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October 14, 1988 - Image 68

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE BEST
COSTS
NO MORE!

WHY SETTLE
FOR
LESS?

ENTERTAINMENT 1'

Speak Out

Continued from preceding page

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68

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1988

for inexpensive local pro-
gramming. The producer met
with Triest and Steinberg,
and liked what she saw. For
the next six months, Channel
20 broadcast "A Closer Look"
once a week.
By spring 1987, the pro-
gram's name had been chang-
ed to "SpeakOut! With Brent
'Priest" and had joined Chan-
nel 56's weekly line-up.
Joining the team as pro-
ducers were Triest's longtime
friend, pediatrician Dr. Irwin
Kappy and Suzanne Schu-
maker, who had produced
WDIV-TV's "Health Talk"
program and a late-night talk
show on WRIF-FM. "We now
have three producers, three
associate producers and a seg-
ment producer," said Triest.
"We also have a complete crew
from United Cable and Con-
tinental Cable."
The teamwork has paid off,
too. When the Oakland Coun-
ty Cable Communications
Corporation (OC-4) handed
out its Access Ability Awards
("Alberts") in June 1987,
"SpeakOut!" walked with
those for outstanding host
(Triest), and the coveted pro-
ducer/director of the year
(KaPPY).
National recognition soon
followed. In May 1988
"SpeakOut!" won the System
ACE ("Award for Cable Ex-
cellence") for the best local
cable program in the United
States. The award was
presented at ceremonies in
Los Angeles.
The show's goals, according
to -Triest, are twofold.
" `SpeakOut!' is a community
forum show," he said. "The
first thing we do is provide the
community with a place
where they can talk; to
discuss, argue or debate dif-
ferent issues. The other thing
we do is what we call a 'forum'
kind of show. We'll bring
together a group of people that
the rest of us don't hear from
often, to hear what they have
to say about everyday issues."
Guests are also questioned by
a studio audience.
"SpeakOut!" relies on a
theme, rather than well-
known guests. Even so, Triest
has hosted such notables as
casino gambling opponent
Thomas Barrow, Detroit City
Council members Erma
Henderson and Maryann
Mahaffey and Detroit Free
Press columnists Mike Duffy
and Nickie McWhirter.
Program topics have been as
varied as: what happens when
dad works full-time at home,
date rape, female Vietnam
veterans, the invisible aging

With microphone in hand, Brent Idea guides guests and the audience in
a lively discussion.

woman in advertising and
organ donation.
Triest cited as among his
favorite shows "Kids on the
Block" and "Women Who
Work in Nontraditional and
Dangerous Jobs." "Kids on the
Block" featured hand puppets
with disabilities. "We had
about 200 children in the au-
dience," said Triest.
"Women Who Work in Non-
traditional and Dangerous
Jobs" spotlighted females who
work in male-dominated
fields.
"We're very unique, and I'm
very proud of this, in terms of

'Speak Out' is a
community forum
for people and
issues.

how we're putting together a
television show," said Triest.
"One of our producers works
primarily in television. Aside
from her, everyody has profes-
sional involvements outside
television. We have a pediatri-
cian, we have a professor from
Oakland University. We have
an associate producer who's a
probation officer in federal
court. Each person brings his
or her own interests and
disciplines into the show. And
that's a unique approach to
TV, especially public TV."
There have been a few
snags, such as the guest who
died the night before the show,

causing the producers to
scramble for a replacement.
Triest has also had to referee
disagreements among staff
members just before
showtime. It's all part of the
job, and Triest takes it in
stride.
Schumaker credits much of
the show's success to Triest.
"Brent gives the producers a
lot of creative latitude," she
said. "He's reasonable and
understanding, but forceful if
he's really opposed to an idea."

In turn, Triest cites the con-
tributions of Steinberg, Kappy,
Schumaker and producer Rose
Cooper, as pivotal to the
show's success. "The key is
how important everyone is on
this project besides me," he
said. "Without Barry
Steinberg, `SpeakOut!' never
would have happened." Roun-
ding out the "SpeakOut!" staff
are associate producers Fred
Ladd, Nettie Rosen and Abby
Gruber, and segment producer
Roseanne Freed.
How does this lawyer-talk
show
host-instructor-
community
volunteer-
husband-father balance it all?
"Carefully!" he laughs. He at-
tributes this balancing act to
meticulous scheduling, and
the support of his family.
"Brent is a happier person do-
ing these things," said Nancy.
"I've always been supportive
of Brent's interests, and he's
supportive of me. It works
both ways." ❑

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