Featured Spotlight Station, Feature, Jack Sonni

Featured Spotlight Station: Jack Sonni Radio

Live365's "Featured Spotlight Station" this week is Jack Sonni Radio! We spoke with former Dire Straits guitarist Jack Sonni about their setup, what listeners can expect to hear, and the station's favorite songs. Check out the interview below!

What brought you to Live365?

A Google search for the greatest internet radio station platform is what brought me here!

What's your studio like?

My studio consists of a 2012 MacBook Pro, 2012 MacBook Air, Radiologik DJ & Scheduler software, Apple iTunes/Music, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Blue Mouse microphone, AKG K371 Pro Headphones, Behringer Micro 4-channel headphone amp, and some brown liquor cocktails!

What can listeners expect when they tune in to your station?

Listeners can expect a cross-genre, eclectic mix of music, conversation, and interviews curated by the Leisure Class Collective of Artist DJs, which include musicians, chefs, writers, visual artists, and more.

Do you have any special events coming up on your station? If so, what and when?

We’ll be doing a “festival” broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 17 as a way of introducing listeners to the Leisure Class Collective of Artist DJs, their shows, and the general vibe of what to expect from broadcasts coming from Planet Jack. The schedule will be posted on the website - jacksonni.com.

What’s your typical programming schedule?

Starting at 6am CT, we broadcast “Morning Becomes Acoustic” for 3 hours. It's acoustic guitar music from the great players of the instrument to listen to while enjoying that first cup of coffee and easing into the day. Then, we shift to a segment called "Americana - New & Old," which features classic country and the modern roots artists. I know listeners expect a station I manage to be guitar-centric, so dayparts include “Guitar Wizards,” a show dedicated to the giants of the guitar across all genres. Additionally, we have World Music, “Deep Soul,” and “Funk Nouveaux” shows along with the DJ-curated shows. To stay up to date with the full programming schedule, check out the website.

Jack Sonni Radio is just one element of "Planet Jack." What is "Planet Jack" and how did you get started with the concept?

Since I was a young kid, I’ve been told by parents, teachers, and friends that I live in my own world! So, “Planet Jack” became a way for me to describe the world I live in and what gets experienced when folks hang with me. I have been really beyond fortunate to have met an amazing array of incredibly talented, interesting people throughout my life, and what really gives me pleasure is connecting these kindred spirits in any way that I can. This incredible group includes musicians, writers, artists, chefs, cocktail chemists, wine makers, journalists, guitar makers, et al.

The over-arching concept of the radio station is that this is what you get when you come visit me. You’re going to get music, some familiar, but I love turning people on to music that's new to them. We’ll have craft cocktails, good food, and conversation with interesting folks gathered around the table. It's my world and welcome to it! All of the Artist DJs have the same mantra: if you come hang at my place, this is what you will experience.

The Artist DJs include:

  • Mariano Lusardi, host of “All Over The Map,” is a drummer who also happens to be a magician in the kitchen. He's as passionate about cooking as he is music.
  • “The Latest Spin” host, Brad Johnson, is a fantastic bass player and a true cocktail chemist.
  • William Boyle, the award-winning crime novelist who has a deep passion for music, will host his show of faves and influences, “Just Be Simple."
  • John Kumnick, who played bass for David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Serge Gainsbourg, has a show called “Hidden Treasure - The Bass." It's about music in which the bass playing is an integral part of the song’s magic. He’s also one of the funniest cats and storytellers I know.
  • Michael Ross, guitarist and editor of the webzine Guitar Moderne, and guitarist/composer Joel Harrison host “Modern Guitar,” which features artists pushing the boundaries of the electric guitar.
  • “A Life in Music,” hosted by composer/producer/engineer Andrew Dimitroff, offers original music, interviews, and recordings by an array of artists, including Michael Jackson and Donna Summer, from his time as engineer for Quincy Jones.
  • Richard Citroen, composer/producer/one half of the dance pop duo Lola Duotronic, is the host of “Everybody Loves You When You're Dead.” The show will find him interviewing some of the many artists he knows and has worked with. His latest is a 2-part show featuring Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club.
  • Jill Hecker’s show “YesterKitchen” follows Jill’s passion for classic recipes/dishes from the 30s through the 80s, accompanied by music from the era of each show.

Currently, I host "Welcome to Planet Jack,” a nightly live broadcast at 7pm CT, where you follow the muse for an hour or so. Near future plans include an interview show chatting with famous friends along with “Tales Of The Red Coat,” a nod to the long red coat I wore while performing at Live Aid. “Tales Of The Red Coat” will feature stories about my journey before, during, and after my time with Dire Straits, including interviews with other former members and the touring crew.


My goal is to create a platform for artists to share their passions, with music as the glue that brings us and holds us together. So, it’s Jack Sonni Radio - “Turning You On to the Good Stuff” - broadcasting from Planet Jack!


What has been your favorite moment as a DJ/Station Manager so far?

The best part is getting pictures of folks dancing in their living rooms to the live "Welcome to Planet Jack" broadcast. Downloading the app was a pretty special moment, too!

What is the best concert you've ever attended, and why?

So many great ones, but if it's only one - The Rolling Stones on their 1972 tour for Exile on Main St. The show was at Madison Square Garden, with Stevie Wonder as the opening act. And why? Well, it was the Stones and Stevie Wonder - enough said!

What artist (dead or alive) would you love to see live, but haven't had the chance to see?

It's a 2-way tie: Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon, preferably together!

We asked for some of Jack's favorite songs. Here's what he had to say!

A good topic for a show! In no particular order:

  • Can't You Hear Me Knocking - The Rolling Stones
    This is a bluesy, funky, greasy, rock 'n' roll groove, and it's great playing from the band with Bobby Keyes on the sax.

  • Whipping Post - The Allman Brothers Band
    What a groundbreaking and stunning performance, and it shaped my own musical direction as a guitarist.

  • The Sire of Sorrow - Joni Mitchell
    Picking one out of this genius' amazing catalog of work is almost impossible for me. I believe this to be an apex of her powers as a songwriter and singer. If I was forced to pick one artist to listen to on a desert island, Ms. Mitchell would be my choice.

  • Flamenco Sketches - Miles Davis
    This is transcendent playing from the giants of jazz. Also, Bill Evans' piano solo may be the most perfect I've ever heard.

  • Talk It Over - Grayson Hugh
    Unfortunately, Grayson Hugh is not well known and is an underrated artist. This is the best Marvin Gaye song not written by the man himself.

  • Stay - David Bowie
    What a ferocious performance, a grand collision of funk and rock 'n' roll! This was another direction-setting recording for me.

  • Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover) - Scary Pockets feat. Elise Trouw
    I'm obsessed with this wildly talented collective of musicians who do funked up covers of all kinds of songs. This one has an outstanding groove, flat-out nuts horn charts, and a fantastic vocal performance by Elise Trouw. Get your dancin' shoes on, chilluns!

  • Are You Experienced? - Jimi Hendrix
    This was a life-changing recording for me. Hendrix showed me what could be done with the electric guitar; it's more than just a guitar, but an orchestra in and of itself. The song's message has become part of my philosophy and approach to life. Jimi asks "if we are experienced?," meaning do people experience us - who we truly are when we meet?

  • Ride Across the River - Dire Straits
    To say that I'm proud of being part of the recording of this album would be a gross understatement. Life changing? Totally. 36 years on, the shadow cast by the band still looms large in my life. This song is my favorite from the album and became a showcase for my playing during the live shows.

  • One For My Baby & Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra
    The Chairman of the Board gets two, because he's the Chairman of the Board. The Voice was ever-present in my home while growing up. Hearing any recording of his, but especially these two, brings back many memories and the childhood dream of being a great singer. Some dreams come true, some do not!


Listen to Jack Sonni Radio on Live365.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram!

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania