Tag Archives: GCN

Gay Media History - Lou Maletta and NYC's Gay Cable Network: (1984 - 2000)

Remembering Lou Maletta Pioneering LGBT Journalist and Founder of the Gay Cable Network

As I sit here at the 2013 LGBT Media Journalist Covening in Philadelphia I can’t help think of one of the first LGBT media pioneers Lou Maletta, who founded the Gay Cable Network in NYC in 1982.  The first television station entirely dedicated to and created for LGBT community.
Maletta started small with “Men in Films,” which showed  edited gay pornography but soon evolved to covering events important in the community. He was inspired to  expand his programming on Gay Cable Network after seeing the effects AIDS had on a friend  “No one had seen a KS lesion on TV until we put it on cable,” Manetta once said and he went on to develop news programming that gave virtually the only television attention to the nascent AIDS crisis and the ongoing fight for LGBT rights.

Maletta went out and covered everything he could in the community with a sense of mission, passion and the conviction that  to educate people was with the greatest tool of all time — television.

Some of Manetta’s most notable interviews celebrity interviews included Quentin Crisp, writer Vito Russo,  Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Harvey Fierstein, Tony Kushner, director Derek Jarman, Sara Jessica Parker, and Barbara Walters, and also eclectic mix of countless others..

From 1984 to 2000, the Gay Cable Network provided team coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, with reporters on the floor interviewing political leaders from Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, and George W. Bush to Jesse Jackson and Ann Richards. The network also covered LGBT and AIDS demonstrations outside the conventions, as well as countless local and national protests including the 1987 and 1993 national marches on Washington along with covering the rise of ACT UP and providing heartbreaking and moving coverage of the AIDS quilt

Lou Maletta shut down operations in 2001, and sadly passed away at the age 74 of liver cancer in 2011 but thankfully the entire archives of the Gay Cable Network were acquired by New York University’s Fales Library for restoration, and preservation. The footage is a priceless piece of LGBT history and important for the education of future LGBT generations to come.

Lou Maletta was true LGBT Media Pioneer and should always be remembered and hailed as such. I wish he could be with us here today.  But while he’s not in body, I am sure that he is here with us in spirit.

Click HERE To watch a Gay Cable Network Archive Library Promotional Spot w/a ton of clips on YouTube.