After starting his own college radio show, Dovid Nissan Roetter founded the King David Network, an online radio station that uses Jewish teachings to enhance positivity.

Photography by Grace Turner

A little less than three years after starting a college radio show that used Jewish teachings to spread positivity, Dovid Nissan Roetter founded the King David Network, an online radio station with the same goal.

The network is housed in a studio in Southfield and is based on Roetter’s original show, “Bike of Life.”

The network debuted on Nov. 1, 2018, while Roetter was working toward a master’s degree in broadcasting and cinematic arts at Central Michigan University (CMU). One of Roetter’s advisers suggested he enter the Make a Pitch competition for startup and potential businesses at CMU the same month. The competition was part of the larger New Venture Competition, which took place in April 2019.

Between November and April, Roetter attended workshops in preparation for the main competition. While his academic program covered best broadcasting methods and how to run radio stations, the competition forced Roetter to think about the viability of his station as a business. Competitors identified problems, created solutions through their companies, found potential customers and differentiated themselves from the competition. Roetter’s business plan grew from five pages to 32.

Preparation for the competition included a gallery in which each startup set up a tabletop display to network and offer marketing materials

“Just knowing that I was at the point that I could be at an official event made the company feel real,” Roetter said.

The grand prize was $25,000 for the best overall company. Other categories included best social media, best technology, highest growth potential, best lifestyle and the best company for Michigan. Four businesses were also given pitch awards by judges while a fifth pitch was chosen by the audience.

Roetter did well in the social media and best company for Michigan categories, said Ross Noel, mentor-in-residence at CMU’s College of Business Administration. However, he won $1,000 for the best two-minute pitch, and Noel said the judges gave Roetter the award unanimously and without a second thought. Roetter made it clear that the King David Network would be reality regardless of whether he won, Noel said.

“He’s already validated that people want to hear this,” Noel said of the network.

In the midst of the competition, an investor gave the network $5,000. “That really showed that we’re serious, that we’re not just an idea,” Roetter said.

After the competition and the academic year ended, Roetter decided to move back to Metro Detroit to be closer to the Jewish community and grow the network. He left CMU, found a studio space and bought equipment.

Now, Roetter’s team consists of 12 people, and the station has more than 5,000 Jewish songs of all genres. The station runs 24/7 except during Shabbat and Jewish holidays. The network broadcasts programming for children, music hours featuring female vocalists, and morning and evening Torah classes and psalms. From 7 a.m. until sundown on Fridays, a segment called Sounds of Shabbat gets listeners ready for the holy day.

Dovid Roetter (right) and Steve Mavashev, news director for the network

A lot of content is created in-house, but Roetter also got permission to run talk shows, lectures and podcasts from internationally renowned religious leaders and program hosts.

While “Bike of Life” was only an hour long and more topic-focused, the King David Network shares its goal — to spread positivity through Jewish teachings designed for everyone. Roetter said King David taught that everything had to be done to spread Godliness because talents are from God. This is also why Roetter created the network — he said he felt the need to use his broadcast talents for good.

Roetter’s sister, Pesha Leah Azoula Roetter, who passed away in 2010, wrote a poem that was the inspiration for “Bike of Life” and lived King David’s teachings, traveling to Sweden and Florida to help those in need. Roetter created the King David Network in her memory, he said.

“That’s exactly the legacy my sister deserves,” Roetter said.

Roetter has broadcast live from community events and lets community members record sweepers and promotions. Advertisements, sponsorships and announcements of weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and yahrzeits are also available.

The King David Network will broadcast live from the Fourth Annual Chanu-Con on Sunday, Nov. 24, at Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park. The network can be found at kingdavidnetwork.com as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KDNRadio.

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