"To educate, entertain, and engage listeners on issues and events affecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intesex, and queer (LGBTIQ) population of south central Indiana by facilitating communication both within the LGBTIQ community and between the LGBTIQ community and the rest of the Bloomington population." -bloomingOUT Mission Statement
Radio’s Midwest Queer Connection
The first-of-its-kind Midwest queer radio show is known as bloomingOUT, which began its rich history of broadcasting on October 9, 2003. This lone local queer radio show was the brain child of Ryan Bruce and Chad Carrothers, who wanted to bring discussions that would educate, entertain and engage listeners in real issues and events relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people and their allies. They also sought to connect race, color and class to the show’s topics, including the intersection of Black, Hispanic, Asian and American Indian issues with queers issues.
A Winning Team
Host volunteers Helen Harrell and Mark Brostoff were the first hosts of the show. Mark and Helen had good chemistry; their strong personalities complimented each other well and made the show an engaging experience for the listeners. IU graduate student Jeffrey Bennett was the first producer of the show; when he received his degree in May of 2004; local resident Carol Fischer succeeded Jeffrey as the producer.
"Getting to the Heart of People’s Lives"
BloomingOUT developed a format in which the hosts report the latest updates in local, national and international news, discuss a calendar of local and statewide events, and interview community leaders, politicians, academics, students, celebrities, and entertainers from around the world in addition to locals with something to say. The show balances the local and the national by featuring that are done monthly by area residents. Carol Fisher strives to have an “issues driven” show; she does not focus on what is currently popular but focuses on endearing topics that speak to the heart of people and their lives. The show strives to introduce to the listeners individuals who aren’t necessarily well known but are able to articulate their experiences and views in an interesting, informative and engaging fashion. It is a challenging opportunity to educate and enlighten the public regarding all kinds of issues dedicated to LGBTQI life: its history, current issues, news, culture and a variety of queer topics that may be political and controversial. Carol says, “It is a team effort; the show is put together by a group of dedicated volunteers who believe that bringing queer issues and events to the LGBTQI and ally community is essential.”
Dedication to the LGBTQI Population
Helen Harrell is the cornerstone of the show, as the consistent host of the show since its inception. After Mark Brostoff left the show, Indianapolis photographer Mark Lee co-hosted with Helen for the next year or so. Mark had to step down due to increased business commitments; local resident Victor Kinzer stepped in for the next 2 years and now Helen co-hosts bloomingOUT and the spinoff podcast (b OUT2, News Views & More) with attorney Sean Lemieux. bloomingOUT airs every Thursday evening from 6 to 7 pm EST on WFHB, but recordings can be accessed anytime through the bloomingOUT web site. This accessibility allows the radio show and podcast to be heard around the world via both live streaming and download.
To access the bloomingOUT homepage, click here.
Descriptions of past shows, including guests and subject matter, back to 2005, can be found here.
Fisher, Carol. Interview by Chris Kase. 03 November 2009.
Harrell, Helen. Interview Interview by Chris Kase. 05 November 2009.
bloomingOut radio homepage, http://wfhb.org/bloomingout/
bloomingOut show archives, http://www.wfhb.org/news/bloomingout
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