Season Four is Here.

Welcome to The Detroit History Podcast. In our fourth season, we’ll explore The Scene, which had an outsized impact on Motor City culture as the signature show on Detroit’s only African-American owned television station; explore the construction of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel 90 years ago; study the life of a 19th century Michigan lumber baron as we look for ghosts in The Whitney restaurant. And we’ll tell you about the Nike Missiles that were stationed around metro Detroit at the height of the Cold War.

You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and our embedded audio player on this website. Tim Kiska hosts the program, with new episodes being released each Sunday evening. Hope you enjoy.

Season 4 – Episode 4: Black Bottom: The Rise, the Fall, and the Rise of a Detroit Neighborhood

For decades, segregation forced African-Americans migrating from the South to Detroit into one neighborhood: “Black “Bottom,” an area just east of downtown, which is now Lafayette Park. Urban renewal plowed the neighborhood under in the 1950s, destroying what had been a thriving place that...

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Season 4 – Episode 3: The Haunting of The Whitney

Waiter, is there a ghost in my soup? The Whitney, one of Detroit’s great restaurants, began life as a grand 19th Century mansion. David Whitney, one of Michigan’s richest lumber barons, would be startled to learn not only that the public is dining on...

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Season 4 – Episode 2: The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, The Sub-Aquatic Ambassador

An underwater tale of two cities. With the auto industry booming and with Detroit’s population surging in the 1920s, we needed a way to get people and car parts back and forth between Detroit and Windsor.  The solution: Just dig a massive trench beneath...

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Season 4 – Episode 1: The Scene, The Hippest Show in Detroit in the 70s and 80s

Black Detroiters were invisible on local TV then . . . ‘The Scene’ changed it all    The low-budget, upstart and, to some, shocking dance show on a pioneering African-American-owned TV station put a screenful of Detroit teenagers on the air every day. If...

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Special Edition- The Polio Outbreak

With a terrible virus sweeping the nation, the word “vaccine” dominated headlines for months. Not COVID-19, but polio. Not now, but the 1950s. Elder generations remember it well. But almost all have forgotten, if they ever knew, that Detroit suffered a polio epidemic three...

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Season 3 Finale: The Deindustrialization of Detroit

Some look at Detroit today and wonder how the abandoned buildings got here. What happened between The Arsenal of Democracy and now? How did a city of nearly 2 million people dwindle down to around 650,000? There are people that blame the 1967 rebellion...

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Behind The Show

The hardworking Detroit History Podcast is a collaborative effort.

Tim Kiska

Tim Kiska is a professor at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He worked in journalism at the Detroit Free Press (1970-1987), Detroit News (1987-2002) and WWJ-AM, the CBS-owned all-news radio station. He earned his PhD in history at Wayne State University in 2003, two years after joining the UM-D faculty.

Eric Kiska

Born in Detroit, MI, Eric Kiska is a musician, writer, and lover of the outdoors. Eric graduated with a Bachelors of Science in English Writing and a minor in Art & Design from Northern Michigan University in 2014. Shortly after he had a part-time column for the Motor City Muckraker focusing on music around Detroit. He has also done freelance video editing for Detroit Public TV’s, and helped raised $21,000 for the “BC Surgery Stories” kickstarter campaign by editing the kickstarter video and assisting in social media promotions. Eric is now a mail carrier in Sterling Heights, MI while continuing to pursue a career in writing.

Bob Koski

Bob Koski is a lifelong Detroiter who became warped at the age of eight after seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in February, 1964. Through a sequence of classical piano lessons, electrical engineering, club deejaying, and eventually being a producer/song parody writer for “J.J. & The Morning Crew” on Detroit radio, he has now morphed into an audio engineer–digitally preserving archival recordings. His love of Beatles music still dominates his life, and he actually got to play one of the Abbey Road studio pianos used in many Beatles recordings.

Bill Kubota

Bill has produced, written, directed and lensed local, regional and national documentaries for broadcast since the 1980s. His national projects include co-producing the Dupont Columbia Journalism award-winning Beyond The Light Switch series for Detroit Public Television. He recently directed the PBS documentary The Ethanol Effect for Detroit Public Television. With his production company, KDN Films, he directed Lustron – The House America’s Been Waiting For working with Ohio State University Public Television and the primetime national network broadcast of Most Honorable Son presented by PBS and NET Nebraska. His work has also appeared on PBS NewsHour, ABC News, CBS News and ESPN. He’s worked as a producer, photographer, on-air reporter and news assignment manager for television stations in Lansing, Flint and Detroit. He’s currently working on short films that look at the major issues facing Detroit for DPTV, One Detroit and DPTV’s Great Lakes Now.

Kelley Kiska

Kelley Kiska is an art, design, pop culture, and information nerd from Grand Blanc, MI. She has been designing and creating visual solutions since 2014, and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Communication from Northern Michigan University in 2016. She has created logos and identities for various industries including real estate and online gaming. Most of her days are spent in the digital sphere, but she is also passionate about working with her hands; diving into calligraphy and illustration. She is currently working as a graphic designer and web developer at a paid media shop outside of Ann Arbor.

Tom Ferguson

Ferguson joined the Detroit Free Press news desk at the end of 1967-‘68’s ninety-day newspaper strike, and spent two decades in various editorial jobs. He also worked at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, edited America’s Largest Country Weekly, published a music magazine, edited a health-care newspaper, managed a short-run book publisher, and continues to play piano whenever he finds a bar and grill that will have him.