The former Wayne County executive, who was ousted by voters in 2014 after his administration become embroiled in various scandals, will host a two-hour weekly Saturday call-in radio show about Detroit issues on WFDF AM 910.
“I don’t think at two hours you can call it a platform for a launch back into politics,” Ficano said, chuckling. “It’s a new experience, I’m excited about it. I’m usually on the other side of the microphone.”
The show launches Jan. 2, and will air 4-6 p.m.
Ficano, 53, said the radio platform will provide more exposure for issues important to Detroiters and touch on regional issues that cross municipal borders.
While he does not yet have guests lined up for the first show, topics are expected to politics, policy and even national issues such as the presidential election.
Ficano has been teaching law classes at Wayne County Community College District, and he wants to use the radio show to talk about the college.
The radio station belongs to local religious broadcasting entrepreneur Kevin Adell, who paid The Walt Disney Co.’s Burbank, Calif.-based Disney Radio Group LLC $3 million in late 2014 for its Farmington Hills-based WFDF AM 910.
In January, Adell began using the station’s 50,000-watt signal to simulcast audio from his global Southfield-based The Word Network Christian television programming that’s mainly aimed at an African-American audience.
The station also hosts other live call-in shows.
Ficano said was approached to do the show by Adell and Mort Meisner, owner of Huntington Woods-based Mort Meisner Associates, a talent placement service for the TV and radio industry who also does work for Adell.
“I thought about it, and it can be something that can be on any topic, any guest,” Ficano said. “I have free reign.”
His past broadcast experience is limited to doing a law enforcement show while Wayne County sheriff in the 1980s.
While an AM radio show on the weekends could be considered the smallest of toe-holds for a return to elected office, seeking politics is on the back burner for now, Ficano said.
“You always look at all your options,” he said. “For now, I’m moving in a direction I’m comfortable with.”
Ficano spent 30 years in the forefront of local politics.
An attorney at the time, he was appointed Wayne County sheriff in 1983 before being elected to the job five times. He won the county executive job in 2002 and replaced longtime county executive and Democratic Party power broker Edward McNamara.
Former Detroit police chief and Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans handily beat Ficano in the August 2014 Democratic primary election for the county executive job.
Ficano and his administration were the target of a corruption investigation by the FBI, and Ficano political aide Michael Grundy was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for looting a health insurance program for the poor. However, Ficano himself was never charged with any crime. U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in February said there would be no additional charges in an investigation of Wayne County government.
His tenure in recent years was marked with media scrutiny and public criticism over deficit spending, corruption and the massive county jail project downtown that remains unfinished.
Another storm of criticism stemmed from Ficano’s $200,000 severance payment to Turkia Mullin, who quit her county development job to become the Wayne County Airport Authority’s CEO — a job she was fired from by the authority board.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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