Donation Will Help to Preserve Recordings of “Friends” Radio Program
Washington, DC – Capital Pride Alliance will donate $1,000 to Rainbow History Project to help preserve recordings of “Friends,” one of the earliest and longest running gay-themed radio shows in the country. “Friends,” which aired from 1973 to 1982, was the key public forum in D.C. to hear the voices of the emerging gay presence.
“Capital Pride is dedicated to DC’s LGBTA community and that includes our community’s history,” said Bernie Delia, President of the Board of Directors of the Capital Pride Alliance. “So much documentation of our history has been lost due to stigma and bigotry. We need to make every effort to preserve what has been collected so that future generations will know the full story of the LGBTA experience and the fight for equality. Capital Pride is honored to be a part of that effort.”
According to the Rainbow History Project, more than 250 polyester reel-to-reel Friends radio broadcast tapes and cassette tape outtakes were donated to the Project in 2003. Over the past decade, Rainbow History has preserved and digitized a large percentage of these one-of-a kind recordings. But many of the tapes have yet to be preserved and are quickly disintegrating. Some recordings have never been heard and few are labeled with dates or speakers.
“The Rainbow History Project was founded in 2000 to collect, preserve, and promote an active knowledge of the history, arts, and culture relevant to sexually diverse communities in metropolitan Washington, DC,” said Cassandra Ake, Member of the Rainbow History Project Board of Directors. “The most challenging but also exciting part of working with this organization is that much of the primary source material is still being collected from the memories and personal effects of our own community. Its history told in the way we want it to be told and the Friends radio program is really the epitome of that. It was ‘radio for and by the gay community’ and it captures the ongoing conversations of a largely closeted community working to define itself post-Stonewall. The Rainbow History Project is grateful to Capital Pride for helping us get halfway to our fundraising goal and inviting us to attend the Holiday Heatwave. We hope attendees will take the opportunity to get involved with the Friends project along with our many other projects, including walking tours, oral histories, and archiving.”
“‘Friends’ played a vital role in the early days of LGBTA visibility in DC,” said Ryan Bos, Executive Director of the Capital Pride Alliance. “It would be a great loss to our community if these recordings are not preserved. We hope that our pledge will encourage other organizations and individuals in the DC LGBTA community to contribute and ensure that this part of our history is not lost forever.”
This $1,000 donation is the first under the new Capital Pride grant program that will be launched at the Capital Pride Alliance Holiday Heatwave event on Dec. 1 at 7:30 pm at the Human Rights Campaign building. The grant program will help local LGBTA community organizations fund specific programs or events.
ABOUT CAPITAL PRIDE ALLIANCE
Capital Pride Alliance, located in Washington, DC, is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the LGBTA community and our allies through educational events, entertainment, community outreach, and celebrations of diversity including the annual Pride Parade and Street Festival in our Nation’s Capital. Capital Pride Alliance produces one of the largest Pride Celebrations in North America with more than 350,000 attendees in 2015. As the LGBT Pride Celebration representing the Nation’s Capital, we strive to be a beacon of hope and solidarity for cities and communities around the country and the world. Look for us on Facebook (facebook.com/CapitalPrideDC), Twitter (twtter.com/CapitalPrideDC), YouTube, and Instagram (instagram.com/CapitalPrideDC).