Non-Fiction

The Birth of a Station: Low Power Radio Brings Real Power to Detroit Neighborhood { Excerpt }

Reverend Joan Ross founded WNUC-LP 96.7 FM to give her neighborhood a voice.

While managing food pantries, Ross witnessed the role that unreliable public transit plays in the cycle of poverty by keeping local residents from jobs. “If a city doesn’t have transit, it dies,” Ross says.

In 2011, she founded the North End Woodward Community Coalition to educate and gather input on a proposed metropolitan light-rail system. But within a year, the envisioned 9.3-mile rapid transit route spanning the length of Detroit was scaled back to 3.3 miles. The new QLINE streetcar terminated before it reached North End, the central Detroit neighborhood where Ross works. In Ross’s eyes, the new rail system serves relatively affluent populations and prioritizes “development for the few [over] the needs of the many.”

The light-rail struggle convinced Ross that major media outlets were ignoring her predominately African American neighborhood. The community needed a voice. “I won’t let people I care about be deliberately silenced,” she says.

Read the full article online here.

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The Progressive, May 18, 2017.