Former WDET News Director Frank Joyce Remembers 1980s Detroit

“We were having a new kind of political conversation and WDET was a very logical place for that to happen,” says Joyce.

WDET is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019. That’s seven decades of independent journalism, inclusive conversations and insights into the culture of our city and region.

Frank Joyce was WDET’s News Director in the early 1980s. He says it was a special time for the station during an era of social and political change.

“We’re now deep into the Reagan years, which very much resemble the Trump years and which the election of Reagan was itself a backlash response to a whole bunch of things in the same way Trump is a backlash response to the Obama presidency,” says Joyce. “So, there was a political environment both at the station but in the city at large that we were having a new kind of political conversation and WDET was a very logical place for that to happen.”

Joyce says WDET also played an important role of bringing diverse voices together long before other major stations were embracing that idea.

“Radio was very segregated in Detroit and everywhere else at that point, and the one place where there were black and white voices on the radio was WDET. I was proud of that, I identified with that. It was part of what made me proud to be at WDET at the time.” 

Click on the player above to hear author and activist Frank Joyce talk about his experiences at WDET in the 1980s.

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