The pioneer of LGBTQ+ Broadcast Media
In Seotember, 1996, at the dawning of digital multimedia, broadcast veteran John McMullen launched the first global LGBTQ+ spoken word broadcast service using the RealAudio platform while he was working for the software developer that was first to market with audio and video streaming tools for the Internet.
Initially creating a daily newscast and a weekly two-hour variety talk show for the LGBTQ+ community at RealNetworks, popularity for the service rapidly grew and he and a team of hosts, producers and journalists branched off with a start-up media enterprise that was originally called GLOradio, based in Seattle, Washington. In late-1997, GLOradio merged with PlanetOut Corporation, moved its base of operations to San Francisco, and continued to create and distribute cutting-edge content that was both live and on-demand, including special events broadcasts from the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner, the NGLTF Creating Change conference, the GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies, the Gay Lesbian American Music Awards, and the Gay Games in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
In late-1998, McMullen and co-founder Charlie Dyer severed ties with PlanetOut as a result of a contractual issue and returned the company to Seattle, Washington. At that time, the brand was also changed to the GAYBC Radio Network and its corporate identity was modified to Stellar Networks, Inc.
In 1999, Stellar Networks successfully raised several million dollars in venture capital and GAYBC Radio flourished with growth, ultimately achieving a user base of more than two million listeners. While the majority of that audience was U.S.-based, people from more than 65 nations worldwide were regularly tuning to the 24/7 program offerings at GAYBC.com.
Stellar Networks would ultimately add other niche-audience audio products for women, teens, and was in development stages with channels for African Americans and Jewish communities as well. But, the impact of the events of September 11, 2001 created a scenario that resulted in the company ceasing its other operations by the end of 2001.
McMullen was recruited by legendary broadcast strategist Walter Sabo to relocate to New York City in mid-2002 for the purpose of recreating the success of the GAYBC Radio Network on the nascent Sirius Satellite Radio platform with the ultimate launch in 2003 of Sirius OutQ, featuring some of the same personalities that had been part of GAYBC's (and GLOradio) earlier operations including Dyer, Jeremy Hovies, Michelangelo Signorile, Tim Curran, and Derek Hartley.
As the "grandfather" of LGBTQ+ nationwide broadcast services, McMullen has retained the GAYBC brand and has used it at various times for ongoing events and productions. Today, GAYBC is part of the same organization that McMullen operates iHub Radio and the iHub Network from Palm Springs, California.
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