Gay Spirit Radio Celebrates Over 40 Years of Centering LGBTQ+ Artists and Activists in the Hartford Community

3 min read

By Caitlin Doherty ’26

News Editor

Gay Spirit Radio, the longest continuously-running LGBTQ+ radio show in the United States, airs every week from the 91.3 WWUH station, which is based on the University of Hartford campus. With its first show on Nov. 27, 1980, Gay Spirit Radio celebrated its 43rd anniversary in 2023. The show airs every Thursday night and features music and interviews from LGBTQ+ artists, activists and community members. For decades, it has served as a space of community and activism for the greater Hartford LGBTQ+ community. The Gay Spirit Radio’s impact goes beyond its weekly show. “Our project works extensively with college and university student groups. We’ve hosted the University of Hartford LGBTQ+ group, Spectrum and Capital Community College LGBTQ+ group, Pride,” Gay Spirit Radio wrote on their archival website. “Students have been instrumental in promoting the preservation effort on campus, participating in intergenerational and educational events that the project has offered in collaboration with local and regional LGBTQ+ community organizations.”

Gay Spirit Radio’s longtime producer is Hartford resident Keith Brown, who has been involved with the show since its founding. Brown has been an active member of the gay rights community in Hartford for decades, particularly as a founder of the Kalos Society Gay Liberation Front, which was Connecticut’s first LGBTQ+ activist organization. In 2022, a short film about Brown’s impact as a leader in the community “Not Afraid to be Different: the Keith Brown Story” was screened during the 35th Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival held at Trinity College’s Cinestudio Theater.

The programming and community within Gay Spirit Radio has been recorded through the Gay Spirit Radio Archival Project. In 2015, Keith Brown began to create a digital collection of the interviews and other programs from “local, regional and national artists, authors, musicians, and social justice leaders” that the show has featured throughout its decades-long history. Students and community members have also contributed to the preservation of the rich history of the radio show. As written in the archives website’s information statement, “the archive contains a history of HIV/AIDS interviews with prolific people such as Michael Conlan, music featuring the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus, CT Gay Men’s Chorus, a host of gay and lesbian performers throughout Connecticut and Springfield Massachusetts, and numerous  interviews with LGBT organizations, youth and leaders throughout the region.” The archive project has preserved the continuing legacy of empowerment and community-building that Gay Spirit Radio has fostered. 

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