Who Helps ï¿½The Tenth Voiceï¿½ Be Heard?
Itï¿½s one oï¿½clock on Saturday afternoon. Do you hear the queer in your ear? If you are anywhere close to a radio or Internet-connected device, you should, because thatï¿½s when you can listen to The Tenth Voice on KKFI-FM (90.1), which has been broadcasting local LGBT news each week for nearly two decades.
Tom Edmondson, producer of The Tenth Voice since summer 2009, serves as host on the first Saturday of each month. He usually has a co-host and he often introduces listeners to new, up-and-coming or undiscovered queer musicians. Edmondson has vowed to play only LGBT artists during the hourlong broadcast. Edmondson fondly remembers a show when Matthew David was a guest. David is the artist who performed the official theme song for the athletes at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
On most second Saturdays, Rick Bumgardner is TTV host. Regular guests include local attorneys Lana Knedlik and Lisa Brunner from KC LEGAL (Kansas City Lesbian, Gay and Allied Lawyers). The two share their expertise on timely LGBT legal issues such as same-sex partnerships, Donï¿½t Ask, Donï¿½t Tell, Prop 8, youth rights, second-parent adoption and more. They quickly distill complex topics for the ears of the everyday listener.
Bumgardner, who also serves as president of Show Me Pride, came to be a regular host of TTV in the fall of 2009 after doing several interviews for the show. He believes that partnering with, respecting, inspiring, developing and educating the LGBT community (the mission of Pride) should not be limited to one weekend a year. And with two degrees in theater, Bumgardner is no shrinking violet.
Elizabeth Andersen takes the mike on the third Saturday each month. Her expert guests are the tax advisers from SmartSpot in Prairie Village, Kan., and the second voice on her show is Sally Niermann, who answers audience questions in the ï¿½Ask Mamaï¿½ segment.
Andersen has an engaging rapport with the ladies of SmartSpot; sheï¿½s quite adept at formulating hypothetical financial questions that could apply to many of us, LGBT or otherwise. The SmartSpot team can also provide unique insight for same-sex households and their checkbooks.
ï¿½Ask Mamaï¿½ began in 2010 when Niermann, a PFLAG ally who had been volunteering at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Greater Kansas City (LGCCKC), found a new way of reaching out to the community. She offers sage advice (although she is not a trained professional).
ï¿½Everyone at the station is grand,ï¿½ says Niermann. ï¿½Iï¿½m having a field day.ï¿½ If you are LGBT and have a distant or unsupportive family, Mama will adopt you.
Fourth Saturdays bring the ï¿½Youth Showï¿½ to TTV. Shalako Mangle and Curtis Howell-Von Roue co-host the hour, concentrating on issues that are salient to young people.
Originally from India, Mangle came to the United States in 1999 to attend graduate school. He moved to Kansas City in the summer of 2008. When he made the transition to Kansas City at age 30, he knew it was make-or-break time.
ï¿½This was a new chapter, a new decade, a new job and a new city; everything was new,ï¿½ Mangle said. ï¿½I could be an introvert for two years and then move on, or do something.ï¿½
He soon ran into Bumgardner, now a close friend, who invited him to share his coming-out story on TTV to offer the perspective of someone from a culture and society far removed from the Midwest. He had waited 30 years to be himself fully and now he was going to summon all his courage and tell others about it ï¿½ live, on the radio, while Mumbai was listening. Edmondson and Bumgardner were so impressed with Mangleï¿½s natural ability to relate on radio that they asked him to become a regular host on the show.
Howell-Von Roue comes from a visual performance background. ï¿½The last thing I ever imagined was myself on the radio,ï¿½ he said. Andersen recommended him for the ï¿½Youth Show.ï¿½
ï¿½I love being involved with an organization that promotes and fosters the LGBT community. My favorite show Iï¿½ve done so far was my ï¿½Youth Showï¿½ that we dedicated to Harvey Milk on Harvey Milk day! Harvey taught me that I should ï¿½never blend in.ï¿½ Iï¿½ll never change who I am on the inside to please those who are unsure or insecure of themselves.ï¿½
When a fifth Saturday rolls around, Danna W. offers listeners ï¿½The T Party,ï¿½ discussing transgender issues. Fifth Saturday is a misnomer, however, because Edmondson and W. try to put together a show about every other month. The next installment is Jan. 15, when Caroline Gibbs from The Transgender Institute will be on the panel with four other guests who will share their stories of transition, perseverance and daily living.
ï¿½I asked if anyone knew someone in the KC transgender community that would come on as a guest, and we found Danna and invited her to our next meeting. She helped with ideas of various transgender music artists and authors to be interviewed,ï¿½ Edmondson said.
He continued, ï¿½I ask everyone out there in the KC LGBQ (minus the T here) community to walk up to a transgender person at a party, a bar or at the transgender booth at Pride and put out your hand and introduce yourself and get to know them.ï¿½
Edmondson admits to ignorance in his initial assessment of transgender people. As W. has grown to be his dear friend, he has learned a great deal and hopes others might take a lesson from transgender persons in their lives.
Also, for your listening pleasure: Lawn guru Pierce Patterson, fitness expert Tanis Caraway and organic gardener Jody Biesche don the headphones as frequent co-hosts of TTV. And Chuck Brackett -- erstwhile regular host, current LGCCKC president, activist and leather-phile -- often returns to the booth for co-hosting duties.
KKFI veteran Linda Wilson serves as sound engineer for TTV, which airs immediately after her WomanSong (11 a.m. Saturdays). Wilson is the newly elected president of Women in the Arts, which puts on the National Womenï¿½s Music Festival.
As seen with the upcoming ï¿½The T Partyï¿½ broadcast scheduling, weekly hosting assignments are not set in stone but they generally hold true. When the teen suicide crisis hit our youth last year, the hosts and topics were adjusted to address that issue.
Behind the Mike and Up the Tower
Before his first few shows, Bumgardner recalls being a little concerned about what questions to ask his guests, but he soon found that folks who willingly come to sit for interviews truly want to talk about issues that are important to them. He also learned that many times a guest will lead a host down a road quite different from what the interviewer had planned.
All TTV hosts are volunteers, who use their personal time to work on arranging for on-air guests, researching for shows, attending production meetings, prerecording show segments and doing outreach in the community. Preparation is a key element in live radio, and overpreparation never hurts. The hosting staff does get some required training in subjects such as how to use on-air timelines, perform station IDs and announcements, and what FCC no-nos to avoid.
Edmondson says his team keeps it fresh by reaching out for listener opinions. He knows that the more people who know about TTV, the greater the contribution it makes. He uses the term AWOL for ï¿½all walks of life.ï¿½ A diverse view is an educated one, in his opinion. In addition to interviews, feature stories and news, TTV broadcasts LGBT calendar items for area events.
Although good people will work for free, transmitters, microphones and electronic doohickeys will not. As a nonprofit entity, KKFI depends upon donations to survive. If youï¿½re a like-minded, philanthropic type, consider giving to the cause. You can even designate your KKFI gift to be applied to The Tenth Voice specifically. One of the next wish-list items for Edmondson is server storage for archiving shows. For now, though, if you miss the 1 p.m. live broadcast, youï¿½ve missed it forever.
If youï¿½re generous but poor, consider volunteering your time and talents to TTV.
Streaming Queer Sandwich
Right before The Tenth Voice, Linda Wilson programs, hosts and engineers her own two-hour block of womenï¿½s music on WomanSong. Itï¿½s not necessarily music for lesbians; itï¿½s filled with sentiments and harmonies that might resonate with many queer people. This Way Out immediately follows TTV at 2 p.m. Itï¿½s an hour-long round-up of global gay news.
In addition to KKFI's 100,000-watt signal that sends out community love to a 75-mile radius, all of the shows on KKFI are streamed live. Just hit the streaming link on the website.
The Tenth Voice
1 p.m. on Saturdays
KKFI 90.1 FM (kkfi.org)
Kansas City Community Radio
The Genesis of a Local Radio Show
Newly energized from 1987ï¿½s March on Washington for Gay Rights, a group of local activists began meeting shortly after Kansas Cityï¿½s first Gay Pride Picnic (the precursor to the modern Pride Festival). During these meetings, attendees advanced the notion of creating a public affairs program for the gay and lesbian community.
Based on the ideas proposed by the group, John Korbelik, Greg Hanson and others taped a 60-minute radio show. After submitting the pilot show tape of The Tenth Voice to the (then) newly formed community radio station KKFI-FM (90.1), it was logged by staff and shelved, as the stationï¿½s lineup was filled.
Months and months passed, and dust accumulated on the audiotape. It was only after a regular KKFI host encountered a scheduling conflict that the tape was rediscovered and broadcast. Once the pilot tape was aired, the race was on to develop a weekly series of shows to fill the newly available time slot.
The name of the show was drawn from sex researcher Alfred Kinseyï¿½s work. Some have used the Kinsey Reports to support a figure of 10 percent homosexuality in the general population.
Over the years, many local voices have been heard on TTV. If you have something youï¿½re itching to say, you too could be part of Kansas Cityï¿½s LGBT radio history by participating in The Tenth Voice.