The Republican Party often sites itself as “The Party of Reagan.” But how has the White House changed since the Reagan administration? What was it like for journalists to cover that era of Republican leadership in Washington D.C.? Longtime Detroit news anchor Emery King was there in the 1980s. King moved to Detroit to anchor the news with WDIV after leaving Washington. Soon, he will join WDET weekend music host Ann Delisi for an “Essential Conversation” on May 17th — a benefit for WDET — at the Detroit Historical Museum.
“It was just a different world then,” says King. “There was… a daily game of cat and mouse. You know, the administration wants to get its point across, the press is going after a certain story, but there was always a level of mutual respect. I don’t sense that now.”
When asked about his decision to move back to the Midwest — King is originally from Illinois — he explained that there were a few personal and professional aspects drawing him to Detroit.
“I was tired of being shot out of a cannon,” he says, “living out of a suitcase, being on airplanes several times a week… On the professional side, I grew to realize that I could only progress so far… at the network level. And in my opinion, it had to do with race. There was a glass ceiling… In my observations, it still exists. Because when I look at TV and I look at who’s sitting in the big chair delivering news, it’s by and large white males.”
These tones and stories will be a large component of the conversation between Delisi and King on May 17th. Neher continues the segment with Delisi’s take on conceiving this “Essential Conversation” in the first place.
“Emery and I have worked together for 11 years,” says Delisi. “And I’ve heard so many incredible stories along the way, and I thought, these are stories that people that know Emery and have experienced his work many years here in Detroit might want to hear… Emery is a very serious news man, but he has got a wicked sense of humor… There is a lot of ground to cover, because Emery has lived a pretty incredible life.”
To hear more from Emery King and Ann Delisi on Detroit Today, click the audio player above.