executive producer for Outright Radio, an independent syndicated radio show that tells odd, wacky, and amazingly heartfelt stories of gays and lesbians across the country and around the world.
The show has won several national awards since it began broadcasting out of Santa Cruz, California's KUSP in 1998. Still it has yet to be heard in South Florida. On Saturday, June 7, Outright makes its local premiere when WLRN-FM begins airing its 2003 series.
Often described as a queer version of National Public Radio's This American Life, Outright Radio tells detailed and nuanced stories, often in first person, about the eclectic mix that is gay America. Gilmore has produced pieces about life as a lesbian on an Indian reservation, exiled gay Mormons, and a gay New York City fireman who survived the attacks at the World Trade Center.
This season's stories introduce listeners to characters such as gay truck drivers, lesbian strippers, and a homeless gay woman in Portland, Oregon. And then there's the tale of Bonnie and Ann, who were married as a heterosexual couple, but consider themselves lesbians now that Ann has completed a sex change. After almost 30 years, the couple remains together, they say, because they are Christians. There is also the story of Tim Albee, who traded the A-list life in West Hollywood's gay ghetto for the life of a dog musher in Salcha, Alaska.
"I'm not interested in somebody's drinking story," Gilmore explains. "I think in the gay community there is an amount of depth and beauty. What ends up in most media is shallow, one-sided, and one-dimensional stereotypes."
While intended to capture queer culture, the stories, Gilmore says, are told in a simple, heartfelt manner that all people can relate to. "We try to change [listeners'] molecular structure in a way that's easy, entertaining, and touching," he says. "When you take away visual images you are left with the ancient art of storytelling. It's the way culture has been passed down through history."