DETROIT (JSC) — Greetings & Salutations from the Motor City…bka Home. It’s time for Episode 3 for JSC Radio. This week’s subject: Flint and how my Home State completely screwed the proverbial pooch. Considering I’m back home for Easter, I figured there was no better time to drop this one. It is based on a commentary I wrote for the news outlet I work for in Philadelphia, except it has been updated. When you look at what the State of Michigan, namely Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, did in allowing Flint’s water to become as bad as any water system that isn’t located in Rio de Janeiro, it’s easy to see that there was a level of malice, neglect, and malfeasance that would make a third world despot blush. The water crisis has shined a light on a city — and a state — what has been through the ringer the last 10 years and still has a lot of work to do to get itself back together. But while this episode does focus on what happened and how it happened, it’s also a shout out to a city who has a lot of great people and deserves a hell of a lot better. Let’s Go.
Continue reading JSC Radio – Episode 3: 810
♠ Addition by Subtraction ♠
“What do you mean I’m fired!?” — Wayne Fontes, joking after his dismissal as Detroit Lions Head Coach in 1996
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (JSC) — I’ve been fired three times in my life. The first time was from a cashier’s job at Target in 2004. It was a gig that I took while I was in broadcast school at Specs Howard. It was a decent enough gig. I made a little extra money while trying to set myself up for my first job in the “business.” The day it happened, I was honestly kind of “meh” about it all. It was never something that I saw myself doing long term, but I was admittedly pissed off at the situation that was created to get me out of there. The second time I was let go was in 2008. That was from a radio station in Flint and I saw it coming. They were in the process of making changes to the station’s format and I was one of a number of people cut loose, including the program director. I charged that to the proverbial game of radio. Plus, I was in the process of starting graduate school at Wayne State University. This one was a net gain overall, truthfully. Over the next five years, I went on a run that saw me appear on NPR, MSNBC, and ESPN Radio, a run where I covered everything from high school softball to a World Series; from municipal elections to Presidential elections; interviewed community leaders to Olympic Gold Medalists. I felt, and still feel, that I’ve paid my dues and earned my stripes in this business. So when I was fired for the third time on April 1, I had to reassess and question whether I still had a place in this business and, really, what I’m doing with my life. The answer has been a resounding Yes. Let’s Go.
Continue reading Success Is Certain: Losing a Job and Gaining a new Focus
♣ Apparently Getting It Right isn’t what sells these days…♣
“In Journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”
— Ellen Goodman, 1980 Pulitzer Prize winner for Commentary
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — In the Fall of 1980, an incredible piece of writing hit the front page of the Washington Post. The story was so incredible that it held the city and country on the edge of its seat. It was a piece called Jimmy’s World. It was written by Janet Cooke, an extremely talented Black writer who spoke multiple languages and went to some of the best schools in the world. The story was about an eight-year-old boy in Washington, D.C. who was a heroin addict, often shot full of smack by his mother’s live-in boyfriend. The boy was a product of a rape. In the aftermath of the story being published, people in DC were aghast and outraged. Dr. Alyce Gullattee, who was the director of the Institute of Substance Abuse at Howard, claimed to know the boy and his family. DC Mayor Marion Barry claimed that the city knew Jimmy’s identity (irony abounds on that one). The story was so riveting that it was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. On April 13, 1981, Cooke won the Pulitzer. On April 15, 1981, she admitted she made the entire damn thing up. From start to finish, it was all a lie, from the boy, to the family, to the name. Hell, she even lied about speaking multiple foreign languages, and attending Vassar and the Sorbonne. She gave back her Pulitzer and was forced to resign from the Post (Then-Executive Editor Ben Bradlee wrote in his book “I can’t explain now why I let her resign rather than fire her on the spot for the grossest of negligence”). She became a pariah in the industry, never to be heard from again. No paper would ever think of hiring her. That was 1981. In 2010, she’d have been given her own blog and one hour special on Fox News. Let’s Go.
Continue reading Fair & Imbalanced: Why Journalism is Being Held Hostage…
♣ How Far Have I Really Come In Five Years? ♣
“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
— Lao Tzu
DETROIT — Five years. January 5, 2005. A grand total of 1,828 days (counting the extra day we got in 2008) have passed since I drove that long and winding stretch of back roads on the outskirts of Lansing, Michigan heading into my first day at work at WQHH-FM. It was five months after I had graduated from the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts. It had been a year and a half since I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Communication after six listless years at Michigan State University. The day I walked into that small building, that more resembled a strip mall than a radio station, I was unbelieveably nervous and scared, and amped, and excited…and scared as hell! Those of you who have known me for years know how my odyssey in Lansing ended, and it’s not something I feel the need to completely rehash here. This blog is about the entirety of the road I have travelled since that cold day in January of 2005.
Continue reading Five Years Later: My Journey Through The World of Radio…