Longest running LGBTQ radio show celebrates 45 years

The longest running LGBTQ radio show in the country is celebrating 45 years on the air, broadcasting from the KFAI studios in Minneapolis every week since 1978.

Fresh Fruit is a community-based program that has been lifting up queer and transgender voices for more than four decades.

"Sometimes its folks first touchstone to the LGBT community," said DJ Rox Anderson.

Anderson has been one of the rotating hosts on the show for more than 20 years, and a longtime advocate in the Twin Cities. They say the show has had a profound impact on the local LGBTQ community.

"A young person told me that before they came out – before they had the words to say to their parents and friends – they would listen to fresh fruit at night, under the pillow, on their handheld radio so no one would know – and that gave them a safe place to learn and explore," said Anderson.

Quinn Villagomez joins Anderson as a host. She says as a broadcast journalism student in college she was the only queer person in her class, making her think there may not be a place for her in media.

She met Anderson in a transgender support group several years ago, and quickly got involved with Fresh Fruit. She now hosts two shows on KFAI, going by the name ‘Shimmer.’

"Being able to live authentically as a transgender woman and as a woman of color, doing radio is so empowering," Villagomez said. 

Villagomez says in addition to members of their own community who listen, they also know they get some listeners by accident who hear a perspective they’ve never heard.

"I’ve had people find me on social media and they’ll message me and say ‘I checked out your show tonight…you really opened my mind about LGBTQ representation,’" said Villagomez. "It's amazing to see that."

Fresh Fruit airs every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on 90.3 FM.