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Radio AM to FM: June 1, 2001

More Than "Gay."

A memorial service was held for Andrew Howard last Saturday at the Japanese Gardens on the grounds of California State University, Long Beach. Howard, half of former KFI (640 AM) talk team Karel and Andrew, died unexpectedly May 21st from a pulmonary embolism. He was 34.

Since his death, there has been a lot of press coverage surrounding his talk career, both in newspapers and on the internet. Interestingly, most of the press has missed the point. Karel and Andrew were a gay couple, and had been together for 12 years. But their show was not a "gay" show. Seldom was the fact that they were gay a part of the show, and when the show first went on KFI two years ago, they took great pains to drive the point home: yes they were gay, but they were not going to focus on gay issues. It was, according to KFI programmer David Hall, a topics-oriented show that just happened to be hosted by a gay couple.

Of course, that led to some eyebrows being raised and some jokes being made. People complained that they sounded "too gay," and one competing talk host -- also openly gay -- reportedly made the comment that Karel and Andrew set the gay movement back 20 years.

Rather than attacking their critics, they made jokes about the situation. One of their funniest shows was the time early on when they decided they did indeed sound too gay and were -- from that day forward -- going to be more "macho" on the air. It was classic.

Most shows were issues-oriented or topical. They talked to students at Columbine during that tradegy. They broadcast live, underwater, from the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. They talked about being one of the first to buy an ibook, the portable Macintosh.

So it strikes me as odd that most of the press surrounding the team centers on the fact that they were gay. Especially considering that there are others in radio and on the air that are also openly gay and have been on the air for a lot longer. Does it matter that Karel and Andrew were the first openly gay couple to do a team talk show? Hardly. And it cheapens their show to suggest otherwise.

My condolences go to Howard's friends, family, and his partner, Karel Bouley.

TV Show Scrapped

Tom Leykis, heard locally afternoons on KLSX (97.1 FM), apparently will not be appearing on television this Fall. According to Broadcasting and Cable Magazine, the talk/reality show was originally set for syndication and later as a show on the UPN television network. But it seems UPN has decided to pass. Sources described the show as a battle of the sexes talk show.

Gassmen Back

The Gassman Brothers, last heard on corporate-public KPCC (89.3 FM) before Minnesota "Public" Radio took over the license last year, have a new home. Hear them and their old-time radio show called, Same TIme, Same Station, Sundays from 12 noon to 2 pm on on KCSN (88.5 FM).


Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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