I intended to talk to DJ Erin Stereo about her career and work as a DJ and turntablist – which I did, at quite length too – but I ended up asking her a ton of questions about her former career as a 911 dispatcher. So this episode is like a double shot – you get insight into what it’s like being a female DJ and turntablist in a male-dominated industry, and an incredible inside look into the stressful and thoroughly vital work of a 911 dispatcher. This episode is truly remarkable because of it.
Let’s start with 911 dispatch, because holy shit, what a job! In Erin’s own words, “You are dealing with everyone’s worst day, every single day of your life.” She talks about how her sensitivity helped her excel at the job, the rigors of the training program, and why she ultimately walked away from this job (despite its trappings of financial security and surprising level of notoriety it brought her). If this were the whole episode, it would be exceptional on its own.
Fortunately, that’s only half. In the back half of the episode we talk music, both about her gig as a DJ for KGNU, and as a DJ and turntablist. Erin is not a music freak, she’s a music superfreak. We talk about her scouring SoundCloud for new stuff, digging in obscure crates of vinyl for old gems, and how to curate a playlist that mixes stuff people know and love with new stuff they’d never find otherwise. She embraces her role as curator and tastemaker, and that’s really cool.
We also talk about her kicking down doors as a “Female DJ” as we get into discussion about what that phrase means and how maybe she’s co-opted it to undermine the implied sexism and use it to make the road easier for those that come behind her.