Bill Gruber is program and music director at WAPS-FM 91.3 the Summit, Akron's member-supported, commercial-free radio station.
What have you been listening to lately?
I always hate to answer this. I'm the musical Kiss of Death. Everything musical that I take a personal interest in is inevitably relegated to the lowest levels of Dante's concentric rings of career-success hell. So rather than ruin yet another promising musical career, I plead the Fifth.
What do you listen to that your station doesn't play?
This job puts you in a strange situation: Working in an open-office situation nine-plus hours a day, you can listen only to 91.3 the Summit without disturbing others nearby. So 90 percent of my new-release listening happens at home, at night, and on weekends, leaving little time for truly personal listening. I have a huge music library at home, and one of these years I hope to have a chance to actually listen to it. In the car, I make it a habit to flip back and forth between the local liberal and conservative talk stations to try to find the pragmatic middle ground, where most truth usually lies.
Who are some artists you're proud to have played on your station first?
There have been many over the last 20 years. We've been given credit by artists and labels for many "first-in-Ohio" debuts over the years: David Gray, Sarah McLachlan, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Train, Tori Amos, Jack Johnson, Los Lonely Boys, Aqualung, James Blunt . . . among others.
Who's on your list of bands to watch in 2006?
Keep an eye on names like Greg Johnson, Mat Kearney, Augustana, Imogen Heap, My Morning Jacket, and KT Tunstall.
The Summit has more local artists in regular rotation than any other station. Who's ready for the national spotlight?
All of our 91.3 Summit local music is ready for national attention. We wouldn't play it if it weren't. Visit the Music Chart page at www.913thesummit.com, link, listen, and judge for yourself.