At Home: Laura Steele's Sound Studio

A rock DJ decorates her recording booth with the mementos of her trade.

Q95’s Laura Steele has more gigs than her weekday job as the station’s midday hostess—her raspy voice hits airwaves across the country in commercials and voiceovers, too. To handle the long hours, she added a well-equipped sound studio at home, where she can kick off her shoes and talk to a classic-rock nation. “I turn on the microphone and make sure the headphones are up, and my voice gets to where it needs to go,” she says.

Steele covered the Grammy Awards during the 1990s when she worked for rock station WEBN in Cincinnati. In 1997, she received a framed poster created from a work by American Cubist artist Alexandra Nechita.

Sammy Hagar’s decorates a bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila. The bottle’s seal remains unbroken, despite the best efforts of some of Steele’s houseguests. “I can’t drink this,” she says.

With around 60 buttons, the simple Mackie mixing console is tiny compared to boards in fully equipped studios. But it does the job, making Steele’s voice on the radio crystal-clear.

When Aerosmith played Deer Creek several years ago, Steven Tyler walked up to Steele and licked her cheek. “About 50 people saw it,” she says. “I turned bright red.”

A gift from her mom, Steele’s Gibson Epiphone came autographed by Boston’s Tom Scholz. No, she doesn’t play. “I don’t have any idea how to hold one,” she says.

In 2010, Steele was honored by her alma mater, Columbia College in Chicago, for her “outstanding contribution in the field of broadcast radio.”

Steele’s drink of choice is chamomile tea. She doesn’t do coffee—it’s bad for vocal cords.

Rock ’n’ roll is never far from Steele’s mind. This sign and a wastebasket with images of cassette tapes and headphones came from Target.


Photo by Tony Valainis

This article appeared in the January 2014 issue.