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Facing our Future Means Nurturing New Shows and Talents

Over the past year, we’ve been making some changes to the Michigan Radio schedule. I know that for some, these changes have been for the better, while others wish we’d left well enough alone. Over the next few years, there will likely be more adjustments to our mix of shows as we work to determine what will best meet the needs of our listening audience in the years to come.

Programming-wise, there are many things happening in the public radio system; older shows, such as "Car Talk," have stopped producing new episodes; popular hosts are nearing retirement age; and podcasting is changing how people are listening.  Fortunately, new shows are being developed both nationally and here at Michigan Radio as a response.

In order to ensure that there are great shows in the future, we sometimes need to give a promising new show or talent an opportunity to be heard. As a fellow program director at another station put it, 40 years ago stations made room for Garrison Keillor to try to “make-a-go of ‘A Prairie Home Companion.’” Similarly, 25 years ago, time was found in scheduling for Terry Gross to begin bringing listeners her now-familiar, in-depth conversations. Neither show was tremendously received at the start, but both grew to become huge hits that are now staples of public radio programming at stations around the country.

Michigan Radio is proactively making room in our schedule to help grow the next crop of great public radio shows. We don’t know yet whether shows like “Ask Me Another,” “Wits,” “Snap Judgment” or “The Dinner Party” will blossom into public radio hits, but we want to give them a chance to succeed.

For years, we’ve heard from our listeners that they wanted more attention paid to issues of direct relevance in Michigan. "Stateside with Cynthia Canty" (which airs Monday through Thursday at 3pm and again at 10pm) was developed in direct response to this feedback. The show is off to a great start and is garnering positive feedback from our listeners.

As a Michigan Radio supporter, your opinion is important to us.  As we offer these opportunities, I hope you’ll listen, keep an open mind, and, of course, share your feedback with us.  We want to know what you think.