Reverend David Smith is the new host of Sunday night’s Best of Gospel, 7–9 pm, replacing long-time host Sister Linda and our interim hosts, Ernest Brazzel and Anna Dorn. Rev. Smith is pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church in Madison and founder and former host of WTDY’s gospel show, Let’s Go to Church. We wanted to know what makes him so passionate about gospel music.
What was the first piece of music you paid money for? What made you want to buy it? Where did you buy it? My first musical purchase was an album of the Clark Sisters. I was inspired by the harmony and music of this group. They blended together better than I have ever heard vocals blend. I bought it at the “One Way Bookstore” in Madison, WI.
What was the major turning point in your music listening experience? Sitting and listening to two wonderful individuals play the organ. They had the instrument humming so beautifully that I just had to learn how to play it. From then on I was in love with the Hammond B3 organ and gospel music.
What got you headed musically in your current direction? I started writing songs in my early 20s. I learned to play by ear. Because of my life in Christ and my love for music I was able to combine the two and found myself engulfed in gospel music.
Why gospel music? It inspires me. It encourages me. It empowers me. It brings glory to God! It’s the good news.
What are some of the memorable live shows you’ve seen? I played drums for the world renowned Barrett Sisters out of Chicago. I attended a live Clark Sisters concert. I sang in a community choir under the direction of Richard Smallwood and had the great privilege of meeting Tremaine Hawkins at a Gospel Fest.
Why volunteer as a DJ for WORT? WORT has been a constant community entity bringing great music and information to its listeners. I enjoy the mission and work that WORT has demonstrated and its commitment to provide a community-based forum and stage for great conversation and music enjoyment. I should also mention that they are a great bunch a people to work with too!
Besides gospel music, what else are you passionate about? I am passionate about preaching, consoling families who are going through hard times, listening to music, traveling and, last but not least, spending time with my wife, Tracy, and our kids.
Sedrick Hibbler (“Sed the Jerk”) is the new host of the soon-to-be-renamed WORT hip hop show, The After Party, Saturday mornings, 2–6 am. Sedrick describes his show as “the perfect balance of hard-hitting hip hop, local artists and R&B.” He’s a recent graduate of Madison Media Institute and has worked with Bo$$ Lady on Universal Soul Explosion (Sunday mornings, 12–3 am).
What was the first piece of music you paid money for? What made you want to buy it? Where did you buy it? The first piece of music I purchased was the Beatles “Let It Be” single for $2.99. I only had $5 so I couldn’t buy the whole album. I wanted to sample it into a hip hop beat but I had no idea how to make beats at the time. I bought it from Sam Goody at the Janesville Mall.
What was the major turning point in your music listening experience? The major turning point was when I started college for audio engineering (which I graduated from today!). Being a part of the song creation process allows me to decipher what true talent is A LOT better than I used to.
Why hip-hop? That’s all I grew up around and once upon a time I was a very hard-headed individual and hip-hop music related the most to my lifestyle choices growing up.
Tell us about a memorable live show you’ve attended. I’ve never attended a show that I wasn’t working at. One live show that I will not forget was the Peter Frampton show.
Why volunteer for WORT as a DJ? WORT is doing so much in and for the community and I want to be involved.
Besides music, what gets you passionate? Besides music, my passion is my wife and my kids. They keep me going and allow me to pursue my dreams.
Helena White is well-known to WORT listeners as one of the hosts of Monday’s local news show, In Our Backyard, 6–7 pm. She’s also been a substitute co-host for Sunday’s international music show, On the Horizon, 3–5 pm. With the departure of Jason Rowe, we welcome Helena as she joins Ford Blackwell and Paul Novak as a co-host for On the Horizon.
What was the first piece of music you paid money for? What made you want to buy it? Where did you buy it? “The Stranger” by Billy Joel! I was about 14 years old and I liked the song “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” I was in Iowa City, Iowa.
What got you headed musically in your current direction? I am an old Punk Rocker, so I love 70’s and 80’s Punk from the UK and the US. I became politically active when I went to UW-Madison in the 80’s, and that has also influenced my musical choices.
Why world music? I have done a lot of traveling in Asia, Southern Africa, Latin America and Europe, so I have encountered a lot of wonderful folk and popular music during my travels.
What is the most memorable live show you’ve seen? Boy, hard to choose. Manu Chao in Chicago was amazing because the audience ranged from children to hipsters to grandmas and everyone was singing along to the lyrics.
Just last summer I was blown away by Hanggai from China/Mongolia, Los Cojolites from Mexico and Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba Band from Mali. But we also have fabulous local bands like The Cajun Strangers.
Why volunteer as a music host for WORT? Because it is more fun than clean socks! I get to play what I love. Fortunately, our listeners love world music.