Detroit radio personality and Groves High School alumnus Travis Wright will be hitting the airwaves again, this time on your television when he hosts "It's Your Show (I'm Just Hosting It)” on public television stations across the nation.
"It started as an idea for a Detroit show. I fell in love with Detroit early in my career," said the native Canadian, who moved to Southfield and the Birmingham School District in grade school. "I've never been hesitant to go into any neighborhood and get to know it. I saw how the media ignores many areas, and thought how interesting it would be to show up on a corner with a desk, chair and microphone, and say, 'OK Detroit, it's your show and I'm just hosting it.'"
From that concept, the concept grew to a statewide format and work with Arcadius Productions to get the show on public television stations in and outside of Detroit. The goal, Wright said, is to have the show fully funded by May of 2019, so he can start producing episodes.
Prior to leaving WDET in early 2017, Wright hosted "Culture Shift," a Detroit-based arts and culture show he expanded from shorter segments he crafted while hosting the station's news show, "All Things Considered." Wright has covered arts, culture and music in Detroit since about 2006, including positions at Detroit Metro Times and serving as editor at Real Detroit Weekly.
"It was so close to my dream job that it's hard to talk about," Wright said about his work at WDET, "except when they blew out Culture Shift. They brought in a consultant from the East Coast, who took over the show, and it became not my show."
Citing artistic differences, Wright decided to part ways with the show that he had helped to craft. The decision, he said, was one of the two hardest decisions he had to make in his life. The other was deciding to leave a path of sports in high school.
"You're quitting a team, and you're quitting a thing you love," he said. "I was working with 30 highly intelligent people who were community focused and engaged in their community in different ways. I'll probably never have an experience like that again."
It was at Groves where Wright sustained a football injury in his junior year. Not wanting to walk away from the game, a teacher honed in on Wright's gift of gab and offered him a chance to do color commentary for the public access station's football coverage. The on-air experience not only helped to soften the blow of leaving sports, but proved to be a pivotal point in his education and career.
"My entire career in the Birmingham school community provided an opportunity to delve into a sense of myself that they offered, and they set the table," he said. "I've been lucky to have the right people in my life, handing me the right books at the right time."
It was at the end of his 8th grade year that Wright said his former teacher, Jeff Wickerham, gave him a book that would help to form his views.
"He gave me a copy of Walden. It blew me away. It was really counter-culture. He handed me the book and said it's 'just for you,'" Wright said. "That moment changed my life, and that teacher changed my life."
Photo: Laurie Tennent