Heard on CultureShift

Former WDET Music Host Liz Copeland On Filling the Midnight Shift

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Image credit: 101.9 WDET

As WDET celebrates 70 years of news, music and conversation programming, we take a trip down memory lane with Liz Copeland, former host of ‘Alternate Take’.

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In 1995, Liz Copeland, now Liz Warner, reigned the nightly airwaves at 101.9 WDET, as host of “Alternate Take,” the music program that plugged listeners into new sounds across genres ranging from electronic and jazz to avant-garde and indie. 

It was the perfect gig for a girl who grew up loving everything about music, audio frequencies, and “the invisible airwaves.” 

From very early on, when I was coming up, radio had such crazy variety,” Warner says. “I am just a big fan of music. It’s always been a part of my life.”

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Copeland’s entry to WDET came in the 1990s, as a volunteer. Then, the volunteer gig turned into part-time employment handling check processing. When she heard about an opening for the overnight shift, she stepped up – nerves and all. 

Doug Coombe for Metro Times

She tells CultureShift’s Amanda LeClaire, “I was a fan of WDET and while I was there, I learned about the overnight opening.”

The shift was midnight to 5:00 am — five nights a week. The 25-hour a week hosting gig was a challenge for a first-time host. 

For twelve years, Warner curated programming and found ways to keeps the vibes fresh and creatively flowing. 

 

The creative mix for filling 25 hours of programming–according to Liz: 

Explore: WDET had an astounding library to choose from with the music. So, I would explore through that.” 

Read and research: “Back then, when you wanted to learn about new music, that wasn’t right in front of you, going online wasn’t really an option. So I would find books that I had, ‘The Trouser Press,’  Billboard guides. I would search through those. Any kind of ‘zines and papers that I could and search through.”

Be resourceful: “I’d talk to friends, go through my own collections and go record shopping. Wherever I could find music that I thought would be great to share, I would share it. And hopefully, try to share it in a creative way! 

It’s not just about sharing,” Liz says. “It’s about trying to create conversations and engagement with the music.” 

Warner continues to host a music show on Los Angeles non-profit radio station, dublab.

Click the player to hear WDET alum Liz Warner in conversation with CultureShift’s Amanda LeClaire. 


Amanda LeClaire, Host, CultureShift

Amanda LeClaire is host of CultureShift. She spent a few years in the southwest for Arizona Public Media.

amanda.leclaire@wdet.org Follow @amandalee_lec

LaToya Cross, Producer, CultureShift

LaToya Cross is a Producer with CultureShift, where she produces in-depth content that spotlights creatives and individuals using their platform to examine, cultivate, shape and shift culture.

Latoya.cross@wdet.org Follow @ToizStory

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