Center Stage, Feature

Center Stage on Live365: The Jazz Station

Center Stage on Live365 this week is The Jazz Station, where they offer up "Jazz for Everybody!" We spoke with station manager Dave Benson 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?

When I was in high school, a local FM station began "underground" radio programming for a few hours a day. I finagled an interview with the PD of Radio Free Madison for our high school newspaper. At the end of the interview, the PD politely said, "c'mon back anytime." I came back the next day. I got on the air and quickly became the station's first music director. I stayed in the business for 40+ years.

What brought you to Live365?

I wanted to format my jazz library the way I'd been formatting rock radio station libraries all these years. I like creating a station "sound" using music scheduling software. I wanted to create a station for an audience of one: me. It eventually grew into something I wanted to share with others.

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

The dress code?

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

Modern, classic, and Latin jazz – plus the latest releases every hour. It's all handpicked music. No commercials, no excess chatter. The Jazz Station is a custom blend of world class jazz artists, eras, styles, and sub-genres.

Our goal is to entertain you with creative and satisfying sets of handpicked jazz tracks. We’re all about uninterrupted listening and discovering new music. We program each hour of every day. The Jazz Station is never just a show on repeat or a playlist on shuffle.

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

Hey, it's real jazz, probably the most under-appreciated format on the dial. Almost no one disagrees with the importance of jazz in American cultural history, but the genre has always struggled to find a meaningful-sized audience.

What's your favorite music memory/moment?

I walked into an underground rock radio station when I was 19 and walked away 40+ years later having worked at some of the best music stations in the country. KFOG, KBCO, WXRT, The Loop, etc. I had dinner with Mick Jagger, went clothes shopping with Tom Waits, kissed Joni Mitchell's hand, sailed on "the wooden ship" with David Crosby, and toured with the Pat Metheny Group. My whole life has been my favorite musical moment. I'm a lucky guy.

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

These are 5 albums that had a major influence on my musical tastes:

Listen to The Jazz Station on and like them on Facebook!

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania