Photo from Austin-American Statesman
KUT & KOOP Host, LGBT Community Leader Stephen Rice Passes Away
KUT and KOOP radio host and LGBT community leader and advocate Stephen Rice passed away unexpectedly early Sunday following complications from unidentified injuries sustained from an ATV accident Rice was in about two weeks ago while on vacation in Denver with his husband Mark Erwin.
To say the least, Rice was beloved by every person who knew him and this tragic news has left much of our city with heavy hearts. KUT General Manager Stewart Vanderwilt acknowledged Stephen’s ever-present smile in his voice, adding, “He was so engaged and so committed to what we do and bringing people into the experience.”
He was an invaluable leader in Austin’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual community, being deeply involved with and even spearheading events and campaigns with organizations such as AIDS Services of Austin, the Hill Country Ride for AIDS fundraiser, and LGBT community activist group Equality Texas.
A longtime congenial voice on the KUT airwaves, Rice also married his love of radio to his commitment to social justice and keeping locals LGBT informed with his KOOP show OutCast, a weekly program examining issues faced by and threatening the city’s LGBT community and acting as a forum for everything and everyone who makes up, “the queer culture that makes Austin unique.” District 6 City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan said of Rice and OutCast, “His vision and hard work on KOOP ‘OutCast’ gave a voice to many in the LGBTQ community, including myself on more than one occasion.”
A Tyler, Texas native, Rice graduated from Bullard High School and received a degree in History/Political Science from Texas State University, finally becoming an Austin resident in 1992, dedicating about a quarter-century to championing for Austin public radio and the city’s LGBT community.
Photo by: Adam Bouska