Michigan Radio to air special series focused on remaking the Midwest Manufacturing Belt beginning September 20
Changing Gears: Remaking the Manufacturing Belt, a fresh new multi-media series focusing on the future of the Industrial Midwest, will air its inaugural installments beginning the week of Monday, September 20, 2010. Michigan Radio will air the series, which examines topics from the region's financial outlook and its status as a new center for film production to its signature food offerings, during Morning Edition (5:00 - 9:00am) and All Things Considered (4:00 - 6:30pm). There will also be a special Changing Gears call-in show broadcast on Friday, Sept. 24 from 3:00 - 4:00pm.
Changing Gears is a project of a unique collaboration between three Midwest public media institutions: Michigan Radio, Chicago's WBEZ 91.5 FM, and Cleveland's ideastream® (90.3 WCPN and WVIZ/PBS). The three are sharing resources as a Local Journalism Center (LJC) funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to cover the Great Lakes Region. Chicago-based senior editor, veteran journalist Micheline (Micki) Maynard leads the editorial team, which encompasses award-winning reporters Dan Bobkoff, Niala Boodhoo and Kate Davidson, based in Cleveland, Chicago and Ann Arbor, respectively, along with new media editor George Nemeth, out of Cleveland.
"The situation in the region reminds me of the old saying about the weather, everybody talks about it but nobody can do anything about it, "said Maynard. "With Changing Gears, we want to do more than talk about the issues facing our region. We want to get our audiences involved in finding solutions. We'll be using radio features, interviews, blogs, social media and community events to spur an ongoing regional conversation about the future."
To launch the series, Changing Gears programming will air daily the week of September 20. Stories include:
- Monday, September 20: Changing Gears presents The Film Factory- Across the Industrial Midwest, the search has long been on for the next silver bullet to replace the automobile industry. Lately, it's film production - and every state wants a piece of the $57 billion industry. Michigan, Illinois and now Ohio are all offering generous incentive programs to attract movie crews, and it seems to be working. Stars from Shia LeBeouf to Clint Eastwood to Drew Barrymore have all taken part in movies filmed in the region, and movie crews on Detroit streets have become as common a sight as they are in New York City. The Film Factory will examine if the cost is too high. Some states, like Iowa, have pulled way back on their film programs. Michigan has run into legal problems with at least one entrepreneur who wanted to build a soundstage with state money. And despite all these efforts, California still leads the nation in landing the most movies. Field reports will come from the entire Changing Gears reporting team.
- Tuesday, September 21: Bobkoff launches a series of regular reports on Sandusky, Ohio, which is best known for the Cedar Point amusement park but which is much more diverse than any visitor who rides its roller coasters might suspect.
- Wednesday, September 22: Davidson looks at the "Reversal of Fortune" afflicting auto plant families. Generations of the same family are working side by side on the assembly line but making vastly different wages, due to the cuts ordered as part of the Obama administration's bailout plan.
- Thursday, September 23: Boodhoo takes a look at a spot on Chicago's far Southwest side that once housed an International Harvester plant but now produces solar energy.
- Friday, September 24, 3:00 - 4:00 pm: Changing Gears hosts a call-in program on "Big versus Small," addressing where the focus should be for the Midwest - on reviving its big troubled cities or on supporting smaller, more successful ones. Maynard and award-winning public radio journalist Katherine Lanpher will be joined by three experts on the industrial Midwest: Kevin Boyle, a professor of history at Ohio State University and winner of the National Book Award for "Arc of Justice," the story of a landmark civil rights case in Detroit; Donald Grimes, University of Michigan economist and senior associate with the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy; and Richard Longworth, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and author of "Caught in the Middle: America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism."
Future Changing Gears programming on-air and on-line will include Reinvention Recipes, contributor Michael Nagrant's look at innovative chefs and food purveyors across the region, a timeline that showcases significant moments in the history of the industrial Great Lakes region, a music contest in partnership with the nationally-syndicated WBEZ program Sound Opinions and interactive opportunities for the citizens of the region to share their stories on the future of the region.
For more information on Changing Gears: Remaking the Manufacturing Belt, please visit changinggears.info.