2023 WAVE Award Spotlight: ‘The Big Gay Radio Show,’ 88.5 WMNF

Tampa Bay’s 1st Place Favorite Local Radio Show/Podcast

WMNF has broadcast volunteer and listener supported content for decades. Billed as Florida’s first community radio station, it’s sought to create radio with a mission, values and vision since 1979.

In recent years, its lineup has evolved to include “The Big Gay Radio Show,” now in its second iteration. It launched in 2021 to provide three hours of LGBTQ talk, music and more and airs live early Thursdays from 12-3 a.m. It’s also available to stream later via the WMNF app, Spotify and Apple Music.

The show is led by radio veterans Bryan Hinkson and Esme Russell as well as Chris Gorman, a relative newcomer to radio. He’s also Tampa Bay’s 1st Place Favorite Local Activist.

Hinkson, who’s broadcast radio for nearly 11 years, joined the show not long after it was created. He was followed by Russell, having served as her cohost on “The Esme Russell Show,” a previous WAVE winner which aired for nearly a decade.

“We have a really good show and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done,” Russell says. “Our visibility on the radio every week is a very powerful message.”

“We’re very proud of the diverse culture we have,” Gorman adds, noting that Russell is trans, Hinkson is gay and he is demisexual. The three are also different races and ages, he continues, on full display through their individual perspectives.

“It’s a show for everybody because we want to celebrate the entirety of the community and those who support the LGBTQ spectrum, which is what we are,” Gorman says. “We’re the spectrum giving our opinions, which we haven’t been traditionally given the platform to do. We’re very thankful to WMNF for that.”

The three hosts stay in constant contact to plan each week’s show. Broadcasts feature commentary on pop culture, local events and frequently highlight special guests or initiatives.
“We’ve just tried to become the best show that we can,” Hinkson says. “We’re working to fill the void of LGBTQ voices on air.”

“We’re not only creating a platform for our community,” Russell adds, “we’re normalizing who we are.”

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