Interlochen Public Radio, DPTV Remember Gov. William Milliken

Governor Gretchen Whitmer shares memories of William Milliken

On August 6, Interlochen Public Radio and Detroit Public Television (DPTV) paid tribute to William G. Milliken, who served as Michigan’s governor from 1969-1983, with a celebration of life.  Milliken was remembered, among many other things, for being a symbol of a different era of politics, less divisive and more collaborative, when the ability to compromise was considered a positive attribute for an officeholder.

He died last October in his birthplace, Traverse City. The celebration, held at the Interlochen Center for the Arts was carried on a number of public media websites across the state, including and Interlochen Public Radio.

Speakers honoring and remembering the governor included Governor Gretchen Whitmer; Bill Rustem, a senior policy advisor in both the Milliken and Snyder administrations; retired Captain Arlyn Brower of the Michigan State Police; Chuck Stokes, WXYZ-TV (Detroit) editorial director; and journalist Jack Lessenberry.

Michigan Governor William G. Milliken

Bill Milliken was especially known for his prioritizing of the state’s environment, his efforts to help the city of Detroit, and successfully promoting a culture of civility and bipartisan cooperation in state government.

Prior to becoming Michigan’s 44th governor, Milliken served in the state Senate and as the state’s lieutenant governor. He also was president of the former Milliken’s department stores and flew 50 combat missions in Europe during World War II.

A devoted supporter and advocate for the arts, Milliken served on the Interlochen Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1997 and was a vital member of the larger Interlochen community for decades.

Lexi Krupp Joins IPR as Science Reporter for Northern Michigan

Lexi Krupp

Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) has announced that Lexi Krupp has been hired as the station’s new science and conservation reporter. Krupp comes to IPR from Gimlet Media, where she helped the “Science Vs” podcast team distinguish what’s fact from what’s not, and has written for a range of publications including Audubon and Vice.

She will lead IPR’s efforts to deepen the public’s understanding of the natural world, covering the land, water, forests, climate, wildlife and farms in upper Michigan.

With a background in education, Krupp brings a mix of curiosity and desire to explain how things work, which is exactly what the public radio audience craves.

IPR’s executive director Peter Payette said he saw she was a good fit on the first day when she pitched a story explaining how the thermocline in Lake Michigan is impaired by record heat and preventing the lake from cooling itself.

“Natural resources are precious to people who live here and IPR wants to create original reporting that helps people understand and appreciate all we have,” he said.

Krupp worked in outdoor education along the coast of Maine and in the woods of northern Wisconsin before she left a career in teaching to pursue journalism, earning a master’s degree from New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. Most recently, she worked as a freelance journalist covering the pandemic.

“I am thrilled to be joining the rock-star team at IPR to report on under-covered environmental stories in upper Michigan,” she said.

This work is generously funded with support from The Brookby Foundation, the Mariel Foundation and individual donors of Interlochen Public Radio.

Detroit Public TV Will Expand Early Childhood Services to City Neighborhoods

Detroit Public Television (DPTV) is moving ahead with plans to take its acclaimed early childhood programs and services to children, families and educators across the city of Detroit. This work is supported by a $400,000, grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and will enhance the work of Hope Starts Here – Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership that is transforming early childhood education and services and making Detroit a city that truly puts children first by 2027.

The plan, over the next two years, is for DPTV to engage directly with parents, caregivers and educators with services such as its Family Creative Learning and Pre-School-U parent workshops and community-based special events. DPTV will be replicating its work in the Brightmoor and Southwest Detroit neighborhoods on Detroit’s East Side, offering EdCamp and other professional learning opportunities for educators.

“We appreciate the Kellogg Foundation’s deep commitment to the children of Detroit,” said Rich Homberg, president and CEO of Detroit Public Television. “We are honored that the Kellogg Foundation, one of our longtime partners, has recognized the impact of our early childhood education work in the city and has made this generous grant available to allow us to greatly develop our efforts to give every child a high-quality early childhood experience.”

During the current COVID-19 crisis, DPTV has been adapting its work to observe social distancing and support learning opportunities. Its Education team is moving some of its workshops and training activities to support parents, partners and early childhood caregivers into virtual settings, using Zoom, Facebook and other digital platforms. The station is also working directly with the education and cultural community to explore distance learning opportunities for students in both academic subjects and through enrichment programming.

“At its core, DPTV’s goal is to provide support to parents, to ensure that their children are able to realize their potential,” said Georgeann Herbert, DPTV’s senior vice president of strategy. “The Kellogg Foundation grant will make sure that we are able to reach even more parents and educators in Detroit, who will work with us to assure that every child is nurtured and able to succeed in school and in life.”

Detroit Public TV has been nationally recognized for its work in early childhood education programs, both on air and in the community. Last year it was the recipient of the Michigan Governor’s Service Award as an Education Service Leader.

For more information on how Detroit Public TV responded for families and educators during the COVID-19 crisis, please see the story on the Kellogg Foundation’s Every Child Thrives platform.

Protect My Public Media Urges Support for Funding as Appropriations Bills Move Through Congress

Protect My Public Media has renewed its call for public media support after the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved increased funding for public media stations as it approved annual spending bills on Wednesday (7/15). Learn more about the spending bills on the Protect My Public Media blog.

“The Committee’s endorsement of robust public media funding is a critical starting point for securing funding that stations need to carry out their public services. In Michigan that includes a 24 hr Kids Channel and now many K-12 programs to be used by students and teachers to augment one on one teacher interaction. These educator approved programs are from all over the United States on hundreds – even thousands – of subjects. Public Broadcasters have stepped up to help educate America’s Children during (the pandemic),” according to a recent statement from Protect My Public Media.

The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bills that passed out of Committee later this month. The Senate Appropriations Committee may begin to debate their versions of the bills that fund public media when they return to Washington, D.C. next week. Once the House and Senate bills are completed, both chambers will negotiate the final spending bills.

You can ensure public media funding is included in the Senate bill by sending a quick email to your lawmakers. Your action will only take a moment, but it could save your local stations.

WKAR’s Ilene ‘Beany’ Tomber Receives MAPB’s 2020 Public Media Impact Award

The Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters has announced that WKAR Public Media’s  Beany Tomber will receive its 2020 Public Media Impact Award.

Ilene "Beany" TomberBeany Tomber personifies the very best attributes of public media. Over her 55-year career, she has dedicated herself to children, education and the pursuit of knowledge. 

As director of Corporate Development at  WKAR beginning in 1982, Beany formed partnerships with businesses and agencies to help ensure mid-Michigan’s public broadcasting television and radio stations could provide trusted news, educational, and entertainment programming for the community.

Following her passion for children and education, Beany launched WKAR’s Ready to Learn service in 1996,  providing training and resources to educators and families across mid-Michigan. In the years that followed, she expanded WKAR’s education and outreach efforts to include PBS Teacherline, PBS LearningMedia and the Community Cinema and Indie Lens Pop-Up film series.

Beany’s underwriting experience and grant writing ability led to CPB, PNC and numerous other grants in support of Head Start, Impression Five Science Center, and other early education services for mid-Michigan.

In 2000, Beany founded the Early Childhood Literacy Coalition, made up of area libraries and the Great Start Readiness program.

Beany also had a key role in creating the WKAR original television series “Curious Crew,” hosted by award-winning science educator Dr. Rob Stephenson. In six seasons on the air, the science show for kids has won numerous regional and national awards, and is seen on PBS stations across the country.  

Beany retired from WKAR in 2017.  She continues to stay in touch with WKAR leadership, offering help and guidance drawn from her years of experience and passion for her community.

Beany is caring, dedicated and devoted to the value of education for our youth. Simply put, Beany Tomber makes the kind of impact that defines public media and that we can all be proud of.

Interlochen Public Radio to Offer Milliken Broadcast to MPRN Stations

Michigan Governor William G. Milliken

Interlochen Public Radio has announced that it will air and make available to other MPRN stations, the Memorial for Governor William G. Milliken, which will be held at Interlochen Center for the Arts on August 6. The memorial was previously set to take place in the Milliken Auditorium at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. The new, 4,000-seat, open-air venue at Interlochen allows for attendees to practice physical distancing in a safer setting. In addition to increased safety at the new location, Interlochen is a fitting venue to celebrate the life of Gov. Milliken, a devoted supporter and fervent advocate for the arts. Milliken served on the Interlochen Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1997 and was a vital member of the larger Interlochen community for decades.

Speakers honoring and remembering Milliken include current Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; Bill Rustem, a senior policy advisor in both the Milliken and Snyder administrations; Arlyn Brower, a retired Michigan State Police Captain; Chuck Stokes, moderator and producer of “Spotlight On The News” on WXYZ-TV; and journalist and longtime friend Jack Lessenberry.

Admission is free and open to the public, with parking available at Interlochen Center for the Arts beginning at 12:00 p.m. To ensure the ceremony remains on schedule, attendees are encouraged to arrive early so that they can complete required security and health screenings and be seated by 2 p.m. Attendees should plan to honor rigorous public health safety measures including face coverings and adhering to physical distancing. Except for areas used for this event, the Interlochen Center for the Arts campus will remain closed to the public.

Gov. Milliken was born on March 26, 1922 and died on Oct. 18, 2019 in his birthplace, Traverse City. Milliken served as governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983. He was especially known for his prioritizing of the state’s environment, his efforts to help the city of Detroit and successfully promoting a culture of civility and bipartisan cooperation in state government.

Prior to becoming Michigan’s 44th Governor, Milliken served in the state Senate and as the state’s lieutenant governor. He also served as president of the former Milliken’s department stores and flew 50 combat missions in Europe during World War II.

MPRN’s Rick Pluta will be part of the broadcast.  Other MPRN stations interested in airing the broadcast should contact Peter Payette: [email protected].

WDET Debuts New Broadcast/Podcast Series: Essential Cooking

(L-R) James Rigato, Ann Delisi

WDET-FM 101.9’s Ann Delisi, host of Essential Music, and award-winning chef James Rigato of Hazel Park’s Mabel Gray restaurant formed a friendship several years ago over their mutual love of food and music. They have since collaborated on cooking events and talked about music and food on WDET’s airwaves.

The duo’s latest joint venture — a broadcast and podcast series called Essential Cooking— is a monthly one-hour broadcast and bimonthly podcast in which they interview a wide array of food industry experts, talk about the history of food and food culture, take audience questions and inspire people to cook. Given their mutual love of music, what to listen to while cooking and eating will certainly find its way into the conversation.

“For years, Chef James Rigato and I have talked about creating a podcast about food, those who create it and its rich history,”Delisi said. “With people forced to stay at home and cook more than ever before, we thought this would be the right time to provide a platform in which listeners can be exposed to how exciting cooking can be, give them access to some of the best chefs around and involve them in a wide array of topics focusing on food.”

The hour-long Essential Cooking broadcast launches Friday, July 10 from 1 to 2 p.m., and airs once per month on the second Friday on WDET. Guests on the inaugural show are sommelier Christopher Hunter, senior wine associate at Vino Volo in Detroit, who believes wine is art, and Pashon Murray, co-founder of Detroit Dirt, the leading model of organic waste recovery and reuse whose mission is to drive forward a low-carbon economy.

The Essential Cooking podcast will launch in late-July, with two episodes released each month. Each 20- minute podcast is themed around a particular topic relating to food, food history and people who create it.

For more information on the podcasts and broadcasts check out the Essential Cooking series page on Listeners will be encouraged to participate by calling in and submitting questions in advance. Recipes and guest chef’s bios and links to resources referenced on the programs will also be made available.

The Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast is an extension of the popular Essential Cooking series of live events, which have been key fundraising and engagement activities for WDET since 2014.

Original music for the podcast was created by The Mallett Brothers. Essential Cooking is supported by Great Lakes Wine and Spirits.

Michigan Radio Debuts ‘Kids These Days’ Podcast By Teens, About Teens

Michigan Radio has announced the debut of Kids These Days, a new podcast that offers an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to be a teenager today.

This limited-run podcast is hosted by teens, and is a collaboration between Community High School in Ann Arbor and Michigan Radio’s Peabody Award-winning podcast team. Topics range from vaping, to questions about virginity and how queer teens fit in, to what it’s like to be a 15-year old living with anxiety. And unlike so much of the reporting that’s been done on these issues, Kids These Days is written by teens, for teens and goes right to the source to bring an unfiltered look into teenage life.

Kids These Days not only captures life right before COVID-19, it also sheds light on how young people are dealing with this new normal. The series premiered June 17 with an episode talking about race and youth voices on the frontline. Additional episodes are released each Wednesday through August 12, 2020. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, NPR One, or wherever you listen. A trailer is available now at

The Kids These Days team includes journalism students at Community High, who report on mental health, identity and technology in their award-winning school publication, The Communicator. Producer Rachel Ishikawa has created multimedia projects with youth in Philadelphia, and was producer on WXPN’s Gospel Roots of Rock & Soul, which was nominated for a Peabody Award. Editor Jennifer Guerra develops podcasts for Michigan Radio and was the executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning podcast, Believed. Support for Kids These Days comes from Michigan Health Endowment Fund and The Children’s Foundation.

Visit the show’s webpage here.

WDET Reaches Out to Listeners with Zoom Town Hall

Mary Zatina

While not the only public broadcaster faced with budget concerns over the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, WDET-FM (Detroit) General Manager Mary Zatina hosted a virtual town hall on Zoom to explain WDET’s situation with its listeners.

Like so many businesses and non-profit organizations, WDET has lost a substantial portion of the funding that helps the station provide the community with local news and music shows, in depth feature reports and hand-picked music programming.

“Our events that generate revenue all were cancelled. Some of our listeners are really struggling,” Zatina said.

Membership has also reflected the hardship many WDET’s listeners and readers are facing, with 8% of listeners financially supporting the station. Zatina says transparency is a core value of a public radio station, telling listeners “that’s why we’re being upfront with you — our loyal listeners and readers — about where the station is at during this challenging time.”

“This is a community organization. This is a point in our progress for our listeners to know where we stand,” Zatina said.

WKAR Addresses Race And Racism In America

Michigan State University’s WKAR-TV (East Lansing) is airing a series of films and new specials focused on race in America following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and the ensuing protests that erupted across the country and in Michigan’s Capital Region.

In addition, PBS will curate a playlist of programs from Frontline, POV, Independent Lens and other iconic series that explore the impact of racism on Black Americans and the country as a whole. The list includes films focused on African American history by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stanley Nelson.

PBS Kids offers families resources to discuss race, racism, civil rights, current events and more with young children, including a virtual event on YouTube on Tuesday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET with parents, teachers and child development experts.

“As a media system that serves every person in America, we stand with the Black community, and we stand against racism and hate,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “In the coming days and weeks, we will use our national reach and community presence to deepen understanding, foster conversation and enable meaningful change. And we will continue to stand behind our courageous journalists, whose unwavering commitment to speak truth to power is essential to the strength of our democracy.”

“We learn from listening to those who are brave enough to tell their stories even in the face of the most harrowing and heartbreaking circumstances,” said Susi Elkins, general manager and director of broadcasting for WKAR Public Media. “WKAR has cultivated these programs and resources to shed light on the injustices the Black community has endured for centuries and to encourage us all to work toward a more just future.