A New Day For South Florida LGBTQ Media | Opinion

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It's truly exciting to see the evolution of LGBTQ media in South Florida, especially compared to the competitive and often nasty landscape I experienced from 2006 to 2016.

The collaboration among top media properties now is unprecedented, focusing on serving the community at its highest level as its #1 priority and not trying to put each other out of business.

Jeff Sterling and Scott Holland's HOTspots! Magazine stands out for its comprehensive coverage of everything from nightlife to entertainment, both in print and online.

The emergence of the Happening Out Television Network, under Darren Loli and Al Ferguson's content creation leadership, represents a significant step forward. Their programming aims to educate and advocate across various LGBTQ pillars, akin to community networks like PBS and NPR. This network's nonprofit status underscores its commitment to advancing LGBTQ issues through news, entertainment, and education.

In recent years, HOTspots! Magazine and Happening Out Television Network created a dynamic alliance consisting of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations united in their commitment to enhancing the well-being of South Florida's LGBTQ community and its allies.

OutSFL, led by Jason Parsley and Justin Wyse, offers vital global and local LGBTQ news weekly, making it essential for businesses and nonprofits alike. In just one year, OutSFL launched Mz OutSFL, a drag pageant shining a bright light on the drag community. Additionally, their Out & Proud 50 and Reader’s Choice Awards have become staples in the community.

This cooperative synergy among media entities not only elevates business opportunities through strategic advertising opportunities but also amplifies the collective voice of the LGBTQ community globally. It's clear these efforts are crucial for shaping perceptions and supporting initiatives that benefit the community's future and upcoming generations.

Each of these media properties provides our community business owners the platform to showcase their business to our robust consumers.

Businesses make the critical mistake of slowing down or stopping advertising when things are slow. That is when you need to create a compelling and unique campaign that will stand out. If your business is doing great, then you must focus your attention on one of the biggest reasons successful businesses advertise so aggressively, “Top Of Mind Awareness.” Your business or your brand must be the first thing a consumer thinks about when your product is desired.

As a publisher, I found that the community absolutely embraced stories that featured game changers. It’s amazing how someone else’s story of making a difference can ignite the passion in others to also want to make a difference and take the action to do so. Community members also find it thrilling to see their picture in the publications. This is such a wonderful way to showcase our community members.

It’s a new day in South Florida LGBTQ media. Our unique collaboration efforts are working. It’s a huge win for our community. I am thrilled to have collaborations with HOTspots! Magazine, OutSFL newspaper and Happening Out Television Network and look forward to delivering to our community exciting projects for their enjoyment in the near future.

In addition to those listed above, there’s also OutClique, a fantastic monthly magazine published by Steven Evans that also features nightlife and entertainment content. There’s SkirtSoFlo, a fairly new entertainment magazine focused on our lesbian community, published by Lali Safavi. There’s also Wire Magazine, a lifestyle magazine published by Rafa Carvajal.

Bobby Blair is a LGBTQ media pioneer and leader known for his philanthropic work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. A Florida native, he lives in Fort Lauderdale with his longtime partner, Brian Neal. Blair was inducted into the GLBT Hall of Fame in 2015.


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