Three Out of Three Ain’t Bad
Third Season of OWU Faculty Member’s TV Show Earns National Syndication
If Ohio Wesleyan University faculty member Eric Gnezda were playing darts, he’d have just scored a hat trick – three consecutive bullseyes.
In Gnezda’s case, the longtime OWU speech lecturer, award-winning songwriter, and Emmy-nominated TV producer has earned national syndication for three consecutive seasons of his popular television show, “Songs at the Center.”
Season three of the show, which spotlights accomplished singer-songwriters, will debut locally at 11 p.m. Jan. 21 on WOSU-TV. The show is distributed nationally by American Public Television (APT) and currently is aired on more than 140 stations around the country.
Gnezda, a 1979 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, is the show’s creator and host. He talks about “Songs at the Center” in the January edition of Ohio Magazine.
“Ohio is rich in songwriting talent, and that’s really what got this started,” Gnezda tells magazine writer Lori Murray. “I know so many talented songwriters in this state, and I wanted to give them the opportunity that I’ve had for the past 25 or 30 years.”
“Songs at the Center” is taped at Worthington’s McConnell Arts Center (MAC), which, Gnezda says, has just been awarded a “Lifting Lives” grant through the Academy of Country Music to support two episodes focused on music and healing. The episodes will be taped at 7 p.m. Jan. 28. (Seating begins at 6:30 p.m., and admission is free.)
Gnezda, part of OWU’s Department of Journalism and Communication, also works to provide internships and other theory-into-practice experiences for Ohio Wesleyan students. This year, Sydney Simmons ’19, a business administration major with a concentration in marketing, has been working with Gnezda and “Songs at the Center.”
“This internship is helping me make great strides toward a career in marketing,” says Simmons, a Worthington resident. “It is such a cool experience to see the topics I learn in my classes directly applying to the real world. It really gives me a lot of confidence in my education here at Ohio Wesleyan to know that I am learning crucial skills for my future career.”
In addition to his work on “Songs at the Center,” Gnezda also is collaborating with the Greater Columbus Arts Council in support of its Columbus Makes Art project, and he will be the featured presenter at 3 p.m. Jan. 28 at Gramercy Books, Bexley, where he’ll blend his music with readings from his 2009 memoir, “The Safe Life,” a narrative about growing up with a disabled father.
Other presenters at the bookstore event will include fellow OWU graduate and poet Maggie Smith ’99, who earned international acclaim over the summer for her poem “Good Bones.” The poem was shared by thousands of people via social media following the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando and is scheduled to be featured April 9 in an episode of CBS TV’s “Madam Secretary” starring Téa Leoni.
Learn more about Gnezda at http://gnezda.com, more about “Songs at the Center” at http://songsatthecenter.com, and more about Ohio Wesleyan’s journalism, communication, and business administration majors at www.owu.edu/majors.