What would a radio station be without its programmers? We’re featuring a few of our shining stars behind the mic in order for you to get a chance to put some faces to disembodied voices, and learn a little of what it takes to get into the booth and make radio.
Syd: Who are you and how did you get to the station?
Denise: I am DJ Denise. I am from Vancouver. I’m a long time DJ in the city and I have a whole bunch of different genres that I follow and play. I’m really deep in the reggae and dancehall and Caribbean music scene here. Caribbean Days is a huge thing in my life, ever since I was a kid (I’m turning 41 in April). If people don’t know what Caribbean Days is, it’s a celebration of all the Caribbean islands in Vancouver. There’s a parade and two days of music and performers in North Vancouver.
I’ve been doing Queer FM at CiTR for 6 years now. I started off with two other hosts, Jared and Barb. They were here before I was and I met them at the Cobalt while they were doing a fundraiser for Queer FM. A DJ had fallen through so I was asked to come out and at that event they asked if I could come in and just do a thirty minute mix of Canadian queer music.
Barb and Jared would talk about LGTB news and talk about what was going on in the city and then I would play whatever I wanted. Slowly, one by one, they left. First Jarred left in late 2013 and then Barb got a job at Roundhouse Radio, so I found myself on my own. It was OK. I watched how they had done the show before and followed along with the work they were doing. I’m always talking to people in the city, but even people from the United States and all around the world. It’s far reaching, Queer FM.
S: Is there anywhere you DJ regularly?
D: I’m just djing at Rent Cheque which is a monthly event where amateurs can get up and strip in a competition. I’ve been doing that for a year now; it’s been really exciting.
S: Do you miss having a co-host at all? Do you think you’ll be searching for someone at some point in time?
D: I have been reaching out and I’ve tested out a couple of people so Rama (Luksiarto) was recently on the show in early January. He was featured at the Queer Film Festival last year so I reached out to him and he was really excited having just moved to Vancouver from Toronto. He might come back, so I am excited about that.
S: Do you like the morning slot?
D: I actually love it. I have another show on Vancouver Co-op radio on Tuesdays from 10PM to 12AM. It’s called Urban Renewal. So Tuesdays are my radio day and it’s my favourite time.
I spend a lot of time curating content. Learning about people’s music and how it got started is my favourite thing. On Queer FM and Urban Renewal I focused on Black History Month focusing on queer, black Canadians on Queer FM and black Canadian urban artists on Urban Renewal. It’s International Women’s Day this week too, so I just had some wonderful guests on for that.
So, tell me about the event!
In December a friend [was] looking at different grants. Let’s Hear it 2018 Juno Host Committee was looking for people who would create shows. I put in two applications, maybe even three! For some reason Urban Renewal project wasn’t picked up, but I’m really happy Queer FM was picked up. I’ve never done a show for Queer FM and I’ve been here for six years. It’s difficult to put on a show when you’re by yourself, there’s so much organizing to do. I was a little worried about doing a a queer showcase; I wasn’t sure who I would reach out to. I am happy it’s happening and would like to do more, so if there’s anyone who would like to help out, I’m always looking for volunteers!
There are so many different queer communities in Vancouver, you might not know which one wants to go to your show.
Yeah, it’s difficult. I made this show specifically all ages and by donation so it’s accessible to a larger community of people. It was really important to me that was included.
The queer teens don’t get to go to every party. They’re too sexy!
Too much drinking going on!
*this interview has been edited for clarity.
Catch DJ Denise on Queer FM every Tuesday morning from 8-10AM on CiTR 101.9FM and streaming live at citr.ca. Make sure you head to the Queer FM Music/Art Showcase on Saturday March 10th at Red Gate. Featuring Kimmortal, REID, Prxncxss Aprntly and many more!