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WDET Presents a Community Programming Initiative on Detroit's Mortgage Crisis

June 8, 2009

Wayne State University's Public Radio Station Brings the Voices of People Make a Difference to the Public Airwaves

June 5, 2009 - WDET will reach deep into metro Detroit neighborhoods and bring the voices of Detroit to the air through an innovative community programming initiative: "Facing the Mortgage Crisis: Home Is More Than Our House." The series begins Monday, June 8, 2009 and will air in Detroit Today (weekdays 1-3pm), Morning Edition (weekdays 5-8am) and across WDET's schedule as a series of 30 second "community voices" short stories. The series extends through June and July and will introduce WDET listeners to the people and organizations operating on the front-line of Detroit's mortgage crisis. WDET's community programming initiative is part of a national project taking place in 32 markets across the country and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

"Reporting on the housing and credit issues has, for the most part, been focused on institutional problems and institutional solutions. With this series, we wanted to look at how the crisis is stretching the social fabric to the breaking point. We're speaking with people whose lives are in turmoil, we're showcasing groups of people and organizations who are crafting ingenious solutions and we're examining the ways we can lock arms and, together, work our way out of the problem. At WDET, we think the public airwaves should be used in ways that make a tangible contribution to the city's future," says J. Mikel Ellcessor, WDET's General Manager.

More than just the stories of those impacted, listeners will have the opportunity to make a difference by getting involved and volunteering. Information on the stories in the series, the organizations helping people and how to take action and get involved will be available at the project blog on WDET's website: www.wdet.org.

WDET's community partner on the series is ARISE Detroit!, a coalition of more than 400 community groups, churches, block clubs and media outlets, which has been working throughout Detroit to assist with the mortgage crisis and the downstream effects on children, families and their neighborhoods.

"Partnering with ARISE Detroit! has really expanded our ability to tap the wisdom of the community," says J. Mikel Ellcessor. "There are organizations who are keeping people in their homes. There are neighborhoods devising innovative solutions to stabilize their community, and there are individuals with powerful, practical solutions. ARISE Detroit! has been an inspiring partner and has done a lot to help us find these stories as a way to help us learn from each other."

WDET and its project media partner Model D will be participating in a speaker series on June 24, 2009 about Detroit's mortgage crisis, as well as the "Lonely House Tour" on June 14, 2009 taking place the Indian Village and West Village neighborhoods designed to get people into available homes.

"The radio series, community partnerships, events and project blog are all designed to work together to inform and get people into action. This impacts all of us and one thing we've discovered in our reporting is how deep the region's pool of smart, talented and dedicated people really is," said Zak Rosen, producer of the series with WDET's Rob St. Mary.

WDET's special series, "Facing the Mortgage Crisis: Home Is More Than Our House," airs over seven weeks beginning Monday, June 8, 2009.

WDET is a community service of Wayne State University

5700 Cass Avenue, 3100 Academic Administration Building * Detroit, Michigan 48202
Phone (313) 577-2150 * Fax (313) 577-4459 * Newsline (313) 577-5345