by David Taffet
Lambda Weekly is the oldest, longest-running GLBT radio show on the air anywhere in the world.
When 89.3 KNON-FM, owned by Agape Broadcasting, went on the air in August, 1983, the station approached the Dallas Gay Alliance to do a weekly gay radio show. Bill Nelson was the host. Buck Massey and Bill Travis were co-hosts. Because of FCC regulations, Nelson left the show to run for city council. Bill Travis became host with Alonzo Duralde as co-host.
In 1990, David Taffet became a commentator on the show. In 1992, Travis and Duralde left the show the same week because each was moving to California. Steve Walters became host. David stopped by the studio for Steve’s first show to discuss whether he’d continue doing weekly commentaries. Taffet stayed for the entire show and co-hosted with Steve until he left due to a disagreement with the station manager in 1997. Since then, Taffet has continued to serve as host of Lambda Weekly, with co-hosts Patti Fink and Lerone Landis.
At the beginning, much of the show was music by gay and lesbian performers. But as the show evolved, it became more of a talk show. Early music guests included an early version of the Dixie Chicks, Tret Fure, and Romanofsky and Phillips. Steve Walters and David Taffet once sang back up to Sarah Hickman. Lisa Loeb performed live on the show.
In 1993, David attended the March on Washington, which occurred on a Sunday during the two hours the show broadcast in Dallas. Using an early-generation cell phone the size of a brick, he interviewed people who were particpating in the March. He carried three extra batteries since one battery lasted about 30 minutes. He had to explain to each person that this was a phone and when they talked into the speaker and put the earpiece to their ear, they would be talking to someone in the studio.
A number of local political candidates — including Craig McDaniel and Ed Oakley — made their first media appearance on Lambda Weekly.
Chaz Bono (then Chastity) made his first broadcast appearance as an out lesbian on Lambda Weekly. She revealed on the air for the first time that her dad accepted her just fine and that her mom was having a problem with it.
After Charo appeared, she wrote thanking the hosts for a rare interview of her and not her “cuchi-cuchi” character. She told a story about walking down the Castro and seeing that a bar was doing a Charo look-alike contest. She decided to enter — and lost. She remains the most-bleeped guest ever.
Other guests have included people from most of the AIDS service organizations, from local and national LGBT groups, and community leaders throughout Dallas and Fort Worth.
In March 2011, Lambda Weekly was moved from Sundays to Wednesday morning drive time with a much larger audience. Exact ratings are not available because KNON is noncommercial and does not subscribe to Arbitron ratings. In October 2012, the show was moved to Saturday mornings at 11:00 to end a new Saturday morning talk show block.
The station is funded by donations, events and underwriting. In 2011, Jim Hightower spoke at a dinner at Sons of Hermann Hall to fund the talk shows.