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Motor City Cribs


For 12 years, the studios of WDET were home for late-night heartthrob Liz Copeland and her radio show. Her heady nocturnal mix of sweet sounds, from classic techno to Curtis Mayfield to Nick Cave to Alice Coltrane, provided a perfect soundtrack for insomnia, all-nighters and hookups.

WDET was started as a public service programming station by the United Auto Workers in 1948. In 1952 the UAW sold WDET to Wayne State University for one dollar. WDET’s days as an outlet for alternative and local music programming largely came to an end recently &mash; about a year and a half after the station’s former general manager Michael Coleman axed much of the daytime music programming — when Mick Collins, Chuck Horn, Ralph Valdez, the Detroit Symphony and W. Kim Heron (Full disclosure: Heron’s editor-in-chief of Metro Times) had their shows canceled.

In an age of media consolidation, when much of the world still looks to Detroit for musical inspiration, you’d think Detroit’s leading university would have the brains to showcase Motown’s weird genius and culture.

Copeland is gracious about recent events. “Some of my most intense moments of honesty and discovery have occurred within these walls,” she says of WDET. “To have shared the same records and the same microphone with some of Detroit radio’s greatest, past and present, has been the most enriching education I could ever hope for. I have learned much about the power of broadcasting in the music capital of Detroit — and yet I feel as if the adventure has just begun.”

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