In a surprise move, Radio 2000 has announced that it will launch a new gay radio show this week Wednesday. This comes in the wake of the controversy around the closing of the channel’s previous lesbian and gay show, the Tuesday Night Show, in August.
According to Radio 2000 station manager, Richard Jones, the new show, called Bravo Brava, is being hosted by Michiel de Kok, and debuts tonight on Radio 2000 from 20.00 to 21.30.
Unlike Tuesday Night, the pre-recorded show will not include live call-in elements, but will present a weekly guest interviewed by de Kok. Music will be chosen by the guest (his or her favourite songs), and the show will also include astrology and numerology inserts. In the New Year, Jones aims to extend the broadcast time by another hour with a segment on clubbing and entertainment.
Jones prefers to label Bravo Brava as “alternative lifestyle”, rather than gay, and says it is “more inclusive” than Tuesday Night: “This is an alternative lifestyle show that straight people would want to listen to.” He adds that the aim is to “break down the walls between the straight and gay community”. He describes the tone as being lighter than Tuesday Night; “It’s more glamorous. Michiel has panache and pizzazz,” he says.
It appears as if the show will move away from Tuesday’s Night’s strategy of directly representing the lesbian and gay community on often more serious issues and targeting many that don’t have access to other LGBT media. When pressed on whether the channel had consulted with community organisations or leaders, Jones admitted that this had not been undertaken. “We really just wanted to get it up and running. It’s not been a focus at this point and it’s not going to be as heavy as Tuesday Night,” he said.
Tuesday Night ended its broadcasts in August, after nine months, following new contract terms that were presented to it by the SABC, which the producers found to be unreasonable and unacceptable. Together with a coalition of six gay and lesbian NGOs, it has lobbied the corporation for an explanation of its actions.
Jones was not willing to comment on why SABC’s CEO Dali Mpofu, as recently as last week, met with Tuesday’s Night’s producers with the aim of resolving the dispute between the corporation and Tuesday Night (which has had the backing of numerous community based groups and the Freedom of Expression Institute). He however commented that Radio 2000 “never wanted to deny an alterative lifestyle show to listeners, we just thought to take a different direction”.
Jones was also unable to explain why Mpofu had not informed Tuesday Night’s executive producer Maciek Mazur about the launch of Bravo Brava at last week’s meeting. When contacted for comment, a shocked Mazur expressed surprise at the news. He declined to comment until he was able to assess and consider the implications of the new show’s launch.