Despite progress, in many ways the United States remains a nation of haves and have-nots when it comes to income, education and health. And it remains divided on critical issues including race, gender and sexuality.
WDET-FM (101.9 FM), Detroit’s public radio station, plans to examine these modern issues of inequality through the lens of history with Created Equal, a new podcast launching Nov. 18.
Created Equal will be co-hosted by Pulitzer prize-winning commentator Stephen Henderson and award-winning audio producer/journalist Laura Weber-Davis.
Each of the season’s six 20-minute episodes will fuse insights from the hosts and subject matter experts with human-driven storytelling that explores the origins and impact of various forms of inequity that we are grappling with today.
"Inequality is an important American issue, maybe the American issue,” said Henderson. “And using the lens of history, we can tell great, unexpected stories about where we are with inequality today. As a podcast, Created Equal is an engaging team sport and an opportunity to talk about issues of inequality with listeners, rather than at them."
Music will play a leading role in each episode, not only setting the scene of the central story but also driving the narrative and creating an emotional pathway for the listener to enter and connect with the subjects at its core. All of the music heard in the podcast is composed by or in partnership with Detroit artists and overseen by producer/engineer Sam Beaubien.
“Our goal is to spark conversations about these issues of inequality in the community and in schools,” said Weber-Davis. “Talking about inequality is the only way to create equality.”
Created Equal will be available on iTunes, Google Play and wherever podcasts are available on Fridays beginning Nov. 18.
Henderson is the editorial page editor at The Detroit Free Press and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary and National Association of Black Journalists’ Journalist of the Year award in 2014. He currently hosts WDET’s daily talk show Detroit Today. Henderson is also the host of Detroit Public Television’s American Black Journal and co-host of their weekly public affairs program MI Week.
Weber-Davis is the lead producer and occasional co-host of WDET's Detroit Today. She holds a master’s of journalism from the University of Southern California. Davis has a passion for both history and sound-rich storytelling. She previously led WDET’s highly impactful multimedia series examining Detroit’s food economy, produced in partnership with WNYC. Weber-Davis is a former editor of The Smoking Section, a hip-hop and urban culture blog, and her passion for music is evident in her sound-rich features.
Beaubien is an accomplished musical composer, performer and founder of the band Will Sessions. He has worked with nationally acclaimed artists including Eminem, Mayer Hawthorne and George Clinton. His work has been featured in national advertising for a range of clients including Chrysler, Ford and Gillette.
WDET is Detroit’s public radio station and a community service of Wayne State University, serving a growing audience of over 200,000 weekly listeners in Southeast Michigan. Its mission is to serve an engaged, diverse and curious audience through trusted news, inclusive conversations and cultural experiences that empower the Detroit region to move forward. WDET produces 60 hours of award-winning local programming each week in addition to broadcasting and contributing to nationally syndicated shows from NPR and other trusted news and information providers. WDET can be heard on air at 101.9FM and online at wdet.org.
Created Equal joins WDET's collection of original and diverse podcasts including Twisted Storytellers, hosted by Satori Shakoor, and Beginning of the End, hosted by Alex Trajano.
Created Equal is part of WDET’s commitment to the Detroit Journalism Cooperative (DJC), a partnership including Detroit Public Television (DPTV), Michigan Radio, The Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine, and New Michigan Media, a partnership of ethnic and minority newspapers. Originally formed to report on the city’s entry into and emergence from municipal bankruptcy, the DJC has spent the last year examining the crossroads of Detroit’s racial, economic and social issues through a multimedia series titled The Intersection. The partners’ work can be viewed at detroitjournalism.com.
Support for the DJC and this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative, and the Ford Foundation.