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Queer in Your Ear: Connecting Space, Community, and Identity in LGBT BBC Radio Programs, 1992–2000

A Research Paper by Matthew Linfoot, published by Journal of Radio & Audio Media

This article analyses two long-running gay and lesbian radio programs from the BBC from the 1990s to highlight different approaches to notions of identity and definition, based on items that focused on interactions with physical space, both public and private. The weekly program Gay and Lesbian London broadcast in London on BBC GLR94.9 contained items that constructed a different relationship between gay identity and locations, compared to Gaytalk on BBC GMR, and its relationship with Manchester. By exploring the significance of gay and lesbian radio in relation to ideas around community, and its relationship with the editorial narrative, the paper argues there is fluidity between community and identity. The subsequent analysis of the radio output in the two programs focuses on the intersection between spatial relationships and sexuality. Content from the Manchester program foregrounded the prominence of the city’s commercial area, the Gay Village, in queer lives, while in London, domesticity and dispersed community apart from the gay scene dominated the narrative. The way these two programs mediated the relationship between communities of listeners and their locations throws light on gay and lesbian experiences during an important period of social and political change.


Photo by Alexey Ruban on Unsplash

Matthew Linfoot


Before joining the University in 2003, I worked at the BBC in a variety of roles. I was the presenter & producer of a weekly magazine programme at BBC GLR94.9 (1993-2000), as well as producing a sixteen part series of oral history programmes about London, The Century Speaks. I won a SONY Gold Award (Best Music Documentary) for producing & co-writing You’ve Got To Hide Away, with Tom Robinson, which explored hidden gay sexuality in popular music. Latterly, I was the editor of the BBC London website before moving to BBC Nations & Regions to work on two major and exciting projects, A Sense of Place and Voices as a senior producer.


26 September 2018
Published By
Journal of Radio & Audio Media
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CAMRI | Queer in Your Ear: Connecting Space, Community, and Identity in LGBT BBC Radio Programs, 1992–2000 - CAMRI
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