Best of Detroit 2013
Public Square - Staff Picks
Our staff picks for Metro Detroit
Published: March 20, 2013
Best Example of Schizophrenic Radio Programming
WDFN — 1130 AM
By day, the Detroit-area radio station known as “The Fan” is sports talk through and through, with a mix of some local (you da man, Matt Shepard) and national programs. But come evenings during the week, the station is transformed into a place where left-leaning hosts talk politics and news. First there’s Jonathan Kinloch, who’s behind the mic from 7 to 8 p.m., and then Tony Trupiano takes over from 8 to 11. Trupiano, who tends to focus a lot on labor-related issues, landed at the Fan after Clear Channel completely shut down station 1310 AM, which featured the only all-progressive talk on the local radio airwaves. On the other hand, WXYT/1270 AM has abandoned its experiment with right-wing radio talk to once again focus completely on sports. The only lamentable thing about that is the loss of Charlie Langton’s show, which — unlike some of the station’s other shows, which featured full-blown wingnuts as hosts — at least provided a forum for real debate.
Best Example of Radio Longevity
Nightcall on WRIF-FM, 101.1
Now in its 42nd year, “Nightcall” is billed as the “longest running talk show in U.S. radio history.” Hosted by the venerable Peter Werbe — a prominent part of the local lefty scene since the mid-1960s — and, since 2006, co-hosted by Juline Jordan, the program is a progressive touchstone that has more than earned its place in radio history. Werbe lives by the motto “Thou Shall Question Authority,” and he drives the hard-core right-wingers completely bonkers. Gotta love that. And for those who can’t keep their ears open long enough to catch a program that airs from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., you can listen anytime via podcast.
Best Detroit Development Opportunity
Michigan State Fairgrounds
This venerable site — 157 acres of publicly owned land at the intersection of Woodard Avenue and Eight Mile has the potential to be so much more than the glorified shopping mall/housing development the state intends to have a private developer build there. The good news is, until the property actually changes hands, nothing is final. Activists see the site as the perfect spot for a regional transportation hub now that the regional transit authority has been established, and the potential for forward-looking, transit-oriented development could turn the property into the sort of showcase that could attract worldwide attention.
Best Planned Project to Abandon
Widening I-94 in Detroit
The state is look ing to spend $1.8 billion to expand a 6.7-mile stretch of I-94 in Detroit. As we reported earlier this year, critics describe the proposal as “a boondoggle that will do more harm than good, threatening the burgeoning recovery of areas such as Midtown while pouring public money into an outdated and ineffective 1950s-style auto-centric transportation model when it should be considering new ways to address a decades-old problem.” Enough said.
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