Some familiar faces are returning to KGAY.
Brad Fuhr, who helped launch the station on Christmas Day 2018, has agreed to purchase the station from Sunnylands Broadcasting, retaining the format and adding to his other properties — Gay Desert Guide and the I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast. The sale should be complete following Federal Communications Commission approval later this year.
“Radio has been in my blood since age 15, when I started at my hometown radio station running the Sunday morning religious programs,” Fuhr said in making the announcement Monday. “I learned how to read the news and be a DJ after those big booming voices I heard coming out of my AM radio from all over the country.”
LGBTQ+ programming will be expanded with the return of John Taylor in the mornings and Chris Shebel in the afternoons. Taylor has hosted the I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast since departing the station along with Fuhr in 2019. Shebel was the station’s original programmer. DJ Galaxy and DJ Eric Ornelas will continue providing “Retro Lunch.”
Why get into the radio business now when audiences are drawn to other media outlets? Fuhr said it was both a sense of duty and KGAY’s success that made the decision easy.
“To me, there's really a sense of opportunity," Fuhr told Coachella Valley Independent publisher Jimmy Boegle, a frequent guest on the podcast. “There are so many things we can do together.”
To that end, Fuhr also announced that he will run the station as a California benefit corporation, which requires that the company operate in the public's interest, and not be purely profit-driven.
“I did that because I feel that radio should go back to its roots, which is serving in the public interest," he told The Independent.
Keeping the station focused on the LGBTQ community is exactly what the sellers were hoping for.
“KGAY should stay gay and this plan does just that,” Greg Smith, co-owner of Sunnylands Broadcasting, told an industry trade publication Monday. “We have always been and remain committed to keeping the radio station in the ownership of an LGBTQ+ company. We are thrilled that the radio station will be operated by Brad, who is both an experienced broadcaster and a successful champion of the LGBTQ+ communities.”
The station was first licensed in 1965 as KGOL. It has undergone nine changes to its call letters since then. Before becoming KGAY, the station was known as KVGH from 2016 through 2018.