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.

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