Out in the Bay’s tumultuous year in review

June 17, 2021

(Click links in article to hear past year features.) We relaunched Out in the Bay a year ago. Or at least that’s when our first episode since 2015 aired on San Francisco radio station KSFP, 102.5 FM, and was posted on our site and on podcast platforms.

But we – producers Truc Nguyen, Kendra Klang and Eric Jansen – had started working on the relaunch in early 2020. Before March when COVID shut down our world; before May when George Floyd’s video-taped murder by police shocked so many of us into a reckoning. 

We didn’t plan to relaunch in the midst of a global pandemic nor in the midst of nationwide demonstrations over our country’s systemic racism.

But there we were. Trying to make sense of it all and add meaning and a little comfort while confined mostly to our make-shift in-home studios. Nguyen though, was not deterred from going out with face covering on to gather sound, comments and images for our June 16, 2020 re-launch episode “Queer Response to Anti-Black Violence and Systemic Racism.”

“Working on this show helped me stay connected to my queer community while in isolation, and to my queer identity while in an outwardly straight-looking relationship,” says Nguyen. “In a big way, working with Out in the Bay kept me whole.”

Klang says she feels Out in the Bay this past year “helped highlight how people were coming together to combat fear and isolation, and was able to give a platform to those working to support the community, fight injustice and work toward equality.”

She especially appreciated the “positive moments” — shows featuring those not just surviving, but thriving, transgender opera singer Breanna Sinclairé and first-time novelist Robert Jones, Jr., author of best-seller “The Prophet” among them.

Features dealing with COVID resonated deeply, as did episodes on politics in the past politically tumultuous year. But those that brought in music and joy were definitely hits. Our March 8, 2021 feature Big Freedia — No Guns, More Twerking! – expertly edited by Porfirio Rangel – garnered 3,573 website visits and we don’t know how many radio and podcast listeners.

No wonder. Big Freedia’s four songs featured on this episode are so danceable, who could resist?  She also told our listeners about her life in New Orleans, her anti-gun activism after her brother’s killing and being shot herself, and about the New Orleans’ “bounce” music that she has helped spread around the world.

Learning From Asexuals About Sex & Relationships,” a discussion about asexuality with science writer Angela Chen, author of “Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex,” was a provocative surprise hit.

Despite pandemic challenges and a tiny budget, Out in the Bay has created 45 episodes from June 16, 2020 through today. In addition to those named above, here are a half-dozen more staff faves that received enthusiastic listener comments: ‘The Prophets’ Unveils Black Queer Ancestors; Meet Breanna Sinclairé, trans opera soprano; Disabled Trans Rabbi Elliot Kukla Calls COVID Response ‘Genocide’; Helping Queer Youth Through COVID; Meet Queer Film and Music Twins Sal & Nancy; Searching for Intimacy During COVID

Last October, we forged a partnership with the Bay Area Reporter. The B.A.R. publishes a summary with audio links to Out in the Bay’s weekly episode in its Friday online edition, and once a month Out in the Bay interviews a B.A.R. journalist. Conversations with political columnist Matthew Bajko and national politics and legal correspondent Lisa Keen have been popular.

Last November, NPR-affiliate KALW, 91.7 FM throughout the central Bay Area, welcomed Out in the Bay back to its airwaves at 10 pm Tuesdays. It had been Out in the Bay’s broadcast home from 2004 through 2015. Early co-producers David Latulippe, Marilyn Pittman and Susanna J Hines helped establish Out in the Bay in its first years on KALW.

Out in the Bay is participating in Give OUT Day, a Pride Month fundraiser for LGBTQ non-profits. Even $5 donations can have an impact! Learn more here.

Out in the Bay airs at 10pm Tuesdays on KALW, 91.7 FM throughout SF Bay Area, and at 9:30 a.m Saturdays and 8:30 am and 6:30pm Wednesdays on KSFP, 102.5 FM in SF only. It is available anytime, anywhere on Out in the Bay‘s website and on many podcast platforms.

Producer Truc Nguyen took our photo of a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Oakland. It accompanied Out in the Bay’s June 16, 2020, podcast edition.

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