Celebrity Buzz

Resist Radio Set to Launch

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Cary Harrison, a veteran of New York drive-time radio, CBS commentaries in Chicago, and a pioneer on SiriusXM with the first LGBT network morning show, will debut his Resist Radio show in West Hollywood on Jan. 5, 2018.

A longtime West Hollywood resident, Harrison was recently tapped by KPFK Public Radio for afternoons, and calls Resist Radio his “ultimate passion project.” It will air 6:30 p.m. Fridays, beginning Jan. 5, 2018, on 90.7 FM. He spoke with writer-activist Vic Gerami for goweho.com.

Goweho: What is Resist Radio?

Cary Harrison: When I pioneered the first national LGBT morning show for SiriusXM, I had always felt it possible to connect gay people from Key West to Alaska, Memphis to West Hollywood.  Connecting these far away voices to explore, invent, and ground a growing new culture made for fun and definitely entertaining good sense.

Goweho: How did you come up with the name, Resist Radio?

CH: A year and a half ago I was in the White House and was lucky enough to meet President Obama.  Both being from Chicago, we talked Windy City for a moment, and then the President took a sudden turn.  He told me I needed to take my radio world and create something powerful but still entertaining that would make a difference and speak to future generations.

Being handed marching orders by the President is a life-tilting experience.  You walk away knowing you’ve been given a directive, especially from a commander-in-chief who can both read and write and inspire millions.

Enter the timely and powerful #Resist March that replaced LA’s Gay Pride last year.  I had a single coffee with the LA Resist March founder, Brian Pendleton, who by half a cup, converted me from FlashForward Radio to ResistRadio.  When the universe hands you a slam-dunk obvious alliteration… like Resist Radio…you look back up and wink.

Radio host Cary Harrison with actress Jodie Foster.

Harrison with actress Jodie Foster.

 Goweho: Why radio at a time when mass media is fast-evolving while attention spans are getting shorter every year and audiences want visual stimulation with their   information?

 CH: Just last year, listening across Public Radio stations reached an all-time high of 37.4 million and NPR’s even going to expand its news operations–and I mean       bigly.  These FM signals break through car windshields and entertain and enlighten millions of daily commuters.   Then there’s the Podcasts …. heard by over 4 million   listeners every week. That’s a 47% increase compared to just a year ago.  That said, there really is no such thing anymore as just Radio.  Everything is media and it’s   brilliantly accessible, depending on your device. No ears are left behind.

 Goweho: You’ve been a long-time host and contributor to KPFK and Pacifica Radio. How did this latest collaboration come about?

 CH: We all respect each other greatly and Pacifica and KPFK are the real deal when it comes to freedom of speech and serving the public.  It was this network’s airing of   George Carlin that ended up as a major Supreme Court case in 1978 (“The seven dirty words“ case) which has positively allowed everyone from Howard Stern to TV’s   Modern Family to enjoy  their own signature freedom of expression.

KPFK and I spent a lot of time together during the Bernie campaign and the Obama challenge seemed too juicy not to share with them.  Plus, for our .edu factor, they possess possibly the largest historical recordings in the world, from never before heard Dr. Martin Luther King talks to Bette Davis talking about early women’s rights.

The upshot is a prime time slot and a mutual goal of making the future a better place on a bed of humor, satire, and appropriate gravitas.

Goweho: What are your objectives with this show?

CH: Ralph Nader recently challenged me to come up with a mechanism to provide “adult education clinics”… where we could transmit the basic civic tools of how to contact your Congressperson, how to vote, getting your city council to make smart choices, grassroots political successes, and general navigation of this gigantic Game Show in which we all find ourselves as unwitting contestants.  To stitch together our wildly diverse voices, cultures, races, and perspectives.   To provide a platform for millions to connect and have each other‘s backs.

Harrison with Rep. Maxine Waters

Harrison with Rep. Maxine Waters.

Goweho: Talk radio disproportionally leans Right. Why does this dynamic exist?

CH: What the right does very well is entertain.  They are cocky, bold, and brutish. The left only has a sliver of broadcast real estate, despite the ridiculous myth of the liberal media. Think about it – out of 800 channels, you get a single channel called MSNBC and a five minute sketch on SNL.  There it is – the liberal media.  On radio, it is perilously nonexistent in a sea of crackling preachers and bloviating Limbaugh wannabes.

The left knows it has mere moments to get out massive pieces of information and ends up doing frantic data feeds to desperately get out information, like a French Underground agent broadcasting from the back room of the Hofbräuhaus.

Let’s face it; more people got their hard news from Jon Stuart on Comedy Central than all the news networks combined.

Goweho: What is at stake for liberals and progressives right now in real-time?

CH: That a goobersmoocher like Roy Moore could pedophile his way up the GOP ladder – in broad daylight – is metaphor enough to quickly answer that question.

Food, water, and shelter are in the crosshairs.  We have never seen such a chasm between rich and poor since the days of the Pharaoh.  There are tens of millions of smart, decent, wonderful people who yearn for a balanced civil society and their voices have been shut out from both politics and mass media.   It is time for us to own our balls and stand up for that which we believe in.

Goweho: Can public radio make a difference in the 2018 Congressional Elections? Any predictions?

CH: Public radio cannot endorse candidates or run election advertising.  It is our job to see that suppressed voices rise to the surface – that is the nature of journalism: to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  Since the public owns the airwaves, the public is entitled full and unfettered access to all perspectives, points of view, and solutions, now or soon to be discovered.

Goweho: Some say that the Democratic Party leans too much toward the center. What do you think?

CH: Actually, center right is where they decidedly sit.  The major shift occurred under Bill Clinton. With a long-awaited balanced budget came compromises well beyond what seems now to be recoverable.  I like to use the analogy of Germany.  Ex-Nazis and historically some of the roughest, toughest bastards ever to occupy a continent.  If these historically-noted hardasses can offer each other the finest in universal healthcare—with state-of-the-art medicine, wellness, even meditation centers, how do we explain our system—especially since we were never bombed to smithereens?

The Swiss offer impeccable first-world medicine to every one of their citizens.  If a country with such little emotional sensitivity can provide such tenderness to its own people, it invites something more than minor discussion.

Goweho: Who is your audience in terms of demographic?

CH: Resist Radio is focused on bringing young listeners back into radio where they will be connected with millions in a like community.  We will always have the 50+ crowd.  It is the under 50 crowd who is left with inhospitable air and water, melting glaciers, and a hell of a lot of heavy lifting down the road.   The older folks can retire to some sort of New Zealand safe haven; the millennials above and below, are left holding an empty elephants scrotum.

We will be going into underserved neighborhoods and communities who have never been invited or welcomed into the public radio landscape.  In my world, this is Hotel Earth and everyone gets a room!

Goweho: How is Resist Radio funded?

CH: In the spirit of public radio, we must be self-supporting through contributions and angels.  There are great deals of moving parts with an already proven successful endgame.  The interconnection of hundreds of stations with this entertaining and empowering educational initiative is the future for the generations to take over and improve.  Our national media training program has already got our deep commitment to skillful competence.

We would love everyone to join us and become a “donor-producer“ and fuel this nonviolent, heartfelt positive resistance.

Goweho: How is RR different than other progressive shows?

CH: My goal, apart from pushing for great radio, is to teach the generations who will be taking over.  The difference between propaganda and fake news and real news is hideously muddied at the moment. How to source and vet information, fact check, and pierce the cloud of Orwellian-Huxleyian media madness is a listener tool that can never be taken away.

Goweho: Are any topics out of the question?

CH: It’s funny; everything really boils down to the threee G’s: green, ganja, and gay.  These three G’s incorporate everything from medicine and sociology to environment and civil liberties.  We will not be covering what the Kardashians ate for dinner.

Goweho: You have interviewed some of the leading voices of our time. Who would you like to interview that you haven’t done so already?

CH: I would still love to interview John Williams, an incredible musical inspiration.  Also, Don Trump (but I’m not on FOXNews so don’t have a scintilla of a chance).  Boring deep into that dark psyche would be an orgy of insanity and chaos – Game of Thrones meets South Park.

Goweho: Is there anyone that you would not interview on your show?

CH: I have been faced with that dilemma many times in the past.  Should you give equal democratic voice to neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and Breitbarters?   For me, the answer is yes.  In journalism, no subject affecting the public is taboo; no truth too forbidden.   It’s one thing to simply hand them the microphone and let them rattle on from the dull misfires of their brain stems; it’s another to reverse-engineer their thinking on the public stage.  Remarkably, when dissected and challenged, the ensuing burlesque is akin to a drunken carnival worker waking up next to a collie.  Nothing more than that.  Besides, a nice death threat reminds you that your email is still working.

Goweho: What three personal facts about you can you share that you believe makes the show unique?

CH: Hmmm. I was spawned from the Mayflower and Abe Lincoln on my mother’s side and signers of the Declaration and Constitution on the other.  I like to think the Founding Daddies are peering down (or up) at me with their spiritual tasers, zapping me into doing something half decent in this life. Seems democratizing radio and creating a broad voice for multiculturalism, inclusion, and free-flowing information ought to be the new Red, White, and Blue.

Goweho: Why would someone who doesn’t listen to talk radio tune-in for your show?

CH: There’s a good reason they don’t tune into current talk radio and I don’t blame them.   ResistRadio is authentic, pithy, perspicacious, and polyamorous.  And any other P’s I can think of. It’s slickly produced high-quality intelligent good clean radio fun. If you don’t walk away overstimulated, you simply weren’t listening.

Resist Radio will launch air 6:30 p.m. Fridays, beginning Jan. 5, 2018. See www.resistradio.org for more information.


    Vic Gerami is a writer, activist and media contributor to numerous publications in addition to goweho.com, such as Frontiers magazine, LA Weekly,
Voice Media Group, The Advocate, OUT, Los Angeles Blade, Asbarez and WeHo Times. He is editor-publisher of www.TheBluntPost.com.
Featured in the Wall Street Journal as a “Leading Gay Activist” for opposing Prop 8, Vic was on the planning
committee of Resist March 2017 and is a founding board member of Equality Armenia.


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