Center Stage on Live365 this week is Amazing Lite Music, featuring a mix of today's soft hits and yesterday's lite favorites! We spoke with station manager Bernardo Moronta about their history with radio, their station's programming, and we got some music recommendations. Check out the interview below!
What made you get started in radio?
Radio's ability to provide a personal connection and companionship is what got me through my teenage years, inspired me to get into the business, and made me a lifelong fan. My aunt's transistor radio was basically glued to my ear 24/7 when I was in my teens. I listened to music on tons of iconic New York City radio stations and I loved checking out live Yankee games. I used to wake up early on Saturday mornings to sneak away and listen to Suzyn Waldman's Yankee reports during Richard Neer's show on WFAN. I was floored when I did a high school report with WFAN as the subject and was lucky enough to get invited by Chris "Mad Dog" Russo himself to watch Mike & The Mad Dog in person and later interview Chris one-on-one. I chose my college mainly because Imus In the Morning's producer Bernard McGuirk graduated from there. I would call Z100 and get on the air all of the time and then tape myself off the radio as the jocks played me back. As I started my career, I had the honor of actually working at both Z100 and WFAN, where I learned basics and principles that shaped me as a professional. I worked in radio for 20 years and in 2012, decided to launch an internet radio adventure that continues to this day.
What brought you to Live365?
Live365 is the best choice for U.S.-based indie internet radio operators looking for a one-stop shop. We needed a cloud server, content management, licensing coverage, and distribution, and Live365 covers it all for one price. We actually launched our first-ever internet radio station, the popular and critically acclaimed Planet Candela, on the old Live365 back in 2012. So running Amazing Lite Music on Live365 nowadays is a homecoming of sorts for us.
What's your favorite part about running your own radio station?
The freedom. We can literally play whatever we want, whenever we want (as long as we're complying with the DMCA gods, of course). We can experiment with different types of approaches, adjust according to trends, and pivot when appropriate. Having a blank canvas is so powerful and liberating and makes it exciting and fun not only for us, but for the listener as well.
Tell us about your station's programming. What can listeners expect when they tune in to your station?
We're aiming to bring back the true Soft AC sound, but with an eclectic and modern twist. Local lite FM stations and even many online lite stations tend to go very mainstream and gold-based when presenting the lite music format. They also stray away from easy listening and go too "hot." We keep it nice and chill with a mix of proven songs from a diverse array of genres, and new music that we think is worthy of being played on a station with such a selective aura :-)
Name one artist that you play on your station that is underrated in your opinion.
What's your favorite music memory/moment?
My favorite moment of all time was watching and listening to Darren Hayes from Savage Garden perform my wedding song, "I Knew I Loved You," on YouTube with Gary Barlow from Take That. Darren's vocals were still so crisp and beautiful 22 years after the original recording. Just breathtaking. A close second is watching Rob Thomas perform "3AM" live and acoustically at Mohegan Sun Arena. It's one of my favorite songs of all time and I just couldn't believe how pitch perfect his performance sounded.
Please list your top 5 or 10 songs, with a brief reason why the songs made your list.
This is so difficult to do, there are just so many great songs. But here goes...my top 10 personal favorites (which also all happen to be tracks that can be heard on Amazing Lite Music):
"I Knew I Loved You" - Savage Garden (performed by Darren Hayes & Gary Barlow)
What an awesome performance - Darren's vocals are on point!
"End of the Road" - Boyz II Men
It doesn't get any better than this R&B classic.
"3 AM" - Matchbox Twenty
The lyrics are about Rob's mother having cancer, and I actually lost my own mom to cancer when I was a baby. So I have always really connected with this song. It's so haunting and powerful.
"Everywhere" - Fleetwood Mac
This is pop perfection. A classic band in harmony at all levels.
"Set Adrift On Memory Bliss" - P.M. Dawn
Takes me straight back to more innocent times - great song by an extremely underrated artist.
"Burbujas De Amor" - Juan Luis Guerra
My aunt loved Juan Luis and this romantic song. Hearing this track always brings back memories of her.
"Always Be My Baby" - Mariah Carey
Peak Mariah. She was at the top of her game.
"How Do I Live" - LeAnn Rimes
One of the most impressive recorded performances ever.
"You and Me" - Lifehouse
Diamond in the rough - this song deserves more recognition!
"Easy" - Commodores
A classic. Timeless.
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