Windy City Times newspaper and AWARE Talk Radio are creating a unique two-hour block of FM radio programming for the Chicago-area community. The two hours of programming, focusing on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and health issues, will debut on WCKG, 105.9 FM, on Sunday night, Aug. 19, 2001.
WCKG is the only FM all-talk radio station in Chicago, and its 50,000-watt station reach includes Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin, Northwest Indiana and Western Michigan.
AWARE Talk Radio will air from 10-10:30 p.m. on WCKG. AWARE is the nation's only weekly, syndicated, radio program providing sexual health, HIV/AIDS and personal well-being information to the public. The program broadcasts in 90 U.S. cities including Boston, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco, Kansas City, Dallas and Seattle; on the Internet at www.awaretalkradio.org; and via the National Radio Satellite System. Chris DeChant developed AWARE Talk Radio after he was diagnosed HIV-positive in October 1991. The program first aired on Chicago's WNUA 95.5 on Aug. 2, 1992, and has grown to broadcast on more than 450 stations nationwide each week, reaching 7,000,000 listeners.
Windy City Radio, a new gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered radio program created and owned by Windy City Times newspaper, will air from 10:30-midnight on WCKG. This 90-minute live radio show will include many former hosts and contributors to LesBiGay Radio, a Chicago-based program which closed down earlier in 2001. Amy Matheny will be the co-host of the show, while Mary Morten will serve as General Manager and Executive Producer. Gregg Shapiro, Honey West and dozens of other individuals will contribute special programming to the show, which will also be available via the World Wide Web 24 hours a day.
"This new program, Windy City Radio, allows for a new and creative outlet to cover the GLBT community," said Tracy Baim, founder and Publisher of Lambda Publications, which publishes Windy City Times, BLACKlines, En La Vida, Nightlines, and the OUT! Guide. Regular writers for all of Lambda's publications will be a part of the Windy City Radio team of contributors.
"We are very excited about being a part of this two hours of programming offering extensive FM broadcast reach to the Chicago and suburban communities," said Chris DeChant of AWARE. "WCKG's signal reaches millions of potential listeners and provides a great opportunity to educate listeners from all backgrounds about the wide variety of health and news issues impacting the community."
While AWARE Talk Radio and Windy City Radio will be separate programs with separate staffs, the two shows will also work on a third program, Life Outside Radio, which will share hosts from AWARE and Windy City Radio. Life Outside will initially air as a special segment on AWARE.
For details on Windy City Radio, call ( 773 ) 871-7610. For details on AWARE Talk Radio, call ( 312 ) 541-8255, or see www.awaretalkradio.org .
Christopher DeChant is the creator, producer and host of AWARE Talk Radio. In generating attention for AWARE Talk Radio, DeChant revealed his HIV-status publicly. More than 10 years since AWARE's first broadcast, DeChant continues producing programming to help prevent the continued spread of HIV as well as programs to help people with HIV get treatment and support to enhance their lives.
Hope Daniels is a radio journalist and professor of radio/sound at Columbia College. She is co-host of AWARE. She was acknowledged by Women Employed as one of Chicago's savviest media professionals. She has 20 years of experience in broadcast media, higher education and government relations.
Tracy Baim is Publisher of Lambda Publications, which will produce Windy City Radio as part of its other media projects, including Windy City Times and BLACKlines. Baim founded Lambda Publications and Outlines newspaper in 1987 after having co-founded Windy City Times in 1985. In the year 2000, Baim purchased Windy City Times and merged Outlines into WCT. Baim has received dozens of honors during her 16-year career in Chicago gay journalism. She is a member of the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame and was a "40 Under 40" honoree from Crain's Chicago Business at age 32.
Mary Morten, Windy City Radio General Manager and Executive Producer, has a wide range of experience in radio and video production, including several years as a host and special correspondent on LesBiGay Radio. She is a long-time activist in the GLBT and women's communities and her contributions were recognized when she was inducted into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame and Crain's Chicago "40 under 40"...recognizing outstanding contributions from individuals under 40 years of age. She is the former Mayor's liaison to the GLBT community, and just recently completed her term as president of the board of the Chicago Foundation for Women.
Amy Matheny, co-host of the new Windy City Radio, was the energetic lesbian host on LesBiGay Radio for three years. She has produced and performed in many Chicago plays, including the cult hit, XENA LIVE!, which she created, produced, and starred in as Gabrielle, Xena's trusty sidekick. She is a company member of the award-winning About Face Theatre and a member of Broadway United Methodist Church.
Honey West has been a part of the Chicago community for the last 12 years. During her time in Chicago she has had the opportunity to work with a host of community events and causes, as well as theatre, radio, TV, independent films, recording and her nine-year standing cabaret act Sunday nights in Lake View. She was a co-host on LesBiGay Radio for several years.
Pop culture maven Gregg Shapiro was a 1999 inductee into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. Shapiro, who will work on music, cinema and literary segments for Windy City Radio, also is a poet and fiction writer. His creative work has appeared in a multitude of publications, anthologies, and textbooks. Since 1993, Shapiro has been writing music, movie, book and theater reviews, as well as doing interviews with musicians, authors, and those in the film and theater industry. He is the music editor for Windy City Times, NEXT ( a NYC weekly ) , and HERO ( an L.A.-based national monthly ) , and his byline appears in dozens of weekly newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.