From L to R – Kurt Schmierer (producer), Sergey Grankin (co-host), and Jonathan Shuffield (creator and co-host)

From L to R – Kurt Schmierer (producer), Sergey Grankin (co-host), and Jonathan Shuffield (creator and co-host)

Do you like to stay informed about the ever-changing landscape of equality on a local, national, and global scale? For people that live in rural areas, small cities, or are frequently on the road traveling, keeping up to date on the latest LGBTQ news can be a challenge.

This is no longer true for approximately 400,000 people in six counties in eastern Washington—including isolated, remote, and rural communities. As the only LGBTQ radio program in the Inland Northwest, OUTSpoken—a program of KYRS Thin Air Community Radio—is providing coverage of local and regional topics that are relevant to our community.

Given Pride Foundation’s commitment to keeping our community informed and connected—regardless of where people live—we recently awarded a first-time grant to KYRS to support the production, recording, and editing of OUTSpoken.

OUTSpoken is a weekly program that first aired on December 8, 2013. Jonathan Shuffield is the creator and co-host of the show, and he works closely with his other co-host Sergey Grankin, and producer Kurt Schmierer.

When asked what gave him the inspiration to start OUTSpoken, Jonathan shared that he felt a strong need and desire to produce a program that focuses on LGBTQ issues—a concept he held for 10 years prior to its fruition; “…during such a unique time in history, with the changing landscape and recent advances we’ve seen in the LGBTQ community, it couldn’t have happened at a better time,” said Jonathan.

Living in a predominately conservative region of the state, Jonathan knew it was important to start conversations that educate and promote people who are living their lives genuinely and authentically.

“OUTSpoken,” Jonathan continued, “provides a stage to educate and empower the LGBTQ community.”

OUTSpoken has, and continues to, produce timely shows on important topics that are close to our hearts and minds. These programs provide a safe place to share opinions and discuss the issues that affect us. In addition, the broadcast shares uplifting and educational segments that celebrate and inform the local LGBTQ community.

As a weekly two-hour LGBTQ talk show, OUTSpoken has featured entertainers, organizations, and individuals that help us learn, grow, celebrate, and enjoy our lives not only as LGBTQ people, but also as human beings. OUTSpoken also provides local, rural, and remote LGBTQ communities with a voice through its social media and online presence.

“This program is meant to strengthen the community, while instilling pride and celebrating LGBTQ people throughout Eastern Washington,” explained Jonathan.

In the past, OUTSpoken has interviewed Spokane City Council Member Jon Snyder on the importance of adding gender identity to the Spokane Municipal Code and his opinion on ENDA. In addition, the show covered topics such as the fall of Prop 8 and DOMA, bullying, the gay/lesbian “divide,” bisexuality, the forgotten letters of LGBT, and LGBTQ youth to name a few.

At OUTSpoken, the relevance to our community determines the stories.

“If we can bring the current dialogue about national LGBT rights to the local level, we have a better chance of creating and supporting lasting change,” said Jonathan. “At OUTSpoken we strive to elevate the impact of the ever-changing landscape of equality through conversations and dialogues with leaders, entertainers, and everyday LGBT people and allies. It is our belief that through open, fearless, and honest communication we can create societal change.”

Next time you are searching the airwaves for issues that are relevant to you and your community, or if you know of an issue that relates to the local LGBTQ community, check out OUTSpoken! Let your voice be heard and know that you are not alone.

Tune in Sundays from 12:00pm to 2:00pm on 88.1 and 92.3 FM

Listener’s Comments

“KYRS is unlike any other public radio or television available in Spokane. It is our neighbors, friends, and community members who develop and bring us unique and varied programming. The topics and discussions on Outspoken are fun, interesting, and provide a starting point for me and my friends to further discuss issues in depth. Great points of view, laughter, and sassiness—OUTSpoken  is a great addition to my Sundays! Love you boys, keep ‘em coming!”—Megan

“Hey, just wanted to send my love and support to you and the rest of Spokane’s LGBT community. As an African American, I know the feeling of pain caused by prejudice and oppression, and so I strongly back your cause. Please know that there are straight people in Spokane, who WILL stand with you in your fight for justice! The OUTSpoken program has just gained a new fan. Keep up the great work!” —Sather Gowdy

“Thank you so much for what your show does. It means a lot.” —Trung Nguyen

“Thank you for the interviews and focus on LGBT issues. I have to listen on the internet as I am not local, but I love what you do. I especially love the fact that you all remember where we have come from and do not try to sweep it under the rug as so many “modern” gay hosts and shows do.  Again, thank you.” —Michael Hobbs

Gunner Scott is Pride Foundation’s Director of Programs. Email Gunner. 

Posted In: Blog, Building Organizations, Blog, Washington