Worthington's most high-profile music show is reaching new heights in 2016, as Songs at the Center goes national.

Worthington's most high-profile music show is reaching new heights in 2016, as Songs at the Center goes national.

The music performance show, hosted at Worthington's Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center, has earned national distribution by American Public Television starting this year.

"I'm proud of our city and proud of all the people who worked together to make this happen," host and co-creator Eric Gnezda said. "My hope from the very beginning has been that it was a collaborative effort among people, and it has been."

The show is hosted by WOSU-TV, which will serve as the presenting station when the show goes national.

Program Director Stacia Hentz said it was an easy decision to promote the show.

"It's a good show," she said. "There's lots of good talent on the show, and production-wise they do a really nice job. When we first saw it, we knew we were going to move forward and try to do national distribution with it. So we're very happy (APT) picked it up to distribute it."

Gnezda and show co-creators Andy Herron and Alan Beavers have worked with artists on several platforms, including regular songwriter showcase shows at Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza in Worthington.

For Gnezda, the expanded platform is an opportunity to showcase the music he loves.

"My biggest hope is that growing numbers of people will embrace not only the show, but through the show, the art of singing and songwriting," he said. "My goal with everything I've been doing -- from the songwriter showcase to the show -- has been to build the value of the singer-songwriter genre. (It's) the most pure, authentic celebration in music, I believe. And to be able to offer an opportunity to expand upon appreciation of that is an extraordinary development."

With more visibility, the show could add bigger names to its lineup -- artists such as John Oates already have recorded an episode for season two. But Gnezda said the show would continue to maintain its local roots, bringing central Ohio performers to the forefront.

That emphasis on local acts is important to WOSU as well.

"Being focused on Columbus songwriters and having that local focus was really important for us," Hentz said. "Knowing what it looked like and what it was and the concept, and how you have the audience around and the songwriters telling the stories behind what they're writing, we knew it was something unique."

As the show grows, Gnezda said, it will stay true to its roots.

"We are always going to be based here, in one way or another," he said. "We're going to continue to look for the very best in central Ohio. However, we will be augmenting that increasingly with other people that I know and work with, and have been aware of, who tour around the country."

The next taping of the show is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at the center, 777 Evening St. Admission to the taping is free, with no ticket required. For more information, visit songsatthecenter.com.