From controversies including race relations to efforts to help hungry children, 13abc’s Bridges with Doni Miller has explored a wide range of community issues and attempted to focus on solutions. This week, the public affairs and talk program celebrates its 400th program!
“Bridges” was created following the 2005 Toledo riot that resulted in dozens of arrests and property damage. The riot began after a rally by the National Socialist Nazi members in North Toledo that gained national attention.
A former 13abc General Manager, David Zamichow, felt it was time for a weekly discussion on Toledo television aimed at creating greater understanding of issues to the minority community. The title “Bridges” was selected as a metaphor to bridge relationships and create unity. Longtime Toledo leader Doni Miller was chosen to host the program.
Miller reflected on the programs and guests from nearly a decade of discussion and said former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was among the most interesting. Kilpatrick, found guilty of corruption charges while in office, had an “amazing presence” but suffered from his sense of self importance. She added it was sad “to see a life with such promise crumble so thoroughly.”
The longtime host said her most controversial interview involved Democratic Party Executive Director Yvonne Harper. She went on the record charging former Toledo officials and union officials with disrespecting and even disliking Black women. She attacked the back room politics and the interview is still being discussed at the state level.
“Bridges” measured the local impact of the Trayvon Martin killing which received a lot of attention. But Miller said she values programs that connected people to resources. An example included her show about the United Way 211 help line. She also points to guest Tony Siebeneck from Lucas County Kids as raising awareness about children’s hunger in our community. There have been shows about homelessness, African-American women suffering from HIV, and perceptions of poverty.
“I love this show. I love being able to have conversations that hopefully, if even for 23 minutes on Sunday mornings, present what might be a point of view different than our own.” Miller continued that she “never understood why we are so afraid to talk honestly and directly about things like racism, sexism, classism or just the general fragility of human beings.”
Those subjects and many more are being confronted every Sunday at 11:30am. After 400 shows, Miller believes there remains a lot to discuss.