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Pennsylvania transplant finds her voice in New Orleans

Rachael Kostelec

Somewhere between the frank discussions on sex, relationships and pop culture hosted by Chelsea Handler on her nightly television talk show “Chelsea Lately” and the over-the-top, raunchy discussions on, well, sex, relationships and pop culture available on Howard Stern’s radio show, you’ll find the essence of Rachael Kostelec’s new radio show, Plan DD: The Morning After Rachael on (Wednesdays at 9 p.m. central).

“Not as raunchy as Howard Stern,” said Kostelec, “but definitely racier than ‘Chelsea Lately.’ ”

Kostelec begins each show with a few “shout-outs” and rants about things going on in her life or in the news, from “that friend who always needs to be babysat at bars” to the current Penn State abuse scandal, which is of particular interest to Kostelec as she grew up in Pennsylvania not far from Happy Valley.

The show moves to a movie/television review segment, a bar review segment followed by two guest interviews back-to-back, then a panel discussion on the hot-button topics of the day. The show closes with a musical guest. Guests of the first six shows have included local musicians, comedians, actors – even teachers.

Kostelec got her start in media during college at the University of Tennessee, where she was a popular columnist. “People started telling me that my columns were really funny and I was really funny and that I should do standup,” said Kostelec.

So she started doing open mic nights and standup, but once out of college, “I realized that’s a big struggle until you make it and I needed to find a regular job. And once I did that I really didn’t have the time for it any more.”

Kostelec’s real job eventually brought her to New Orleans to work with Louisiana Economic Development in the administration of Hurricane Katrina funds. Once the funds were doled out, however, Kostelec was laid off. She threw herself into her charity work with the W Girls, an international organization of young professional women that holds events to raise funds for various women’s and children’s organizations, for which Kostelec is the local chapter president.

It was at a W Girls event that Kostelec met Rhett Hamilton, a radio producer.

“We just started talking and I was telling him how I wanted to get into comedy again but I wasn’t really interested in doing stand up, I wanted to do something bigger than that, maybe my own radio show, but I didn’t know how to make it happen,” she said. “He just believed in the idea and put it together for me.”

And while it was a definite “right place at the right time” scenario, Kostelec allowed that “it seemed like it happened overnight to other people but for me it seems like a long time coming, because I’ve known I wanted to be an entertainer since I was a kid doing theater and have wanted a show like this since I was in college.”

Though only in the radio game for two months, Kostelec is already producing three other shows – one is a bilingual Spanish culture show, another is a sports show, and the third is a literacy program aimed at kids.

Plan DD airs every Wednesday at 9 p.m. Just go to and type in the show title to listen live or to hear any of the archived shows as well.

Also, the W Girls will be hosting its Hope for the Holidays benefit December 1 at Jackson, 1910 Magazine St., from 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $15 with proceeds going to provide gifts for children of Tulane Hospital. Tickets will be available at the door or email

Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans events and people for NolaVie.


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