2 min

Queering the airwaves

Ottawa gay radio show created after string of suicides

"I think part of the strength is the diversity of topics that we're covering. We're not shying away from hard to discuss topics," says co-host Heather Montgomery.
From boobies, to breakups, to drag queens and immigration law – 3 Gays on the Radio covers it all.
Operating out of CKCU 93.1 FM, Carleton University’s community radio station, the Ottawa program is a new radio show whose hosts discuss a wide range of topics with a gay perspective.
“Usually when there’s queer-themed stuff going on, it’s either for entertainment purposes and they’re playing up laughter and they’re playing up sexuality, or it’s for something political,” says Sebastien Plante, one of the hosts. “You rarely hear gay men talking about wedgies or haircuts or bad food experiences or sleeping badly because their mattress is stupid.”
The show is hosted, produced and written by Plante and fellow Carleton University students Luke Smith and Beth Thompson. Heather Montgomery is another regular on the show.
Smith and Plante began talking about putting the show into production after a rash of suicides in September 2011, including that of Jamie Hubley.
“It would be great if he had something to listen to, if he had something so that he didn’t feel alone,” Plante says. “Jamie Hubley is our target audience, fundamentally.”
3 Gays on the Radio has been on the airwaves since November 2011 and is also available online. Each show runs an hour and is recorded each Tuesday.
“We get an average of about 30 [listeners],” Smith explains. “We have a small listenership because we’ve been promoting just online.”
Listenership might be small at the moment, but interest in the show is geographically widespread, with listeners in Holland and Wales.
The hosts say they make an effort to incorporate personal experiences into their subject matter, which is not necessarily queer.
“We did an episode on masturbation, and we had some people saying, ‘You just ruined your career,’” Smith says. “But we had a lot of people saying, ‘No, this is something I’ve been wondering about, which nobody talks about, and this is the first time I’ve had anyone actually discuss the topic.’”
So far, reception to the show has been mostly positive. However, as with all radio talk shows that deal with controversial topics, there has been some criticism.
“Because there’s such a diverse range of topics, not every episode is going to be everyone’s cup of tea,” Montgomery says. “I think part of the strength is the diversity of topics that we’re covering. We’re not shying away from hard-to-discuss topics.”
Each host says they aim to bring something unique and genuine to the show.
“I think they do a great job of creating a dialogue on important queer issues,” says Riley Evans, a regular listener.

“They’re such dramatically different people with different interests, whether they’re talking punk rock, intersectionality or boobs, they’ve all got a different opinion. The way they express it, along with their different personalities interacting in general, makes for very compelling radio.”

Although the show is just getting started, the team has already managed to secure some influential and renowned guests, including David Pepper, an Ottawa-based queer activist; Janice Ristock, a leading expert on domestic violence; and Inspector John Medeiros, head of the Ottawa Police Service hate crimes unit.

Current and previous episodes of 3 Gays on the Radio can be heard at (Note: No longer active)