Retired newspaperman Sheldon Zoldan found himself with time on his hands during the pandemic lock-down in 2020, so he did what a lot of us do: He scrolled the internet, particularly music videos on YouTube.
That mindless pastime became a passion project requiring research, creativity and discipline. Every day, Sheldon publishes an article featuring a Song of the Day. He uses different criteria for choosing his subjects. Sometimes he focuses on the day itself, perhaps it's a holiday or the day that a particular event occurred. A lot of times, his article is about a musical milestone or something that was going on in the life of a singer or musician. And other times, Sheldon just comes up with another kind of intriguing story that fits with a song. He posts his Songs of the Day on Facebook and sends them out by email to everyone who's asked to be on his list.
A former editor for the Fort Myers News-Press, Sheldon has now moved from print to broadcast. To be specific, he's on WGCU, his local NPR station in Southwest Florida, doing a weekly audio version of his Song of the Day feature. It streams at 8:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. every Friday on wgcu.org. The rest of the time, the WGCU version is available on the website; you can search for Sheldon Zoldan by name or follow this direct link: https://news.wgcu.org/sheldon-zoldan
If you want a daily hit of Sheldon's well-researched Song of the Day articles delivered to your inbox, send an email to email@example.com, and he'll put you on the aforementioned list.
In this episode, you'll hear about a few of his Songs of the Day, including the one he did on "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston. Despite all her incredible talent and success, she led a difficult life and passed away at the relatively young age of 48.
Speaking of Whitney Houston, you may want to revisit her stirring rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" in this YouTube video. It has nothing to do with this podcast, but wow, what a voice she had.
Right after his interview, Sheldon reads two of his articles. The first is about Del Shannon's "Runaway" and the second concerns the Tremeloes' "Here Comes My Baby." They're well worth your time.
Closing out this episode of The Gale Hill Radio Hour is another music-related subject: "Wild Symphony," a children's picture book written by Dan "The Da Vinci Code" Brown and illustrated with whimsical drawings by Susan Batori. What makes this book so musical is the free app that accompanies the text and drawings. All of the music is composed by Brown, who is donating all U.S. royalties due to him to support music education for children worldwide, through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
In the back of his book, he writes, “Long before I wrote stories … I wrote music.” And he dedicated "Wild Symphony" to his mom, who, he says, “shared her love of music with me from the day I was born.”
The book and the music are really worth checking out.
Thank you for listening to The Gale Hill Radio Hour, a show about purpose, passion, and sharing our gifts with the world.