When Christine Coleman hit hard times last year, she had one place left to turn. Her father, for whom she had cared for years, had passed away, and her other family members did not support her transgender lifestyle. They were attempting to evict her from her home. She was jobless and facing homelessness. That’s when she wrote to CHANNEL Q. “We responded to her immediately and got her on the phone,” says Ally Johnson, host of CHANNEL Q’s Drop the Subject. “Seeing as how she was in need of support (and a few laughs,) we brought her in-studio for a little surprise. My cohost and I were able to secure one of the coveted Endless Pasta passes from The Olive Garden, which gave her free meals every day for nine weeks. It was silly and fun, but we also got the chance to share Christine’s story with our listeners and bring a little joy into her life. … We also connected her with services to make sure she had a home, and we helped connect her with potential job opportunities, as well.”
As Pride Month comes to an end, we applaud our very own CHANNEL Q, the premiere LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. First to air on National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2018, CHANNEL Q became the first spoken word and music station serving the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. The broadcast kicked off at the world-famous Abbey restaurant and bar in West Hollywood and, within one month launched its first FM station. Less than two years later, CHANNEL Q can be heard on 36 stations in 34 markets, and nationally on RADIO.COM.
The network is guided by a clear mission with five core tenets: to promote and support the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender voices in the media; to provide the LGBTQ+ community with quality content that is entertaining, informative, and empowering; to challenge, educate, and help put an end to LGBTQ+ discrimination; to build our communities and support the organizations that serve the LGBTQ+ people; and to uphold the commitment to openness, discussion, diversity, inclusion, and partnership.
“We give a voice to our community and have a great time doing it,” says AJ Gibson, host of CHANNEL Q’s The Morning Beat. “The mix of genuine conversation, timely news stories and celebrity interviews works for us and the fact that we get to play in a space that was created specifically to share inclusive, diverse stories is not something we take lightly.”
While other stations that strive to serve and program for LGBTQ+ audiences primarily focus on music, CHANNEL Q stands apart by providing a platform that includes spoken word, literally giving voice to the community. Adam Wolfson, Director of Sales says, “This provides the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with newsmakers and celebrities and to cover important issues and stories impacting the LGBTQ+ and progressive communities.”
Whether in challenging times, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, or an average day, CHANNEL Q provides the LGBTQ+ community with a place to stay up to date, commiserate, laugh and feel a sense of community. Because it’s live radio, the hosts live the same issues and events as listeners and experience them together in real time. “Processing the happenings of 2020 on the air has been extremely therapeutic, both for us and the listeners,” Johnson says.
Through four live talk shows per day, and several popular DJ mix shows in the evening and on weekends, CHANNEL Q reaches a large, powerful demographic with strong spending power. The audience is informed, engaged and feels a meaningful connection with the hosts who they consider more like friends than on-air personalities.
Targeting an audience that includes 18-49 LGBTQ+ individuals and progressive allies, Brand Manager, Brian Holt says, “CHANNEL Q has an opportunity to speak to both communities due to our shared interests in social justice, progressive politics and mental and sexual health. ” Dr. Chris Donaghue, host of Loveline adds, “No one else is doing what CHANNEL Q is doing; while most slap a Pride logo on their brand and think that’s transformative, CHANNEL Q actually creates content with an LGBTQIA consciousness.”
In addition, CHANNEL Q supports the community through charitable events and initiatives. For example, in 2019 CHANNEL Q celebrated it’s one-year anniversary and National Coming Out Day by fundraising for PFLAG, the nation’s first and largest organization for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies.
While the CHANNEL Q network brings the latest in LGBTQ+ news and information, pop culture and new music to listeners, it stands for so much more. Ryan Mitchell, cohost of Let’s Go There with Shira and Ryan describes working at CHANNEL Q as fulfilling and inspiring, especially during a time when the world is experiencing a collective wake up call on the state of our country and Black lives. Mitchell says, “As a Black queer man, it’s been wonderful to have a platform and to be a part of a station that allows me to speak freely and, to have the opportunity to bridge gaps in our community and, for our allies.” Ryan’s cohost, Shira Lazar, says her work is a pathway for personal and social change, “I have been able to recognize my privilege and my position to truly create change. I’ve been learning to understand what true allyship is,” she says. “This work has made me realize how important the media and storytelling really is to create impact, shape societal narratives and shift policies towards equality for all.”
From the on air personalities who are passionate about what they do, to our listeners who engage with the exceptional programming that entertains, informs and inspires them, CHANNEL Q has created a space for minority voices to be heard. With CHANNEL Q we do more than celebrate Pride month – we celebrate Pride 365.