In 1980, five women founded the National Women’s History Project (NWHP). They took action and successfully lobbied Congress, to recognize the month of March as “Women’s History Month”. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment”. How often do women’s contributions go unrecognized? Women of all races, cultures, or class levels are making a difference in the lives of others. Today, we give honor to Mildred Gaddis, a woman of integrity who is making her mark in history.
Over the past years, the City of Detroit like many other urban areas has met challenges. However, Detroit is on a comeback. Mildred Gaddis, 58, a longtime radio host of “Inside Detroit” since 1999, has played a part in educating listeners on many issues that may affect them personally or professionally. Listeners were offered a platform to hear about community events, fundraisers to help those in need, news, or to voice their opinions on controversial or topics or views on political issues.
Ms. Gaddis never shy away from controversial topics of discussions. “One of the best on morning radio subjects that aren’t covered in major media. A must buy for advertisers for Detroit political candidates,” says Steve Hood, Political Consultant.
The “Inside Detroit” call-in talk show previously from 6-10 a.m. weekdays on Taylor-based WCHB AM 1200, was a news talk platform for listeners who were politically active and her influence was so out of proportion to ratings that candidates couldn’t afford to ignore her. The show averages a cumulative 13,000 listeners a week among adults 25-54, according to Arbitron Inc. (Hood).
Mildred Gaddis, a 37 year radio veteran, has been described by the Detroit Free Press as one of ten (10) African Americans to watch in Detroit! Her sometimes no-nonsense, but warm and inspiring style has made her a force to be reckoned with and admired by politicians and residents throughout Metro Detroit. Most times she does not have to track people down to appear on the radio, they call her! Her hard-hitting and sometimes controversial style of interviewing has landed her into the homes and cars of many metro Detroiters during their morning commute as the host of “Inside Detroit”.
Radio One made programming changes in March 2014, and “The Mildred Gaddis Show” can now be heard weekdays on AM 1200/99.9 FM WCHB from 4-7 p.m.
Having arrived in Detroit over 20 years ago, Ms. Gaddis has successfully garnered her way into Detroit radio. Her skills enabled her with the opportunity to travel to China with former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and Governor John Engler as well as down south to New Orleans to cover the BP Oil spill and up to the nation’s capital to shake hands with President Obama. Ms. Gaddis was named “Professional Woman of the Year” by the National Association of Negro Business Woman’s Organization. She has also received the “Living Legends Award” along with KEM from the City of Detroit. Ms. Gaddis is a graduate of Texas Southern University and the mother one daughter, Khia. She is a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
“She has a unique voice and perspective for an African-American radio outlet. Talk radio always is an influential platform,” he said. “In the marketplace, it’s important and critical we have different voices on different issues. Gaddis’ reach extends beyond a black audience, people in different communities tune in to get her perspective she’s putting out there,” Bankole Thompson, senior editor at The Michigan Chronicle (largest newspaper targeted at a black audience).
Gaddis says her style of talk radio is not to influence, but to educate listeners. She said she sees her show as one of the few media bastions for a different point of view.
“People in this community have been starving for a voice of their own. I’m not the only one, but I think that people can count on me to give them a voice of reason,” she said. “I may call it a voice of reason, there are others out there (who do not), and some may be adversaries — I’m not their adversary — but that is how I see my role.
“What separates me from others who do what I do is that I don’t want anything. I’m not looking for anything, for a job for a family member, a place to land when I’m no longer doing talk radio,” she said. “I don’t have an agenda. I want to leave with my integrity intact.”
She has no plans to leave the air.
“I am one of those crazy individuals who doesn’t believe in retirement. When you do what you love, it’s as easy as breathing,” she said. “I’m not sure what’s ahead for me.”
My first impression of Mildred Gaddis while working with her at WJLB-FM 98 in the 1990’s, was memorable (i.e. classy, professional, delightful, a contagious smile, honest, and a women of integrity). Her success comes as no surprise.