Former ‘Radios In Motion’ Host On The Many Faces of Detroit’s Music Scene

Mike Halloran started at WDET working as an engineer, but wanted to get on the air. When he finally did, he introduced Detroit to New Wave music and did it on WDET’s airwaves

Radio host Mike Halloran hasn’t been on the air in Detroit for over 30 years. But his influence on broadcasting in Detroit can still be felt. 

The former host of 101.9 WDET’s “Radios in Motion” helped bring the city’s dynamic, emerging New Wave music scene to radio listeners. 

“This city has always been unstoppable about taking people’s music, adding something that nobody ever thought of, and then it just blew up.”

“Detroit has birthed a lot of music scenes,” Halloran says of deciding what to play on ‘Radios in Motion.’ The city had attracted a number of musicians, from blues to country to blue grass. “They all got to Detroit, and this amalgamation of weirdness happened. Detroit became a hotbed of experimentation, it was just electric and it was on fire.”

He credits the College of Creative Studies, electronic pioneers the Belleville Three, and the confluence of a variety of musical styles for birthing ‘Radios in Motion.’

“This city has always been unstoppable about taking people’s music, adding something that nobody ever thought of, and then it just blew up.”

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Interview: Mike Halloran, radio host

During a visit to Detroit for a reunion concert with his band, The Plugs, Halloran sat down with Ann Delisi for a lengthy conversation. 

On his first job at WDET, 6:36:

“My first job, unpaid, was coming down here at 5:00 in the morning on Sundays, and I ran ‘Music of the Black Church,’ an opera show, other things, stayed here til about noon, and then drove back to my parents’ place.”

On meeting U2, 16:04: 

“I didn’t know there was a record label involved. I just showed up at Harpo’s. I drove most of them, not Bono, back to their hotel. I told them who I was, and said, ‘Next time you come through, you guys got to come by my radio show.”

On the Violent Femme’s “Blister in the Sun,” 29:36:

“It’s like punk rock, acoustic music. We just ran with it.”

Ann Delisi’s “Essential Conversations” is sponsored by: 


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  • Ann Delisi

    Ann Delisi hosts Essential Music, the Essential Conversations podcast series and the Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast. Born and raised in the Motor City, Ann is a broadcaster, interviewer, producer, music host, storyteller and proud Detroiter.