Pittsburgh’s First Gay Newspaper: Pittsburgh Gay Times

 

Pittsburgh Gay Times, (PGN) was Pittsburgh’s first gay newspaper.  It was an almost immediate success and soon expanded distribution around the tri-state region.  In September of 1976, however, due to unexpected circumstances in his personal life, PGN publisher Jim Austin was forced to relinquish control of PGN to the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News Mark Segal.  The following month, Pittsburgher subscribers received a Pittsburgh edition of the Philadelphia Gay News instead of their usual PGN.  

In the fall of 1977 Jim Austin set to work in creating a new locally-based periodical Gay Life.  In its first issue, Gay Life made it clear that it was not attempting to replicate PGN but rather sought to fulfill one of the uppermost priorities for its readers:  socialization.  Their goal as stated in the first issue is “to make sure that you who pick up a copy of Gay Life have at your fingertips, in an easy-to-digest format, all of the information necessary to give you, the reader, the opportunity to enjoy a healthy gay social life in the Pittsburgh area.” In September 1979, Gay Life published its final issue.  The success of the publication and the demand for more content led original publisher Jim Austin and his business partner Brian Michaels to transition the small tabloid style magazine into a larger full-size magazine entitled Out.

In the fall of 1980 Out began publishing each issue as a full size newspaper.  The first few issues were published with a Gay Life supplement, however, this supplement disappeared in 1981 and eventually Pittsburgh was left with Pittsburgh’s OUT. Pittsburgh’s OUT was the city’s longest running gay news publication until it ceased publishing in 2012.