Gay activist Wayne Besen joins WCPT

Wayne Besen

Wayne Besen

Famed gay rights activist and author Wayne Besen is joining the weekend lineup of Chicago’s progressive talk radio station.

Starting April 19, Besen’s “I’ve Got Issues” will air from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturdays on Newsweb Radio’s WCPT AM 820 (simulcast on WCPY FM 92.5, WCPT FM 92.7 and WCPQ FM 99.9).

On what’s billed as a “political current events show,” Besen is expected to cover a full spectrum of topics, interview guests and take calls from listeners. Newsweb Radio is producing the live, local talk show from its studios.

“In this critical election year, we need strong voices to frame the issues and help steer America in a progressive direction,” Charles Gross, president of Newsweb Radio, said in a statement. “We are excited about this hard-hitting new show that will debate the critical local and national issues that affect our lives.”

Besen is founder and executive director of Truth Wins Out, a Chicago-based nonprofit group dedicated to fighting antigay prejudice. He is the author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth and Bashing Back: Wayne Besen on GLBT People, Politics and Culture. He also worked as a reporter for WABI-TV, the CBS affiliate in Bangor, Maine.

“I’ve spent my entire life fighting for progressive causes and I’m honored to have this unique platform to advance the issues that I care deeply about,” Besen said in a statement. “There are those who want to turn back the clock in America, and our job as progressives is to keep the clock ticking forward. This show will be a vehicle for promoting innovative ideas and key progressive solutions.”

Besen’s new show will follow Dick Kay’s “Back on the Beat,” which airs from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays on WCPT. Rebecca Costa’s “The Costa Report,” now airing from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturdays, will be cut to one hour and moved to 10 p.m. Saturdays.

Matt Comings, operations manager of WCPT, said the addition of “I’ve Got Issues” expands the station’s “Pride Radio Project.” WCPT also boasts an openly gay morning personality, Stephanie Miller, whose syndicated show air from 8 to 11 a.m. weekdays, and the weekly “Out Chicago,” hosted by Scott Duff at 11 a.m. Sundays.

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WCPT FM tied for 34th place overall with a 0.5 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 121,400. WCPT AM tied for 42nd with a 0.3 share and weekly cume of 71,000.