Youngstown man preserves family history in podcast

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – People preserve their family history in scrapbooks or family trees. One family in Youngstown has preserved theirs in a podcast.

The podcast is hosted by Marco Zaza, who grew up on Youngstown’s east side in the 50s, and his son David, a Boardman graduate.

As it turns out, their stories are more than just their family.

With Italian music in the background of each episode, the Zaza family podcast is 24 stories, with Marco talking about his neighborhood and growing up with his Italian immigrant parents.

“I had told these stories many times sitting around the dining room table at my late sister Martha’s home,” Marco said.

The title of the podcast is the story of his neighbor Concettina, who died from a thorn in her garden.

“I always remembered that story, and I always said to my children, if I ever write a book, it will be Concettina died and other stories of the east side,” Marco said.

It started as a book — Marco telling the stories and his son David writing them down, but David had another idea.

“You know, Dad, stories are better heard than they are read,” David said. “Dad’s voice is the best part of them.”

That’s when it became a podcast.

“These are fond memories of my youth or my Italian immigrant parents and of my shared experience of family,” Marco said.

David now lives in New York and Marco lives in Wilmington North Carolina.

They recorded while David was visiting his parents during COVID.

The podcasts are about an hour each and include conversations between father and son and the guests they have on.

“My mother makes a number of guest appearances, both formally and informally, talking in the background,” David said.

“It was a feeling of comradery in the neighborhood I grew up in,” Marco said.

“It’s very much about the struggle of leaving where you come from and going somewhere new, embracing that new culture and how our family went from being an Italian family to being an Italian American family,” David said.

What’s interesting about this podcast, is that it’s about the whole neighborhood, and the family names in these stories are ones you might recognize yourself.

So, even if you didn’t know the Zaza’s, you may recognize another name or even just an anecdote.

To listen to their podcasts, visit www.concettinadied.com.

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