Rumor has it that the South Florida lesbian magazine Fountain will soon cease publication. The magazine, which has been in circulation for about five years, will supposedly be replaced by a new magazine called She. But there's also talk that, sometime in the future, Fountain may make a comeback.
So how's a concerned citizen of the gay community supposed to keep up with the gossip and, more important, find out what's true? Since last week the answer has been to tune in to Gay Grapevine, the Voice of LesBiGay South Florida, a radio show that airs Saturdays at noon on WSRF-AM (1580).
"The Gay Grapevine is going to be a sort of weekly resource center for gays and lesbians," says creator and host Alby Besteni. The one-hour show features Besteni, cohosts Tony Guthrie (who's also the marketing director at Independence Restaurant and Brewery) and Diane Starzee, and guests talking about issues that affect gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Guests on last week's inaugural episode, for example, were She publisher Brad Casey and editor Karen Campbell.
Music by gay artists is played during the show, and recurring segments include "The South Florida Social Scene," featuring taped remotes from gay nightspots; a calendar of gay-friendly events called "Community Happenings"; "Street Talk," which consists of taped comments from listeners; and "Gay Entertainment News."
"I always try to see how radio can fit into informing a community," says Besteni. "And the gay community is prime for a voice."
Not so long ago, Besteni, who is Cuban, was the voice of the Latin American community, at least between salsa tunes. She hosted Sabado Sabroso ("Delicious Saturday") on WSRF-AM (1580) in the mid-'80s, and in the late '80s she spun salsa at WAVS-AM (1170). She has been a video producer since 1989, running Besteni Communications, Inc., but recently dissolved her company to concentrate on radio.
Grapevine isn't going to be the Alby Show, however. "I just bring the key people together to cover all of the different perspectives," she says. In addition to cohosts Guthrie and Starzee, the show's staff includes Dale Madison, the society editor of Scoop magazine, who will be one of the "South Florida Social Scene" reporters.
According to Besteni, there's plenty to report. "Fort Lauderdale has a very huge gay and lesbian population, and so does Miami," she says. "Personally, I'm surprised that this is the only show we've got."