A Radio Station’s Call Letters Announce Its Purpose: KGAY

“He said, ‘I can’t tell you what KGAY means to me. I listen at home all the time, thank you,’” Taylor recalled. “I said, ‘Where do you live?’ He goes, ‘My car.’”

Taylor paused, tears collecting in his eyes. “We have a connection,” he continued, his voice almost a whisper, “even if it’s one guy alone with his dog.”

Like Patagonia or Ben & Jerry’s, KGAY operates as a public benefit corporation, a venture that’s about “purpose over profit,” as Fuhr put it. The station’s on-air and digital advertisers have included McDonald’s, during Pride, as well as local businesses including a Kia dealership and the men’s wear store Bear Wear, which sells gay threads like teeny man-bikinis and “Captain Abearica” T-shirts in big-guy sizes.

Fuhr, who got his start in radio 50 years ago in his hometown, Hastings, Mich., operates KGAY as part of a mini gay media empire that includes the Gay Desert Guide, an L.G.B.T.Q. online directory and events calendar, and a digital marketing company. Fuhr said KGAY doubled its revenue year over year the past two years, but is still breaking even. He expects KGAY to be profitable this year.

An impromptu survey of around a dozen gay men in Palm Springs — bartenders, servers, Uber drivers — revealed that all had heard of KGAY, but only about half said they listened regularly.

Among them was Christopher Musser, a retired nurse and hairdresser who also drives Uber. He said he is 62 and too old to dance the way he used to at Rage, a West Hollywood gay bar where he turned heads in the ’80s — not that he goes to clubs now anyway.

He listens to KGAY, he explained, because it makes him, and his passengers, feel good.

“But if I go to pick up some old people, I won’t put it on,” he said.

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