Among the last 10 songs played one Friday afternoon on Pride Radio: "I Wanna Sex You Up," Color Me Badd; "Behind Hazel Eyes," Kelly Clarkson; "Summer Love," Justin Timberlake. What makes these tracks particularly gay or prideful? You'd have to do some traveling to find out. The programming for Pride Radio, broadcasting over HD to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, is selected in New York. Clear Channel's Jason Ortiz spoke about the newest addition to our HD roster, a channel geared toward gay and lesbian communities that's been streaming to us from Dallas/Fort Worth since April.
"We're positioning it as a radio station for the community by the community," Ortiz says. "As you can imagine, the musical content is very interesting—a lot of dance beats, a lot of remixes. It's high-energy, fun, clubby but not too clubby." The station, he says, is the first of its kind in the country. Many stations offer gay-centric programming once in a while, but 100.3 Pride Radio will offer Clear Channel's vision of gay programming 24-7.
Just to be clear, HD radio can't be found on your normal dial. You can tune in only if you have an HD radio or by going to the website at prideradioabq.com. Pride Radio shares The Peak's numbers in order to give the station distinction in a sea of hundreds of HD radio signals. "The Peak has a huge gay following, a huge female following. It was just a good fit," Ortiz says.
There will be no local programming, local DJs, local musicians or local shows on Pride Radio. Sponsorships and advertisers can be local, of course. That's all the station will be for a while: music and ads. "Who knows? Right now the sky's the limit. It's a baby, but we have so many ideas," Ortiz says. Still, it's doubtful that the playlist will ever include acts from Albuquerque or Santa Fe. Expect a lot of Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Beyoncé, usual radio fare on any pop station, and the occasional track from an international DJ.
Clear Channel, Ortiz says, is trying to avoid stereotypes after a fashion. "It seems pop culture veers toward men," he says, "you know, the whole shirtless, clubby thing." Pride Radio intends to serve the gay and lesbian community, which Ortiz says is difficult since their cultures are so different. To that end, the website offers Hunk of the Day along with Babe of the Day. "It's a challenge to incorporate both cultures, both communities into one project and have equal attention to both," Ortiz says.
The gay and lesbian communities are powerful and popular in any city. The big presence in Santa Fe and Albuquerque helped inform Clear Channel's decision to bring Pride Radio to the area. "Even the smaller communities deserve something like this."