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Randy Alfred

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in z.com. [00:00:08] Yep. [00:00:10] Well, so walk me through what we've got. [00:00:12] But all this is my main microphone. This was the main recording device. Sony, TCM 121, Moto, [00:00:25] extra cassettes. [00:00:28] These are extension cords. These are mainly connectors and cables to connect to any conceivable because I was often plugging into house systems or not, you know, or just a small mixing board and stuff. So I eventually had, I could connect virtually everything and some of the people working, I sort of became known when I showed up at an audio event of if somebody else was missing a connection, I probably had it. So yeah, this one This came real close to appearing in the movie milk. [00:01:02] But so I this, this went around to a lot of those events to survive. It says I never officially stopped doing it. It never got it never ended. [00:01:13] Background well I grew up in Boston, I went to school at Yale University in New Haven and the University of California at Berkeley for graduate school. And hello, I started out as a pre med as an undergraduate, I started heading towards a career in sociological research and teaching sociology. And while I was at the University of California, I finally got in touch enough with my feelings that I came out of the closet, I was not one of the double life in the closet people, I was one of the repressed from himself, and not allowing myself to acknowledge who I was. [00:02:00] At about the same time as that when I in order to do that, I realized I had to leave school, because school was just not the proper place to get in touch with your feelings if your main defense mechanism is, is neurotic intellectual ization, because all of all of the rewards in school are for neurotic intellectual ization. So I came out and I was also I'd been since I was a child, I'd been interested in journalism and newspaper and, and radio and TV and all of it, but had never really received much encouragement to do that. And never actually properly trained in it. But journalism is sort of high shutter speed, sociology, or else sociology is simply journalism with a thyroid problem and takes too long to find everything out. So it was it was, [00:02:53] for me a very natural transition. And I started freelancing for various publications, and for KPMG, a radio and then for case and radio. [00:03:09] All the case and freelancing came a little bit later along the line, and then some more specific. So I was the news editor of the San Francisco Sentinel, which was at the time one of two fortnightly publications that came out in San Francisco treating what was then called the gay community slightly before it was called the lesbian and gay community before it was called the LGBT community. And [00:03:39] while I was working on the Sentinel, the Sentinel was a free distribution, newspaper that came out every couple of weeks. There were also some other publications that got into the competition on and off, but the two main ones were the Sentinel and the Bay Area reporter. [00:03:56] One of my jobs working in the office, because the reason they managed to pay me Oops, sorry, because I could work because I put some time in in the office, as well as going out reporting was taking care of their their mail subscriptions, which went out to basically the news, media outlets, politicians, and a few hundred, if that paid subscribers around the country. But mainly, it was just a list to sort of increase the influence of the newspaper. [00:04:30] And however, we knew that the list was out of date, and the way we decided to call it was by sending a postcard sending postcards each to everybody on the list, and saying we'd love to continue sending it to them. But we needed to know that their address was up to date, please let us know. Because we were going to recreate the thing. And one of the calls came from Larry Lee at K Sam radio, in case and at the time, was the successor to the old [00:05:00] 1.2 competitor, but then eventually the successor to the old k MPs, who was the number one rock rock and roll station in the country. And arguably, in the United States. It was it was a big deal it made and I don't know that ever unmade any stars, but it made a few stars. [00:05:20] And they had a great news pro news department that put on news that was essentially, from a leftist counter cultural standpoint, but very factually based. It wasn't just screed or dialectics or whatever. And it was my favorite new show in the world. So I started talking to Larry Lee, and we became friends. And [00:05:48] sometimes more or less like phone, friends, we have a drink together or something that actually was later that but [00:05:55] the way I actually started working then at K Sam was this way, in June of 1977, immediately after the Anita Bryant victory in Florida, which was one of the very big and first, possibly the first the first voter referendum on a gay rights law. [00:06:21] And the gay rights law was repealed. And they need a Brian, I don't know how much his back history of it. She was. She had been a Miss America runner up and she was the spokesperson for Florida orange juice. And she was a big deal in Christian evangelism when she led this campaign. And there was a huge reaction in San Francisco after the after the repeal of the law in Miami. And there was a huge amount of activism going on. And there was also a lot of tension between the LGBT tea community and the Latino community, not that there was not a big overlap there. But it was not very much of a perceived overlap at the time. And the week before the parade, the pride parade and 1977 a white gay man was murdered by four Latino youths actually three and one of their friends but [00:07:30] in a very brutal stabbing in the mission neighborhood, and [00:07:36] which inflamed the the Latino versus gay situation in San Francisco. [00:07:45] Pretty pretty badly at the time. In the fall, when the trial started, in 19, here it was the fall of 77. [00:07:49] The fall when the trial started, [00:07:54] I had left the Sentinel. But I was looking for some place. I wanted to cover the trials, and I was looking for someplace to cover them. So I called up [00:08:11] Larry Lee a case and and I said, you know the Hillsborough murder trials start tomorrow or start next week, I forgotten when I called [00:08:21] who's covering it for you? And he said, Well, we didn't know that it was starting next week. And we do want them covered. Would you like to cover them for us, which is exactly what I wanted him to say. And so I started working at case and for doing reports for their for daily news shows. I mean, not that I was on every day, but the reports that I gave, could have been on any one of those days. And for weekly half hour show they have 10 o'clock on Tuesday nights, called the gay life, which was produced by Larry Lee and Nancy Newhouse. And I was never quite sure if Nancy new house was a lesbian by or straight, but she was friendly In any case, so and she was one of the CO producers. [00:09:11] And [00:09:13] that show was on [00:09:17] through most of late 1977. All the way through [00:09:25] the spring of 1978 1978 [00:09:32] was the year of the brakes initiative, which brought anti gay electioneering to California. [00:09:39] The Briggs initiative would have prohibited any school districts in the state from hiring. Anyone who was gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered wasn't even in the mix at the time, or who talked about those things or belong to any organization was this very [00:10:00] broad, sweeping [00:10:03] totalitarian [00:10:07] prohibition, McCarthyism, mccarthyite. [00:10:12] And so the whole organic beer, all of pride 1970 that came up for vote november of 1978. All of the pride festivities in the spring of 1978 are heavily focused on defeating the Briggs initiative. And that year case and covered the parade and the speeches from the stage afterwards live on case Aaron on the Sunday of [00:10:43] which was sort of a high points in a way. And then Larry Lee left case and to go to [00:10:51] I don't know if he went to KPI x TV right away, and then to Katie, Katie, eh, TV, which was a public broadcast or the other way around, but he left radio to go into TV. And the show really lost its producer. And I was calling every month from July, [00:11:13] August, September, October, asking when it was going to start again, and who is the producer, and in November, [00:11:24] or possibly December, actually, it was December because it was after the assassination of Harvey Milk. When I called, they said, It's starting again in January, and you're the producer. [00:11:37] So and where it's not going to be a weekly half hour show, it's going to be a monthly hour long show. And [00:11:47] so I took over the show, and I'd actually never done show production before. And when I started, I needed someone to show me some of the more physical aspects of it. We're still editing with blade and block. And the show was on monthly for the first five months, I believe that it was every two weeks for the next six months. And then in December, it became a weekly show. [00:12:14] So what age were you when you when you join casing? [00:12:18] I started working for them. I think I said in 77. For the Hillsborough trial, which took place in the fall, I would have just been either just about to or just turned 32. [00:12:35] So less than half my current age. [00:12:39] Can you paint a picture for me of what San Francisco was like for yourself as a gay man and the late 70s. [00:12:49] Disney Land. [00:12:53] In the late 70s, it was pre AIDS. It actually wasn't pre aids, but we didn't know about AIDS. [00:13:01] And almost. And there were people flocking from here. from all over the country to come to live. There are people coming here to come to visit. [00:13:13] There were more than 100 [00:13:17] gay and lesbian bars around town, there were a dozen or more maybe a dozen, probably about a dozen bath houses and another six sex clubs that weren't fully bath houses. [00:13:30] There was cruising on the streets at all hours, there were three big gay neighborhoods for really big Well, there was Castro, which had taken over from the historic Polk neighborhood. And then there was also still the old tenderloin, which had been what sociologists call an area for settlement, where people first land because there's a lot of there a lot of one room occupancy hotels, and places for people to stay. [00:14:00] That scene was a little bit more hustler ish, and also a little bit more drag queen ish, Polk Street, had an active street scene and also had a lot of really nice apartments within around six or seven blocks in either direction, in which the more established and an older, gay male clientele lived. [00:14:29] Lesbian scene was very much [00:14:33] to the knowledge of an outsider essentially like me, but there was stuff outside of [00:14:41] the word barn Cole Valley. I think that one was, that was mods, there was another one out on Geary pegs. [00:14:50] And the Valencia Street Scene had just started. [00:14:55] There, there was plenty of physical lovers to be had by anyone who who wanted to to indulge. But it was also politically the time of an efflorescence, because I worked on the pride parade in 7576, 7778, [00:15:23] maybe in 79? Or maybe not. But I know that in the 1970s, in 1978, the job that Rollins can Bari, who was one of the people on the fruit punch collective, which did the radio show on k PFA, in 1978. [00:15:43] He and I, we were both working on a new newspaper called the San Francisco Bay Times, [00:15:50] which didn't really make it past three issues. But then a couple of the couple of people that started a newspaper later called coming up, which after many, many more years, changed its name to the Bay Times again, which is still being published. So [00:16:09] it's not quite the same newspaper, except it really has the organizational DNA of the original newspaper in it. [00:16:17] Rolling and I took over the job of doing the directory of LGBT organizations, actually, I think it was the direction the directory of lesbian and gay organizations. [00:16:27] So [00:16:31] there were over [00:16:34] a hot No, I think it may have been over 200. Because we did it. I did a program or a San Francisco at the history of the govt history society, Hank Wilson, and Paul Lichtenberg and I did an exhibit, or in 2002, called butterflies and oranges. That was about the political efflorescence and the color unity, the huge number of community groups that were founded in that first year, starting with Anita Bryant, there was already plenty happening, but starting in 77, with the Briggs initiative in 78, and then just continuing to build everything from newspapers, [00:17:20] new social groups, lots of new political groups. [00:17:24] They were at that one point, there were four different LGBT democratic clubs in the city. And the and the republican club, the musical groups that the marching band The chorus is, and what was really interesting is, for the first time, in almost a decade, there were a large number of organizations in which lesbians and gay men were working together. There were some gay men who couldn't deal with lesbians. And there were some lesbians who couldn't deal with gay men, for variety of reasons. And even those of us who wanted to work together, we sometimes found that there were difficulties to be overcome. But there was a vision of seeing that there needed to be politically, at least a united front, to deal with some of the political issues where we were categorized the same way. [00:18:19] And in fact, I actually wrote an essay or an editorial in the first day Times called [00:18:25] one people, two genders, three cultures in which I meant that we really were for political reasons, and the scene from the outside has one group. The two genders, I now recognize is probably to Manichean and categorical to match, the real diversity that we've discovered is out there, because there are a lot of people who don't identify with either one, or do identify with both. But with both of those two, or but saying that what we needed was to have a unified political front, understand that we were different, especially at [00:19:04] certain parts of our social life that merged into our sexual lives. And to leave each other space for that. But that we could have, but that, therefore, we could have a lesbian culture, a Gay Men's culture and a co sexual culture, operating together in the same city. And that this newspaper was about that third, that third one, the kind of sexual culture that that came up because the lesbians who were on the collective putting the paper together, so we'd like to have a women's page. And they thought that was going to be opposition from from the men. And our attitude was, that's a great idea. Maybe we should have a men's page too. And then the women said, Oh, no, why would you want that? And we said, well, why do you want a woman's face? We said, Well, this is why we want it, they're gonna, then then they'll be a place in the page where the women who don't like to think about what gay men do after 11 o'clock at night, or whatever. [00:20:01] They just could not look at that page. They don't want to. So that's just have separate anyway. So that was probably too long an answer for that question, which was what it was, like in the 70s. So I mean, there was a rich sexual culture. [00:20:16] There, and politically, and culturally, it was it was most of the org a lot of organizations that were founded that are still around. And one of the interesting things is [00:20:28] it's because of that strength of organization and community building, and what sociologists called institutional ramification that we had all of these organizations available, when hate struck in the early 80s. Because, first of all, there was a pattern to build on and new organizations got created. But during the 80s, the organizations that existed before some of them couldn't survive, some did survive. But the only new organizations that survived were ones that were dealing with the health crisis, and and the political fallout from the health crisis. So but I mean, it was it was a wonderful time it had its ups and downs we had [00:21:18] we lost Miami, we lost three, Midwest, three Midwestern referendum in 1978, Minnesota, St. St. Paul. Eugene, actually, that's Western Western, Wichita, St. Paul and Eugene. Three, but we want the Briggs initiative. [00:21:39] If end of 1977, we elected Harvey Milk 1978. We have three losses in the spring, November of 1978, we defeated the Briggs initiative. Three weeks later, Harvey Milk was assassinated. I was living here then I moved in to this place in the spring of 1978. [00:21:58] So the the deadline Payton, when did that first start? [00:22:03] Its origins are shrouded in mystery. [00:22:07] I'm not sure whatever the oldest tape that's on that's been digitized. [00:22:13] 19. I mean, there was a game liberation show in 1973, that was a one off. [00:22:23] The Gay life could have started as early as 1975. But more likely, it's 1976. By the way, in that half hour format, when there was a half an hour a week, and it had a bigger budget. I mean, I basically I didn't have a budget I had, you know, will pay you this much to do it, you can come into the studio and use our equipment and our tape and all that. And at the beginning they they had some people there to, to show to teach me editing, and, and so forth, but [00:22:54] but in the half hour version, one of the other freelancers on the show was Randy shields. And I'm trying to think who else and the and also it also have reports from some of the straight but not narrow reporters that case and who were covering City Hall are covering gay events and so forth. So it wasn't exclusively, only LGBT voices on it. You know, it was it was a it was a day of, you know, there's an era of I still have some buttons from that era, there was a parade button that said straight but not narrow. [00:23:28] That people wore So [00:23:30] anyway, in the show was aimed at a gay audience, or was it more Australia wells [00:23:36] when I took it over? actually know this I borrowed from from Larry Lee. So in 1977, when I joined the show, it had an opening that I kept all the way through 1984. And I added, I added some country western music when the station went from rock and roll to country. [00:23:59] The opening one, this is the gay life. Okay, sa ns public affairs show for gentlemen who prefer gentlemen, for women who prefer women. And for people who prefer people, you don't have to be gay to listen. And we kept that. And it's really interesting, because I found out that for instance, my straight dentist, listen to it, because he had he was up eventually, we should talk about time slots if you want the inside radio stuff. But it would come on at six o'clock on Sunday morning, which is called sort of the public affairs ghetto when the radio stations had to do public affairs programming. So they would put it into whatever hours there they had the smallest audience so that they would lose the least amount of advertising revenue. [00:24:47] So follow eventually one of the guys in the advertising department actually sold an ad on my radio show. [00:24:54] But [00:24:56] um, so that was the opening. And the idea was extremely Listen, to give people permission to stay tuned. [00:25:05] So the audience, it was assumed and the other thing that I always felt was important about that was, what about the person who's right at the edge of the closet? What about the person living in Modesto? Who doesn't have the big social support of places to go? gay community center, we didn't have a gay community center, like we did have gay community centers, then there were an official gay community centers, but [00:25:31] gay social services and so forth. [00:25:35] He needed permission he or she needed permission to listen, and or an alibi if, and a disapproving parent walked in. You know, so I always felt that was very important to do that. And I've said Modesto, specifically, it's in the Central Valley, it's within the sound right within the signal range of casing. [00:25:58] But it's very rural, very fundamentalist on the one hand, or, [00:26:04] or [00:26:06] Mexican American Catholic, on the other fundamentalist white Protestants or Mexican American Catholics. On the other end, neither community very approving of, of [00:26:17] gay people. And anyway, and but there was a there were some organizations out there that would regularly send me their announcements of meetings, and I always read those on the air. Because one of the things you do in public service programming as you read the public service announcements, and and I got feedback from them that it was really important. It was one of the few places that people could hear about it, because the local newspaper was ignoring their organization. But they were hearing people were hearing about it on the radio. So. So I was aware that the audience wasn't just San Francisco, it was at least not not only the inner Bay Area of say, Oakland, Richmond, Marin, the peninsula, Palo Alto, and so forth. And at the time, actually, one of the very earliest gay techie groups formed in the South Bay. That was forgotten the name of it had some cute name, but [00:27:15] and but also even farther away, Sacramento, Modesto for we didn't quite reach as far as Stockton. Yes, doctor. So there that. So I was aware of, of people being out there. [00:27:32] So when you were pitching the program to a wide audience, did that change the kind of language that you would use or the types of programming that you would use? Like in types of interview? [00:27:43] Well, first of all, languages, to some extent, always regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, which and one of the things that everybody in radio learned at the time. I mean, they're the seven forbidden words of things that you couldn't say, and I'm not sure I could realize off now or not, but you know, I'm going to try what, what could you say you couldn't say, his shit can't fuck. [00:28:09] It was a cock cock sucker. [00:28:14] Can't remember, that's only six or so anyway, but you just couldn't say those words. They shut the radio, you know, they do huge fines and threatened to pull the station license and all that. [00:28:28] Occasionally, early on, I wasn't doing much going out and taping events. So I always had people in, in the studio, and the show was essentially taped. [00:28:40] anywhere from two days to sometimes two weeks if I was going away or going on vacation. But usually, you know, I'd be in there on Tuesday or Wednesday taping the show for the weekend. [00:28:51] So I can either bleep it, or I could stop right down and ask them to, to say it some other way, and then edit, edit that out, just cut it out. And as I was taping, I use the, anytime I knew that was going to be an edit, I have these little slips of paper that I just put in the open real tape, tuck it just as at the at the intake point on the tape. And then as I I know where we're all of my compulsory edits were [00:29:21] when aids came along, and actually even a little bit before, because I had, I had done some shows on health issues, and they were STDs were an issue. They're all treatable, but we needed to tell people that they were treatable. [00:29:36] I don't think I ever hesitated to use clinical language in describing things, and I usually had, I would say, at the beginning of the show, and at the beginning of the segment, if if it wasn't the first segment in the show, that because this discussion of health matters, that there was going to be clinical language, explicitly describing actual acts performed by some gay men. And that was the language as or something close to that, as I remember it. [00:30:08] And the first time it would come up, I would also then repeat that just so that people knew that that wasn't a fluke. They're going to hear more words like receptive anal intercourse, or active oral intercourse or [00:30:25] whatever. I think it was one discussion and actually was taped outside. No, no, no, he came to the studio. It was a straight doctor in Vallejo, who'd published a paper on what he called breaky, oh, proxy sex, [00:30:41] which meant, basically is about fisting. He was using the Greek for arm arm an asshole, except it was in Greek. And he published this paper about break to practice sex. And he was on the show, we were discussing it but he didn't use, we all didn't use any, any of the words you weren't allowed to use. So you so it was okay to use those. But again, I always felt it's good to put those there because someone's listening with a kid, or somebody who supports our community, but doesn't want to know the details of what goes on behind closed doors. So I just felt the rather than censorship, the best thing to do was to let people know that there was going to be explicit language. [00:31:26] Can you talk a wee bit about, I guess, the value of radio in that time, I'm thinking because this is pre internet, pre cell phone. The ways that people communicate it was quite different. It was, [00:31:41] it was pre internet and pre cell phone. And it was also it was even pre [00:31:50] telephone classified ads where the newspaper would print a classified ad. [00:31:56] And then you could call and listen to the person's message, Andrew leave a message. And so for that hadn't even back that I think was much later in the 80s that that happened. [00:32:09] We had as means of communication. The the Ancient Ones, you know, the it was telephone, and it was telephone. But there was another there was there was a very extensive grapevine of stuff. And [00:32:31] there were newspapers of there were you know, we had the LGBT newspapers I mentioned Bay Area reporter. [00:32:38] Sentinel, there was one called the voice for a while, there was one called the Crusader, which was put out by crazy minister named Reverend Ray brochures, who was kind of an icon provocateur who most people figured was probably in the pay of the CIA or some other just because he always caused more trouble than than he ever did any good. [00:33:09] And [00:33:12] in terms of electronic media, there were no I mean, it was pre cable, [00:33:17] at least in terms of cable networks and so forth. Cable, I mean, to the extent that there was cable it was just a way of pulling in. stations from from afar, for people who lived on the periphery, there was cable television, actually. [00:33:32] Radio was the only place where we had a electronically where we had our own shows, we had our own newspapers, there was fruit punch, and which at Kp, fa and Berkeley k PFA is [00:33:46] the flagship station of the Pacifica Foundation, it's a nonprofit, [00:33:53] largely a volunteer effort. I don't think anybody ever got paid there for producing the show. [00:34:00] And K, Sam was proud of the fact that the gay life which never changed its name, even though we changed the opening words about me included lesbians and so forth. Because we felt there was a history and there was a brand that we had. Casey was proud of the fact was the first apparently the first regular [00:34:21] programming in the United States on a commercial station for lesbians and gay men. wbI in New York, which is also a Pacifica station had something. But that was again, a nonprofit station. So this was commercially and KPMG. k in Los Angeles, another Pacifica station, may also had [00:34:47] a radio show. I'm not they did have a radio show. I just can't remember its name. [00:34:55] So if, if you want to [00:35:00] I mean, the point is there, the newspapers, the newspapers were coming out nearly as basically As you know, there, there was one newspaper coming out the alternatives. They were coming out one every week, even when they were each one was a fortnightly. And then eventually, they both became weeklies too. So so they were as timely as the radio show was it wasn't as if we were doing live stuff. We did one live show. But [00:35:33] I mean, I think the important part was it was electronic. You could listen to it. You could hear voices. [00:35:39] You could hear interviews in depth of with with book authors, you could get questions back and forth. [00:35:50] And what am I trying to think of the sun. There's another advantage going on here that I just tried to pull out of the air got lost. [00:36:00] musicians, if if I got an LGBT musician sent me a record, we play it. And I interviewed. And I'd also it was good for me too, because sometimes you finish your show, and you've got 52 minutes and 33 seconds. And you know, you've got to go to at least 56. Or they're going to be angry that the studio personnel had to do the filling in, you know, So apart from precisely labeling this week's show last 5830 or whatever was to get above and into the right range. And musical fillers are helpful for that. They're also helpful for breaking up the toc toc toc of the show. And we were on a rock and roll station. [00:36:47] So I could play I couldn't I didn't do the disco artists. And I didn't do the country artists either. But I did do rock and folk. So I could get LGBT rock and folk people on. [00:37:04] So yeah, Holly near was a favorite show, for instance. [00:37:10] And what am I trying to think of what the music Wait a minute, I should be here taking notes because I'm having three thoughts at once and then forgetting which one I want to come back to. When Oh yeah, so when the when the station changed from rock and roll to country. At the end of October, early November of 1980. [00:37:33] A lot of people at the station somewhere just totally irritated that it was happening and left. [00:37:42] Some were irritated and stayed they grumbled [00:37:48] it didn't bother me very much. Because at the time, the music I listened to was rock and roll country and classical. If the station gone disco at that point, I might have been equally disaffected. The interesting thing is, in retrospect, disco sounds much better. And the reason disco sounds much better now than it did then if you were listening to it is the only thing that still gets played is the good stuff. The top 5% of it. And it's the same is true. If you listen to classic rock, you're listening to the top 5% of it. And it's probably to some extent true of the classical music that you hear most of the time is the bad stuff gets forgotten and is every once in a while somebody goes back and says oh, here's You know, this underperformed piece, blah, blah, blah. And yes, it's an underperform piece. But it's usually not a masterpiece, as it turns out. So so I'm not saying that I won't ever listened to disco, no, my partner is a big Donna Summer fan. So. But the point is, it's the good so but the point is that we switch to country, okay. And I thought I want to keep I want to keep the show on. And there was this person perception at the time that gay equals disco. Because LGBT well, especially gay discos are sort of like leaders in playing the stuff defining what was hits, and in San Francisco in New York, and in LA, it was an important influence, and an important audience and and the people who were producing those records, you know, knew what was going on. But so, I what I did was, but I knew that there was an extensive LGBT Country and Western scene in San Francisco. So I wrote a memo that covered all of the [00:39:43] LGBT country bars, all of the bars that even had a country and western night, all of the bars that then all of the bands that played all the LGBT country western bands that I know about all of the bands that played in LGBT clubs on occasion, in addition to what other gigs I have, plus all of the country and western apparel, and Outfitters were, that were explicitly that were part of the gay community or in gay neighborhoods. And, [00:40:24] and covered everything from Sonoma County and the North to Morgan Hill in the south. So it's like the full Bay Area turned in the memo. And this is supposed to be my my opening shot and the campaign to keep the show. So I got the memo, I sent one copy to the program director, one copy to the advertising director, who because these are all essentially advertising leads, and a blind copy to the one guy in ad sales straight who would who would want sold my show, oops, accidentally sold my show, I felt he deserved a blind copy of. [00:41:01] So I turned it and put it in, put it in the bosses, my boss, I answered to the programming director, put put the memo in the boss's mailbox on the other guys mailbox. And I'm in the studio, getting set up to create the next, the next week's show. It's like a small studio with about half the size of this part of this room. Yeah. And [00:41:23] get a phone call from the station manager. But secretary who would now be called an administrative assistant. Most day she was still a secretary and said are you free runner would like to see you in his office doesn't sound bad, or whatever, it was just 10 minutes, since I've turned the thing in. So I said, Sure, I'll come right in and walked in, and my boss. So this is like my boss had taken it and gone to his boss with the memo. And he's there at the tape at his desk, looking through it page by page. And so this is this is great. This is magnificent. You saved us. Like this is this is this mother lode of leads that we can work with the community and all that and he said in case you're wondering about your show, it's on Don't worry about it, we're keeping your show. [00:42:16] So it's just sort of like, to me, this is the opening shot. But it was the memo that this was like, boom, it's just what they want it. I think partly also they didn't know where they were going to get opposition from staff. You know, and this was like, [00:42:30] I wasn't leaving, I wasn't, I wasn't even grumbling. I was saying, you know, I got with the program real quickly. And that's how I survived in radio. While I was that case, and I went through, there was a change of ownership, change of there were at least least six or seven different program directors, three general managers, a move of the studio to Oakland. And I stayed on through all of that. So [00:43:04] surviving and radio. And, [00:43:07] and when as a freelancer and when [00:43:13] I wrote the complaint that the national news council found that CBS in 1980 had explicitly lied about [00:43:23] events in San Francisco to make a political point on this alleged documentary called gay power, gay politics, and for which CBS apologized [00:43:35] on air eventually, but k Sam was very proud of it. And the person who was doing publicity there, in fact, you know, sent out news releases about how the producer of case and show and that and that I was going to cover it. And, and, and also, I had while I was there, I had completely take the complete deliberations of the national news Council, which ran across two and a half hours of shows, I think, because it was a long, long thing. So [00:44:01] So I helped the gay community respond to the program [00:44:06] repeats me, I mean, I never knew how many people might be listening whether or not we had 2000, 10,000, [00:44:12] or 20,000, or 200,000. It was just like, [00:44:21] people. I mean, I know people mentioned to me that they heard it. And [00:44:28] I also was able to take stuff from the program highlights from the program and use them in my column in the newspaper. [00:44:38] Which even after even when I wasn't on staff at the Sentinel, [00:44:43] between and after my two gigs as being the news editor, editor in chief, I had the column a lot. [00:44:52] And I could I use the radio, I use the radio show highlights from the radio show as material for the column. And I also use the column to promote the radio show. [00:45:05] And I don't know it was usually and as I referred before, to the public affairs ghetto, of like, early morning hours, or wee, wee hours, that [00:45:18] those usually weren't even measured by the rating services by Nielsen and Arbitron. And that's why they were in those time slots, because they're not going to because not only are they not caring, [00:45:32] to bother to try to sell the stuff anyway, but they're not worried about it bringing down the station's 24 hour average. So the radio show a lot of my time slots would be like six o'clock on Sunday morning, or the best I had was when it was on at one o'clock on Sunday morning and repeated eight, eight o'clock, Sunday mornings actually a pretty good time. Most demographics, not necessarily among gay men and lesbians who might have been out late on Saturday night, but not all of us will have been out late. The other thing was, it was one point at which it was on a two o'clock Saturday morning. And then eight o'clock Sunday morning or something like that. [00:46:20] And [00:46:22] there were several occasions on which very annoyingly, while in the wee hours of the morning entertaining a newly met friend [00:46:33] and listening to rock and roll on case and, and suddenly being interrupted by my own voice, and I don't know what he may have thought when you know, like, [00:46:45] may have thought I was playing a tape or you know, it just way too much. You know, that type of ego is not helpful situation like that. [00:46:58] But, and maybe some somewhere else somewhere, someone right now is going to say, you know, the weirdest, weirdest trick I ever had is, I was in bed with this guy. And we were doing this and all of a sudden he was on the radio while we were. [00:47:12] But that probably Yeah. If he's not telling it right now. And it happened on two or three occasions over the several years that there was a either a one o'clock or two o'clock in the morning time slot. so quiet and I'd forget, you know, because I, I put the show away and hand the tape in and put it on the shelf or it's going to get played and send the station my bill and then forget and I might or might not actually hear it right on the air. [00:47:39] So you're saying earlier that the majority of shows were pre recorded? [00:47:44] Yes. [00:47:46] There was one time when I did a gazing jail show. [00:47:51] Or when we were on at, we must be on Saturday morning, okay, six o'clock or something like that. And I went down to the San Francisco County Jail and interviewed people on [00:48:08] who were in the there was a what, what it used to be called the Queen's tank. And then now was called the gay unit or something like that. [00:48:19] And the jail holds people at the county jails hold people awaiting trial who can't who don't haven't posted bail. So if they can't get out ahead of time, or people who are sentenced to terms of one year or less, in the US, if it's are in California, if it's more than a year, you go to state prison, which is more distant and more rigorous and more serious in a whole lot of ways. But, and I interviewed the sheriff who was very friendly with the LGBT community, and who also was a rock and roll fan. So he loved being on case and and we did the one hour show was taped. But he brought to the studios downtown. We had a three hour call in following the show which was on us, because it was a talk show that followed. And I took over the talk show that morning. And it was like seven to 10 or six to nine I can't remember what the actual hours were maybe the show is on at seven. And then we're on from eight to 11 was a long calling thing. And so he had his people who are currently inmates, or three or four of them now he got to select them. So they were sort of like likely to be modeled inmates. But they had a microphone, a live microphone out to the public. Now. I suppose they're not going to get too outrageous because they're going back to jail in any case, and [00:49:46] not that this be a question of them bit getting beaten or anything but there are ways in which jailers can be kind and ways in which jailers can follow. But, but I still thought it was very, [00:50:00] very, very brave of sheriff, my Tennessee [00:50:04] to allow inmates to be on live television. He was there to wisdom, but to be on live radio, taking phone calls from the public. And that was the that was what that one live show. Yeah. I mean, I participated in the 1978 broadcast from the parade in June, but that was before I was producing the show. [00:50:25] And it wasn't an official that was a that was a production of the news department technically not have the Public Affairs Department, except it with it with the same people with different wearing different hats. But [00:50:34] I guess having it pre recorded means thing, you've actually got an archive, yes, of shows I as why the show's survived is because they were pre recorded, [00:50:47] they were pre recorded. And because I was never an official employee of the station, but an outside contractor. And the tactical point of view was that I was [00:51:03] running, what did they call it a syndication of one that they were just buying an outside producers show, and that my compensation for it was whatever I got for cash, plus use of their facilities to, to record it, and, and so forth. [00:51:25] And I got the princely sum when I started of $50 per show. So if we adjust for inflation, [00:51:34] not exactly sure what that would be today, but probably around $250 per show. And after several years of doing it, and when I no longer needed somebody from the engineering staff to do the actual editing at my instruction, but I was doing it with my own two hands. [00:51:53] And because the shows were much more polished, and they were getting notice, occasionally other newspaper columns, pick them up, but picked up information about them. So you know, they knew it was an asset to the station. I thought I deserved more. And I thought I deserve 60. So I went in and asked for 75. And the boss looked, he said, Yeah, I said Kim, because I don't require these other used to use after someone. Hey, boss said, Yeah, sure. which point I realized I should have asked for 100. [00:52:27] I mean, I asked for 75 because I wanted 60. And he has 75. And he said yeah, so um, so but as a result of which I own the show, both the tape and the rights. [00:52:41] So because I own the rights, I took the tapes home. And [00:52:49] there were 252 shows of mine as I remember the number in the archive now. Now, to some extent I can. Some of them, there were there were reruns. And when there were full reruns, there are 252 tapes that I delivered that are big, [00:53:12] one hour, one hour tapes [00:53:15] that are on 10 inch, open real [00:53:19] big boxes. [00:53:22] Some of them don't have full hours in them, because every once in a while I would rerun a segment but not the whole program. And in those days, the easiest way to do it rather than dubbing it was just take the piece out and splice it into the other show. So they were in my back porch, which was a cool and almost dry place. I mean, it was not subject to mold, but it didn't really meet archival standards, I think. And then in 1991 or two I gave them to the historical society by the tapes and the rights. [00:54:05] And then sometime around 2000, as digital audio really ramped up, I started looking around for a way to to get them to the to be digitized both for purposes of preservation. Because although they they'd all been stored, as I said, cool place definitely a cool place. And a nearly dry place not not archival, the dry, but and they've been stored tales out, which I don't know how much we did for the public or for insiders. But basically, it means that after the show has been played at its normal recorded speed and its playback speed, instead of rewinding it quickly to get to the beginning again, you leave it at the end, because when the tape is loosely packed, there's less print through from one layer of tape to the next, which is what one of the things that creates not quite an echo effect. But like what's that happening in the background effect that you sometimes hear on on tape where this has happened. So they were as stored as well as I could store them for the time being. But at the archive, they were stored properly cool and dry. And then [00:55:19] I just missed a couple of I got the idea of digitizing them like an hour, a year too late to get the point at which stations were giving away their 10 inch tape machines, because they didn't need them anymore. And they were in the way and would gladly have not only given up unable to get a write off. But you know, a tax write off by giving it to a charitable organization. But then john rains, who had done radio in San Diego was a volunteer at the Historical Society. And he wanted to digitize their entire audio collection. And he started with mine because it was well organized. And the reason it was well organized is because I'm a borderline obsessive compulsive. [00:56:05] And I you know, the spices in my kitchen rack are not all organized alphabetically, I'm not at that level. But there because I try to to be a, I try to narrow my obsessive compulsive into areas where it's useful. So So for instance, in print, I'm a copy editor, which is called I think a sub editor in New Zealand. Okay, so just sort of like cleaning up people's prose before it gets there or staying organized. Also, what the station got out of giving me an hour a week and using up an hour of their time. And paying me the princely $50 or $75 for each show. And giving me the studio time as well as the time is they needed to file annual report of what they had done in the public service. Because at the time, US broadcasting was governed by the Communications Act of 1934. here and after referred to as the act, that's an inside joke in the US, which is that [00:57:16] in in the communication, in all all memos about this that you would get from like station execs or the even the people you know that the corporation that owns this, this chain of stations across the country, when they would refer to their always say the Federal Communications Act of 1934. And I'll always then say here, and after referred to as the act, capital A, it required that stations broadcast stations operate in the public interest, convenience and necessity. So I meant that once a year, they filed this report of what they've done for the public interest, which is that open to public inspection. And every five years, I think it was five or maybe got extended to seven, that'd be this mostly pro form a renewal process, where their broadcast license was subject to renewal. And if people objected that they hadn't done anything in the public interest, then [00:58:13] this is one of their defenses like, so they want a detailed documentation. So I was required by the station to file a report every week of who was on the show what the topics, what organizations they represented, or were part of, and what the topics of the show our so as a result of which I had about 260 or more of these broadcasts reports, which if you just enter them into a computer, creates an instant index by subject, title, and so forth. So john, like that. And also the other thing is, although I did not say, and each report, the people were listed in order of appearance on the show, it wasn't a complete thing of who's speaking from what minute, one minute. So he did that one first because it was the best organized archive. [00:59:06] Perhaps we can go through some of those shows and some of the content because you've got such a diverse range of things that you covered over that period of time. And I prior to meeting today, I kind of break it down into a couple of [00:59:22] topic headings. And I'm wondering if we could just go through those here. The first one was politics and civil rights and maybe starting off with your coverage of things like gay liberation and in the whole kind of political movement in the late 70s. [00:59:39] Okay, well, one memorable interview was with David Goodstein, who is the publisher of the advocate and the publisher and I think they had already had I think they'd started out magazine yet. Maybe they didn't start out magazine. Maybe they bought it but [00:59:55] establishment gay publisher [00:59:59] and X, Berkeley, like Harvey Milk. [01:00:03] Goodstein was into a very establishment Tyrion, assimilation lyst mainstreaming? [01:00:14] political strategy [01:00:18] on the extreme left or on the left at the time, which included myself, it was the gay liberation movement, [01:00:26] which [01:00:27] saw gay liberation as part of a wider if not socialists, at least a humanitarian connected with the feminist movement. The Civil Rights struggles of African Americans and Latinos and the farm workers struggle in California. [01:00:46] And [01:00:49] in the middle, sort of seeing both of being both a radical and next stock broker at the same time, is Harvey Milk. And in fact, the the tension between Harvey and David Goodstein is one of the central dramatic turns in the movie milk. [01:01:08] I interviewed David Goodstein partly because at that point, I had once worked for the advocate, and I quit. I was a freelancer. I wasn't on staff, but I quit working for them, when he stopped being just a publisher, and tried to find this national organization, which he wanted not simply to be a national organization, but to be the national organization, which I found. I found politically, the idea of the national organization offensive and journalistically, I found the idea of that level of dabbling by a publisher is bound to affect what the newspaper covers in the newspapers, therefore, no longer anyway. But after a couple of years, couple more years, because that was happening around 7677. And by 81, or 82, when I think I interviewed Goodstein [01:02:07] or maybe, maybe, I don't know, 81 or 82, whenever [01:02:12] I decided that in order for me to be journalistically correct, I was sort of looking around and thinking, who, whom I could get on the show. And I decided that he was the most important gay person in America who I hadn't interviewed, [01:02:28] which is the, is the reason I decided to do it. But it's also made for a great pitch, when I call the secretary call him, you get the secretary or whoever's in charge, and say, I want to do an hour long interview with them. And the reason is this, you know, it's great when you have a pitch, that's the truth. But because it's flat, it's flattering to someone to be, you know, so. So we did this hour long interview, and I talked about different approaches the simulation is to approach the, the the left wing, but still inside the system of running for electoral office, sort of Harvey Milk populist approach, and then the radical approach [01:03:12] at the time, and, [01:03:15] and we talked about our differences, and we're very civil leavin warm with each other in the tone of the interview. I don't know if you've heard this particular one or not, but but one of the things that really bothered me is at the time, he was requiring all of his employees and any potential new employees [01:03:35] to take either St. They're hard seminars training, or his gay version of it, called the advocate experience, which was this sort of New Age, getting in touch with yourself, and also using it as a form of communicating with other people who've gotten in touch with themselves, sort of thing that's highly packaged enlightenment. That's my view of it. Anyway. [01:04:03] As a sociologist, I had studied sociology of religion. And in one of the people in my study group, where each of us were looking, we were all looking at different cults. wine, in fact, it looked at the St. I had never done it. And every time the person who's doing this without say, you know, you, you really might like this, Randy. And then they say, No, no, don't do it. Because you're my best informed outside person, you're the best informed person that I know who hasn't taken it. So I need that. So, but David was requiring all of his employees to take it. And I raised the issue of Isn't this a religious test? Aren't you saying that you only want to work with people who have the same? And he was? And he said that? Well, no, it's about communications. It's like I'm running a business. And I want to be able to work with people who know what I mean, when I say a particular thing. I said, David, isn't? [01:05:05] Isn't that what God said? 40 and 50 years ago, when our parents David good scene was Jewish. Like I said, When our when our parents who, and uncles who had graduated law school were told that this last, this particular law firm didn't want them because they didn't feel nothing. They didn't like Jews, but they didn't communicate well with them. It's when you say it's because you know, and he said, No, no, no, I think it's different. But I mean, his eyes sort of changed on that. He just sort of saw the what I was saying. And at the end of the interview, we sort of agree to disagree, he still felt that it was a basically that this was a management system. And I was seeing that, to me, it seemed to be religious, or at least quasi religious. And then it was dealing with people's deeper values than just what's at work. We agree to disagree. [01:05:59] We are the end review. A lot of people listen to that one I sent a cassette of it to which didn't automatically happen with somebody asked, I do it. But like I said, on the cassette of it quietly A few months later, he dropped that requirement for his employees. Because I don't think he'd ever seen the religious argument before. And he was sensitive to it. That was one of my one of the kind of interesting ones because at the end, we didn't, you know, there was a sort of very civil. [01:06:27] You could listen to it. I mean, it's I think it's kind of one of the fun ones. [01:06:32] politically. Well, you [01:06:35] mentioned Harvey Milk. So you actually interviewed him and was at Cindy signal, Cindy? [01:06:40] Well, no, the Harvey Milk interview that's in the tape was before the show. I actually I was interviewing Harvey for the, for the newspapers working on at the time, the Bay Times. And I knew him well, and also for the Sentinel beforehand, because when I started to work for the Sentinel, the Sentinel at the time, the newspapers were so cliquish [01:07:06] that I started working for the Sentinel. I also I knew Harvey through because I was involved in Bay Area gay liberation, one of the leftist groups I was talking about. [01:07:19] And when I was working for the newspaper, Harvey, who had once been a column columnist for The Sentinel, there was nobody left at the newspaper, who still talked to him after Harvey took his column out of the Sentinel and went to the Bay Area reporter with it. So there was this like, no. So when I started, it was interesting because my boss, the bill beard, apple, the publisher of the Sentinel is saying, It's good that we have someone on staff was talking to Harvey because I don't agree with him. But he's important. We need to be talking with him. So it's good that you've reestablished that communication. I, [01:07:57] I'd say probably [01:08:01] I rain Friday, wrote a political column for the Bayer order. And Wayne Friday was inside Harvey's inner circle. And so he was sort of the journalist. He was the insider, who wrote a political column on the outside. I was a little bit too much the journalists to be on the inner circle, but I knew so many of the people in it, I was probably the journalist who was closest to the inner circle. So I was the journalist on the outside who had the ties in as so that I mean, because you could say, well, Wayne, Friday was both an insider in a journalist, but he wrote that that one column, and it was it basically was an opinion and items and column and I was doing a more conventional, [01:08:53] you know, trying to be the, you know, canons of journalism type, type journalism, but I'd say either the people who were journalists, I probably was one of the closest to Harvey, all of not as close as the friends because ultimately, I was a journalist. So you, politicians only gonna trust the journalists so far, you don't know the secret plans because they got to be kept secret, you know, know, some of the insider stuff, and, and so forth. So [01:09:21] you know, lots of lots of one on one. And, [01:09:26] you know, like, long car rides. Actually, I remember the last long, long conversation I had with Harvey was in Gen. In June of 1978. He was supervisor. It was a year after the Hillsborough murder that I referred to before. We both attended a monument a plaque was unveiled to him, he was a he was a gardener in a city park. And they were unveiling a plaque on the first anniversary of his death out there. And Harvey was there I was there covering it. [01:10:01] The Bay Times was between it was in between issues number one and two, or between two and three. And [01:10:10] Harvey had some feedback on what he thought was good in the paper and what was bad. And [01:10:17] he said, I'm going to [01:10:20] concerned republicans for individual rights which became a log cabin republican club. I'm going to a car car meeting downtown. [01:10:29] I can drive you back Castroneves as we were driving he said you know you want to come to this meeting with me wasn't anything I was likely to cover. He said you should you should know these people. Even if you don't agree with them, you should you know, find out what they're all about and everything. But we had a long was a half an hour car ride and talked about the newspaper politics this that. The other thing just p&i completely off the record, by definition, or vice specific agreement on this, you know, so [01:10:59] yeah, but but in terms of the audio that the audio, the long audio recording and Harvey Milk that's there is [01:11:08] my Paul Avery I think, who was a straight journalists from Sacramento, who worked for four case and the time. And then there are some other bits and pieces that came from Larry Ben ski. [01:11:24] But other than his appearances, I would go out and tape events rather than just do studio interviews, I would go out and tape events. [01:11:38] A little bit before the studio moved to Oakland, once it moved to Oakland, I did a lot more. Because with a six o'clock in the morning time slot in the studio across the bay, it was sometimes hard to get people to go to the studio for studio interviews. So I started doing many more field interviews, and event taping. [01:11:59] Also, as the show developed an audience book publishers heard about it. So it became a regular stop [01:12:07] for queer novelist and to do a long interview. [01:12:13] And I surprised a lot of them by having read the books instead of just having read the read the material, although actually one of the things I used to do. I always used to hate it when I listened to interviews, and even unintentionally, where the interviewer would tip off some secret from late in the book. [01:12:35] Not by saying what happens, but just from tone of it. So I if if we're a novel like that, and and often they were, I would sometimes deliberately stop one or two chapters from the end, so that I wasn't hyper informed relative to the listener of the show. And I would let [01:12:58] the author know [01:13:00] that this was basically I haven't completed the book, because I don't want to ruin anything for So also, in your answer, I tell him this ahead of time, you know, off air that I've read all the last two chapters, we don't want to blow it for any of the people who are listening. [01:13:19] So [01:13:21] Other highlights, let's see, I enter I actually got a one on one interview with john Anderson when he was an independent running for president in 1980. And he was one of the first national first presidential candidates to actively solicit the LGBT vote and deal with not just with radio but deal with with our newspapers and so forth. And I had a 15 minute one on one with him. He didn't come to the studio, it was in a hotel, hotel room, you know, but sitting at a at a table with a tape recorder on and one on one. And even as advanced people were like off at the edge of the room, I would I would have expected more hovering these days. Of course, you'd get lots of it and hand signals and people holding up cards, whatever. [01:14:11] During the 1979 mayor's race in San Francisco. This was the mayor's race came in November of 1979. Six months after the white knight riots, the Harvey Milk was assassinated november of 78. When the killer Dan white got off on a very lenient manslaughter charge that led to only five years in jail. There was a riot in San Francisco. Six months after that was the mayoral election where we were going to elect a mayor for the next four years. There were already two main candidates emerging Quentin cop and Dianne Feinstein who was the acting mayor, who got elected by the board to fill out Mayor Moscow knees, remaining term Mayor Moscone being the mayor who got shot the same day as Harvey Milk, like 10 minutes before something. And it looked like it was going to be a neither one of them. Dianne Feinstein had had some friendliness towards the LGBT community. But was distancing herself for, I don't know, widen or base or I don't know exactly what. [01:15:20] And David Scott, who was in city politics, gay realtor. He was on his chair of the board of permanent appeals deliberately decided to run in that election. And there are there are a few other candidates besides the two I mentioned, in order to force a [01:15:44] runoff that is if no candidate gets an absolute majority. There's a runoff between the top two candidates, and that he wanted up with about 10% of the vote it forced to run off, though the only two candidates left. [01:16:00] There's this huge chunk of votes that they both needed. [01:16:06] So they both needed to campaign in the LGBT community. And I did half our interviews with both of them. Quentin cop came to the studio, Dianne Feinstein was a little bit busy. So I went to her office and did it in the mayor's office, the mayor's office and since gorgeous hope panel 1910 civic it's it's very with the with Franklin D Roosevelt desk is the mayor's desk and it's really impressive. And she, you know, the mayor mayor's of San Francisco have learned how to use [01:16:42] physical office as a everywhere. So I remember doing the interview there. [01:16:47] And so those two interviews were half hour ones, which we actively promoted in my newspaper column got actually promoted on case and [01:17:01] political columnist, wrote about the fact that either that it was about to happen, or two clips from it after the fact that it happened. Because it was a it was a key event of like the H half hour one on one interviews with both of them. So yeah, I'd say those are the political, memorable ones, at least this far out. [01:17:25] In that whole sequence. I'm just thinking going back to Harvey Milk, that whole sequence of his assassination, the case the riots, you've caught some amazing actualities and location. [01:17:37] Yeah. The riots for instance. Um, yeah, I was at City Hall. I was. I was at City Hall on the day of the assassinations about a half an hour later, I did not know that they had happened. And I was doing something else. And I wasn't even carrying audio equipment. [01:17:59] Because why I'm not carrying audio equipment. [01:18:03] Oh, because I've been pitching an article at newest magazine that morning. And I made another stop. And then I went to City Hall and there was all of these hot outside, which I thought was just a demonstration either in favor of Dan white or against him, right. I got in saw after I heard I actually heard the news from a TV reporter who was at the back of his van doing a stand up of what just happened. [01:18:30] That mayor, Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk had both been shot and killed. And I rushed into City Hall. [01:18:40] I got there. [01:18:43] Wait a minute, I did have my audio equipment. [01:18:47] Because I remember interviewing people unless I went home and got it. [01:18:52] No, I was I didn't have my audio equipment because it was going to be a board of supervisors meeting that afternoon and I usually plugged in. But anyway, but I got there. I ran into City Hall, I phoned the radio station. I said I'm at City Hall. They said Larry Ben skis on his way. [01:19:09] Get What You can get. And I was taping stuff during the afternoon and everybody put their tape in and, you know, brought the tape in wasn't one of those like, I mean, you could set up phone lines and stuff. It was really the days of you brought your tape to the station and stuff got edited together. [01:19:29] Then skis, Ben ski covered the riot much better than I did. Because when the riot occurred, I was again, dealing with print that afternoon, I was over in Berkeley just turned in an article to the Berkeley BB explaining why if there were a lenient verdict, there was a likelihood of a riot because the verdict hadn't happened yet. And while I was in the office, the news came that the verdict did come through and that it was for manslaughter. And so the BB staff also rushed into the city to cover it. But I so I was there without any audio. [01:20:16] Ben ski was there with audio. And it was his audio that I cut into. Now Now you've got to remember that the fall of 78 is the period during which the gay life was not on. [01:20:34] It went off and does a June 78 was the end was off and started again in January. So by the time January started, but by the time the assassination was old news, but when the riots happened in May, [01:20:52] I did a half an hour special show called Black Knight, white knight black dish, or the ultimate last fat joke. And the reason for that is one of the people who worked a case and a wonderful journalist called scoop Nestor used to do a show called The ultimate last new show, which involved a lot of lot of actualities natural sound, wild sound, [01:21:21] music and rock and roll music all mixed in, in this sort of very idiosyncratic documentary called the ultimate last news show. So mine was the ultimate last fat joke. And using using scoop knickers style of mixing in actualities and narration, rock'n'roll music, multiple tracking all sorts of much more produced than we ordinarily would do. [01:21:49] And White Knight was the name of the riot because of Dan white, [01:21:53] black dish, as in black, as a black humor. Really [01:22:01] not black as an African American, but black, as in new are, [01:22:07] um, and put together what was about a 25 minute piece on that that pretty much we read rerun it every year on the anniversary of the riot. And interesting thing about that, here's a little backstory friend of mine, who is the Terrance of flirty, who was the TV critic at the San Francisco Chronicle at the time. [01:22:31] Terrence thought was good enough that it should be submitted for a DuPont award, which was the national broadcast awards, which was significant because he was on the DuPont jury. [01:22:44] He probably would have had to recuse himself, but he had a reading of this is the sort of thing that they might like or you should at least submitted. [01:22:55] The station director, I did all of the work to get the nomination in the station director didn't want to send it on to nominate it. Supposedly, it never got done by [01:23:08] just getting lost in the shuffle. But I think it was a political inaction on his part was a station director who was not very comfortable with LGBT people are issues the time not the program director but the station director. [01:23:26] And the same one who actually once over recorded one of my shows before it got on the air. [01:23:32] So anyways, I don't know if that. Yeah, in terms of wild sound and the riots, that's [01:23:39] one of the things that you that you've mentioned a number of times as the recording equipment you took out Yeah, and earlier you showed me literally it's a suitcase of often material did you have to carry that suitcase with you, when you went to the recordings. [01:23:54] Um, if I would carry it. For instance, if I were going to take a banquet program, or an awards program, or [01:24:05] hearings at city hall or the Alice B Toklas clubs, [01:24:11] meeting and having interesting speakers because I never knew because they'd be a different halls and all that. And it would give me a big variety of things to connect of wires and cables that I could connect with no matter what their setup was. If I were going to City Hall, [01:24:32] I eventually, I would only carry the microphone, the recorder, and two cables, one for the preferred plug in part ports, and, and one, just in case, those are all full. away, I could piggyback off of one of the other ones. So if I knew the situation, if I knew the electronics where I was going, I was going to go into a multi port, I only had to take what I knew. But if I didn't know I'd take everything. [01:25:04] So but I didn't, it wasn't as if I was like walking around the city looking for ordinary audio is something that because, you know, ways a few pounds and and all that. But yeah, that that that case went quite a few places. It's a small suitcase. [01:25:21] One of the other areas that we haven't touched on is the whole AIDS epidemic. And I was really kind of blown away and also touched by the audio interviews you did with with Bobby. And and some of the physicians at the time. Can you describe what it was like, actually, at the time, discovering, you know, with the risk, obviously, with the rest of the community, but actually, you know, paint a picture for me of kind of discovering what this thing was and what it was doing to the community. [01:25:59] Well, the part of the bobby Campbell interview, [01:26:03] it hadn't hadn't done it worse yet. [01:26:09] Bobby Campbell was a friend from the butterfly Brigade, which was a an anti violence street patrol. And [01:26:17] he called me in the November of 81. I had just resumed editorship of the Sentinel. And, and he told me that he had Kappa C sarcoma aids wasn't named for a whole nother year yet. [01:26:33] And after, you know, expressing my regret and support and commiserating for him, and we went on for a long time, and he told me the whole story of how we come to discover this. I said, Would you be interested in writing anything for the newspaper? And he said, that you weren't going to ask it took you so long. That's why he called me I just felt it was so personal. But anyway, so he started a column in the newspaper, which was initially called gay cancer journal, because it was no name for yet. And that was in the fall of 1981. [01:27:07] And I decided, [01:27:11] in late November, that I wanted to do a whole lot to cover it and also cover other gay health issues. And so in December, I taped a show that appeared in January of 1982, half of which was Bobby Campbell, telling his personal story, and the other half of which were to physicians, Marcus Conant, who was Bobby's immediate personal physician, and could not appear with him in an audio interview, or any interview at the time, because of patient, physician confidentiality, where they were going to be discussing this. I mean, they could have gone and discussed politics in the same interview, but they couldn't be Bobby was going to be discussing his case, he was going to be discussing a disease that Bobby had. So at and also Paul folding, who was doing some of the the initial research content was an epidemiologist. And since the first presenting symptoms were skin lesions, he was one of the early experts. volver dings. Field was [01:28:22] twice he was an epidemiologist. I meant to say he was a dermatologist. [01:28:28] Conant Vol. birding was an epidemiologist and virologist. [01:28:34] And the interesting thing is they had phoned me, because they were having trouble getting word out. [01:28:45] The game media was a little bit reluctant, because the owners for public are the publishers, and they thought this is not going to be good for the community. So there's a little bit of the plot of the absence the anatomy of the people, where the doctor who knows that the wealth is contaminated is shushed up by the people in the town who don't want to lose the resort business. That's a very bad gloss of an enemy of the people, but it sort of works. [01:29:17] And they, they both approached me and so that those two who eventually was hard to get interviews with by two years later, let alone exclusive interviews where they came to the studio and talk for half an hour. [01:29:33] It was during that interview that comment said, [01:29:38] we don't know it's behaving like a virus, which is very bad news, because up until then everyone was hoping maybe it was a bad batch of poppers maybe was a bad batch of something else. They were hoping that it was a toxin rather than a poison. Or rather that it was a toxin or poison, rather than contagion. Because of were contagious. [01:30:01] We didn't even know that it was going to be a contagion that had an extremely long latency period, and just how bad it was going to be. But it also meant that a lot of people were already infected. [01:30:15] But during that interview, he said that we don't it, the pattern of transmission looks like a virus. And we don't know what virus it is. And at the time, the main suspect was still see MV, which turned out just to be an opportunistic infection. So but [01:30:36] we do know that if it's a virus, that a condom will stop it, because a condom will hold water. [01:30:47] And a water molecule is much smaller than the smallest known viruses. So even if it's not see MV, which is a big Mother of virus, by it's called mega virus side, a mega virus, [01:31:01] it will hold it. So we're saying that it would be really good thing for people to start using condoms. And that appeared on case and in January of 82. And I ran it in my newspaper column. [01:31:15] And is as near as I know, one of the first in the media things that people saying, start using condoms, guys. [01:31:25] But it was it was I mean, the middle of the 80s, 82 [01:31:32] through 82, all the way through 92. In fact, we're just dreary, because it just got worse and worse and worse. And people were going to two or three memorials in a week with people who had died. And you were still hearing about people who were coming down with the disease who'd been infected way before [01:31:54] or before anybody knew anything about it. And also, as we learned later, people were not compliant with the safe sex guidelines sometimes because they were too vague. Sometimes even if they weren't too vague, people just under the influence of lust couldn't completely comply all the time. And also, [01:32:17] condoms do sometimes break. I mean, so there are all sorts of there can be all sorts of treatment failures in in prevention, prevention failures. But it was it was a very dreary time. [01:32:32] I once once they said it looked like a virus. And they thought that the transmission period was six months was bad enough. But then when they started, I sort of had I had studied population as a sociologist that studied, done, work on populations and a little bit about epidemiology, not professionally, but [01:32:58] I had a pretty good sense of how terrible it was going to be statistically not how terrible I was going to be emotionally though. [01:33:10] In the early 80s, I was chided by friends who thought I was being alarmist. When some of them were sick and nearing death. One of them told me that he thought that [01:33:21] I had raised the alarm too loudly, which struck me is slightly unusual. Excuse me, sir, this kind of as a fire, you should leave in a mean without panicking people. An alarm should be an alarm. [01:33:37] So [01:33:39] yeah, I don't know. It's like, it was bad. And in 92. [01:33:45] My partner died in 92. He had no symptoms. But actually the first year he had been infected by a boyfriend from the summer before he met me. [01:33:56] And then had some vague symptoms, the next year, disappeared. And then there were no virus tests yet, the virus hadn't been isolated. And then 10 years later, got sick and died and five months. [01:34:10] So that and I was negative. And when the test came, and I discovered I was negative, I thought that's really unusual, because I'd certainly taken enough risks. Even in the pre safe sex days, even though I became one of the early safe sex advocates and and the radio show, pushed on that. And in fact, when even when it wasn't the subject, it was often the subject of public service announcements at the end of the show, reminding people and telling people where they could get the information. [01:34:43] What impact did it have on Bobby, being so public, and kind of coming out on the air like that? [01:34:52] Well, Bobby was [01:34:55] completely out in everyday life, and [01:35:02] just slightly flamboyant enough that most people who knew him would know and he was out on the job. He was a nurse. [01:35:13] And [01:35:16] he had the newspaper column, which he was writing regularly, which I edited, but pretty much let him write what he wanted to write about. We had discussions, I made suggestions of topics, but he got side what he was going to say about [01:35:30] the radio show made his voice well known. Then he was on the cover of Newsweek with the I have gay cancer. He called himself the AIDS poster boy. [01:35:46] The part of him that was a nurse, it sort of combined his nurse and his gay politics into, he knew from the beginning that this potentially could kill him. And he lasted longer than he thought he was going to [01:36:04] combine the gay politics, and the nursing and this big public education campaign, and which, [01:36:13] yeah, I think to some extent, being the AIDS poster boy gave him some secondary compensation, like, you know, if your kid, that's the term that psychologist or if you're a kid, and you're sick, you're sick, but you get all this extra attention from Mum, and you maybe even get to stay home from school. So there's some secondary compensation there. [01:36:34] Which, you know, I don't think he minded having that attention. He liked a lot. But it was deserved, because he was, you know, he was, he was out there and taking some risks with being that public about it. [01:36:50] But it, it served a valid public health, communications, political standpoint, because he was not only getting the information to people, [01:37:01] and also trying to remove the stigma and the shame. But it was also politically important and getting the political support for there to be [01:37:13] programs and social support and research. [01:37:18] And non stigmatization, including non stigmatization by insurance companies so so is he essentially work politically at what became literally the fight of his life? For the last almost four years, I think. And then one of the things I covered there was a big public memorial on Castro Street. And we covered that too, because I thought that was important. And [01:37:43] so now, all these years later, when decades, in fact, decades, later years, what are your reflections on on those [01:37:53] radio days, [01:37:56] and those voices [01:37:58] I'm, I don't listen to them that often. But I did a bunch last year, when, when the when I went on, onto the onto a digitized. And as on the Historical Society, thing. [01:38:17] I'm, I'm mostly amazed by how much explaining was necessary. And I probably delved it, I probably not delved into I probably indulged in that, and a little just cousin thinking about it gotten back into that mindset, because [01:38:39] San Francisco wasn't rejecting. But it still needed a lot of education, [01:38:45] about how we were all part of the same community together, and so forth. So that, so there was a lot of explaining and trying to create equivalence is and [01:39:00] an underlying subtext of like, not advocacy, except for the principle of no double standards, that this is just the same as it would be. And, and, [01:39:14] in fact, actually, some of the very early shows we did, we're on domestic partner rights and domestic partner ordinances, which is another thing that, that I'm also amazed by how far we've come in that, you know, a couple of years ago, when I got laid off from a job, I was 58, or 59, forgotten, something like that, and how to talk with a career counselor, because it was this whole company was shutting down. So we all got to talk to career counselors. And I said, you know, in this town, I'm more concerned about age discrimination and anti gay discrimination. You know, I said, besides, if I, if I put my resume in the closet, half my experience goes away, if I just looks like all of that, it's not going to be there, and I want it to be there. [01:40:09] But on the other hand, I'm worried about age discrimination. And I think, so that things have moved along much, in a way it's both much further than I thought they might have so fast. [01:40:23] Although the 30 years seems incredibly short, in retrospect. But on the other hand, there's still, you know, you get outside of San Francisco or get outside San Francisco County, the center of the Bay Area, you know, San Francisco, Maria in [01:40:40] San Mateo, Santa Clara, Silicon Valley, the East Bay, you get outside of that, and cross the hills. And there's still a lot of the old [01:40:52] homophobia, even if it's hidden. Even if there's legal protections, kids are still bullied in schools. [01:41:02] People still getting beaten up, probably design, people are denied promotions. [01:41:11] LGBT couple relationships not being given full, the full honor or credit that they would to a marriage in the workplace. [01:41:24] So you know, the works not done. [01:41:27] But you know, I was there and I've sort of fun to the immediate pioneer. I mean, I was also a media pioneer, because when I was working in the mainstream media, [01:41:38] well, starting a case and actually, it's interesting because a case and even though [01:41:43] in 1978, or nine, somewhere around there, so probably in 79, there was a Valentine's party. And even though there were out people there were there were two gay DJ is that people didn't know were gay. There were gay DJ, that people sort of news gay, the people. Larry Lee didn't hide it at work, but had never actually come out on air or anything like that. But the station had a show called the gay life. So there was not a you know, and it was a real rock and roll was real hip, to have gay friends, all that. But I took a date to the company's Valentine's Day party. [01:42:33] And discovered that I was the first of all of the gay employees there to take a same sex date to accompany party, even a Valentine's Day party, hello, that was sort of the perfect one integrated. [01:42:48] That fall, I took the same guy to the Christmas dinner, which is very formal. [01:42:55] And that was the one that made waves, not negative way. But like people, five or six other gay employee said, I just never done that before. But now you know. So the next year, everybody who was out at the station had a date at the Christmas party instead of [01:43:16] coming alone or inviting, you know, [01:43:20] the beard to, to cover things up or whatever. So, um, so I was a pioneer there. And then at kr o n, I was explicitly hired because of my knowledge of gay politics and news. And I had done some consulting work for them. Karen's TV station, [01:43:42] and they were trying to, they wanted to have roots in all of the communities. Even so. [01:43:49] And even though there was, so even though they were doing outreach to make sure that they were covering this because they wanted to be a better news station, not for not political correctness, journalistic, excellent. [01:44:03] No one there had yet taken [01:44:06] even other out gay employees, no one there had yet started taking same sex dates to company parties. [01:44:14] And I started that there too. And it just sort of like, I mean, to me, it's one of the measures of how we have to graded a workplace is, is what's the most formal social event of the year at your company? And can you take a date of the same sex? If not, then the place is not integrated yet? Because it's one thing Oh, yeah, well, we hang out or, you know, they know I'm gay, they know my partner, he comes and picks me up at the office. So they know who he is. [01:44:48] I never, although it caraway and because when I started it, I never actually replaced it had a picture of my partner, but it was because it was a group picture of a bunch of us, including him, which I decided I'd start with that. And I wound up keeping it there. [01:45:07] So [01:45:08] that's another thing is like, can you have the picture on the picture on the desk is another picture on the desk, the company party. [01:45:17] But I had already worked at a at a radio news service before I went to Cairo and I worked at a radio news service, where the boss was getting married. And he invited us as a couple to the things. So that's a that was that was a much smaller companies, and much easier to deal with. So yeah, I mean, integrating and also when I started at Cairo, and some, one of the [01:45:42] graphics production designer came over, and he introduced himself and he said, You know, I thought I was out of the station to, like, send out the welcoming letter that welcoming to the staff, which was based on my resume. And they said, that's, you know, because it was just all and I'd worked at this, the radio, the gay life radio show, and the editor at the Sentinel, and this that the other thing, and he said, You just made it a lot easier for much of the rest of us. But so. [01:46:15] So there's the workplace issues, as well as the fair coverage issues. And I was also hasn't even come up but LG ja coffee cups, national lesbian gay journalists Association, I was a founding member, meaning I joined in the first year. [01:46:34] Back, you know, back when we had [01:46:37] the meetings were held around a kitchen table. [01:46:40] And it was national by phone terms. Yeah. So yeah, it's been, I've enjoyed doing it. And I mean, to some extent, was there a price for pioneering? [01:46:54] If I'd been in the closet, could I have got the if I'd been in the closet at that point, could have gotten jobs and moved along farther? And would I have more money in my retirement accounts? Probably yes. Would I have been as happy doing it along the way? Probably not. I would definitely would have been unhappy. I mean, it was a point at which I was 27 when I came out of the closet, and it was questioning coming out of the closet myself. And then I decided I'm not going to have no energy in hiding this anymore. It is not worth it. You know, I've been eight years that I should have been out at least I should have been out of the closet. You know, and I'm not going to be in the closet. In my social life. I'm not going to be in the closet at work. So it was a personal choice and I'm glad I made it.

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