Did you know that Gaywaves, Sydney’s first gay and lesbian radio program, went to air in a time when homosexuality was still illegal in New South Wales?
The NFSA has developed a project to ensure the preservation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) radio in the national collection thanks to a bequest from the estate of Dietmar Hollman, a former presenter and producer of Gaywaves and gay rights activist.
The NFSA’s collection includes a large number of episodes of Gaywaves, which was heard weekly from 1979 to 2005 on Sydney community radio station 2SER. Gaywaves was Sydney’s first regularly broadcast gay and lesbian radio program and was considered groundbreaking when it went to air in November 1979, a month after 2SER started broadcasting and a time when male homosexual behaviour was still criminalised in seven out of eight states and territories. The independence of community radio allowed those voices that were often absent from the mainstream media to be heard regularly for the first time.
The program illustrated various aspects of the gay liberation movement in the Australian context through interviews with community representatives, coverage of events such as HIV/AIDS rallies and Mardi Gras festivals, music, talkback, news, current affairs reports and even two radio dramas. Gaywaves also played a global role by sharing stories and content with the internationally distributed US radio program This Way Out.