Be Seen Radio Milwaukee has partnered with the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project on a six episode podcast called "Be Seen" documenting the state's LGBTQ history. The podcast is hosted by Radio Milwaukee Director of Content Nate Imig and curator for the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project Michail Takach and will explore significant queer milestones, events or people in Wisconsin's LGBTQ history. New episodes every Monday, now through June 27, 2022.
Be Seen

Be Seen

From 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Radio Milwaukee has partnered with the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project on a six episode podcast called "Be Seen" documenting the state's LGBTQ history. The podcast is hosted by Radio Milwaukee Director of Content Nate Imig and curator for the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project Michail Takach and will explore significant queer milestones, events or people in Wisconsin's LGBTQ history. New episodes every Monday, now through June 27, 2022.

Most Recent Episodes

A Milwaukee gay man was brutally killed in 1967. His family is still searching for answers.

On Sept. 13, 1967, James Spencer aka "Roger Dallas Whetham," age 30, was found dead in the Eastway Motel, 636 N. Van Buren St. He had been stabbed multiple times. Spencer was cremated shortly afterward, against his mother's wishes, and while the crime was still being actively investigated. He was well-known and popular in Milwaukee's gay community, but vicious rumors about his demise spread like wildfire. Family and friends prayed for justice that never came. In our final episode of Be Seen season two, we dig into the original files for the Spencer autopsy with help from the Milwaukee County Historical Society's Steve Schaffer and an exclusive interview with Spencer's niece, Carla Mitchell. This episode contains graphic descriptions of the crime scene.

A Milwaukee gay man was brutally killed in 1967. His family is still searching for answers.

Remembering generations of lesbian history at Wisconsin's annual 'Old Timers Party'

For four decades, the "Old Timers Party" would unite women of Wisconsin's shuttered lesbian and women's bars to drink and share stories at a much anticipated annual gathering. Before the "Old Timers Party," women were long gathering in historic bars like Wildwood, Nite Beat, Castaways, Leaded Shade and Sugar Shack. But the party changed everything by providing a safe, welcoming, and private space outside the bars that appealed to women throughout the region, until the pandemic put an end to it in 2019. In this episode, you'll hear interviews from organizers Lois Ratzow and Mary Connell, as well as patron Carole Pecor.

Remembering generations of lesbian history at Wisconsin's annual 'Old Timers Party'

Meet the first couple to seek a same-sex marriage license in Wisconsin

This episode features the story of Donna Burkett and her then-partner, Manonia Evans, the first lesbian couple to seek a marriage in Milwaukee County. When denied, they filed a lawsuit in federal court, received extensive media coverage but ultimately lost their case. Michail shares the narrative behind this story with archival audio from Burkett, courtesy of University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee Libraries, and reaction from Wisconsin ACLU Legal Director Larry Dupuis.

Celebrating 46 years of gay softball in Milwaukee

Did you know Milwaukee hosted the Gay Softball World Series three times, as early as 1979? This year marks the 46th season of gay softball in Milwaukee with Saturday Softball Beer League. In this episode we talk with SSBL commissioner Kurt Baldwin, past commissioner Brian Reinkober, founding member Tommy "Southsider," and long-time SSBL board member and ally Mona Garcia. You'll hear from people representing the This Is It team, as well as how Milwaukee helped found the national body of competitive gay softball — NAGAAA — and landed the World Series on three occasions.

Tracing the history of Milwaukee's Pride Parade, from protest to celebration

Milwaukee's Pride Parade is celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, after being sidelined for two years due to the pandemic. This episode features an interview with Parade president Jim Melotte and Chuckie Betz, who is pictured in the "Be Seen" podcast logo and recalls the first pride demonstration in Milwaukee, a radical act of protest in 1971.

Tracing the history of Milwaukee's Pride Parade, from protest to celebration

A conversation with queer media pioneer Bobby Rivers

We kick off season two of "Be Seen" with a profile of Bobby Rivers, a national television host, entertainer, interviewer and actor who began his career in Milwaukee and eventually landed in New York City hosting his own show on VH1. From starting his career in the 1970s interviewing Bette Davis at WQFM to eventually sitting down on national television with celebrities like Paul McCartney, Meryl Streep and many more, Rivers has had an incredible career, both in Milwaukee and beyond. In this episode, Rivers reflects candidly on the good and bad times he experienced in Milwaukee, including the racism and homophobia that caused him to leave, and how he would often work coded messages into his broadcasts as an open nod to the LGBTQ+ community. This episode contains strong language.

'Be Seen' Season 2 Preview

Radio Milwaukee has again partnered with the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project on a eight episode second season of award-winning podcast "Be Seen" documenting the state's LGBTQ history. Nate Imig, Radio Milwaukee's director of digital content, and Michail Takach, curator for the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project, will both return as co-hosts for the podcast. Season one of "Be Seen" received a silver award from Milwaukee Press Club for Best Original Podcast in 2022. The season's first six episodes will be released every Tuesday through June 27, with two bonus episodes dropping after Pride Month is over. The stories will also be shared in Radio Milwaukee's "Uniquely Milwaukee" podcast each week. Episode 1: Season Preview (May 23) Hosts Nate Imig and Michail Takach give listeners a preview of season two of the podcast with clips of what to expect from upcoming episodes. Episode 2: Bobby Rivers (May 30)Bobby Rivers, a national television host and entertainer who had his own celebrity interview show on VH1 in the late 1980s, reflects on beginning his career in Milwaukee and working at WQFM and WISN 12. The episode will feature archival audio from Rivers' interviews with Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Debbie Reynolds and more. Episode 3: Milwaukee Pride Parade (June 6) Milwaukee's pride parade is celebrating its 20th anniversary, after being sidelined for several years due to the pandemic. The episode features an interview with Parade President Jim Melotte and Chuckie Betz, who is pictured in the "Be Seen" podcast logo and recalls the first pride demonstration in Milwaukee, a radical act of protest. Episode 4: Saturday Softball (Beer) League (June 13) 2023 marks the 46th anniversary of gay softball in Milwaukee. In this episode, we talk with Kurt Baldwin, Brian Reinkober, Tommy "Southsider" and long-time SSBL board member and ally, Mona Garcia. Interviews represent teams from past and present Milwaukee gay bars This is It, Harbor Room, D.I.X., Fluid and Woody's. Episode 5: Donna Burkett (June 20) The story of the first lesbian couple – Donna Burkett and her partner – to seek a marriage in Milwaukee County. When denied, they filed a lawsuit in Federal court, received extensive media coverage but ultimately lost their case due to an attorney error. Michail shares the narrative behind this story with archival audio from Burkett. Episode 6: Old Timers Party (June 27) A Wisconsin tradition ended by the pandemic, for decades the "Old Timers Party" would unite the women of Milwaukee's shuttered lesbian and women's bars to drink and share stories. The events three main organizers – Mary Connell, Lois Ratzow and Carole Pecor – are all interviewed in the episode. Episode 7: Unsolved Mystery (June 30) Carla Mitchell shares the story of the unsolved murder of her uncle James "Jimmy" Spencer, allegedly stabbed by his mentally ill and controlling older partner, Wally Whetham, owner of the Black Nite, in 1967. Steve Schaffer from the Wisconsin Historical Society shares in the research he conducted with Michail, including insight into the original case files. Bonus Episode 8: Historical Marker (October) Season one listeners will remember the story of the Black Nite and the archival audio from Josie Carter. This year, the site of the Black Nite will officially be recognized with a plaque from the Milwaukee County Historical Society. Michail speaks to the journey to receiving this recognition and the legacy it leaves for generations to come.

Bonus Episode: Was the Mafia involved in Wisconsin's earliest gay bars?

On this bonus episode of "Be Seen," hosts Nate Imig and Michail Takach address the often repeated rumor that the Mafia was involved in financing Wisconsin's earliest gay bars. In an exclusive interview with historian Gavin Schmitt, author of "Milwaukee Mafia (Images of America)" we arrive at a definitive "not really" in terms of the Mafia's involvement, but that answer is not without exceptions. Be Seen is hosted by: Nate Imig (nate@radiomilwaukee.org) and Michail Takach.

#6: How did Wisconsin respond to HIV and AIDS?

We hear from two leaders of vital organizations in Wisconsin's response: Sue Dietz, the original co-founder of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, and Mark Behar, the co-founder of Milwaukee's first LGBTQ clinic, BESTD. We also hear how today's front line community health leaders are navigating HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. PrEP facts: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html Be Seen is hosted by: Nate Imig (nate@radiomilwaukee.org) and Michail Takach.

#5: What is Wisconsin's longest running gay bar?

This is It co-owner George Schneider talks about creating an intentionally inclusive community at Wisconsin's longest running LGBTQ bar. Then, Michail speaks about his interviews with the late original owner, June Brehm. Be Seen is hosted by: Nate Imig (nate@radiomilwaukee.org) and Michail Takach. WTMJ News Documentary: https://uwm.edu/wtmjsearch/wtmjnewsarchive/49410/