Center Stage, Feature

Center Stage on Live365: Radio Zeta

Center Stage on Live365 this week is Radio Zeta - "Upbeat, Uplifting, Better Music for Austin." We spoke with station manager Josh Davis 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?

We needed something fresh to revitalize our program. We created the station to teach something different that would not only make us stand out from the competition, but also give our students hands-on life skill instruction.

What brought you to Live365?

We were looking for a platform that was easy to use and set up.

What's your favorite part about running your own radio station?

In my situation, it's seeing the ideas that come from the students who surprise me with the stuff they come up with. I also have enjoyed the connections I've made with others in the industry, including those behind our syndicated programming. It also allows me to introduce the students to artists they may have never heard before.

Tell us about your station's programming. What can listeners expect when they tune in to your station?

Mostly you will hear music as chosen by the class running the station. We are a Christian-based center and therefore, our music reflects that. However, we try to play the artists that are not played by "mainstream" Christian radio.

Name one artist that you play on your station that is underrated in your opinion.

If I had to pick anyone, I would pick any of our rock artists. The idea is that Christian rock died somewhere at the beginning of the 2010s. This could not be further from the truth. There are many great Christian rock artists that have been putting out great content. Disciple, The Letter Black, and Seventh Day Slumber, just to name of few. But, a newer band that we play that I really think people should get to know is The Midnight Wedding.

What's your favorite music memory/moment?

In November 2001, I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with Third Day and The Newsboys. Seeing Third Day get together for a Bible study as a band and discuss the scripture solidified my love for the band. I knew they believed what they sang in their lyrics.

Please list your top 5 or 10 songs, with a brief reason why the songs made your list.

My first pick is Five Iron Frenzy's "Dandelions." It's an older song, but it's a great reminder of how we are so much more than what we might appear to be on the outside. Where we might see weeds, God sees flowers and we should strive to see the flowers in others.

The next song, "Freedom" by Run Kid Run, is a song we play on the station. It's titled "Freedom," but it's a reminder that we don't always accept it even if it is free. Sometimes our chains are loose but we continue to keep ourselves in bondage. The song is a reminder that once we are set free (in Christ), we can step out of those chains for good.

A newer song that has made my top five is "Greater" by The Protest, which we play during our louder rock blocks (weekdays 6pm-7am CST and all weekend). This song talks about the reason they do what they do is not about the money or the fame. Similarly, this station is not about making me famous, it's about something bigger: 1. Pointing people to the hope found in Christ and 2. Teaching a valuable tool set to kids.

Number 4 is "Pitiful" by Blindside. Who hasn't heard "God is watching and sees everything" and yet done something anyway? Lyrics like "As they hammered those nails into your beautiful hands, your eyes they searched for mine, but I looked away" were piercing, like they were talking to me. We divert our eyes forgetting that the ultimate sacrifice was done for us. We look away so that we don't feel the guilt associated with it.

The final track in my top five is probably one of our less fun songs, but one everyone needs to hear. "All God's Children" by Tauren Wells brings awareness to the human trafficking problem facing our world today. Many Christian stations shy away from this song because of the sensitive content, but if we believe we are "all God's Children," we should be aware of what's going on and do something about it. My future goal is to use the station to help support victims and partner with the organizations trying to rescue people from human trafficking and modern day slavery.

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania