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SIC logo Don Michel 'Insight' Radio Interviews (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)

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Don Michel

Collection Description

Insight, a public affairs program, was broadcast on radio station WRAJ in Anna (Union County), Illinois, between 1965 and 1977. Don Michel, owner and operator of WRAJ, hosted Insight and interviewed interesting people both in WRAJ's studios and at various locations around the nation.

The collection of 453 interviews includes such national celebrities as Walter Cronkite, Bob Hope, Arthur Godfrey, Colonel Sanders, Spiro Agnew, Ann Landers, Peter Jennings, Danny Thomas, Nancy Reagan, and Ralph Nader. Michel also interviewed many local people, from Anna church elders to the chief of police to the winner of a youth competition at the Anna fair. Southern Illinois University figures on record include Delyte Morris, John Y. Simon, and Buckminster Fuller. Michel also interviewed returning Vietnam veterans and former prisoners of war. Together, this collection of interviews brings to life the social, cultural, and political currents of the 1960s and 1970s in southern Illinois and beyond.

Alerted by tickertape, Don Michel covered the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy from Anna, contacting the Dallas police by phone and talking to an officer who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald. Michel's continuing interest in the assassination led to interviews in New Orleans with Oswald's landlord, a co-worker, and others, as well as coverage of the Warren Commission findings and the investigations of New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison.

The series was sponsored on WRAJ by the First National Bank of Cobden.

 

Don Michel Bio

Born in 1931, Donald Charles Michel served as a U.S. Navy Lieutenant from 1953 to 1957, when he moved to Anna, Illinois, to begin his career in broadcasting. He began work as an engineer, announcer, program director and salesman at the WRAJ radio station while starting a family with his wife, Marian Fay Burd. The couple had two children, Jane Annette Michel McGarry and David Lowell Michel, and lived in Anna during Michel's long career in broadcast radio. As a radio broadcaster he was able to interview many big names, including Walter Cronkite, Bob Hope, Harry Reasoner, and Senator Paul Simon, but also kept a great deal of local color involved in the broadcast, interviewing local politicians and long-time residents. He was on the air the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination, and was able to interview the police officer who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald. Don Michel eventually bought the radio station in 1975, later selling it as his children grew up and went on to careers in television.



Questions about this collection? Contact: 1-618-453-2516 or Email the library

 
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