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November 4, 2021 32 mins
Illustration of Deirdre O'Donoghue with birds and a cup of tea
Illustration by Meredith Schomburg

In episode two of Bent By Nature, co-producer Bob Carlson explores the life of influential and enigmatic DJ Deirdre O’Donoghue behind the mic. Born in New York City and DJing across the country before landing at KCRW to host "SNAP!", O’Donoghue didn’t talk much about her past or private life — even in the face of personal demons, and eventually, her deteriorating health. 

But O’Donoghue’s fierce passion for music manifested in close friendships with those who came through her studio and beyond, from artists like Michael Stipe and Julian Cope, to record store owners, to young station volunteers she nurtured and mentored. Even amidst a kind of self-appointed solitude, O’Donoghue devoted herself to those she chose to let in, coming to the aid of artists in dire straits and offering solace within her record-filled apartment alongside a cup of tea and her cherished pet birds.  

Her presence could, and did, change lives. Here, some of O’Donoghue’s closest friends, including Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano, Tricia Halloran, and the late Pat Fish of Jazz Butcher, reflect on O’Donoghue’s life away from the studio and the many stories they shared. 

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