WDET-FM 101.9, Detroit’s NPR station, has partnered with StoryCorps — the national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs — as part of StoryCorps’ One Small Step Radio Station Hubs project. Citizens from across the political spectrum are invited to participate by signing up at wdet.org/onesmallstep.
WDET is one of six public radio stations throughout the country selected to receive training and production assistance to collaborate on StoryCorps’ One Small Step initiative, which facilitates conversation and connection between those of opposing viewpoints. One Small Step is made possible with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
“At WDET, we are humbly aware that we play a significant role in preserving democracy through civil conversations, unbiased news and responsible free speech,” WDET General Manager Mary Zatina said. “We worked hard to bring the One Small Step program to the metro Detroit community so people on opposite ends of the political spectrum can find common ground and shared humanity to help unite our neighborhoods, state, country and world during these tumultuous times.”
Each year, StoryCorps partners with public radio stations to administer One Small Step and connect people in their communities. In addition to WDET, the 2022 One Small Step Radio Station Hubs are WUTC in Chattanooga, Tennessee; KSUT in Ignacio, Colorado; Georgia Public Broadcasting radio stations across the state of Georgia; WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina; and WTIP in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
“Since StoryCorps’ founding almost 20 years ago, our mission has been to remind each other of our shared humanity through the act of listening. One Small Step builds on this work to address the crisis of contempt ripping at the seams of our nation,” said Dave Isay, StoryCorps’ founder and president. “We are grateful to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for supporting One Small Step, and to WDET for partnering with us to gather and share recordings. The initiative is ambitious, but we’re confident that by working together in Detroit, we can show the country that an alternative to toxic polarization is possible.”
Partnering on this project with WDET to reach out to a wide variety of citizens with diverse opinions are Bridge Michigan, The Civility Project, Affirmations and WJR Radio.
Two members of each participating station are trained by StoryCorps staff. The stations will receive program support and a customized set of professional recording equipment for in-person recording, as well as access to StoryCorps’ remote recording platform, which can be used to host conversations virtually.
Trained station staff members will facilitate and record conversations between community residents of differing political persuasions, and selected interviews will be shared across each station’s media platforms. Stations will also team up with community organizations to spread the word while collaborating with StoryCorps to match participants and record conversations through the end of the year. The project includes a series of public listening events, streamed online.
“One Small Step uses conversation to help people reach across political divides to find common ground,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “By working with local public radio stations to connect people with different backgrounds and political beliefs, One Small Step is helping stations strengthen their communities, one step at a time.”
About One Small Step
Launched by StoryCorps in 2018 in response to growing division in the country, and recently profiled by CBS’ 60 Minutes, One Small Step is a nationwide initiative that provides two strangers who hold different views with the opportunity to take part in facilitated and recorded conversations — specifically to counteract intensifying political divides and to enable those who disagree to listen to each other with respect. Rather than spark additional political debates, One Small Step encourages answers to questions like, “Was there a moment, event or person in your life that shaped your political views?” and “What scares you most when you think about the future?”
About the One Small Step Radio Station Hubs Project
Public radio stations have played an integral role in helping StoryCorps to realize its aspiration to touch the lives of every American. Since 2005, more than 150 stations in all 50 states have hosted the StoryCorps Mobile Tour, providing local access to a mobile recording booth that travels the country, reaching people of all backgrounds and providing opportunities to capture stories of communities that might otherwise go untold.
StoryCorps’ One Small Step initiative is made possible by the generous support of The Hearthland Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute. StoryCorps thanks these donors for their commitment to this project and to bridging divides in America.
WDET is Detroit’s NPR station and a community service of Wayne State University. From in-depth community reporting to national news coverage from NPR, WDET is a reliable source for credible information and news. Its mix of local and national programming is produced by award-winning journalists who highlight diverse perspectives and invite local voices into the conversations. WDET’s mission is to be an authentic voice of Detroit.
Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has given nearly 600,000 people in all 50 states the chance to record interviews about their lives. The award-winning organization preserves the recordings in its archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps’ podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms and bestselling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, engender empathy and connection, and remind us how much more we have in common than what divides us. StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices least heard in the media. The StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer that has been transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round gathering the stories of people nationwide. Learn more at storycorps.org.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit cpb.org, follow on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.