As an actress, Kate Curtin has played many roles but her latest role as “The Duchess” on Huntley Community Radio may be her favorite.
It has been three years since Curtin donned a tiara and began broadcasting on 101.5 FM.
“It’s been a great ride, and I couldn’t be happier,” Curtin says.
What started as an Internet radio program has become a spot on the FM dial broadcasting community interest, news, music and comedy, and Curtin says that she is excited to be a part of the fun.
“I never thought I’d be in broadcasting,” Curtin says. “I’ve been able to learn a lot of this on the go.”
Curtin and William Geheren are the hosts of the show “Two Dudes and a Duchess.” Curtin says it was her girlfriends who suggested the nickname, “The Duchess,” but the Lake in the Hills resident made the moniker sparkle and shine.
“She is a positive role model in that she is always looking to help people,” Geheren says.
Curtin initially made guest appearances with Geheren and his partner in the show, “Two Dudes and a Dog.” Geheren says that Curtin demonstrates great ease with broadcast banter.
Each 30-minute show is unscripted, Curtin says. She and Geheren create an outline for the show, though at times they’ve tossed it aside and improvised. They record five shows that air at 10 a.m. and again at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. They also are available through a downloadable podcast.
The daughter of a Methodist minister, Curtin says, as a child, she saw her father as a performer. Each week, he took his place in the pulpit and a captive audience would quietly take in every word of his sermon.
Curtin was 19 when she landed her first major job as the dance captain of the children’s choir in the 1993 Broadway production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The role was a dream come true, and the musical, which was slated for a six-week run, was extended to 18 months.
Curtin left college to remain in the show and pursue an acting career, but soon discovered it wasn’t as easy as she had originally thought.
“You quickly realize everybody thinks this is their next big break,” she says.
So, she opted to finish her bachelor’s degree at Emerson College in Boston. After graduation, she headed to California and found some roles in community theater while working a day job in sales.
Then she went to Arizona and found work in a college admissions office. She met her husband, Ken, and, just six months after they got married, his job transferred them to the McHenry area.
After her daughter was born, Curtin decided to get back into acting. She got a role with the William Street Repertory in “The Rocky Horror Show,” which was staged at the Raue Center For the Arts in Crystal Lake.
“It was amazing,” Curtin says. “That is where I feel at home.”
While she loves the stage, in radio, she has found a new audience and an opportunity to merge her talents as a performer with her experience in marketing to give back to the community. She accepted the volunteer position of director of programming for the station.
“It’s not just about me; I wanted to get more involved to help the station to grow,” Curtin says.
Additionally, she and Geheren promote the initiative #PeopleHelpingPeople, highlighting community events, fundraisers and more.
“We want to entertain and make people laugh, but I wanted more than that,” Curtin says. “I want to give back as much as I can.”