Out in the Bay

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride and z.com. [00:00:05] My name is Eric Jansen, I'm the [00:00:07] co host and co producer of out in the bay radio, my fellow producers, Marilyn Pittman. And we're sitting in cafe floor and cafe lilium Castro's gay neighborhood, which is, you can see here the construction noise outside, everybody's getting ready for gay pride, they better hurry up and finish because we only got two days left. The idea for out in the vape came from when I was previously a producer for a mainstream talk radio show in town, which was probably the most popular so on public radio in the Bay Area called forum. And as a producer there, I got experience lining up guests and topics, and thought, why isn't there a show like this, and there should be one in the Bay Area, there was nothing like it. So I put together this proposal and approached Kate QED about doing that. And they weren't receptive to the idea that was probably six or seven years ago. And I stopped up to the other station k o w, which run now they also at that time said no. But you know, the timing wasn't right. And what else would we what are we going to drop to put that in? That was kind of the rationale. And that was right after 2001, the Twin Towers fell down. And, you know, nobody wanted to think of anything new at that point. And I just sort of let it go for a little while. And then one of the station announcers David love to leave. I met him through the gate running club. And he said that there was a 15 minute hole that an open because some producer of some 15 minutes science show had stopped doing it or was going to take a hiatus for a while. So it was a chance to propose this program. So David, and I proposed it together. And, and they accepted it. And we did it for I don't know, three or four months. And they liked what we were doing. And they said, Okay, we'll give you half an hour now. And that's that's the that's the start of it. And after another year or so, little less than a year, they started repeating it on Sunday. So now we're on twice a week. And it's been on for three and a half years now. [00:01:56] Can you tell me a wee bit about how you pitch your to those stations? What what kind of criteria that they use to do their programming? And how do you pitch something like this? [00:02:10] I honestly don't know how they choose their programming priorities. In the case of K QED, they, I would say it's fairly rare that they try new programs at all, because they're fairly established. They put they are mostly NPR programs, they do have a pretty big national, excuse me locally produced news programs. And they have a show called The California report, which is about statewide news that gets fed to all the statewide stations. And for a while just before I propose out in the Bay to them, they were doing a show called Pacific Rim, which was about pacific time, it what it was about Pacific Rim issues, you know, Asian countries and their inner how they relate with West Coast, US stuff. So they do do some local programs. But how they make those decisions? I honestly don't know, they have to probably consider, you know, who's going to pay for it? Do they have a sponsor for it? What kind of audience will they have. And at that time, they didn't want to take a risk. I mean, they kind of told me they didn't want to take a risk on a new program about gay issues. which surprised me that even here in the Bay Area, they would they would say that. So with K l w. Again, this is a couple years after, as I think as gay issues got more popular, and then the mainstream media throughout. And KL w i think is a little bit more experimental in their programming to begin with. They were more receptive to the idea. Now I also think that it's personal connections make a huge difference. I don't think I would have even Well, I take that back. I did approach them previously. But once I had somebody who was kind of already had an inn at the station, it became much more smooth to just hand it over and see what they said. So the proposal was really basic, it was just saying, here's what we're going to do. Here's the kind of, you know, we want to have a mix of Public Affairs and entertainment and you know, interesting shows, we want to talk to people about their lives and have the voices of gay and lesbian people on the air. And in they're telling their stories in their own words. And because they had an opening for it, they were receptive to it. If they didn't have when they probably would have said, Well, what are we going to talk to make room for this program? So it's it's a, I can't offer any specific advice. I don't think on how to [00:04:28] do that. If it wasn't both two stations, is there anywhere else in San Fran, you could you could pitch this idea? [00:04:37] I don't know. I? [00:04:41] I don't. I don't there are actually there are many smaller public stations, Cadillacs, and Berkeley is the station that's affiliated with the University of California. So they probably would have been receptive to something like that Kp FA maybe. But again, Kp ft, I think they have such a breadth of programming as some, many people want to be on that station, they probably would have a similar response. If you can find somebody who have, if you can figure out what will drop to put your show on, you know, maybe we'll consider it. So k probably wasn't the realistic alternative. There are a couple of other local stations that might consider something like that, but I didn't approach them. I don't know if I would have or not honestly, [00:05:28] when you're pitching to these stations is an obligation on your part to pay for your time or find sponsorship. [00:05:34] Know in both the case of k q d and k l w. [00:05:40] Well, k l w certainly currently, as they provide the airtime because they want the programming cake you add might be might have been different. And cake you ladies case, because there's sort of more, I would say more business more of a big business, they would probably want some assurance that there would be some sponsorship money coming in, I wouldn't have started to pay for the time, but they would want that time paid for somehow. And if I was able to help them identify a potential sponsor, that would probably make it go, that would probably be more likely to consider it. I don't know how the smaller public stations work here, I assume that most of them are, but most of their programming is produced by by volunteers. So again, they wouldn't expect I wouldn't have to pay for airtime. But they would not pay me anybody to do it. And I also think that on some of the smaller stations, like the Cal station I mentioned, and there's one affiliated with the University of San Francisco here, they probably would not accept sponsorship as program with the with the commercial sponsor attached to it. So I that's probably one of the reasons I wouldn't approach them is because I at some point would like to be paid for the work I'm doing. And so I wouldn't want it on a station that I don't think we're going to get any that that would allow us to have a sponsor an underwriter. And I should say By the way, that when I say sponsor on a on a public station, in the United States, you're not allowed to, there's very strict rules about what you're allowed to say. So it can't be like a commercial where you're saying, you know, come on down to Joe's, for the weekly blue plate special for 795, which you can say, Joe's diner, proudly serving the Castro community. And you can't say any endorsement, you can't say any prices, you can't have a weekly special, you can't even say call this phone number, but you can say More information is available at and then give the phone number you just can't have a call to action. So it's very specific about what you can and can't say. So that's why advertisers or sponsors are sometimes reluctant to do it, because they don't know what they're going to get back for it. And if they and this is it's primarily if they want to build their name if they want to build their image, their community image, like I think a foundation like Wells Fargo Bank has a foundation that they may want to sponsor a show like this because it shows that they're in Bob's in the community. So it's good for their, their branding and their image. But you can't say you know, they wouldn't be able to say come on down and open a new checking account. [00:08:09] So in terms of the program looking for sponsorship, have you put together any kind of sponsorship package, [00:08:16] we do have one, it's kind of rough, we're trying to finalize it, but we have a sponsorship package that basically says, For X amount of money, you get 15 seconds 15 second announcement or acknowledgement every week, you know, brought to you by gold's gym or out in the bay is underwritten in part by a generous grant from Gold's Gym, where you can pump every day. And don't forget about the steam room. Now, I don't know if I can say that or not. Gold's Gym in his infamous steam room. I'm a member there. [00:08:51] Did I answer your question? [00:08:52] Yeah, I guess how have you? How predictively I guess? Have you been seeking sponsorship? And how's that gone? [00:09:00] We haven't been very proactive yet. And that's what we need to do. I mean, that's our next job early is that we're going to be doing a little bit of rebroadcast and some past shows this summer, so that we can concentrate on this more, we need to get that sponsorship package finished. And we need to get it out there and go to various businesses and foundations and say, here's what we're doing. And we'd like your support. And we do have a sense that there is support out there. I've talked to several people informally. And they've expressed some interest. So now it's up to me to just follow up and not be bashful about saying this is the budget we have, and this is the amount of money we need. And be prepared to hear know from 20 people before one person says maybe. [00:09:39] So can you talk a wee bit about the initial setup of the program, you know, the kind of formulating of what you wanted to achieve? How how people reacted to it? Because I mean, you were saying earlier how this is like one of the only govt programs in the Bay Area? How was it? How was it received? [00:10:00] I think it's received really well, I'm actually quite surprised that when I go out to some sort of public event that's not in the gay community, I'll run into people, you know, they ask what I do, and I'll tell them about the show. And I'm surprised how many people say, Oh, I heard that show. And so I know that there's actually quite a large straight audience out there. And that doesn't surprise me because we're on a public station, which is probably the listenership is probably mostly left of center, though they're liberal people live in the Bay Area. And our show is only a half hour, twice a week, but just a half an hour over that whole time that people just happen to be listening, they happen to be driving, they happen to be washing the dishes, and they've got the show on in the background. And I've been really impressed by the positive reaction. And then there's, you know, within the gay community, first of all, let's face it, a lot of people don't listen to radio on a regular basis anymore. But those who do once they've learned about the show, I think there's a little bit there probably are not as many gay listeners and straight listeners to the program overall. But I think there's certain games core that will be repeat listeners, because it's something that they relate to. And so they look forward to hearing it. And then we've also got some podcasts up now. So people can go to our website and podcast on a weekly basis. And we know people are doing that in Texas, and we've got people in other states who are have found out about it for some reason that are listening. So that's, that's great. I think you asked another question in there about our initial ideas for how to set it up. So initially, when we were only a 15 minute program, you know, I realized we weren't going to have a very good chance of getting people to come in live to the station to do an interview for only 15 minutes, because the station is kind of a remote location is not right in downtown San Francisco. So we were pre producing more shows. And at that point, I was doing more interviews, like I even did a couple interviews in my house, you know, I just had and which is actually a nice way to get an interview. It's very intimate, you just sit down on the couch with somebody like Marta Gomez, talk to her with her their talk with this guy who was a cop. He's into the leather scene. And he's a San Francisco Police Officer. And he's very well known about community and I sort of talked to him about what's that like to be, you know, a cop in the leather and the people you patrol and he he works in like the gang, he works for the gang crime Task Force. So he works someone to San Francisco's toughest African American neighborhoods. And they mostly know that he's gay. And, you know, it's not a problem. And he also talked about the fact that we have this stereotype image that, like, as if there aren't gay people within the black community, I mean, and so he's just, you know, and kind of broke some of those stereotypes. And it was really refreshing to hear him talking about that. But anyway, that was done in my home. And then I would edit it later. And that actually took a lot of time, like 10 hours did like, talk to somebody for half an hour, 45 minutes and edit that down to the best 15 minutes, that takes a lot of time. So when we expand it to half an hour, primarily, now I do live interviews in the you know, live on air, people are also as the reputation of the show has grown people are more willing to to come that far. And you know, it's not like is that far it's a 15 minute drive, they've got to commit a full hour to like getting their being on the air and, and getting back home afterwards. And they seem to, it seems to go pretty well, usually, I mean, I have only had one or two times when there's been someone who's been hard to get them to talk for the whole half hour, but usually the time goes by really quickly. And occasionally I'll mix in a little bit of sound like frame line, the producers of the film festival run a while ago promoting the fact that they have DVDs available. So they had released Marlon Riggs old landmark film tongue tied. And so I had some clips from the film that we were able to play during the show and have them sort of react to it and play off that. And so there's some, there's some pre produced elements, but usually is that it's a live show now. And if I, occasionally I will still, we will still and Maryland does more of the pre produce interviews than it will still occasionally go and interview people in advance, and then edit it down. So we'll maybe spend 40 minutes with them and edit that down to 30. And so you do get a little bit more concentration of the best stuff, and we can edit out our own mistakes, make ourselves look good, and then look bad. So she's done that with comedians, especially people who are, you know, they're in town, a book writer, or I think they're called authors, a book writer, or a comedian or an actor or something like that, you know, she'll just go and interview them in their hotel room, so they don't have to go to the station, because they're more likely to get time with them if we make it as easy for them as possible. And again, you can get a more intimate interview sometimes if it's not in the studio, I think, because it's a, you know, it's in a setting they're more comfortable with, and you're just talking. [00:14:38] Are there any underpinning themes to the kind of content and editorial direction you go? [00:14:45] Um, well, I think it's fair to say that you could say that we're advocacy journalists, and the fact that we want to promote gay rights. I mean, there's no question that that's part of our agenda. And I think that's some more conservative journalists would say, Well, you know, if we're having a show about gay marriage, then we have to have the other side on and we have to have people oppose the gay marriage. But, for example, it may be an extreme example. But I don't really think that's true. Because, you know, people know, that's where we're coming from, and our biases clear. And it's not like we're usually advocating for or against a particular political issue. But we are, for example, we'll do an interview with somebody who is working on that battle. And so it's about them in their life, just as much as it is about the issue, per se. So, so yeah, I guess I would say that that's one underpinning thing to it. And we're kind of, you know, we feel like that's a great thing that we're sort of doing a cause based journalism. [00:15:46] Can you talk a wee bit about the audience and who you're actually pitching the show. So I mean, it's a guy, audience, straight audience, [00:15:53] the way I look at it, I just tried to have a conversation that I think that anybody would be interested in listening to. I know that we have a lot of great listeners. As I said, Before, I know that we have a lot of gay listeners. So I'm hoping that it will be interesting to any of those peoples. I mean, I it is in the back of my mind a little bit that we occasionally might have to like, do a quick little explanation for some kind of jargon that may be in the gay world and other people don't do it. The gays as we call them don't quite get it necessarily. Like if I talked about Pacific Rim in, you know, not necessarily a straight person would know what that meant. But [00:16:31] I think there are See I distracted myself now. [00:16:36] What was that question again? [00:16:39] No, so so and but you know, many times are things we're talking about within the gay community, like the gap, we talked about, like transgender issues, for example, we've done a few shows about specifically about transgender issues. And I know that in those cases, we're probably a lot of gay and lesbian people don't know much about that, either. So even within the govt community, we're hoping that there's interesting things that people within the community are getting something out of it, too. They're learning about people they didn't necessarily know about, you know, lesbians are learning about gay man stuff, and vice versa. And that's, that's what I so if I figure if it's interesting to me, then hopefully, it will be interesting to most of the listeners, have one last example, I interviewed Charles A couple of years ago. And Charles not gay, I'm not saying she's not, I'm not outing her. But I just thought, I have a chance to interview tomorrow. I'm doing it. And if I want to talk to her, then there's probably lots of gay boys out there who are infatuated with Charlie, too. So that's, that was a good programming choice, I hope. What about? You can find that on our website? By the way? It's under the archives page tomorrow? I'll make sure to get it up there before you get this up there. [00:17:45] What about feedback from the audience? You know, what, what kind of feedback do you get? [00:17:49] We don't get a whole lot of direct feedback, we will occasionally get, we get some emails at once in a while we've done maybe two or three college shows and the whole time we've done the show. About right after the whole gay wedding thing happened in 2004, the first time around, we did a call in show kind of about that issue. And I was really surprised, obviously, like I said, we have a left leaning supportive, mostly straight audience. And some guy called the and he was very well meaning and but he said, I didn't know gay people couldn't get married. And I'm like, What rock Are you living under? But, you know, so I know, from that standpoint, we are educating people. And, you know, like I said, he was very supportive. But I just like, you know, just Where have you been? So, and then we did another call in show just, just a month ago, when the California Supreme Court made his decision about the marriage decision. So we went for a full hour took a lot of calls. And you know, again, mixed calls gay and straight. But some of the straight people were obviously very supportive of gay rights, or they probably wouldn't have called in otherwise, who knows. I mean, I've thought maybe somebody would call in with some negative opinions, but they didn't so. So the reception we get from the show that the audience reaction is, I would say, generally positive, we get, you know, every once in a while, we'll get something like, you know, how could you have such a boring person on and you know, but you know, that's happened once or twice, or somebody will take exception with the way one of us interviews somebody. But Marilyn likes that. She says, If she gets criticized, then she's provoked somebody. And that's a good thing. [00:19:21] So why do you think that out on the bay is one of the only gay and lesbian shows in the Bay Area? [00:19:29] That's a good question. I there is another show that I know of, at least a couple years ago, I don't know if it's still on that was specifically geared to arts and entertainment produced by the guy had it on the Cal UC Berkeley affiliate station. I don't know if that's still on. I sort of think that even in the Bay Area, stations were kind of reluctant or squeamish to have a show that was just about gay issues, until maybe three or four years ago when it became You know, when gay issues were much more in the mainstream media, even TV shows? So I'm not sure. You know, I'm not sure what happened to change that. I think it was an art part. I think it was just a matter of timing. And now it's well received, but I'm sure it would have been, I would think it would have been well, well received, you know, five or 10 years ago. So why it wasn't happening, then I honestly don't know. There was previously a gate, somewhat similar gate program on KPMG, a many years ago, which I believe started in the 70s or 80s. So at that time, it was probably really pushing it with like, you know, KPMG was so kind of radical then like to have a geisha one was just, like, perfect for them. But, you know, maybe as, as gay rights became more prominence, like, why do we need a gay show anymore? Like, it's almost as weird. It's a weird thing. It's like, there's so much gay stuff going on here. Why do we need a radio program about it? So it's not necessarily like an anti gay thing? It could be more like, why do we need that because there's gay people talking about gay stuff all the time, and all the media anyway. But it so I, that may be part of the reason that there aren't other gay specific programs. Now there is a commercial station that just started up about two, two and a half years ago, that plays dance music, and they've got these gay gay team in the morning. And so it's a very, they're definitely being right out there. They're going after the gay market. And they're serving that niche very well. I mean, a lot of people and they're very involved with the gay business community, for example, the gay Chamber of Commerce. And they got this guy, the bad Greg, the bit the Greg, the gay sportscaster, who at the end of his sports gets it goes, if it's got, if they're playing with balls, I'm all over it. You know, he's got cute little lines like that. And they just shut up about entertainers and stuff. But it's kind of very, it's more entertainment oriented and not usually very serious journalism. I would you know, that's my opinion of it, which is fine. There's no reason it should be. [00:21:46] So you guys have been going three years now. What have been the major challenges? [00:21:52] Oh, dear. [00:21:54] I don't know if I can say his book. [00:21:56] Well, it's, you know, there's tensions between me and Maryland, just tensions when you're producing a show for free, and you're spending a lot of work on it. You know, there's some creative disagreements occasionally. And people we get frustrated, honestly, we get frustrated with how much work we're putting into it and not get any money back for it. And that's, I think that's probably the biggest challenge is that the Bay Area is expensive to live in. And how much time Can we put into this thing? to, you know, to get it to the point where it's bringing in some money, so that we're not feeling like, you know, I can't won't be able to retire, because, because I've been spending all my time in this radio show, instead of building up a bank account. You know, it's kind of weird to say that, but it's, it's true. I would say that's the biggest challenge. You know, occasionally there's a challenge, like, what are we going to do next week, and we're scrambling and kind of at the last minute, but that doesn't happen very often, because there's plenty of ideas as we get approached more and more now with authors. And I think that might be a challenge right there. As time has gone on, we possibly be gotten a little bit lazy about, you know, I think we were doing more portraits of people earlier on. And now we've sort of fallen a little bit back into interviewing people who are not necessarily famous, but have like, authors, local authors, people who have done something in particular, instead of just interesting people. And because I think finding the interesting people that just happened to be out there in the world, that's a little harder to do, you have to really be out there and keep your eyes and ears open. Whereas, you know, once the publicist find out that we've got this station, and they keep sending us books, and, you know, you know, we'll look at the books. And if they're interesting, we'll we'll interview them. But, you know, it's it does feel a little bit like, are we losing, we have to keep track of, are we losing our original plan and being swayed into doing something because somebody else is pitching us? That's a challenge. But I wouldn't say it's a make or break challenge. [00:23:56] And the original plan was [00:23:59] the original plan. I think I would say that the original plan was, we wanted to get gay, lesbian and Tran voices out on the air and have people hear our stories directly. Maryland is very big on the fact that, you know, we see a lot of gay characters and movies and TV, and we can read their books, there's plenty of gay authors out there whose books we can read. But it's not very, we don't often hear other people telling their stories and audio radio is a very, can be a very intimate medium. And so it's important to us to have those voices on the air and have people hear those those people in their own voices. One of the pieces I'm particularly proud of that's that's on our website. Now it's featured is an interview, a two part interview that I did with Dell Martin and Phyllis Lyon. This is the 80 something year old, lesbian couple who've been been together more than 50 years. And they started this. The US is first national lesbian organization back in the 1950s was called the daughters of believers. And so they're really gay pioneers. And they tell about, you know, I did an interview with them in their kitchen, just around the kitchen table. And they talked about what it was like to be lesbian in 1950, here in San Francisco, and what it's like to be gay than two, because they had some gay friends. And that was the time when, you know, the police were cracking down on gay bars, they were closing gay bars, and having raids and things like that. And, you know, it's just not very many people who have that personal experience, and to hear them talk about in their own words, and how they met each other. And how one of them brought the other one out of the closet. And you know what it was like when they did a what bar hopping in the Castro, which was not a gay neighborhood, then it was just, it was called Eureka Valley. It was an Irish Catholic neighborhood. But one of the bars, Twin Peaks was there then. And they said, so we went to all these bars, we had one drink and each bar, but when we got to Twin Peaks, we had a mistake. And then the older ones like, yeah, that was our mistake. We broke our rule. We had two drinks there. And they had been talking about lesbian stuff, you know, at the bar, I guess. And then they would they had to go to the bathroom. So they went up to the women's bathroom, which is a was upstairs then as it is now. And they both went at the same time. And pretty soon someone was pounding on the door saying what are you doing in there get out and it got thrown out because they thought they were having sex in there something. So [00:26:24] you know, it's just interesting to hear their, [00:26:27] the way they talk about things. So it's a very, that's what we're, that's ideally what we're trying to do just get people's stories on the air. So if you want to hear about the the lesbian couple who was first married in San Francisco in 2004, and then again, this past in 2008, the mayor married them personally, they were the first ones out the gate this time, their interview is from two years ago is up on our websites are in the front page. [00:26:50] So check it out. [00:26:53] So three years down the track. Where do you see the program going in the future? [00:27:00] Well, we have had some interest from stations in other parts of the country. Again, that's another thing that we haven't pursued aggressively, but we want to sort of start putting it out there to see where else we could possibly get it on the air. If we can get her on the air and some other areas, then we may have to change it a little bit and have it a little bit less San Francisco centric and its flavor. But I don't think it's a real drawback because stations would expect, you know, a gay program to be coming from San Francisco. And as long as we all know, there's plenty of New York programs to talk about New York events. So I think we can we like we can do that. But once we get on some more stations, we have a better chance of getting some sponsorship because a national sponsor would be more likely an underwriter I should say would be more likely to want something that's on the air in several places, we we think we have somewhere between 10 and 20,000 listeners now. So you know, we get it to more stations, more listeners means underwriter would be more likely to go with us. The other thing that might happen is I could see at some point, expanding one hour if we got sufficient funding. That was my original idea was for an hour long program. And if an hour long format, I think I would be I would sort of see like two or three segments, a more serious interview segment. perhaps less serious art segment, maybe some commentaries. Originally, Marilyn was doing some comedic commentaries when she first joined the program. So you know, I can imagine a format like that been really fun. But that's, you know, that's there's a lot of ifs there, if we get some funding to support something like that. And it seems like the time should be, you know, the time should be right for it. [00:28:36] Can you ask listeners to pledge [00:28:40] to actually donate money? I mean, we could we haven't yet. I know that one of the national programs international program called this way out, which I'm sure you've heard of. They do ask listeners to send money. They say a lot of their budget comes from from that. So yeah, we haven't done that yet. But that's another thing we could do. We may do that. [00:29:02] In terms of kind of structure. Is it primarily based around yourself? and Marilyn? Are you looking at kind of broadening that out to get other people involved in to possibly take over from when you leave? Or when I mean, for instance, if you say okay, well, that's That's it, I'm not doing it anymore, but the programs just gonna stop. [00:29:23] I haven't thought about that a whole lot. We have thought some about getting some other producers involved. We specifically, were thinking that once we get some funding, and we can actually pay people to do some some stories to produce some pieces for us. That's would be a great way to get some people in. We have I guess I could say that in a way of part of our staff now is the folks who maintain our website. And they're not journalists, per se, but they they do definitely devote some time into having you know, that's part of our that's part of our whole package. I don't know how many, many people we have, go to our website. I know there are certainly some. But so if we had some and so then at this point, they're basically volunteering to do that. And I'm also sure there are commercial business. So if we actually got some money coming in on a regular basis, they'd probably want some of that and that'd be fine. We I would like want to share that with them. But yeah, if we can get if we can get some people to volunteer or some producers paid or not paid to help us with production. We know there's some other stations, excuse me some other programs at this at K Lw, for example, that they have regular hosts, their volunteers, but they have some volunteer producers and the producers help them produce lineup guests for programs. And there's no reason we Well, except that we want to control. Other than that, there's no reason that we shouldn't be able to find some producers who can help us line up guests for the show. So yeah, I may have to let go that a little bit and let some other producers come in. Hey, if you're out there and you want to produce for us, let me know. Out in the bay at yahoo. com just email me

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