Lesbian Programme

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in zero.com. [00:00:05] So I'm here with PR Hyman, who has stuff to do with least being ready. Did you help started? or How did you get involved in it? [00:00:12] I didn't really help start it. Although I did the occasional program from pretty early on. It's been going a really long time. And I got I did, Allison Lori and Linda Evans were two of the founding group. And for a while they did the whole thing themselves for quite a number of years, which was a major commitment. And then if they went off overseas or anything, I used to do the odd program to fill in for them. And occasionally, I was interviewed on it as well, myself. And then it got to the point quite very sensibly, and that it was too much for them to do on their own anymore, and they'd had done their time. And then they've been a lot of different collectives since then. And the group a large numbers have always been involved after that. But there's always been one major coordinator person, and the several of those since Allison and Linda but I'm the last time I've been going as coordinator. I was trying to work out I can't remember exactly when I started but nearly 10 years anyway, I've been coordinating it. That's probably an exaggeration. Maybe it's seven. But anyway, it's quite a long time person for me was Bronwyn Dean, who sadly died about three years ago, she still was an occasional podcaster, right up to till her death. But she was the one that persuaded me to take over from her i think i think we were partners at the time, or we just stopped him. She just had enough being their main coordinator. And so I took over and I seem to be landed ever since I, I've been making noises in the last year or two that, you know, I'm 67 now and I'm still very energetic. I'm quite happy doing it. But once aware that you're broadcasting, hoping to broadcast to a huge range of lesbians and a lot younger than me that maybe it was time for one of the NGOs to take over. But nobody seems keen at the moment. I've got some people who do some of the tasks, which helps a lot. [00:01:57] When [00:01:58] did Allison Lori and Linda even at least, you'd asked me that. And I'm [00:02:05] quite lucky that we we were lesbian radio started. And it wasn't just them. Actually, at the very start. There was a group of several I think people like Robin shave, Maxine Gunderson, and Tiki and stone were all involved too. But they weren't involved for as long and it was limited Allison that did the long stint. They were about almost from the start of access radio, and Wellington, which is coming up for about 30 years. And it's, so it's something like that it was very early on in like Tim's early 80s. And when access radio started, it was actually and when lesbian writers started, it was actually an offshoot of the women's zone program, there was a woman's own program, which ran weekly, and it was given over to lesbians for one out of four weeks or something like that with quite a struggle to get that from the usual sort of a way that actually is a lesbian organizations. And that was okay for a while. And then this group of people thought, Hey, we can manage our own program and go every week, not once every four weeks. So that was after about probably a year or so of being part of the women zone program. We started in our own and of course, women zone is long gone. And lesbian radio has broadcast week in week out without fail, usually going live, which is quite unusual access radio, only a small proportion of the programs go live rather than pre recording, particularly weekend ones. We've gone every week ever since. And I think we've only gone dark. Maybe once somebody didn't turn up and a few times their transmitters been down. But basically, we've gone every week since then, which is pretty big achievement. And it's an hour of course, and it's on Sundays from 10 till 11. And we go live and you have to remember all sorts of things like this week, I've reminded the people that are on the clocks Go back, go forward. And so they're going to get the [00:04:01] sorts of things you have to remember we live with, right? Yeah. [00:04:07] Late 70s, early 80s around around that time, what was the climate like the in? And was the climate then was it the need? Or the Was it the drive to set up these been radio? Was it just a go policeman's? Oh, [00:04:20] the drive was very political and awareness and an activism. I think, you know, the whole climate around that time. homosexual law reform and human rights and you know, and lesbian political action been going for a while with things like the magazine circle, which has been going since the early 70s. But really, I think that started, but of course, it wasn't access radio community radio, then. But yeah, so it was it was heavily an activism thing, but all and also an outreach thing. People who are questioning their coming out, it was another source apart from coming out groups were before you declare yourself you can listen and, and and see what lesbians are doing and what they're saying and not particularly scary, but they are activists. And a lot of a lot of lesbians then were feminists as well, which some still have not all. So there was all that going on. And I think from the beginning, that was a main motivation. But plus, of course, just publicizing all the events that are on in Wellington, we still do that, there's probably less need for us to do that anymore. In the sense that, of course, this the websites, Ellen runs the website, she's also a member of our collective. And there's lots and lots of email groups, and so on and so forth. So there's lots of ways and social networking and Twitter and Facebook and everything. So lots of ways you can find out what's going on. And I tend to like to do a program when I'm on that's very full of, of relaxation, and interviews and politics and some music, haven't mentioned music yet, I'll come back to that. So I don't spend very long and the notice is I tend to do the things that are very urgent that coming up the next week or two and the things that go on every week, I say go to Wellington dollars with the dead, you can find all those there, you know, because it's a waste of time duplicating that. So but we have very varied sort of content, everybody does the notice is either to greater or lesser extent, everybody play some music. And apart from that, it's entirely up to the individual presenters as to what sort of range of things they cover, and much less being stuff. And yeah, so and I think that's very healthy. You know, we try and have a big range of presenters who will appeal to different bits of the community, we don't do terribly well about the range of ethnicity, we're mostly Paki, how we've had some Asian presenters, modern presenters and Pacific but not very many, and busy with other things as well, it's very reasonable. And we try and get a range of ages. And we try and get a range of interests in lesbian, different lesbian activities. So and we're always open to new presenters, I'm always keen to get them, they can always contact me. And there's stuff about that on the website. [00:07:18] anyone listening to this, who's who's keen get in touch, we've had some quite new presenters lately, there's a lesbian, feminist, queer book group, and two of their people are now on board as techies, because that's the other big thing, we also have to run the technical side ourselves. Now, we didn't use to do that access used to provide the technician and, and then you could choose whether you did or didn't provide a technician yourself. And, and we went on having it provided because there's such a range of presenters, it's, and you only get a turn every eight weeks or something, it's quite hard to remember exactly everything on the jobs. Exactly. And it's quite hard to do both, particularly the people that go on road, if there's two of you, it's not quite difficult. So we prefer to have a techie provided. And we paid a little bit extra in order to do that not much, because you have to pay a fee to be on air. And then suddenly, we discovered we were the only program left for the tech you provided I didn't realize and they said this, your time is numbered. We were very lucky for a while. A woman called young Yo, who was part of the volunteer techie things for access generally, was also sort of very Miskin friendly. She identify but Elizabeth and she was happy to become our our techie and use coming every week, which is a heck of a commitment. And then she was going away and another lesbian called Marilyn, who was who was also a volunteer for access, was prepared to do most weeks. And she did it for a while and also trained up some others, some of our own presenters trying to little bit to do it. And we found new, we started appealing for techies as well. And now I've got a roster which has something like 11 or 12, lots of presenters, either in individuals or peers, fewer in taking time out, may come back, so on so forth. It's about that Mini. And we've got 66 tickets now on our roster who take turns. So we're not too badly off. But we're always willing to have more and people come and go for good reasons. We've lost babies recently, that used not to be the beginnings of lesbian radio, that wasn't a common reason to be getting disappearing, but it is now and I'm honored to have died sadly. And so people come and go and others have things happen in their lives. They don't want to do it anymore, or get fed up. That's fair enough. But but we're very vibrant. We go we go every week, as I say and we go live tend to live on Sundays even on over the Christmas period, the Nexus is shot because we've got our gadgets to get in. And there we go. And that's basically the white works. [00:10:01] You see that when lesbian really got weak at a fall? Was it right out from woman zone? That was kind of difficult. Was the controversy around there being lesbian radio? Or was it? I don't think I don't want that they didn't want to give up one of [00:10:18] the I think it's been that much of a problem. Allison would who was around, you know, involved in that at the time. And Linda would would know more about it. I wasn't involved in the politics around that. I think it took a bit of getting it as always, you know, the lavender minutes more of an American expression, but you know, fighting for your space within feminist stuff. But I think it was okay. But then, you know, when we got a confidence that we could do it every week, that was that was even better. And there we go. And I think lesbian politics, yes, I mean, feminist politics is still alive. But an awful lot of organizations have gone. I mean, a lot of lesbian organizations have gone to the, I think the big thing about lesbian radio is that you get the discussion and the interviews, and that you can't get in any of the other media where you can get a bit of discussion on Facebook or whatever, but but you get that live, whereas we haven't got, for example, a wedding for lesbian newsletter anymore, we've had lots of them over the years, there's one in Auckland, there aren't many around where you can get those sorts of things. So that's its main function, as far as I'm concerned is for, for the politics and for outreach to new lesbians and lesbians coming to Wellington for the first time, all that sort of thing. And of course, now it's beyond, because you can now listen to it on the web, anytime that's only developed the last two or three years where access, have put the podcast up on the web, and it stays up, it goes up a few days after and it stays up for about five or six weeks, I have five or six up at the time. So you can listen to those. And beyond that, those podcasts and the old days where you take the program are all available practically of the whole lot. I think there are a few missing but most of them gone to lag ends the Lisbon Gallic Zealand So, and there's a project on at the moment that I think it's just got funding from the Arthritis on trust and trust, let's say a bit more about them in a moment where some of them are going to be put into better form the old takes, again, which don't last forever are going to be put on to a better electronic form. So there'll be a lot of the programs will be there for posterity and future researchers which allows beans to to listen to which which will reflect the changing mores of lesbian society, community culture, which is great. I should pay tribute at this point to be strong enough Charitable Trust for lesbians who, who fund us. They've also funded this research project of this project to say to put more programs on a better electronic form. But they found that every week, we pay something like gum, just under $50 a week as our access fee. And, and they fund that basic fee and a small annual fee. In the oldest it was the dude dances. I think when when it first began, there wasn't the fee. But once the fee came in it, you have enough, it takes enough energy to do the program and the preparation for it without having to all the fundraising. So our groups very grateful that we don't have to fundraise the whole of that ourselves. We usually have one fundraising thing at least a year. And we're we're doing a raffle at the next pines dance. And sometimes we raise a little bit of the atmosphere thing or something like that. But we don't have to do most of the fundraising ourselves, which is terrific. [00:13:34] What have been some of your, I guess, favorite discussions or interviews? [00:13:40] Oh, gosh, it's really difficult. [00:13:43] I love you know, publicizing what's about to happen. So things like all the film festivals each year, we always give that a big plug lesbian gay film festival with them. And talk to the people who've been choosing the lesbian films for that. I like it. When we publicize we're in the middle of publicizing the Asia Pacific out games for next March games, the conference to capture all that sort of thing. I think it's really good when you can get that a lot of air plugin. But that also some of the more political stuff. We've done interviews with people overseas, sometimes we don't do an awful lot live. But we've got a new very dynamic presenter of us origins, who's a singer songwriter called Paula. And she's been in festivals and things in in the states before she immigrated here and she's got Nicaraguan background as well. And she she's done one or two things with America live and you can do it. But it's a little expensive, but we used it people were traveled overseas, they'd often do interviews and bring them back with all sorts of people. Lesbian political figures overseas, those are always good. And all the just simply the discussions in New Zealand when we've got stuff around civil union bill, and, you know, and and we tend to do the more vibrant arguments around that. I mean, everybody's sort of assumed that we have lesbian equal rights means you want marriage first civil union second, but there's quite a lot of lesbian feminist who think why do we want to join an institution where you know, we've which feminists have critiqued for years, so reflecting all those bits of politics, not selling a line, but every and every presenter is allowed to give their own views and but also try and interact, like to interview people who have different views. We have to be careful with national politics before maybe before elections and things like that you're not allowed, you know, there are access rules. And you know, there are also rules about, you know, and defend defamation and things. So you've got to take care like any other broadcaster, even though you're not a professional. But certainly, I think the more controversy and you know, real discussion, you get going, the better. But other people will just do you know, more social things. And then that's fine too, as, as me is one of our long standing presenters. And she often does interviews live edited in the square with all sorts of people that are doing their own stores there. And that's, that's always nice. So everybody, everybody differs a bit about what they want to do, but, but they're all I think, I think people if they listen to long ranges of programs, they find some really interesting thing. I think my favorite ever program was for me was that I did myself was before I was ever even a coordinator. I'm Jewish by origin, itself and religiously Jewish, but I'm Jewish culture and history and so on. And Tilly Lloyd who runs unity shop, and she had a bit of involvement with the program was a great deal. But she persuaded me that I to do a program about being Jewish in the lesbian feminist communities and lesbian feminist in the Jewish communities. And what that was like, and I had great fun doing that program, and I was interviewing, did an interview with a group in Auckland, who are who was Jewish feminists, large number of them are lesbians who were involved with fighting for Marty sovereignty. And talking about the links between being outside of groups, you know, if you like, and they had a big push that was that all that was very interesting stuff. There's been a lot of lot of good memories. Doing the lesbian program [00:17:21] has the, I'd say readership, but I guess you don't really read [00:17:25] this radio [00:17:26] show. Has it changed much over the years? Was it hard to sell? [00:17:30] One of the sad things is that it's very hard to know who's listening. And you know, sometimes you're scared that you're only talking to yourself and the other presenters, most of whom, you know, interested in listen. Chris Walsh, is a terrific, another terrific stalwart at the program she's not on at the moment. She's well known for activism over breast cancer, she she and her partner, both have had breast cancer, and she, she got too busy with all that to stay on the program for, but she's been on for many years. And when she is not, to me, that was part of a degree, which certainly did do a degree. And she also did this research project, she did a research project on Alison ship at one stage and quiet. And, you know, that was interesting and helpful for knowing what people wanted. And that's quite a long way back. Now. These days, it's very hard to know, one thing you can look at is the number of hits on the website for not that it's much easier now that you can do it other than I'm sure we've lost some listeners who do it on the web instead, which is absolutely fine. And but we've gained, and one point last year, we were the second highest access radio program for number of hits to to Wellington community, which was abroad. And I thought that was absolutely terrific. And there were hits from all over the world from Canada, Japan, Britain states all over as well as a lot of New Zealand ones. We hope that they're all genuine hits are not perfect. Certainly, I think most of them probably are genuine. And that was exciting. But and you get you get informal feedback. You know, when you've been on yourself, somebody will say, Oh, I heard that this particular bit was good in. But unless we do another solid piece of research, it's very hard to know. But I think there is a real need for it, particularly given as I say that we don't have much else for discussing things we have, we have the other ways of finding out what's going on. But I think I hope there's still a need for it. And I hope as as that will go on finding people that want to do it, and the trust will go on funding it. Bronwyn, who I mentioned before, who was a previous coordinator, left quite a lot of money to the song, an author trust, not conditional on the radio, but certainly made clear that the radio was one of the big, big things in her heart. And she and that, that they've earmark that interest from that bit to do this project of putting more programs electronically. And so hopefully they as long as we were going and as long as as long as the community feel a need for it. Well, we'll keep going. And of course, media changes, maybe we'll get to the point where radio, you know, the electronic stuff completely beats radio, but I don't think that's in in in my lifetime. So I hope we'll be able to keep going for a long time yet. [00:20:11] It's quite different a when you can kind of hear something. Yes. Right. One thing is really different medium, being able to hear stuff, not just see moving pictures and that kind of thing. Yeah. [00:20:21] And I think why these interviews are also useful. I mean, we do more hearing on the computer than we're used to. [00:20:28] Yeah, I think that's really interesting. Because someone was telling me about when I guess radio shows or whatever can go on internet, they have a longer tail. I don't know what the title is. But yeah, that because they stay online. You don't have to listen live, and you catch up on that later. And so these listeners from all over the world, you've seen? [00:20:46] Yeah, well, certainly I don't know whether they've regulars. Like is it now? At least Yeah. Which is quite exciting. And for example, in team ln, the Arkadiusz letter carries an ad for it with the usually what the website says to remind people out there. And I'm always telling people, you know that. Remember to remember that they can get it on the web and try and get publicity for it that way we had shed we had leaflets at the out in the square to do that. When we do the raffle of next binds dance will have a leaflet advertising as giving the website as well. And you know, just trying to get the word out amongst new and younger lesbians who may not have heard of it, you know? [00:21:30] Are you aware of other lesbian radio shows around the world? [00:21:35] They certainly used to be lot. But I don't think there are that many Christchurch used to have one. I think that one's gone. I'm not sure. Funnily enough, we had a request from the Southland access radio just this last week. Could they replay our one because the manager there who I don't know, even though she's living, but she hasn't managed? She tried to get a lesbian radio show going in south and didn't manage it could see us as just emailed random collective to say, I can't see any reason why not anybody bother? I'm sure will say yes. And I think, you know, I thought to myself, why she probably because it's on the web, they can get it. But on the other hand, if somebody is used to listening to south and access, they may hit is in the way they wouldn't hit it [00:22:19] on the web. So I know everybody has internet access, [00:22:22] that as soon as you can forget them, you think that everyone's got that straight to that also, people use different sources for finding things. And they might find it that way, when they wouldn't find it, you know, the other way and that sort of thing. So I think I'm sure there are still a lot of other programs around the world. But I think it's interesting the way from my experience, New Zealand sort of keeps The L Word very prominent. Whereas an awful lot of things get subsumed into queer soup, or into feminist. in a lot of places, I mean, even the think in America, the Michigan women's Music Festival, it's a women's Music Festival. It's mainly led been, but, you know, [00:23:02] what do you think that is? What do you think God I'm [00:23:06] not a theoretician enough to know. But I think I think we've been very staunch about lesbian politics. I mean, there are others. Of course, there are a lot of younger women who don't want to use the lesbian word who, who? Hoo, regardless, use the queer word just so they don't want to use the feminist word, but want equality. You know, so I think things history change, things change. But I think there are at least them a lot of lesbians in New Zealand who want to keep lesbian politics alive, whether the younger generation will want to as well, but we've got quite a few younger women on a collective and I think on the library collective and so on. And, and so there are there are still some young women who want to use the word lesbian and who do identify that way. Politically, and Okay, we all have fluid changing identities and all that stuff, but never something that identity is an important one. Not only 67 years younger, [00:24:06] Have you always been really vocal? Have you always done kind of public speaking and set why these green radio interests you? [00:24:13] Well, I am professionally an academic and you know, have you're used to talking in 15 minute bites anyway. It's a good train. And right back in my university days in England, because I I spent my first 25 years in England, I was involved when I was at university in Oxford, and it was while I was there that we fought I was a feminist back then, was any 1898. But I don't know that caught myself on there. Because in the early 60s, you know, second wave wasn't wasn't that much get going. But I certainly believe in equality and women couldn't get into the Oxford Union. Remember, the Oxford Union. That's the thing where David long ease famous debate about uranium. They will not admit it, women were not admitted to the Oxford Union. It was a massive any club. It wasn't like a student union that you had your sort of student unions within your college. But this was the Oxford Union, which was a dictating club in a, you know, a nice gentleman's club. But within the universe, it was within the university in a coed universe within a coed University, and women were not admitted. And so we fought for it. And we got in while I was there. And so people said, you have to put your money where your mouth is and join, and you better start speaking. So don't make a fuss about it. When you try to journal with a kind of like, [00:25:27] all year, there's a bit old school that we don't, [00:25:30] we have to fight for it. We won and, and so that was about 1963, or something. And I was about 20 years, young undergraduate. And then I started making speeches at the Oxford Union, which is one of the most frightening places you could ever do if you can speak at the Oxford Union, when to that whole big crowd, when you get one of the biggest paper speeches. [00:25:54] Then you can speak anywhere [00:25:57] with a Hitler's Why was it? Because it's such a [00:26:01] kind of prestigious setting? Yes. Just some very big audio not critical, nothing, nothing. Nobody would be I'm gradually on lady like that. But no, but it was just a pretty, pretty daunting audience. And I think after that I could speak anyway. I don't find talking on the radio too difficult. I sometimes talk a bit too fast, because I've always got too much to say, I've been criticized for that in decades, as well. And I'm aware of it, I always want to put more into the 15 minutes or the radio program. And it's time for, but I've never had any trouble with it. It's sort of an interesting with, you know, we take all comers who want who have got the confidence to be on air, here, we're happy to have them. But you do have some worries with some people's voices being better than others for radio. And some people I find, and I'm certainly not mentioning there are some people absolutely terrific. And some people have wonderful content, but not that terrific voice. And some people have terrific voices, but I wish they have a little bit more content. And many of our broadcasters are terrific about that. But one doesn't want to discourage people being being on air. And so we tend to take it we've had controversies over the years, that's probably an interesting thing for this about because of lesbian culture and what is lesbian changing. There have been hardliners who say, for example, that we should absolutely only have lesbian voices and lesbian music. What is lesbian music, you know, by for about, we always have those problems with lesbian, how we define things. But often with women musicians, you're not 100% certain whether they're lesbian or not, and then some come out as they've been so. So we've tended to get us, as you know, captures James, and as I say, fluid identities and so on what is lesbian, not everybody, even though the collective necessarily uses the lesbian word, I think we've got by people who would identify as by sexual probably on the collective, and we just, I just don't want to push these things, if they're happy being on lesbian community radio, and that's what it is. That tends to be fine. But controversy about whether we've interviewed, we put we do publicity about all sorts of queer events. I mean, you know, the fact is a lesbian and gay Film Festival, or Pacific Games were concentrate more on the lesbian aspects, but we've had Gay Men's voices where they're covering gay and lesbian issues on the program, being interviewed, we've had transgender, transgender, there's always been a season has been politics about male to female transgender people of whether they can be lesbian, sir, I don't, I try and avoid that drivers if I can. But we haven't, I don't think we've had a transgender member of the collective, we certainly had transgender people interview. But you know, these things, were not a very formal organization, either, I should say, we, we run a bank account, and I'm very careful with the money. And we have a collective meeting, usually about three or four times a year after a program, anybody who feels like coming, you know, we give it publicity. And we say, we'll talk about the program meet each other, because people go in one week, they don't necessarily see the new members of the collective. So we try and get together three or four times a year, but we're not a very formal organization. We don't have formal policies. we evolve and it's worked. tough sometimes I think, or maybe we ought to be more formal. And then who wants to, you know, people want to go and make their programs? [00:29:30] Has it always been this kind of, I guess, controversy around identity in labels and says woman and transforming that kind of stuff was only been the last few years? Or? [00:29:41] Well, I think it's probably worse earlier on in the sense that, you know, there was I remember, I heard people talk about the lesbian feminist, late 70s 80s, as being as lesbian feminist being rigid, and, you know, wearing overalls only, or whatever, really anti boy children's own stuff. And I think some people really did have that experience. I think some lesbians who, who had boy, children really didn't have problems, I won't run down that wall, but I sometimes get a bit, a bit upset about it, that it gets exaggerated, and that people who weren't around at the time, you know, criticize the lesbian feminist of the 70s and 80s, when they were doing a really big job. And it was really hard to come out. And they were had to be much braver to be out as a lesbian in those days than you do now. So I think, but I think in some ways, again, this is more than when, you know, people would come. I don't know how much it emerged on the radio, but people would come to lesbian doctors, and somebody would say, Oh, she's not really a lesbian, she's still living and things like that, you know, I think that was worse then probably than it is. Now. I think that probably a bit more tolerant and easygoing. And some people think his losses in that in that we aren't fighting enough. The political battles now we may not have quite as bad political battles, as we did as lesbians, but mostly lesbian feminist also had an awareness on race in class issues. And a lot of, you know, those are still as active and importance and poverty, treatment of soul mothers and modern Pacific issues. As important as ever, and I think lesbian feminist should be on the barricades, dealing with them all as much as ever. So I don't think we want to lose the politics. [00:31:25] Fantastic, and how would we listen to you? [00:31:29] Well, what rays and cetera, et cetera, Sunday mornings, 10 to 11 on [00:31:36] it's only on am 783 am radio access. And that's the live one. And then if you got if you want to listen on the web, you can either go to the Wellington lesbian website, which has been nominated not ended and there's a connection there to access radio and direct to the lesbian community program. Or you can go to the access radio site, which is dead easy to find. And they have a list of all their programs and you just look for lesbian community and you find that they're [00:32:07] brilliant. Thank you very much pro for taking the time and talking with us. [00:32:10] Pleasure. enjoyed it.

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