Satellite Sisters

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The Satellite Sisters is an internet based podcast. Previously, the show was a syndicated radio program heard on Public Radio International and ABC Radio. The program began on Public Radio International in 2000;[1] a year after its launch, it was syndicated on 70 radio stations.[2] The show revolves around five real-life sisters living in different cities. Its premise is: the sisters "get together" via satellite to talk as if they were going to meet in person or talk on the phone. Typically, the sisters rotate which days they host the show, and usually the show is co-hosted by three of the five sisters simultaneously.

The show has received 13 Gracie Awards for excellence from American Women in Radio and Television.[3][when?]

ABC Radio ceased syndication of the show on November 9, 2008, and show transformed into an internet based podcast, with three new shows posted per week.[citation needed]

In addition to the radio show/podcast, the Sisters have written a book called UnCommon Senses.[3] Published by Riverhead Books in 2001, the book is short stories about the Dolan sisters' lives growing up in Fairfield, CT. The sisters bring the chapters/stories to life by posting podcast readings. The Satellite Sisters released a second book called You're the Best: A Celebration of Friendship in October 2015, published by Prospect Park Books.

The Sisters[edit]

Julie Dolan[edit]

Julie Dolan Smith is the oldest of the sisters. She is the one "true" satellite sister as she is a "trailing spouse". Among other things, she has held the position of Dean of College Admissions. Until September 2006, Julie lived in Russia and would broadcast the show from overseas. After a short stay in San Francisco, she and her husband moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and then relocated to Dallas, Texas. She has two grown sons. She is also the first of the sisters to become a grandmother. Prior to moving overseas, she had a successful career in academic university administration.

Liz Dolan[edit]

Liz Dolan is the second oldest of the sisters. Liz is a 1979 graduate of Brown University. She is a former corporate vice-president at the Nike Corporation. She played a major role in the development of the Satellite Sisters show. In Jan 2009 she was named Chief Marketing Officer for "OWN", The Oprah Winfrey Network based in Burbank, Ca. She then worked at Fox International as the Chief Marketing Officer. Liz resides in Santa Monica, California with her dog Ferris.

Sheila Dolan[edit]

Sheila Dolan is the middle sister. She has spent the bulk of her career in education including stints as a teacher and principal in New York City. Sheila is based in Santa Monica, California in what she refers to as "The Cozy Cottage." She has one grown daughter, Ruthie. She is often the sister who assumes the "lead" on the radio program. In a recent show, Sheila stated that she often would go into public places wearing pajama bottoms.

Monica Dolan[edit]

Monica Dolan is the second youngest sister. She is based in Portland, Oregon and broadcasts from her home there. Prior to joining the show, Monica spent the bulk of her career as a nurse. Monica has a segment which spotlight fun indie bands or artists. This is segment exposes listeners to new sounds.

Lian Dolan[edit]

Lian Dolan is the youngest sister. She is the "working mom", with a husband and two college-aged sons. She is the author of several best-selling novels, "Helen of Pasadena" (2010) and Elizabeth the First Wife (2013) both published by Prospect Park Books. She has also written a TV pilot. She has written for several publications including O: The Oprah Magazine and Good Housekeeping. She is based in Pasadena, California. She currently writes a column for Pasadena Magazine and writes her own blog.[4] She's working on a third novel.

Critical reaction[edit]

June Casagrande said: "The Satellite Sisters are also cool women - the kind of people I'd like to hang out with".[5]

UnCommon Senses[edit]

Their book Satellite Sisters' Uncommon Senses was published in 2001. People criticized it as "excessively navel-gazing".[6] Publishers Weekly felt it worked better on the radio than on the page, and found "nothing wildly entertaining or groundbreaking" in the book.[7]


  1. ^ King, Susan (June 2, 2000). "It's a Weekly Reunion for NPR's 'Satellite Sisters'". LA Times. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Relaunched on Satellite Sisters". Bloomberg Businessweek. June 26, 2001. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "'Satellite Sisters' Success Story". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Lessons Learned in the Empty Nest – Lian Dolan". 
  5. ^ Casagrande, June (May 24, 2006). "A fun time with the Satellite Sisters". Glendale News-Press. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Satellite Sisters' Uncommon Senses". People. 2001-11-26. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "SATELLITE SISTERS' UNCOMMON SENSES". Publishers Weekly. October 8, 2001. Retrieved October 30, 2013.