Radio Milwaukee's award-winning 'Be Seen' podcast returns
Following up on its award-winning debut season, Be Seen returns for another set of eight episodes that will once again take a deeper look at Wisconsin's LGBTQ history.
Nate Imig, Radio Milwaukee’s director of digital content, and Michail Takach, curator for the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project, are both back as co-hosts for the podcast, which recently took home a silver award for Best Original Podcast from the Milwaukee Press Club. Be Seen received that honor for season one, which you can listen to here, and released the first episode of season two today.
“From gay softball to the pride parade, from a civil rights pioneer to a national broadcaster, this season will again demonstrate that Wisconsin’s LGBTQ+ history is everywhere, in every era,” Imig said. “We aim to show you, from the first episode, how deep our history goes.”
“It has never been more important for our history to be seen and for our heritage to be known,” Takach added. “This season, as we explore long-standing community traditions that are flourishing — and even some that have disappeared, we highlight a unique cultural heritage at high risk of assimilation and come to understand that pride is not just a party, but an expression of self-acceptance.”
The season’s first six episodes will be released every Tuesday through June 27, with two bonus episodes to follow. The stories will also be shared in Radio Milwaukee’s Uniquely Milwaukee podcast feed each week.
- Episode 1: Season Preview (May 23) — Hosts Nate Imig and Michail Takach give listeners a preview of season two 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, Paul McCartney, Bette Davis 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 “Southside,” and long-time SSBL board member and ally Mona Garcia. You'll hear from people representing teams from past and present Milwaukee gay bars, including This is It, Harbor Room, D.I.X., Fluid and Woody’s.
- Episode 5: Donna Burkett (June 20) — The story of Burkett and her 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 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. You'll hear interviews from organizers Mary Connell and Lois Ratzow, as well as patron Carole Pecor.
- Episode 7: Unsolved Mystery (June 30) — Carla Mitchell shares the story of the unsolved murder of her uncle James “Jimmy” Spencer, murdered in downtown Milwaukee in 1967 after a volatile relationship with Wally Whetham, owner of the Black Nite. Steve Schaffer from the Wisconsin Historical Society shares the research he conducted with Michail, including insight to 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 Milwaukee County Historical Society will officially recognize the Black Nite site with a plaque from the organization. Michail talks about the journey to receiving this recognition and the legacy it leaves for generations to come.
Episodes of Be Seen will be available for listening on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts, in addition to radiomilwaukee.org.