The Voice of Experience: Radio co-hosts explore local music from the inside out

The Voice of Experience: Radio co-hosts explore local music from the inside out. Portrait by Rachel Pressley


Izzi Hughes and Steve DuRose are professional musicians who started co-hosting the WTZQ radio program “Local Artist Showcase” in February, a decade after it debuted under Terry Wetton. As the show’s latest personalities, Hughes and DuRose not only play songs by local solo artists and bands, they broadcast live interviews and keep listeners informed about upcoming shows. 

You come from very different backgrounds …

Izzi Hughes: I was born and raised in WNC and recently lived in Nashville for four-and-a-half years. I’ve been gigging for a little more than a decade, and was a lead singer for a band. Around 2014 I became a solo artist, and I also play with other musicians around town.

Steve DuRose: I spent most of my life in Los Angeles, but my parents have lived in Hendersonville for the past 20 years. About seven years ago I came to visit them and never went back. I met Josh Dunkin, and we’ve been playing together ever since in the band Gathering Dark.

How did the two of you meet?

SD: Here at the station, the day we started. David Vaughn, who had hosted the show [most recently], left and the station’s owners, Mark Warwick and Paige Posey, approached us individually to see if we’d do this. And it’s the first time there have been co-hosts on the show.

They chose well, because you have great on-air chemistry.

SD: We lucked out on the chemistry — we got along from the get-go. I think in lot of ways we are so different: different backgrounds, different generations. But [we have] a shared love of music.

IH: Andrew Thelston, who hosted the show before David Vaughn III [known as “DV3”], did interviews, and we brought that back. With the two of us being musicians, we can share our insights and commentary on the local music scene, which makes it interesting. We’ve also both been guests on “Local Artist Showcase,” so to be hosting the show is really a full-circle moment for both of us.

SD: We try and keep the spirit of the show the same as it’s always been, while adding an extra layer since we are both musicians. We especially want to get people interested who may not know what a thriving music scene there is here.

IH: I started at age 14, with my Dad driving me around to get gigs by knocking on doors. Seven doors to be exact, because there were so few venues, and with no open mics it was baptism by fire. Now you could play a different venue every night of the week for a month and probably not repeat. And I think it’s really cool that Steve and Josh are doing an open mic at Oklawaha Brewing.

SD: We get kids coming in for open mic who are so nervous, and it’s so exciting to see them stick with it and transform into doing paid gigs.

What about audience and musician demographics?

SD: In Hendersonville, of course, [the general demographic] is mostly people over 50, but I get a sense from the feedback that it’s across the board for those who listen to “Local Artist Showcase.”

IH: We’ve featured musicians in their teens, twenties, thirties, and sixties — and a band whose lead singer is 16 and the bassist and drummer are 13. It’s whoever inspires us.

“Local Artist Showcase” airs Fridays from 5-6pm and Saturdays from 12-1pm, WTZQ FM 95.3 & AM 1600. (For more information, see,, and

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