“Would you want to do a podcast?” one of Wow God’s producers asked Keith Stevens.
This question could inspire a variety of responses, but Keith’s response was full of excitement. “I was so happy,” he said. “It made me feel really great!”
And that’s how the I Love That Song! podcast began. But in reality, Keith had been preparing for this podcast for a while, even if he didn’t realize it.
As an on-air host for the Christian music station 98.5 KTIS, Keith had many conversations with Christian music artists, conversations that went beyond the superficial into deep, heart-felt exchanges. It quickly became clear how impactful those interactions were, and so Keith was asked about starting a podcast with conversations just like the ones he’d already been having on the air.
With that, the process of starting I Love That Song! began, and Keith continued to feel excited about where this podcast might lead. Keith said the process of developing the podcast was “a complete joy” and that everything “seemed to just flow” as they worked on the details of getting started.
But Keith also has a dream for the podcast. That dream is “that people would experience Jesus through the songs and stories shared on the podcast; that they come away with something better than what they started [with].”
And to do that, each episode “needs to be a conversation,” as Keith put it, something more than prepared interview questions with cut-and-paste answers. These “real moments” provide a glimpse into how God is working in the artist’s life—and in the lives of the listeners.
Chris Tomlin, Lauren Daigle, Tauren Wells, Anne Wilson, For King and Country, TobyMac, and CAIN have all appeared on the podcast to talk through the stories behind the music and the events of their own personal lives.
And sometimes, these discussions give way to special times of connection. “The victories are the real moments that happen within those conversations,” Keith said. “They’re not prepped with the person ahead of time … and none of it is scripted. Those are the victories because it’s, really, supernatural.”
When that happens, Keith says it’s like “God just takes over, I just flow with it, and He does the rest.”
Maybe you’ve had a talk with a friend that felt powerful, different, vulnerable even. They may not happen very often, but when they do, you probably treasure that moment, remembering that time when you connected with someone emotionally instead of just exchanging words. It’s that shared depth that makes a difference: when both people reveal their true feelings about something.
Keith experienced a conversation like that in the episode with Ryan Stevenson. During the podcast, Keith learned that Andrew had lost his mother to cancer, and at the time, Keith’s wife, Sue, was on her own journey with cancer. It was a “real moment” that Keith shared with Ryan on the podcast, one that impacted both Keith and Ryan personally and one that many others can resonate with as well.
That’s why Keith believes his role as an on-air host—and host of the podcast—goes beyond his daily duties at work. He is thrilled to talk with artists in his job, never seeing recording these podcasts or his on-air spots as a chore or just one more thing to check off his to-do list.
“It’s not a job,” Keith said, “it’s really your life. I Love That Song! is successful because the artists are also that way…. In the world of radio or artists, it never has a beginning and end. The whole thing is your life because you’re constantly living it out.” Because of this mindset that recording music is more than a career, artists can produce songs that are borne out of the tough, difficult, vulnerable, or beautiful parts of their lives.
And the foundation of all this, the reason Christian artists and on-air hosts do what they do, is to honor God. Colossians 3:23 describes: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (NIV).
Is there a particular song that impacts you? A really good song is one you feel a connection with, when the words and the melody blend together into something that impacts you. On the I Love That Song! podcast, Keith dives into what makes these songs special and why the artist decided to write them. We hope you’ll join us as we discover more about the songs you hear each day.
You can listen in on Keith’s impactful conversations with artists like Ryan Stevenson, TobyMac, and CAIN on the I Love That Song! podcast.
If you’d like to learn more about Keith Stevens, read the story behind the host.