One on One with Anna DeShawn of E3 Radio

Anna DeShawn is a Chicago-born social entrepreneur who made her passion a reality when she founded E3 Radio in 2004. E3 Radio prides itself on producing authentically-edgy socially conscious media. The voices listeners hear on E3 Radio are those persons personally affected by the issue or issues being discussed. Anna believes you must create authentic programming in order to create real change. She utilizes her internet radio show to tell the stories of underrepresented people around the world.

PrideIndex: I’ve heard so much about your show and now I have the great pleasure to talk with you; how did the idea for The Anna DeShawn Show come about?

Anna De Shawn: First, I want to say thank you so much for reaching out to me for this interview. I’m glad the word is getting out not only about my show but E3 Radio. The Anna DeShawn Show came about because I wanted a way to distribute my PSA campaign, “U Know Me.” U Know Me is a collection of interviews I conducted with queer youth of color about their life and experiences. I tried syndicating the campaign to college radio stations but no one was biting, so I decided to start my own show and play my own campaign. Believe me The Anna DeShawn Show was never in the original plan.

PI: Tell me what do you want listeners to take away from it?

AD: I want my listeners and fans of E3 Radio to have authentic conversations that will begin to create change in how they think about the world around them. What’s missing from media today are honest conversations and that’s what we are providing. Not only with my show but Conversations with Angie Harvey and Phenomenal Soul Sessions; the other two programs on the network.

PI: Why do you believe your show is so important to the LGBT community?

AD: It’s growing in importance because people want to have real talk. People desire a safe space to share their thoughts, experiences, and struggles. Online radio is an amazing platform to provide just that. You incorporate the anonymity of radio with the interactivity of being online and you have an awesome balance for today’s audience.

PI: Describe any notable challenges you faced and how you overcame them to bring the show to the market place.

AD: There are always challenges when launching a new venture. My entrepreneurs know what I’m talking about. Of course, funding and time are two of my challenges, but I’d say my biggest challenge is dismantling the idea that online radio is not real radio. We are “real radio.” We talk about real issues, we play real music, and we can reach anyone in the world.

PI: You cover a wide of subjects from relationships, to LGBT teen suicide, how do you decide which topics to cover?

AD: I like to talk about things people care about. I get ideas from fans, conversations I have with friends and co-workers. If there is a controversy in the news, I always like to bring that to my audience as well. E3 stands for educational enlightenment and empowerment through radio. So, I strive to meet that mission with the topics I chose for the show.

PI: What do you find most enjoyable about what you do?

AD: I really enjoy talking with my guests and listeners. Everyone has a story to tell and you never know what to expect. I believe we live by the stories we’re told and I want to tell the positive stories of women and queer people of color (QPOC).

PI: Briefly tell us the funniest thing that ever happened during a taping?

AD: The funniest thing, that’s a tough one. I can speak to the toughest show I’ve ever done. That was by far the Teen LGBT Suicide show. That program was the first time I actually cried after the show ended. So many people called in and shared their own stories of attempted suicide and hope. I believe it really helped uplift people’s spirits. I had to replay it the following week.

PI: While browsing your website I had the pleasure of listening to some hot music! Do you accept submissions from independent artist?

AD: Yes, yes, yes. I love the independent music out there and I want to continue highlighting the art on my show and the network. We must support each other. All independent artists please send us your music to

PI: Where did you receive your formalized training?

AD: I received my undergraduate degree from Drake University in Radio-Television production. Then I went on to complete my Masters in Communications from Ithaca College. Both of these experiences afforded me numerous opportunities to pursue my passion and gain experience. I’d say the first time I realized radio was my passion was in college at Drake. I worked at a local radio station turning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. I’d do the weather and news live on the air and it was thrilling. I loved the idea that I could be in jeans and a t-shirt but speak to thousands of people every day.

PI: Name 3 people who have most affected your artistic background.

AD: It starts with my parents because they always encouraged me to be involved in many different activities. They always made sure I had an opportunity to try a new instrument, a new choir, or a new sport.

For broadcasting, I’ve always admired Robin Roberts. Growing up I desired to be a sportscaster and seeing her on ESPN commentating was inspiring. Now that’s she on Good Morning America on ABC-TV  I have even more appreciation for her versatility and growth.

In business, Cathy Hughes {founder of Radio One] hands down. She has built a radio network from the ground up and continues to be an innovator of the airwaves. I really look at her model of growth to see how I can build E3 Radio in the same fashion.

PI: What other projects are you working on?

AD: Right now, I’m focusing on E3 Radio. It’s my #1 priority. Through the network I end up working with other people in the community and their events but I’m trying my best to just focus on one thing which is really hard for me, but it’s essential all I’m doing right now.

PI: Do you have any other interests outside of your radio show?

AD: I love athletics, so right now I’m completely engaged in the NBA playoffs. Go BULLS! I also enjoy listening to music, social networking, and hanging out with my nephews.

PI: What are your plans for expansion?

AD: Over the next six months I plan on adding more shows to the network. Before I do that I need a few Assistant Producers, so if you’re reading this and are interested please contact me. I’m also looking to partner with non-profits to provide them a platform to get their message out to the masses. We still have a lot of growing to do in the community. So, we will continue hitting the pavement to get out the word about our programs and services.

PI: What can we look forward to in your future?

AD: The future is promising for E3 Radio. We are going to add some new shows, more promotions, and don’t tell anyone but concerts as well. I’m really looking to step up our engagement and networking with the community.