Radio Story aired Friday, 7:30am during Morning Edition on WMUK radio!

Friday, April 11th, 7:30am –  WMUK (NPR, 102.1 FM, aired our 2nd radio documentary story in our series about LGBT identity and acceptance during Morning Edition.  We rushed to get it done to line up with the Day of Silence, an annual day of action to protest the bullying and harassment of lesbiangaybisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and supporters.. The piece, “One Day in Michigan” is a collage of experiences from newly married gay couples and their allies at the Washtenaw County Courthouse on Sat. March 22nd. The piece celebrates the day, the community, and the experience created as a result. Listen to the piece here!

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Podcast Posted: “Jacktown! The Alcatraz of the Midwest!” (The Living Room December episode)

The podcast of “Jacktown! The Alcatraz of the West!”, our December episode of The Living Room, is posted!  The radio story aired on Michigan Radio December 19th. It features interviews I conducted with a former inmate of 33 years, his former corrections officer and IMG_5412the first female psychologist in an all male corrections facility. Earlier in the fall I joined the Jackson Historic Prison tours and stepped inside 7 block, a closed, but fully intact cell block on the Jackson Prison grounds. There I met a series of speakers who were former employees and inmates at Jackson Prison and started to interview them. I was so struck by the power of their stories that I later went to interview them in their homes or offices to get a more in depth picture of life inside Jackson Prison. The 10 minute piece is only the tip of the iceberg, but offers us all much to grateful for in our own lives. If you are interested in the stories, consider buying Lionel Stewart’s book “Quiet Blood” written during his 30 years in prison or Jean Becker Walsh’s book “There’s a Woman in Here!” about her years as the first female psychologist in an all male corrections facility. I host The Living Room and co-produce the storytelling series with Zak Rosen. Thanks for listening!

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“The Living Room” Radio Series August & September episodes air this week!

Lake Michigan, August 2013Listen to the PODCAST of the August episode of The Living Room Storytelling Radio series on Michigan Radio. It aired Thursday, August 29th on Michigan Radio‘s daily news show Stateside with Cynthia Canty. This episode features a whimsical end of summer story by my friend, Michigan storyteller and artist, Karen Czarnik.  Karen recounts a memorable road trip she took with her kids to Northern Michigan where they invoked the family tradition of swimming in every new body of water. Downey curated this piece and co-produced it with independent media producer, Zak Rosen.

If you listen, please feel free to post your comments on their website or email

The September episode of The Living Room airs Thursday, September 5th, 3-4pm EST; 10-11pm EST on Michigan Radio‘s daily news show Stateside with Cynthia CantyAiring on the first day of school for many, this episode is dedicated to education. The piece begins with a collage of voices from interviews I conducted with Kalamazoo pre-school and elementary school students the last week of classes this past June. The rest of the episode features a story by Living Room producer Zak Rosen about The James and Grace Lee Boggs School (named after the nationally known authors and activists) that opens in Detroit this week.

Listen on your radio: 91.7 FM /Ann Arbor/ Detroit; 91.1 FM Flint; 104.1 West Michigan; stream live at www.michiganradio.orgListen to the podcast on the Stateside webpage ( for it the next day, or check back here to my website and the new episodes will be posted after they air.

Hope you enjoy!

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“The Living Room” Radio Series July episode airs on Michigan Radio! Listen to the podcast.

IMG_4143Our July edition of “The Living Room” storytelling radio series aired  on Michigan Radio’s program “Stateside” Wed., July 24th @ 3:45pm EST and again 10:45pm EST. You can LISTEN TO THE PODCAST and please let us know what you think – POST COMMENTS: “Running Away with the Carnival”

This month’s segment has been a blast to put together. I took our 4 year old son to the carnival in Battle Creek, MI July 4th weekend and started talking with some of the “carneys” there. Loved their stories. So… had to come back with my recorder and spent way too many hours hanging out with the carneys and gabbing. I host and co-produced this piece with the incredibly talented Zak Rosen.


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