via Rick Pluta, Managing Editor and State Capitol bureau Chief, MPRN
As a prosecutor, Cheyna Roth stayed busy putting away the bad guys. Now, she’s turning those skills to covering government and politics as the new state Capitol correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network (MPRN).
“As a lawyer I only ever got to tell one side of a story, but as a journalist I’m able to use the analytical skills I learned in the legal profession to dig into all sides of an issue,” she says.
Roth was an assistant prosecutor in Ionia County handling a lot of prisoner misconduct cases when she decided, after about a year and a half, that her passion was story-telling:
“NPR got me through an almost hour long commute every day,” she says. “Listening to the stories and amazing quality of radio production was a real catalyst for my leaving the legal field to pursue journalism. Every morning and evening I would listen and say, ‘I want to do that.’ To have the opportunity to work in public radio is quite a dream come true.”
Roth, 27, returned to school and graduated in 2016 with a master’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University. During grad school, she interned with Michigan Radio, and post-graduation, her freelance career included multi-media reporting for WKAR and researching and producing a documentary on an ex-con’s experiences teaching life lessons to kids in Flint.
Roth will focus on covering the Legislature and criminal justice issues in her new role with MPRN.
Radio veteran Brooke Allen has joined Michigan State University’s WKAR-FM as Morning Edition producer and local host, as well as a contributor to Current State.
Allen comes to the station from WWJ-AM (Detroit), where she served as an anchor and reporter. At WWJ, her projects included “Second Chance,” a broadcast series that sought to provide those serving time an opportunity to turn their lives around; and stories revealing the tragic plight of victims of alcohol-related crashes, something that has also personally affected her family.
Before her stint at WWJ, Allen served as a news and traffic reporter at a number of stations in Michigan and California, including KFI-AM, KOST-FM and JILL-FM.
Allen studied theatre and communications at Eastern Michigan University, and is a graduate of the Academy of Radio and Television Broadcasting in Huntington Beach, California.
“We’re thrilled to have Brooke join us as local host of Morning Edition and as a part of the Current State team,” said WKAR Radio Station Manager Peter Whorf. “Brooke brings listeners a broad and deep level of experience honed by her years at multiple major-market stations. She also exudes a sparkling personality and a voice that Michigan listeners will enjoy waking up to.”
The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) and the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters (MAPB) will honor Representative Candice S. Miller (R-10th) with the Lifetime of Distinguished Public Service Award during the Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Award ceremonies, Tuesday, August 30.
Congresswoman Candice Miller is currently serving her seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Michigan’s 10th Congressional District. Prior to being elected to Congress, Representative Miller served the State of Michigan at various state and local levels. In 1980, she was elected Harrison Township Supervisor, becoming the youngest Supervisor in her township’s history and the first woman ever elected to the post. In 1992, she was elected Macomb County Treasurer, becoming the first Republican to win a countywide office in Macomb County in more than 60 years. In 1994, she was elected Michigan’s 40th Secretary of State, defeating a 24-year incumbent to become the first women to ever hold the office and the first woman to ever win a partisan statewide office in her own right. After two successful terms as Michigan’s Secretary of State, she was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002.
In Congress, Representative Miller is the Chair of the Committee on House Administration – currently serving as the only woman chair of a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Until recently, she also served as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and as a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Throughout her tenure, she has be a staunch advocate of initiatives to preserve, protect, and restore the Great Lakes, as well as promote Michigan industry.
For more information on the Advocacy Conference or to register, click here.
In its forthcoming 37th season, the public television program This Old House will air a series of episodes recorded in Detroit.
The program traveled to the Motor City to work with retired firefighter Frank and his family as they renovate their classic brick home. The 1939 two-story property was one of thousands of abandoned structures owned by the Detroit Land Bank. The family recently purchased the Russell Woods neighborhood house at auction with the promise they would make improvements and move in.
Expected work includes a new roof, kitchen, and baths, plus new mechanicals to replace vandalized equipment in the basement. The team will look to preserve historic details such as leaded stained glass windows and archways as the homeowners blend their modern aesthetics with the home’s historic details. The Detroit series will span 10 all-new episodes.
“The Detroit episodes will present the city’s housing situation in a new light, as residents and leaders are finding the best ways to reclaim and restore their community homes. Our team is honored to take part in these efforts in this landmark city,” said Executive Producer Chris Wolfe.
The 37th season of This Old House will premiere nationally on PBS this fall.
Two Michigan broadcasters were honored with Edward R. Murrow Awards, presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association. Presentation will be at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City in October.
The Edward R. Murrow Award for “Sports Reporting – Large Market” has been given to WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids), the TEGNA-owned ABC affiliate. It is the station’s first ever Murrow Award.
WZZM won for a story titled “Big Ann,” produced by Our Michigan Life storyteller Brent Ashcroft, with former Director of Photography, Andy Sugden. “Big Ann” tells the story of an Ada, MI athlete, Anna Lee Konsoer-Rose, who was fighting for her health during her senior year following a rare diagnosis.
“We are honored to be recognized by such a prestigious journalism organization,” said Janet Mason, WZZM 13 President and General Manager. “We are elated that strong writing and great storytelling are valued by our peers and content consumers.”
“It’s exciting to see the work of our journalists recognized in this way,” said WZZM 13 News Director Taz Painter. “We have put a lot of emphasis on telling the kinds of stories that are unique in our market, and we are thrilled that the judges decided our work was worthy of this honor.”
“Big Ann” was one of three WZZM 13 stories that won regional Edward R. Murrow awards earlier this year. In the national competition, “Big Ann” was selected from a category that contained work from stations in larger markets, including Los Angeles, Washington, Denver, and Minneapolis.
Michigan Radio was recognized with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. The award, in the Large Market Radio – News Documentary category, was received for “Not Safe to Drink.” The documentary series traced the history and story behind the Flint water crisis.
“Not Safe to Drink” aired on Michigan Radio in December 2015.
It was produced and written by Lindsey Smith, with help from Sarah Hulett and Jennifer Guerra. Additional reporting by Steve Carmody, Mark Brush , Rebecca Williams, and other members of the Michigan Radio news team.
“Winning a national Edward R. Murrow Award is the ultimate compliment for any news organization,” said Steve Schram, Executive Director-General Manager of Michigan Radio. “This is a tribute not only to the excellent work done by Lindsey Smith, but also by all of our journalists every day.”
This is the fifth national Murrow award for the NPR station, which last won in 2011 for the Environment Report documentary “Coal: Dirty Past, Hazy Future.” Michigan Radio has also won more than ten regional Murrow awards over the past five years.
About the Edward R. Murrow Awards
The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow’s pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession.
The Michigan Public Radio Network has completed its transition from MSU-hosted email, listserv, and FTP services to services now operating under its own management.
The transition started in May with Email and listserv functions moving to cloud-based Google Apps. This past weekend, MPRN’s FTP site, used for swapping audio and other files between member stations, moved to a server housed inside the Michigan Association of Broadcasters building in Lansing. The older server reached the end of its useful life recently and was due for replacement.
Dan Kelley, MAB Director of Technical Services/Digital Communications Manager oversaw the transition. MPRN Member stations having any difficulties or questions concerning the services should contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week, we wrote that WCMU Public Radio (Mt. Pleasant) was hosting a listener party to celebrate Garrison Keillor’s retirement from “A Prairie Home Companion.” We have since learned that Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor is also hosting a listener party:
After more than 40 years, Garrison Keillor is stepping down as the host of “A Prairie Home Companion.” Michigan Radio is celebrating Keillor’s final performances as host with “Garrison Keillor’s Retirement Celebration” at the station’s studios in Ann Arbor. Listeners are invited to stop by and enjoy a slice of cake, sign a retirement card, and watch part of his final live show with fellow fans via video stream. The station is also giving away some “A Prairie Home Companion” prizes during the event.
The celebration will be held Saturday, June 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Information online here.
On June 25, WCMU Public Radio (Mt. Pleasant) will celebrate Garrison Keillor and his 40+ years with “A Prairie Home Companion.”
The date will be the second to last show with Garrison as host, and the station is hosting a benefit dinner and a listening party at the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University.
The party will kick off at 4:30 p.m. with live music from the Palooka Brothers, followed by a traditional cast meal of Mama Keillor’s meatloaf, hot dish, powder milk biscuits, rhubarb pie, and a cash bar. At 6:00 p.m. guests will settle in and enjoy the live broadcast.
Tickets are being sold online and all proceeds benefit CMU Public Radio.
Emmy award-winning actor Timothy Busfield will join the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU) as an artist in residence, effective June 15.
In this new role, Busfield will co-teach courses that emphasize acting and fiction film production, provide insights based on his experience as a professional in theatre and film, and bring noted industry professionals to campus for workshops. He will also be the director of national content for WKAR-TV, where he will develop original content for major networks, cable networks, movie studios, and new media.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with the students,” said Busfield. “I’ve learned much in my career and I love helping those that are also eager to learn. My goal is to help their transitions into the major (and not so major) film and theatre communities when they graduate.”
Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, shared his enthusiasm on having Busfield join the college, stating, “Tim brings a wealth of experience in acting, directing, and moviemaking, which will add new energy to the Media Arts Collaborative, a new collaboration for creative work between the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the College of Arts and Letters,” said David. “We are also excited about collaborating with Tim to create compelling content for WKAR.”
A native of East Lansing, Michigan, Busfield was eager to rejoin the mid-Michigan community, specifically MSU, stating “I grew up in East Lansing. My dad taught speech and theater at MSU and my mom and stepfather retired after many decades with the MSU Press… so in short, I’m all Green and White. Then, in January my heart jumped when President Simon announced that she was interested in WKAR producing more original content. I felt I was a perfect fit to help execute her vision of seeing WKAR and MSU move into the market of major television and film.”
Susi Elkins, Interim Director of Broadcasting and General Manager of WKAR, is looking forward to having Busfield join her team. “It’s so exciting for us that Tim is returning home to East Lansing, eager to give back to the community and to join our team at WKAR. His creativity, experience, and enthusiasm for engaging audiences is unmatched and we’re thrilled to be working with him,” said Elkins.
Another aspect of Busfield’s new role for MSU will incorporate promoting experiential learning opportunities for students interested in acting in fiction and nonfiction productions. This work will include the Theater2 Film Project, dedicated to transforming student theatre productions into film, and Busfield’s Performing Arts Warm Up, a weekend performing arts camp for kids.
Busfield has been working in the theatre and film industry for 37 years. He is most recognized for his work in “thirtysomething”, “Field of Dreams,” and “The West Wing.” Most recently, Busfield has sold seven pilots to major networks and has directed four others, including “The Fosters” which is currently still on the air.
WGVU Public Media (Grand Rapids) will hold their annual Golf Outing Fundraiser on Wednesday, June 8 at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. The event involves dozens of Grand Valley State University and public media friends and supporters enjoying an annual day on the links. The event is an 18-hole best-ball scramble format, with practice green and driving range hours 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event will offer prizes for contest holes and winning teams, and a silent auction. Proceeds support WGVU Public Broadcasting!