On Jan. 3, 2015, Sandra Moran and I met at the Black Dog Coffeehouse in Lenexa, Kan., to discuss ways she could give back to the lesbian community here in the Kansas City area. I did not know her well, but I realized that besides teaching and other commitments, she spent a lot of time writing and running. Two suggestions I had were for her to join the board of LikeMe Lighthouse, Kansas City’s LGBT community center, and to co-host on The Tenth Voice (Kansas City’s LGBT public affairs radio show) every fifth Saturday, about four times a year. She agreed to both.
She was pleased to join the Lighthouse board and help out the community center by speaking and volunteering, but it was the radio show that really fired her imagination. Although she had been interviewed a number of times and enjoyed the experience, she relished the chance to research, prepare, ask the questions, and elicit interesting answers from others.
Here is what I wrote for the Jan. 31, 2015, show when we interviewed Marianne K. Martin, her friend and colleague on the Legacies of Lesbian Literature project: “I have teamed this past year on The Tenth Voice with Philip Hooser, who is a consummate interviewer, who inspires me to research all sorts of topics, and who challenges me constantly. I like to be around people who keep me on my toes with their wit, wisdom, and wide-ranging intellect. And now I have another co-host who fits that description: Sandra Moran. She’ll be on The Tenth Voice every fifth Saturday.”
Sandra Moran and Marianne K. Martin, keynote speakers at National Women’s Music Festival in Madison, Wis., June 2014
In March my guests for one show were Char Daniels, who is Chely Wright’s aunt and the former director of the LikeMe Lighthouse, as well as poet Annette Billings from Topeka. I also invited Sandra to stop by to be interviewed on All We Lack if she wanted to. She did, and you can hear what a congenial guest she was here.
Her next co-hosting stint was in May, and she decided to invite her fellow authors and friends Georgia Beers and Melissa Brayden for a radio show on lesbian romance. Even better, they were traveling in a car so we could interview them together. To round out the show, we added an interview with Michelle Ehlen whose film S&M Sally was going to be screened at Kansas City’s LGBT film festival.
Authors Melissa Brayden and Sandra Moran at the Lone Star LesFic Festival in April 2015.
Author Georgia Beers.
Elizabeth Andersen, filmmaker Michelle Ehlen, and Sandra Moran at the Out Here Now: Kansas City LGBT Film Festival in June 2015.
Sandra immediately got busy and came up with fabulous questions for all three guests. I noted (not entirely untruthfully) that I felt like a paddock horse in the gate taking off at the starter’s gun while the thoroughbred was already three-quarters of the way around the track.
We had some trouble establishing a phone connection with Melissa and Georgia, so they stopped at the side of the road. In the meantime, Sandra was forced to improvise, and she talked about the Golden Crown Literary Society. She made me promise to edit out her “blather,” so I did even though she made perfect sense and sounded fine. After the phone glitch was solved, the show went extremely well. You can listen to the show here.
Within a few months it was clear that she should be a full-fledged host, and she was offered her own show on second Saturdays of The Tenth Voice. She was intrigued, but unsure of the time commitment because she was teaching, working on two novels, and preparing to move with her wife, Cheryl, to North Carolina.
She thought about it for a week or two and then proposed a radio book club in September 2015. I admit to being skeptical, but trusted that any project she took on would be a success. She sent over within days seven full-fledged show descriptions with books/authors, panelists, and notations. She was worried that we hosts and producer (Linda Wilson) would be annoyed that she took the reins and ran with the show. On the contrary, we were absolutely thrilled to have a host prepare that thoroughly right off the bat. We assured her that her show looked like a winner.
And so the Alphabet Soup Radio Book Club was born.