Featured Spotlight Station, Feature

Featured Spotlight Station: The Spark!

Live365's "Featured Spotlight Station" this week is The Spark! We spoke with Frank "Shotgun" McGwire 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?

I wanted to start up my very own internet radio station without the hassle of dealing with music licensing.

What's your studio like?

The Spark! studio includes: SAM Broadcaster, Audacity, Electro Voice RE20 and Shure Beta 58A mics, and AKG headphones all patched through a Steinberg interface and into a Windows 10 PC.

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

Listeners can expect classic rock from the 60s-90s and some tunes from the 2000s. We throw in lots of deep cuts and B-side singles. We even throw some local rock (recorded by local area musicians in South Western Manitoba, Canada) into the mix.

We also program specialty shows such as "Excellence of the 80s," "Monday Night Metal Shop," and Peter Young's "Just a Minute" sports feature. Additionally, we have live morning and afternoon drive shows: 7-9am is hosted by Frank Shotgun McGwire and 4-6pm is hosted by Bryan Elliot.

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

I enjoy the freedom to play what I want whenever I like! The public feedback we get is also a joy!

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

Aerosmith's 1990 Pump Tour stop at the Winnipeg Arena. The Boys from Boston were at the top of their game and gave an outstanding performance. The sound was loud but brilliant!

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

Led Zeppelin

We asked for some of the station's favorite songs. Here's what they had to say!

Here's my list in no particular order:

  1. Little Guitars - Van Halen
    This is just a fantastic rock tune with a great riff, cool melody, and awesome arrangement. This song should have been a hit!

  2. Lakeside Park - Rush
    Regardless if it's the studio version off of Caress of Steel or the live version from All the World's a Stage, I've loved this tune since I was a kid. Even though Neil Peart wrote it based on a place near his hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, it has always reminded me of summertime as well as Clear Lake, Manitoba, which is an hour from my hometown of Brandon, Manitoba.

  3. Tie Your Mother Down - Queen
    This is one of their very best flat-out rockers! That brilliant guitar riff from Brian May gets me every time!

  4. Back In The Saddle - Aerosmith
    This song features one of the best intros in all of rock 'n roll history. If you play this song nice and loud first thing in the morning, you're sure to get your day started on the right track! ;-)

  5. Rocks Off - The Rolling Stones
    The Stones have so many songs that could be on this list. For me, this particular track off of their Exile on Main St. album still sounds fresh today because classic rock radio hasn't played it to death, as they've done to many other Stones classics.

  6. Take It Easy - Jackson Browne
    This is the original version of the tune which made the Eagles famous. I just really dig the arrangement, including the cool guitar tones of David Lindley and Sneaky Pete Kleinow (lap steel guitar). Jackson's doubled-up harmonies are also a refreshing change from the Eagles version. Not to take anything away from Frey, Henley, and the boys, but this version was a delightful discovery when I first heard it many years after hearing the Eagles version a ton of times!

  7. The Ocean - Led Zeppelin
    Yet another iconic classic rock band with an amazing catalog that makes it so hard to just pick one tune to be featured anywhere. But then again, aren't most Zeppelin tracks outstanding?! The problem is, you can't stop at just one, but for the purpose of this list, this is the one I've selected. Great riff, great intro, and the rockin' outro is bloody brilliant!

  8. Hard Road - Sam Roberts
    This is one of my all-time favorites from this Canadian singer-songwriter. With what we're all going through now in COVID times, this song just resonates so well. It's an outstanding track from his We Were Born in a Flame album, which hit #25 on the Canadian rock charts back in 2003.

  9. Action - Streetheart
    More Canadian content! As a station based in Manitoba, we would be remiss if we didn't include Streetheart on our top 10 list. Most folks outside of Canada may not know of this band. But, if you enjoy a great rock track that makes you want to turn up your stereo, you'll really dig this one! If you've never heard this before, you'll get a charge out of Kenny Shield's blood-curdling scream right near the end of the track. Wait for it, wait for it... it's worth the wait.

  10. Nightwatchman - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    What a fantastic deep cut from the Hard Promises album back in 1981! An interesting fact from this album: During the recording of the album, John Lennon was scheduled to be in the same studio at the same time. Petty was looking forward to meeting him when he came in. The meeting never occurred though, as Lennon was murdered before the date of his planned visit to the studio. Petty and the band paid tribute to the slain former Beatle by etching "WE LOVE YOU J.L." in the runout dead wax on early U.S. and Canadian pressings of Hard Promises. If you ever pick up a copy of this album at your used record store or swap meet, you should look for that engravement. The dead wax is nearest to the center label on the record.

Listen to The Spark! on Live365.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!

Live365 Broadcasters! Want the chance to be featured? Fill out the form at the following link: Featured Spotlight Submission Form. (Duplicate station entries will only be featured once. You must have a Live365 Broadcaster account.)

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania