Bradley in Detroit
I found WHYS when my local Public Radio station (WDET, Detroit) started carrying it last year. I took to the show instantly: the combination of global topics and everyday people participating is exactly what I feel like newsmedia needs more of. Too often news shows feature either a closed circle of "experts" in an echo chamber, or the issues discussed are overly narrow and inward looking. WHYS is a genuine attempt at creating a democratic, international dialogue.
The fact that WHYS is based around international callers is a revelation.Show after show callers shed more light on the topic than any mainstream radio presenter: if there are mass protests in Ethiopia, WHYS has participants on the phone; if the topic is the war in Palestine, WHYS has passionate and informed citizens from Ramallah and Tel Aviv on the phone. WHYS takes the pulse of the human diaspora.
It is a fundamentally *from below* perspective on the ideas and struggles that are shaping the world.
The only problems WHYS runs into are related to trying to get so many voices involved that sometimes contributions are short or get lost in the shuffle. Of course the show's real short coming is that it only lasts for an hour when really it should be a whole afternoon show.
My City and My Life
I live in Detroit, Michigan, a city that is perfectly suited for me in two ways. Any obsessive music fan knows about Detroit's semi-hidden treasures: a deep Soul and Funk tradition, avant-garde Jazz, many shades of underground rock, and a long history of non-traditional music venues. I'm a life long music nut and record collector and Detroit is a fiting eco-system for me. I am one of the city's many, many amateur DJ's and I am always the ticket taker at the Bohemian National Home, a once-abandoned early 20th century social club that is now Detroit's home for experimental music.
I also live in Detroit because of it's long history of grass roots social justice activism. Detroit is the spiritual home of the US labor movement and is also a major city of the Civil Rights movement. Those fires still burn today; Detroit is a breeding ground for organizers and troublemakers and I want to be where the action is. This is a city that fights back.
What I do for a living
I just started back to school to earn a certificate so I can teach History and Social Studies in High School (ages 14-18). I never knew I wanted to be a teacher until I was asked to teach a class on global political movements at a high school here in Michigan. It was the most fun I'd ever had so now I am after certification so I can teach at any school in the country. I also write about music, politics, and history for some small magazines and a blog (http://asimplespark.blogspot.com).
And when there is a demostration against a military occupation, I am often the person who paints the signs. I also sell records to dealers and collectors.
Stories and Topics I'm Interested In
I am most interested in how trends in politics and economic effect everyday people.
That always seems to be the story behind the story, from globalization to the environment to changes in the workplace to the so-called War on Terror.
What do these things look like on the ground? How do they play out in the lives of people most effected?
The specific questions that I feel the most connected to are related to what my country, the United States, is doing in the world. My favorite WHYS shows of the last year have touched on the US' support for Israel, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, growing gaps in wealth and resources in the global North and South, and other topics related to economic globalization.
WHYS is also one of the few shows that will focus on African politics and society and feature the voices of African people. I insist that WHYS keeps up this tradition: there is so little meaningful coverage of Africa in the US and I suspect elsewhere in the West. And African people talking about Africa is rarer still in the mainstream media.
I am also very interested in topics that focus on how people are changing the world around them.
Favorite WHYS moment:
WHYS broadcast live from Detroit the day after the much talked about US midterm elections.
That morning I participated in my first WHYS Morning Meeting. I shared with the other participants that Detroiters were talking about two things right now, neither of which were the election.
Michigan had just passed an anti-Affirmative Action law and everyone was debating it. Also, thanks to Detroit's massive Arab-American population, the Detroit area is deeply connected to the events there. At the time Israel had just massacred 22 Palestinians, mostly childern. We ended up picking those two topics (Affirmative Action and Palestine) for the days show and it was an incredible success.
The Detroit studio audience was, as I predicted, passionate about both. And the international callers further enlarged what turned out to be an incredible conversation. There was so much response to the Affirmative Action debate it became the topic of the next day's show, too. People all over the world connect to the history of the Black Civil Rights movement, which created Affirmative Action. The news of Affirmative Action being rolled back struck a chord with so many people internationally.
I also very much enjoyed sharing with WHYS listeners my experiences at the nation-wide Immigrant Rights demonstration and general strike last May Day.
I had just returned from a huge rally in my neighborhood here in Detroit and I called WHYS to tell the world what was happening on the streets of the US.