KERA announces a new branding campaign, logo

KERA_Logo_Color_GradientKERA — which comprises both the Channel 13 public TV station and the 90.1-FM NPR-affiliated radio station, as well as the music station KXT 91.7and the Art&Seek arm — announced today during an episode of Downton Abbey a new logo and branding campaign, the station’s communications director, Chris Wagley, revealed.

Promoted by the log line “Go Public,” it also unveiled a new “thought bubble” logo

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

NPR’s ‘ATC’ gets gay co-host

arishapiroHe wasn’t supposed to start until September, so I was surprised yesterday when Ari Shapiro began as one of the three co-hosts of All Things Considered, the most-listened-to radio news program in the country, which airs on Dallas’ NPR affiliate, KERA 90.1 FM, from 4–7:30 p.m. daily. Shapiro replaced Melissa Block, who stepped down after 12 years alongside Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish.

The reason we care, other than being addicted to National Public Radio, is that Shapiro is openly gay — the first out host of the flagship program that we know of. It’s not like gays are rare on NPR, either nationally or locally, but this seems significant to us. Why? Well, if we didn’t believe that being a “gay journalist” was different than be a “journalist,” we wouldn’t work for a gay media company. And being out is important — it brings a perspective and challenges politicos and pundits to think about their words … or get caught up in what they say afterwards. We might bristle if someone says “the homosexual lifestyle” where even a progressive wouldn’t … and we might then hold their feet to the fire. (Compare, for instance, Diane Rehm, who routinely fails to invite openly gay journalists to her Friday News Roundup shows, even as she discusses gay issues … imagine if she had only men talking about women’s rights or only whites discussing race issues week after week.)

So I say “yea!” for Shapiro, who’s been a great London correspondent for years. He might put the “all” into All Things Considered.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

KERA to interview ‘Mark and Vic,’ Texas plaintiffs in SCOTUS marriage equality case

IMG_0427Mark Pariss and Vic Holmes, two of the plaintiffs in the marriage equality case that was decided by the Supreme Court last week, are Plano-based and will be the guests in the first hour of Monday’s Think, the midday talk show on local National Public Radio affiliate 90.1 KERA-FM. The show airs from noon to 1 p.m. June 29 if you get a chance to listen to it live; it will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m. Monday and available as well on the show’s podcast.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

KERA 90.1 FM changes lineup (and not for the better)

Citing a “continued mission to serve its diverse audience,” KERA is screwing up its lineup, beginning Nov. 12. That’s next Monday.

First off, Morning Edition will now begin airing at 4 a.m., because nothing says “diversity” quite like five hours of one show (repeated every two hours), five days at a time.

The next major change is bumping Fresh Air with Terry Gross from 11 a.m. (with an encore at 8 p.m.) to 3 p.m. I don’t know about you, but I need the salve of Gross’ chipper coo to heal the scratches caused from listening to Diane Rehm blowing smoke up author’s asses from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (I usually like the first hard new hour of Rehm.) Gross’ show, while not live, was a great entree to the lunch hour, and it often has fairly timely items that lead me into my day. It’ll now move to 3 p.m. and the encore is being dropped.

Fresh Air will be replaced by The Takeaway, new to our market, so I don’t know much about it. John Hockenberry is the host; he’s pretty good, but really? Moving Terry? We will have to wait and see.

Tell Me More with Michele Martin was on midday for a few years; I never really cared for it. It may work better at 8 p.m., when I’m rarely listening anyway, though I liked re-catching Terry at night if I missed a segment in the morning.

Think with Krys Boyd remains, from noon to 2, as does The World right after … another show that doesn’t really tickle my fancy. (How about a good program that targets the gay community? I can find the time if I have to…) Then Gross takes her new home at 3 — not a terrible spot, but irksome because it displaces a time she’s enjoyed for ages, and postpones All Things Considered until 4. ATC was on at 4 recently, and the early start time was good because it meant I didn’t have to stay in the car until 6 p.m. to get my daily news wrap-up; now I guess I will.

Then late at night, we go into five hours of BBC programming, because nothing puts the National in National Public Radio like news from another nation.

You can see the new lineup here. Ugh.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Starvoice • 12.23.11

By Jack Fertig


David Sedaris turns 55 on Monday. The openly gay author first came to attention with his 1992 broadcast of his SantaLand Diaries on NPR. He’s written iconic bestsellers such as 1997’s Naked and 2000’s Me Talk Pretty One Day, but received major criticism for an article in The Guardian this past summer about exotic Chinese food and culture that was deemed insensitive.



The sun conjoining Pluto in Capricorn heightens awareness of authority and bureaucratic structures that hem us in, as well as the revolutionary urge to smash them. Impulsive acts of rebellion are disastrous. Revolutions need careful planning.


CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
While your intuitions about money are on the mark it helps to double-check the facts. Avoid dithering and second-guessing yourself. Being rigorous is good; beating yourself up isn’t.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
There is such a thing as being too nice when you can’t hide bitchy undertones. There are no secrets. Whatever you say will slip out. Talk about celebrities instead of gossiping.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Your intuition and advice are worth more than you realize. If you listened to yourself, you’d be better off! Blurting out a secret proves to your advantage if it’s your secret and nobody else’s.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Sudden outbursts reveal hidden depths and secret strengths. Open up to your insightful friends. Working too hard can upset the apple cart. Pace yourself to be effective with your colleagues.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Sassy, daring boldness is atypical for Taureans, but work whatever energy you have to get ahead. You reveal more of yourself than you had intended, but that should work in your favor, too.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Any simmering domestic problems are sure to boil over. To head off resentments, open up to your partner first about personal fears and anxieties and see how that feeds the other issues.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Holidays put stress on relationships. This decade is especially tough for that, and the next few years will be worse. Talk about your shared commitment and learn from rough spots.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Being nice with people can be a challenge, but honing your teamwork skills makes it worthwhile. The real trick is to balance that with creative impulses that require your individual initiative.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Working at enjoyment misses the point. Working toward an accomplishment can slide into obsession. If something is supposed to be fun isn’t any more, step back and think about it.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
When the going gets tough, the tough get creative. A spat shows serious problems unsuspected, but the solution is within reach. It’s not easy, but small sacrifices on both sides fix it.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Your revolutionary ideas are on the right track, but discuss them with an expert who shares your ideals. If your partner feels neglected swallow your pride, apologize, and deal with it.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
What would your perfect job look like? You will have the opportunity to improve your work situation. For now, nurture the ideal.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

“Oral Fixation” tonight at the MAC

Oral Fixation includes a gay-themed story.

Nicole Stewart spent six years in L.A. working as an actress, but the ups-and-downs of her career made her realize the true-life stories of the real people she met were far more compelling than the scripts she was reading. That’s why she came back to Dallas to start Oral Fixation: An Obsession with True Life Tales — an occasional spoken-word series at the MAC. The second installment of the series, which starts tonight at 7:30 p.m., is called “Home Is Where the Heart Is,” and features a half-dozen or more monologue a la NPR’s This American Life, including a gay-themed story from Dallas Children’s Theater’s resident designer, Randel Wright.

Check it out now if you can — the series is on hiatus until March, when it returns with an installment called “One Night Stands.” (Click here for more information.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Driver’s Seat: Mark Trimble, Flutist

Name: Mark Trimble, 44.

Occupation: Musician (flute) and music educator.

How might we know you: My partner Ami Sadeh and I helped create the BearDance events.

Type of car: Blue 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe.

Best car memory? Driving my Nissan 350Z the first time with my partner around town with the top down!

Funniest road trip story: I don’t know if it’s funny or sad, but I had an audition in Tennessee and a drunk driver sliced off a big chunk of metal off the side of the trunk. It was my dad’s Oldsmobile Delta 88. I had to tie that chunk of metal back on the car as it flapped all the way back to Cincinnati where I lived.

Hmmm… we vote sad. OK, buy or lease? Lately I prefer leasing. I get the itch for something new or different about every three to four years. It doesn’t hurt that you can get a bit more car for less money per month!

You play the flute, but ever in the car? I think I’ve played it in my partner’s car while he’s been driving. It’s not at all practical for the driver and it doesn’t work well in the passenger seat either. There are better places to practice. Now I will practice finger patterns for music on the steering wheel from time to time though, and that’s a great way to practice without the instrument.

What do you jam out to? NPR or BPM on satellite radio. Sometimes it’s Beethoven or Lady Gaga.

Don’t you musclebear types drive Jeeps or big trucks usually? Am I really that now? Ha! Maybe I do need to get the requisite truck!  I’m not about all my image with my car, it’s more about the driving experience for me, and I like fun-to-drive cars usually as long as they are roomy enough for me.

Since it’s hot as hell out, how’s your A/C? It is fantastic! I’m lucky to have a garage to park in at home so that it’s not all heated up when I leave the house in the summer, but even when it’s been out in the sun, it cools down very quickly.

Sounds great. So, one last thing: flootist or flautist? Well, it can be both actually.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

WHAT’S BREWING: Morning Edition offers gay cure, Perry too centrist, Miami Beach settles

1. Yesterday morning, NPR did one of their most irresponsible stories in their history. Trying to present a balanced picture, they found a gay man who claimed he was cured. Their conclusion is “the jury is still out.” Here’s the link. Comments can be directed to KERA, the local NPR affiliate. Morning Edition is supported locally by Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas.

2. The Amarillo Globe News weighed in on the comment Gov. Rick Perry made about same-sex marriage being a states rights issue. Their conclusion is that Perry is going for votes from centrists. Interestingly, they point out that in figuring out how to allow a gay couple in Dallas to divorce, the state had to recognize their marriage existed and that, they conclude, is totally unacceptable.

3. The Rainbow Lounge victims weren’t the only ones paid a settlement over the last week. In Miami Beach, a gay tourist who was falsely arrested and roughed up by police in 2009 was paid a $75,000 settlement. The two officers involved were also fired last week, according to the Miami Herald.

—  David Taffet

Mo Rocca at the Eisemann Center

Wait, Wait! Don’t tell me!

You know that man on CBS Sunday Morning who’s really funny and kind of nerdy? That panelist with the nasally voice on NPR’s Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me quiz show. The guy you can’t quite describe other than from the kinda geeky-gay vibe he puts out, but in the nicest way. That’s Mo Rocca. Read full story here.

—  John Wright

Rocca ages

WAIT, WAIT! DON’T TELL ME! | That nerdy comedian is Mo Rocca!

Need salt? Don’t ask Mo Rocca — but as the Texas vet gets older, he keeps getting better

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

You know that man on CBS Sunday Morning who’s really funny and kind of nerdy? That panelist with the nasally voice on NPR’s Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me quiz show. The guy you can’t quite describe other than from the kinda geeky-gay vibe he puts out, but in the nicest way. That’s Mo Rocca.

He’s the face you might recognize but not be sure where from. Rocca is everywhere, whether he’s reporting newsy features for CBS in his special snarky way or adding to the fun on Wait, Wait (or maybe you recall him from the heyday of The Daily Show when he, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell dominated the reports). Now he’s added to his resume as the host for Cooking Channel’s Food(ography) — perhaps the last show he thought he’d be on.

“I was approached to host this and seemed like an odd fit,” he says. “My only experience with cooking food at all is none. I don’t even have salt in my apartment. My kitchen is totally virgin territory. But I needed the work!”

What he didn’t want was to look a fool on camera — although he admits knowing nothing about cooking, he didn’t want to be put in the position of looking like he knew nothing. Instead, the show allows Rocca to use both his comic and journalistic talents to tell the stories of food and its history and how it becomes something else altogether.

“Food has become more the portal into discussing food and history and life. Getting through to people through the stomach because hopefully we all sit down to eat. This is my long way of saying I like talking about history and I get to do it through food.”

He’d dare to call it the best show he’s worked for … this coming from the guy with no salt.

“I went in for a paycheck and have fallen in love with it.”

Rocca juggles that gig using his shtick on the as-fun radio show Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me, which covers current topics with a rotating panel of guests (including fellow queermedian Paula Poundstone) as they test their knowledge with hilarious results.

“Oh, it’s both fun and easy,” he says. “I didn’t know the show because I don’t listen to radio, but I’m able to be funny because I don’t have to create the stuff. It’s there already.”

Which means less work for the clever comedian. With his wit, funny would seem to come as second nature. Instead, Rocca makes it sound oh-so-painful.

“Making something funny is hard work,” he says with breathy emphasis on the hard work. “If I do a piece for CBS Sunday Morning, it’s like crapping out a pineapple. It is so hard to get that thing out.  I think President Reagan used that term first.”

With NPR being in such hot water these days, Rocca didn’t pull out the whole pledge plea. He thinks NPR could actually go in a different direction with funding.

“I do feel badly about [the scrutiny] and it is tricky,” he says. “This is a great product, but if it’s so great then why do we need taxpayer money? I am reluctant to say that, but the reality of it is, it sure would be a whole lot more convenient. But if we didn’t have NPR, the void would be filled by more opinion. And that’s just what we need!”

He jests of course.

Rocca will appear in North Texas Monday as part of the Dallas Museum of Art’s Arts and Letters Live series, but he’s no stranger to the area. His first job in television was here, writing and producing for the children’s show Wishbone. The gig was great, but he does have his regrets.

“I used to live in Plano,” he says. “It was such a mistake. I thought I needed to live near work and the studio was in Plano. You know, plano means flat in Spanish, and it was and there were all these McMansions… ugh.”

If only Rocca had gotten the show he really hoped for when he got there.

“Yeah, I didn’t get the gig at co-hosting Plano Tonight.”

He jests again — but who would put that past Plano?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright