I've recently been asked to add a "bio" to my site. Gee, after years of doing this had never occurred to me. This has just all been all about the music and the artists.
JD Doyle is the producer of the monthly radio show Queer Music Heritage, heard as a part of Queer Voices on Houston's KPFT-FM, and he also co-hosts the weekly Queer Voices program. QMH takes a music history/entertainment documentary approach to the sharing and preserving of our culture's music, and is supported by a huge website, where all past shows are archived for streaming, along with hundreds of pages of artist photos, album covers and miscellaneous. JD is a self-confessed fanatic collector of gay & lesbian music and likely has the largest private collection in the world. From 2001 through 2010, he was also co-producer of Audiofile, the monthly radio review of CDs of interest to the GLBT communities, which aired on This Way Out on over 200 stations around the world. He was recipient of the Outmusic Award for Outstanding Support in 2002. In 2004 he was pleased (and stunned) to have been selected as one of the first one hundred people inducted into the GLBT/Queer Hall of Fame, organized on the internet by the Stonewall Society. Also in 2005, he got an award at the National Federation of Community Broadcasting conference in Baltimore on April 15th. One of the QMH shows won a Special Merit Award in the category of Local Music/Entertainment Program of Special. That was the June 2004 show, "Queer Music Before Stonewall." In 2009 I received the award for "Lifetime Achievement in Music," voted by members of the Stonewall Society. And in March of 2012 I was very honored to receive the Allan Bérubé Prize from the Committee for LGBT History, in San Francisco.
Okay, that's the capsule version...find more extraneous items in my Press Section.
The How I Got Into Radio Story
I might as well add my "how I got into radio" story. First, I had absolutely no radio experience whatsoever, but a friend of mine, Jimmy Carper, had been hosting his show, After Hours, for many years. I started calling him during his show to request he play a certain artist, or to just play more music, as the show is mostly of talk format. My reasoning was that gay and lesbian artists don't get played anywhere else, he should play more of them. I kept doing this for several weeks, when he finally said "why don't you come on and play some?" So I did. I put together two half hour segments, of old and new music, and "put a little history" behind the songs. As I'm very comfortable with Jimmy, we had a good time, and the producer of the GLBT public affairs show that airs on that station on Monday evenings, Jack Valinski, heard us and contacted me, inviting me to do a monthly segment on their show, then called Lesbian & Gay Voices.
Now, with no radio experience I was very hesitant to come on and do a show live, and also I was very particular that I get the history exactly right, and wanted to include interview comments, etc, and had ideas that would be difficult to do on the spot. So I decided I wanted to pre-record the show, and they arranged for a volunteer engineer to work with me in the studio. Well, that didn't work out very well. It turns out the person chosen was not reliable, and also studio time was hard to arrange. That was probably the best thing that could have happened, as it gave me the kick in the pants to learn how to record the show myself, at home, where I could take my time putting together the show. I bought a mixer and microphone and the other equipment needed and began, crudely at first to shape the show.
Some of my early shows still make me cringe a little when I listen, as they were done just with my voice recorded onto cassette tape and then starting and stopping it for the music. My first show was in January of 2000 and the first six shows were 30 minutes long. At that point I was realizing I just could not cover much history in that short of a show, so requested an hour and was surprised and pleased that it was given to me with no objections. The shows have been monthly hour shows ever since, and that's plenty, as I estimate I spend about 50-100 hours a month putting together that one hour. This involves lots of research, writing and editing the script, obtaining artist interviews and editing those, and putting it all together, again with lots of sound editing to make it fit the time slot.
In the beginning of 2001 I was asked to be a co-producer of Audiofile. Through my contacts with the music list serve Outvoice I had "met" Chris Wilson (from Los Angeles), who had help found Audiofile in 1997, with her lover Pam Marshall, and the engineer, Christopher David Trentham. Pam was "burnt out" so I was asked to step in. As Audiofile is carried by This Way Out, on its 2000+ stations around the world, I jumped at the opportunity. This would open more doors to me in acquiring artist CDs and I would be able to share the music with a much larger audience.
A visit by Chris and CDT to Houston that summer really gave me a huge jump technically, which helped me both with Audiofile and my own local show. CDT brought with him a sound editing program and taught me the basics of it. Gee, I was now editing on the computer! I started small but gradually got to the point where I was editing my whole QMH show that way, and loving the control it gave me, and the ability to professionally do voice-overs, and fade intros and extros, multi-tracking, things I never even tried to do. Plus the program could do noise reduction and filtration, which were wonderful tools to improve the sound of interviews and some of those old vinyl recordings I wanted to play.
We decided to end the 14-year run on This Way Out at the end of 2010, opting to move on to other projects. That made it a full ten, and very rewarding years doing this show.
In January of 2010 I started an additional radio show, internet only, called OutRadio. As QMH was designed to be more of a history show, it always bothered me that I could not play enough of the new music I was constantly adding to my collection. So this has been a fun outlet for me. Those shows probably average about three hours per month.
The Website That Ate Cleveland
But another dream I had was for a website so I could share my shows on the net, so that people could listen to them and also see photos of the artists and recordings. I felt that a big part of the music experience was also visual. Since I had a large (and growing) record collection I already possessed many of the photos I needed, and they for the most part could not be found on the internet, so I wanted to change that. I was a couple years into QMH and so far had just used the free webpages offered by AOL. A good start, but webspace was limited and definitely did not include sound capability. So I bought a smart program, in my case, Dreamweaver, and developed the site, slowly learning how to put it together, with the much needed tips here and there by internet friends. I thoroughly enjoy doing the "layout" for the site, trying to present the information so that it is organized and also graphically pleasing.
The site has grown to hold currently (as of March 2012) ~1700 pages, and my "pages" are long, sometimes ten to fifteen "screens" long, as I prefer to have most of the photos for a month's show on one page. In the past year I've added more and more auxiliary pages for a show, for example, going more in depth for a particular artist. And I've added special feature sections on areas that interested me, like Gay Musicals, Drag Artists, the Camp Records label, an Olivia Records Discography, gay music awards data. And the site now also houses all past Audiofile segments, and a section of the OutRadio portion of the site also consolidates contact information on radio shows around the world that play queer music, acting as a resource for artists and listeners. I've added other special feature pages, like Songs about AIDS, Songs about Matthew Shepard, and Songs about Gay Marriage. I often scan whole magazine articles from old gay newspapers and post them to the site, as this information is not available anywhere else.
Yes, I spend an enormous amount of time each month between the QMH show and site, OutRadio and Queer Voices, and also networking with the artists and trying to discover additional artists new to me. Sometimes it seems incredible to me that I could live in a city definitely not known for queer music, but yet to have met and become friends with so many artists from all over. All this is a labor of love, and I seem to have found my niche.
Just to get the background stuff down on paper, I grew up and went to college in Ohio, and left as soon as I could. Looking back, I unfortunately went the wrong direction. As I hate "the cold" I should not have taken a job even further north, in Rochester, NY, but job offers were scarce then, and the job itself (at Kodak) was a good one. But I grew tired of the brutal winters and took a job in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1978. Once there I quickly came out of the closet, and got involved with a wonderful gay group, the Unitarian Universalist Gay Community. Okay, in those days the term "gay" was fine to cover everyone. That group did everything that needed done, gay-wise, in that area, and I got involved in most of their projects, including the hotline, and even to the extent of speaking at college human sexuality classes. But I was most involved with the gay newspaper, called Our Own Community Press, and after helping with it for a year found myself accepting the Editor position. You know, in volunteer groups you often find yourself doing roles you would not ordinarily do, but as you believe in them getting done, well, you just do it. You can see some photos of my time there at the March on Washington pages of my site. My work on the paper is one of the stages of my life of which I am most proud, and that's only been surpassed by my current very satisfying queer music work. I've told people I'm a "quiet activist" or a "gay music history activist." Without waving banners or making speeches I'm getting our music culture out there, available to anyone on the net. And I've even become comfortable talking on the radio, something I would have never predicted. Oh yeah, I moved to Houston in 1981, as I sort of outgrew Norfolk, wanting to live in a larger, and warmer city. Unless I win the big lottery, I have no plans to move again.
See more info in my Press Coverage section, Here
Below, just a fun pic...taken outside of a record store
My (very spoiled) little angel, Parker
Below, finally a new pic, March 2010