Meet The Fabulous Out Women Disrupting Talk Radio

These badass bosses are taking up space in a male-dominated industry.

For years, I searched and searched for the perfect podcast. I longed for one that was wildly compelling yet super-relatable. One that made me laugh until Champagne flew out of my nostrils but also had a little bit of heart, you know? One that made me feel connected, anchored into something stable as I navigated this cruel, cold world.

I was constantly being referred to podcasts by my female coworkers at my mainstream media job. The podcasts they sent my way all seemed to be centered around charismatic women who were most definitely talented and amusing— but for whatever reason, they didn’t satiate my desire for the ultimate pod.

Something was missing.

And then I realized that the “something” was the presence of my people. My fellow lesbians. I needed some queer girl energy tossed into the salad bowl, a sprinkling of dyke drama—at the very least, one lesbian’s perspective on life! I couldn’t relate to all those podcasts droning on about how to score a dude. I’ve never been interested in scoring dudes, babe. Teach me how to ask a woman out on a date. It’s a very specific art form.

Then I discovered the DNR studios, which host a bevy of kickass podcasts and live radio shows that star amazing, hilarious, magnetic lesbian women (including Taylor Strecker, whom I used to love listening to on Sirius Radio).

And now I’m a happy lesbian with tons of fabulous audible content to ravenously consume.

Be still my gay AF heart.

Today I decided it was time to get inside the heads of these amazing women who are shattering a male-dominated industry like the badass bosses they are. Kids, truly read their answers carefully. For they bestow any budding lez podcaster with serious gems on what exactly it takes to make a show work.

You’re welcome. Purr. 


Taylor Strecker 

GO Magazine: Give us some background ~tea~. How did you end up in the wild and wonderful world of live radio/podcasting?

Taylor Strecker: I was discovered in a bar… how New York is that? I was best friends and roommates with the receptionist at Sirius Satellite Radio. She took me to a work party, and the programming director for Cosmo Magazine Radio overheard me telling a story to a bunch of people and said, “That’s my radio show host!” And the rest is literally history.

GO: What do you think are the most important key things in cultivating an audience? How do you engage with your audience outside the show?

TS: The key is being authentically you. Audiences are craving realness, and they can sniff out a phony in two seconds. My audience and I really relate to one another, and over the last 13 years, we’ve developed a community that’s really based on friendship! They always say you’re my best friend that I’ve never met!

GO: There is a general lack of lesbian and queer women in LGBTQ media as a whole. Why do you think that is? Have you ever received pushback from the community at large?

TS: I feel like media really supports gay men and have yet to really embrace gay women, and I don’t know why that is, but it needs to change and I’m working on that every single day. I actually came out to my audience on air when I was at Sirius/XM radio, and it was (mostly) well received by my audience, but I did have a colleague mock my coming out story. It was heartbreaking.

GO: Tell us about your show. What issues do you discuss? What’s the vibe? And how do you keep it fresh?

TS: My show is called The Taylor Strecker Show and it’s a female-driven talk radio show. It’s very light and fun and silly. I like to be an escape from reality. I’m waking people up on their way to work, so it’s my job to be their lil’ cup of espresso and get them laughing.

 

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GO: What is the greatest challenge of having a live radio show?

TS: Always having something new yet relevant to talk about. I also share a lot of my personal life on the show, which leaves me super vulnerable to criticism. But I don’t know how to do my job any other way, so I’ve had to develop tough skin over the years. The audience sometimes forgets it’s not a storyline, it’s my life!

GO: What are the greatest perks of having a live radio show?

TS: The f*cking amazing audience I have! They are my everything. They are my friends; they are my family; they are my community… they are my people! They are smart and funny and generous, and I have no idea what they see in me, LOL. I’m not worthy, but I’ll take it!

GO: Where can we all stalk you?

I love to be stalked. It makes me feel famous! Stalk me on my Instagram: @taylorstrecker and listen to my live radio show The Taylor Strecker Show Monday-Friday 8-10am EST, and you can also listen on demand whenever you want on your podcast app!

GO: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Don’t marry that man!


Romaine Patterson

GO: Give us some background ~tea~. How did you end up in the wild and wonderful world of live radio/podcasting?

Romaine Patterson: I came to radio nearly 16 years ago when a program director at Sirius Satellite Radio was looking for a lesbian host/producer. They needed someone with a bit of a name [recognition] and the right background in broadcasting. I was fairly well known in the LGBT community because of my work around the death of Matthew Shepard, and I had just graduated from recording and engineering school. So I was the perfect fit. I really stumbled into radio, and I haven’t ever looked back.

GO: What do you think are the key most important things in cultivating an audience? How do you engage with your audience outside the show?

RP: As a host, you have to be yourself and be incredibly honest. The audience wants to relate to you and your life. If they can’t, then they will move on. I have found that my wild and crazy take either makes the audience love me or hate me. Luckily, if they hate me, they tend to LOVE my co-host, Derek. When we aren’t hosting, Derek and Romaine are out vacationing with our audience. We launched our DNR listener cruises seven years ago and are about to set sail on our 10th listener cruise. We believe in building a strong community of listeners that love each other as much as they love us.

GO: There is a general lack of lesbian and queer women in LGBTQ media as a whole. Why do you think that is? Have you ever received pushback from the community at large?

RP: I spent 13 years on an LGBT radio network and was the only lesbian host on that channel. It was incredibly frustrating for me because I know the value of queer women’s voices. When Derek and I established the DNR Studios Network, we both felt that was something that had to be addressed. Derek jokes all the time that we are a woman-run company because we have more women than men behind the scenes and behind the mics!

GO: Tell us about your show. What issues do you discuss? What’s the vibe? How do you keep it fresh?

RP: Derek and Romaine is a show that helps you take the edge off a long day of work. No topic is off limits, even when they should be. We interview guests from shows we love and people we think our audience will enjoy. Our show is as much about our listeners as it is [about] us, and we encourage them to take part in the show. We have a phone line they can call during the show, a hooker hotline they can call when the show is off the air and leave messages—and of course, we have a live and interactive chatroom that gets a little crazy from time to time.

GO: What is the greatest challenge of having a live radio show?

RP: You never know what is coming next. You can be going down one path with a story and the next thing you know a call comes in from a listener that takes the whole show on a hard turn to the right. We keep things very loose with the structure of our show because those twists and turns are what makes it so damn exciting. Who’s on the line next? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!

GO: What are the greatest perks of having a live radio show?

RP: The audience. Our audience is the best. When our satellite radio show was canceled, we didn’t know what we were going to do next. When Derek and I decided to launch a subscriber-based online streaming radio show, we didn’t know if it would even work. But we took a chance and prayed that our audience would show up and support us. They did, and I can never express my gratitude enough. They are the foundation that we have built the DNR Studios on. They have stuck by us through all of the technical challenges and the growth of this company. They celebrate our successes with us, and they feel like the best friends I have ever had. Everything we do at DNR Studios is to honor them, and I hope we are making all of them proud.

GO: Where can we all stalk you?

RP: derekandromaine.com is my show’s website.

But let’s be honest, you don’t just want to stalk me you want to stalk all of the amazing women at the DNR Studios, and the best place to do that is www.dnrstudios.com.

GO: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Dream even bigger! I have always known that my future would be exactly what I set my mind to, and I have yet to be disappointed. There is nothing I can’t do if I work hard enough. Everybody should feel that way.

 GO: What else do you want us to know?

RP: One of the coolest things about the DNR Studios is that we have an internship that helps LGBTQ homeless youth. A few years ago we were approached by a listener with a nonprofit foundation. She wanted to help support the work we were doing, and with her help, we created the DNR Studios Internship program. We have had over 10 interns from the Ali Forney Center in NYC. Giving back to our community is an integral part of what we do at the DNR Studios, and our listeners have a huge part in making that possible.

Stalk Romaine! Twitter: @romaine33 FB: @RomainePatterson Stalk DNR! DNR Show:@Twitter: dnrshow DNR Studios: Twitter: DNR_Studios

 


Ashlynn Salzano 

GO Magazine: Give us some background ~tea~. How did you end up in the wild and wonderful world of live radio/podcasting?

AS: Katie Castellano, who works at DNR, is a regular at the bar I bartend at called Coogan’s, and one day I saw her in the audience at a stand-up comedy show I was doing at West Side Comedy Club. For some reason—and I don’t know why because I never want to talk to customers outside of work—I went up to her and said, “ I know you!” She said, “Yeah, but from where?” And I replied, “Coogan’s!” and word for word she says, “Oh, I’m always wasted there. I’m surprised you remember me.” And I said, “That’s exactly why I remember you!” Then she came to my show that I produce and host called Hump Day Comedy Night, and she asked me if I had ever done a podcast before. At the time, I didn’t know what Katie did for a living, so I didn’t think anything of it and just said no and walked away to start my show. The next day, Katie shows up to my job to ask me for my email and explained to me that she thought I’d be a great addition to the DNR podcast family. I gave her my email, but again, didn’t think anything of it because in stand-up, a lot of people will offer you stuff or say they’re thinking of offering you stuff. But I underestimated Katie and the DNR crew because about a few days later they emailed me to be a guest on Derek and Romaine’s show! The show was awesome; we talked, we laughed, Romaine gave me a Pride dildo… what more could I ask for?! A couple of months later, they emailed me to co-host with Romaine while Derek was away; we talked, we laughed, Romaine did NOT give me a Pride dildo. Then a couple of weeks after that, I was covering for Derek and Romaine while they were away at Dollywood and getting ready to launch my own podcast, “Ya know What I Mean”! So, I guess sometimes do the things you don’t want to do, such as talk to a bar customer outside of the bar. You might end up with a podcast!

GO:  There is a general lack of lesbian and queer women in LGBTQ media as a whole. Why do you think that is? Have you ever received pushback from the community at large?

AS: Honestly, I feel as women, we’re not used to asking for stuff. I feel that a lot of times, we allow ourselves to take the back seat because “we’re not supposed to be” assertive or aggressive and just wait for people to give us opportunities, instead of going out there and demanding them! I only say this because as a stand-up comedian, I have to remind myself that it is okay to ask people if I can be on their shows. It’s not pathetic or embarrassing. It’s okay to go after what you want. That being said, even when we do take those strides, we’re still forgetting about the even smaller minorities simply because the world doesn’t care to be inclusive all the time. I’ve always received pushback, either from the gay community or the Hispanic community. I always feel that I’m either not gay enough and/or not Hispanic enough, but also too culturally diverse for white people. I don’t know the perfect solution, but maybe we should give all men their periods. That should slow them down for the takeover.

GO: Tell us about your show. What issues do you discuss? What’s the vibe? How do you keep it fresh?

AS: I take the issues I discuss very seriously, I’m changing the world with one tip at a time. I give people tips on things that I’m a professional on like being a New Yorker, working in the service industry, being Hispanic. Also, in the midst of being a little harsh, I like to remind the world that there’s still some good out there by having a good news segment, and then I spin it around with a dumb crime segment to also remind you that you’re not the dumbest person alive, and you’re doing pretty great!

 

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I’m sooo tired of being crazy

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GO: What is the greatest challenge of having a live radio show?

AS: Faking it until you make it.

GO: What are the greatest perks of having a live radio show?

AS: Faking it until you make it.

GO: Why should we all tune in?

People say they want diversity all the time, and I’m diverse as fuck! I’m a Hispanic lesbian woman whose mom is also gay, but not gay in like, “ I have two moms.” No, like gay as in has two children and discovered later in life that she was gay. My girlfriend is white. I’m a college dropout who does stand-up. I’ve been fat; I’ve been fit; I’ve been single; I’ve been in a relationship; I’ve been employed and unemployed! So if you want diversity, then you probably need it, so listen to my podcast!

GO: Where can we all stalk you?

AS: @ashlynnsalzano on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter

GO: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

AS: FOCUS! You know what you want to be, [so] don’t let someone tell you why you can’t be what you want to be. You feel it deep down, and you know who you are, so go show them why you can be who you want to be!


Anne Steele and Kelli Carpenter

GO: Give us some background ~tea~. How did you end up in the wild and wonderful world of live radio/podcasting?

Anne Steel and Kelli Carpenter: We knew Derek and Romaine from being guests on their show when they were at Sirius Out Q. One day, a little over a year ago, they called us and asked for a meeting. They pitched us the idea of doing a podcast at their new studio. They were looking for more women and out lesbian voices. They found our story, as a married couple with kids, one that owns a travel company and one is a singer, to be unique and interesting. So, we decided to cut a pilot, and before we knew it, we signed for a year. We just celebrated our one year anniversary last month!

GO: What do you think are the key most important things in cultivating an audience? How do you engage with your audience outside the show?

AS & KC: We know that in building our audience, we are walking a line between sharing our unique and engaging experiences while still remaining relatable with our everyday life. We travel a lot because of Kelli’s company but also because of Anne’s music and touring. So we do get to tell fantastic stories about exotic places and fabulous adventures. However, half of our life is spent in our home in New Jersey with our kids. We do the exact same things that everyone else does and we talk about that too. So we talk about grocery shopping and dog training and basketball games and cheerleading and school and parents and what it’s like to be a lesbian family in New Jersey.

GO: Tell us about your show. What issues do you discuss? What’s the vibe? How do you keep it fresh?

AS & KC: Our show is a one-hour weekly entertainment podcast. We talk about our lives and what is going on with us at the time. We discuss travel, music, pop culture, parenting, cocktailing, and anything else that pops up. We always have a special guest from the worlds of comedy, Broadway, singers, community leaders, authors, influencers, and so much more. We keep it light and avoid politics because this is such a heavy time, and we try to offer a little respite from all of that.

GO: What is the greatest challenge of having a live radio show?

AS & KC: Our biggest fear is that a guest won’t show up or will be late. The crazy part about only having one hour a week, if someone is late, we just have to wing it! We have gotten better at that, but it’s certainly not what we hope will happen.

GO: What are the greatest perks of having a live radio show?

AS & KC: We have a platform to speak our truth and to make change in this world. There are so many people struggling with being gay or coming out. The idea that we can be positive role models and reach so many people is truly unreal. We never knew how happy it would make us to get to do all of this together.

GO: Where can we all stalk you?

AS & KC: Our website is www.ilovemywifepodcast.com

Instagram and Facebook: @ilovemywifepodcast

Twitter @ilovemywifelive

We are also on iTunes, Spotify SoundCloud, and all streaming platforms!

GO: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

AS & KC: Being the parents of teens, we feel like this is something we think about a lot. It’s so hard to be a teen. Things feel huge when you are that age. We always say that no matter how big it feels now, it will get better. You will grow up, and you will find your people. And be kind. Because life is hard enough as it is without being hurtful to others. Grow up and find your tribe… because you will, and it will be magical.

GO: What else do you want us to know!

AS & KC: What makes our show interesting is that we have access to an incredible network of friends that are super successful in their individual lines of work. These are some of our former female guests: Judy Gold, Sharon Gless, Alyson Palmer (BETTY), Julie Goldman, Sue Wicks (NY Liberty), Jessica Kirson, Dana Goldberg, and Suzanne Westenhoefer. We also have done a couple of series with Melissa Etheridge and Linda Wallem, Chely Wright and Lauren Blitzer-Wright, Stephanie Klemons (associate choreographer of Hamilton) and Colleen Quinn (NYPD), and Ann Hampton Callaway and Kari Strand.