Re: “Making airwaves” (Metro Times, Oct. 20), with her fixation on ratings consistency, WDET General Manager Caryn Mathes has forgotten what a public radio station is all about. A commercial station runs the same format all day long to generate consistent ratings so that advertisers will know the size and type of audience they are reaching. But as a public station, WDET carries no advertising.
The purpose of a public radio station is to serve the community with a broad mix of programming, some of which appeals to the community at large, some to segments that are ignored by commercial stations. Different programs draw different audiences, and there is nothing wrong with that, for there are no ratings-obsessed advertisers to deal with.
With its Adult Alternative Album format running all day long, WDET now looks like a commercial station with NPR news. I’ve previously donated to WDET, but because of these programming changes, I won’t be giving it any more money.
By the way, I’ve noticed that the Metro Times waited more than a month to cover the WDET programming changes. What took so long? —Dave Hornstein, Southfield
A listener speaks
I was one of the “folks that were upset” about WDET’s program changes. Let me tell you why I will not give that station another dime.
1) Their pledge drives tell people that if we support a program by pledging that will help keep that program on the air. Last time I pledged on behalf of The Tavis Smiley Show, which they precipitously cut.
2.) I happen to be a white person, but the Tavis Smiley program provided the best interviews with African-American people who are almost never heard on radio or TV and from a welcome perspective about issues of concern to people seeking a more just country. Why, given the very segregated nature of our community would the “public” radio station in a majority African-American city cut the Tavis Smiley show?
3) The arrogant way the program was cut and the station handled people who called: First, I turned on the program a little later than usual, about 15 minutes into its time slot and heard music only. I thought there was a technical problem until I read the statement in the paper that the program had been cut. The cut occurred without warning, and people who supported the program had no advance way to organize to keep it. I then called the station and got a recording saying that if I was calling about the program changes I should go to the WDET Web site. So much for paying attention to their listeners or wanting to know what listeners think! —Lucinda Keils, Oak Park
A history lesson
Re: “Six words of separation” (Metro Times, Oct. 20), between 1650 and 1865 a so-called “caring society” intentionally created millions of motherless and fatherless families through the institution of slavery. McMillin’s statement (“No caring society has ever intentionally created motherless and fatherless families, and that’s what same-sex homes are. We are passing this to defend marriage”) clearly carries the same fundamentalist ideology that has seeded the political thinking of this country since its inception. Politicians, supported by fear-based propaganda, perpetuate divisive notions while shrouding the real issue of granting equity to everyone. Intolerant thinking (for lack of a better word) keeps the democratic dream a distant reality each time the need for initiatives such as Proposal 2 shows up on the ballot. —J. D. Watkins, Southfield
Take the sex out of marriage?
Thank you for a very well written article that does a wonderful job of explaining the intolerant nature of Proposition 2.
One thing that I would like to see changed is the wording “same-sex”. It may just be semantics but I believe the word “sex” makes people really prickly. I don’t care about the sex life of anyone. Can’t we call this what it is — “same-gender”?
As for that quote from Tom McMillin, will Tom be writing proposals for the banning of single motherhood? Fatherhood? Divorce? I think it lies in his key word “intentionally.” What, we get divorced by accident? I’m not saying getting a divorce leads to one parent abandoning their children but, come on, Tom, should we take that chance? But we pick our sexual orientation on purpose?
Thanks for the article. But how about that “same-gender” idea? —Linda Stein, Birmingham
Another view on Proposal 2
Michigan is not “goofy filled” like some union states. Let’s keep it that way. I don’t need my family’s hard-earned money to help support a sad lifestyle. Real men marry women. Real women marry men. The rest can just take their lumps, as they know what they’re going up against when they decide to deviate from normal. However, they don’t care. It’s easier for them to go with what “feels good.” This is what irresponsible citizens do. They are people who have never really grown up mentally, don’t care who they hurt, but, by God, have the power to embarrass themselves in front of the world. “Same-sex marriage” and “unions” are fine for you kids. Just keep it out of politics. I don’t want to pay for your AIDS, because you were goofy. This is not a hate message, just a wake-up message for irresponsible people who need to get a grip. —Mike Allen, Lansing, firstname.lastname@example.org
The title of Jane Slaughter’s review in this week’s Metro Times of the International Mini-Café (“It’s a small world after all,” Metro Times, Oct. 20) should have read “It’s a cruel world after all.” It’s more than “tacky” to copy someone’s menu and pass it off as your own. It’s just plain wrong. I feel for Rita, to have worked hard for 10 years creating something special just to have it stolen from her, and then to have to read a review that legitimizes the act. I am usually in agreement with your reviews, but on this one you missed the big picture. Loyal fans of Small World know that while the food may still be good, it’s the bad karma that’s hard to swallow. —Michael Linardos, Detroit
Give Detroit schools an E
Re: “Reading, writing and politics” (Metro Times, Oct. 20), Proposal E is only confusing to those who refuse to recognize change is necessary. Pretty soon the only people that will live in Detroit are the people who want nothing. There shouldn’t even be a debate over the best thing a child could receive: a decent education. The original takeover five years ago reflected the neglect that our children endured under our noses; now all of a sudden we’re in an uproar over control. Ha! We have nerve! Control over the money is the biggest concern for the politicians and chiefs and it should be. We need to run the system like a business and stop playing off all these positions and ties that deteriorated the system to what we know it as today. I have three children in the Detroit Public Schools and all I want is professionalism, respect for my child and a curriculum that’s consistent with the national standards and beyond if possible. The people with the real passion for education are barely acknowledged — our kids. I hope whichever way the vote goes, the final decision will be in the best interest of the babies. —Dawn Jennings, Detroit
Reject E because of the K
There is not doubt that the residents of Detroit should reject Proposal E. The only consistent behavior by the mayor is his inability to make professional decisions. If it was not for him riding on Dennis Archer’s reputation this city would have no progress. His national search for a police chief and the current Water Department czar are perfect examples of his inability to choose leaders. Shall we not mention how many of his family members are on the city payroll? Allowing the Kwamster to choose the CEO for schools will be terrible. Detroit residents need to look at the bigger picture (2007) when the Voting Rights Act is up for renewal. Should they re-elect the hip-hop mayor maybe testing should be an option to see if people are competent enough to vote in Detroit! —Sharon Owens, Detroit
Ferndale votes on voting
Nov. 2 will truly be a historic election. Not only will we choose the leader of the free world, Ferndale residents have the opportunity to improve the election process itself. Voting YES on Proposal B will enable Ferndale to use IRV (Instant Run-off Voting), a system that allows voters to rank candidates based on preference.
Imagine choosing whom you really want, rather than the least worst candidate. Imagine — no more spoiled elections, more candidates to choose from, increased voter turnout, and positive campaigning. Imagine a proposal that members of all political parties agree on. —Brian Wilgenbusch, Oak Park, email@example.comSend comments to firstname.lastname@example.org