Ken Young has already made an impact on the queer community. He used to be a radio DJ, and even then, he tried to make a space to highlight queer issues. He was even on the cover of OUT FRONT back in the day. He also used to work as a VJ at JR’s Bar & Grill, a popular gay bar in the early 2000s.
Now that he’s stepped down from radio work, Young has a new mission. His podcast, Listening Studio Colorado, aims to put the queer community front-and-center.
“A lot of the folks I’ve interviewed up to this point, a majority of them are people I know who are involved with the community,” he explained. “They’ve given me feedback on what they think of the show and the format. I recently interviewed Feeding Denver’s Hungry, because certainly the issue of people not having enough money and not getting by every month is a huge issue in Denver.”
From local drag stars to charities doing their best for the community, Young is trying to give everyone a voice and tell stories that matter to LGBTQ folks in Denver.
“I think it’s important to spotlight amazing people who are doing great things in the community,” he said.
“Corky Blankenship was my first interview, and we talked about his volunteer work. I think it’s important to spotlight those folks who are trying to make a difference.”
The podcast wasn’t something that Young rushed into. After his career in radio ended, he missed being on the air and doing a community spotlight segment, but it took him ten years before he felt he was financially and mentally ready to take this on as a side project while maintaining a full-time day job too. But now, he’s glad he took the plunge.
“I’ve been so taken aback and just amazed by everybody I’ve spoken to so far, and just their willingness to be a part of the podcast,” he said. “I was afraid that they might think it’s a little campy or not take it seriously, but so far, everyone has really gotten excited about me reaching out and wanting to have them as a guest and talk about their experience.”
Young wants to do even more with the podcast, and isn’t afraid of branching out. As a fan of the local drag community, he wants to do more to branch out. He’s inspired by the work of Jonathan Van Ness, and would like to expand and cover topics that aren’t necessarily specific to the community, but with a queer twist.
“I want to provide a voice of our community in 2019,” he said. “And I hope it does progress. Five years down the road, I hope people will get involved, but right now, it’s just me. In the future, I would hope that people might be interested in maybe partnering or sponsoring it somehow. And I also hope that people look back and see this as a time capsule, a sign of what queer life in Denver was like in 2019.”
Visit listencolorado.com to check out past episodes and keep up with new additions.
Photo by Eric Pung