On a typical fall Friday afternoon, the small basement studio goes quiet, the host reaches for the microphone, and Macalester’s new musical journey, Gaydio, begins.
Rebecca Gans ’14, hosts Gaydio, a WMCN show this semester that highlights music by LGBTQ artists. Gans, a political science major, is hosting a show for the first time this semester.
Gaydio aims to show the diversity of music made and produced by queer artists. “I basically just play music that somehow has queer people involved,” Gans said. She said that people tend to have stereotypes about the kind of music LGBTQ people make.
She says she tries to pick music from a variety of genres. Gans’ default music is by woman singer-songwriters, “but I have been trying to branch out.”
“I’m trying to not just play music I like, also, because I think that’d be boring for people,” she said. Hosting Gaydio forces Gans to search for new music in addition to her go-to songs.
While on air, Gans minimizes her commentary. Over email, Gans added that queer artists tend to be recognized only for their sexuality and not the music they make.“I want to let the music speak for itself as interesting, good music, not just gay music.” she said. The sexuality of the artists does not define what they do.
Tegan and Sara is one of the first bands that Gans’ reaches for on Gaydio. They are Canadian twin sisters, both of whom are lesbian. Sigur Rós, also played on Gaydio on Friday, is an Icelandic band whose front man is gay. Gans said she played it because “I feel excited about anything Icelandic.” Queen is another frequently-played band on Gaydio, which has also featured Ricky Martin, Frank Ocean, Joan Jet, Janis Joplin and Tender Forever.
One of Gans’ new favorite bands is The Scissor Sisters, a pop group that is “just really loud and fun.” She also likes Le Tigre and Mal Blum. “I’m excited to play some Against Me! soon,” she added. Against Me!’s lead singer is transgender, and Gans is always looking to play more music by transgender artists on Gaydio.
Gans said that she struggles with playing music and “labeling people as queer if they are not necessarily labeling themselves that way.” To resolve this, she tries to find covers of songs by artists who have not publicly come out by bands with known gay artists. An example is the cover of The Smiths’ Rubber Ring by Girl in a Coma.
Gans is considering possible themed shows in the future, including “artists we wish were gay” and “music only gay people listen to.”
When asked about the role Gaydio plays in the Macalester community, Gans said “I think people appreciate it and its place on the radio,” although she hasn’t noticed a large impact.
For Gans, the best thing about Gaydio is sharing music with her listeners. She enjoys exploring new music and helping others to do so as well. “It’s a pretty neat way to share music in the community,” she said.
Gaydio is on air on Fridays, from 2 to 3 p.m. on WMCN 91.7 FM. For the Friday, Oct. 11 playlist, see sidebar.