Published: 29th June 2018
Gaydio Ga Ga: How Ishq FM's show on LGBT issues is sensitising the airwaves
The Gaydio Show is the first radio programme for LGBTQ audiences, which is all about exploring the power of radio to bring about change
Last year, Ishq FM launched the first radio programme for LGBTQ audiences. The Gaydio Show is hosted by renowned activist and human rights campaigner, Harish Iyer, and deals with important LQBTQ issues and stories on a weekly basis. This show that airs on Ishq FM, which is on the airwaves in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, every Sunday between 12 to 2 PM was able to capture the hearts and attention of its listeners in just 2 months of its launch.
Self-described as India's only 'romantic' radio station, the station has managed to open its arms to love across all boundaries. We speak to Shivangini Jajoria, the station's National Head of Operations about how such programming can change people's perceptions and change lives. Excerpts:
What was the idea behind Gaydio and its inception?
We are an all-inclusive radio station and we believe in all-inclusive love. And who else but Ishq FM could be the ones to launch the country's first dedicated LGBTQ show in the Private FM industry? With The Gaydio Show, we want to reinstitute the fact that love is not conditional to gender or sexual preferences. We want to hear the unheard voices of the nation and take it to the audience of this country. People are ignorant of the trials and tribulations that LGBTQ individuals face every day and initiatives like these would give the listener a better understanding of gender and sexuality.
How important do you believe that such content is for Indian audiences to embrace diversity?
A truly inclusive India continues to remain a distant dream for the LGBTQ community. Acceptance of different sexualities and freedom to openly express one's feelings still remain a constant struggle for these individuals. The Gaydio Show is not an activist show; it is a show that provides a much-needed platform to a section of people who are very much a part of our society and whose voices will now be broadcast to a wider audience. This is extremely important as radio has the power of anonymity making it the perfect medium for a show like this. It is also an accessible medium and has a wider reach, where individuals can share their coming out stories without the fear of being targeted. As I have mentioned earlier, many people are unaware of the trials and tribulations that LGBTQ individuals face every day and initiatives like these would give the listener a better understanding of gender and sexuality.
Change in the air: The programme has been received well across the country
What is the reaction Ishq FM received following the show's introduction and do you think that it represents public perception of homosexually in India?
The feedback for the show has been very positive. The reaction from everyone, especially the youth, has been overwhelming. Our social media pages have been flooded with messages congratulating and applauding our initiative. We are humbled by the response that the show has gotten. People are seeing this show as a friend for unheard voices and not as an activist show, which was our intention to begin with. We have covered stories of same-sex couples, transgender couples; we have even had individuals come out of the closet on the show and reveal their preferences to their family members on the show itself. The response from the listeners in general and the acceptance from their own family members proves that Indians are willing to change and that the country continues to grow. The show is one of the many vehicles that are helping in changing the perception of homosexuality in our country. There is a long way to go but we are sure that the start has been in the right direction.
What other content and dialogues can be initiated within the media in order to promote progressive themes?
Media is a change agent; it has always been and it will continue to be so. Especially with the media reach multiplying with the internet, endless themes are possible. We, at Ishq FM, are taking one step at a time. For now, The Gaydio Show is our priority, the voice of the LGBTQ community is the voice that we want to take out there; intent is to make an impact and once a dent is made in the society, we will move to another progressive theme.
How important is radio or any other journalistic medium for the betterment of sexual minorities in India?
Radio is an anonymous medium. You are on air, you share your words with the audience. You have no name, you have no face. You have a voice; and if there is truth in your voice, if there is meaning in your words, your voice will be heard; your opinion will make an impression on the audience. If we are able to achieve that with The Gaydio Show, change is bound to happen and hopefully lead to a better life for the LGBTQ community in India.