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WKAR Welcomes Megan Schellong As New Morning Edition Host

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WKAR will soon be welcoming a new Morning Edition host. 

Megan Schellong comes to WKAR from WLNS-TV in Lansing, where she spent the last one and a half years as a digital producer. Before that, Megan worked at KPCC in Southern California as a fill-in producer on Take Two and was previously an NPR Ted Radio Hour intern.

WKAR's Sophia Saliby spoke with her about why she's excited to be back at public radio and what she's looking forward to covering.

Interview Highlights

On why she is coming back to public media after taking a break

The reason why I decided to come back to public radio is because I've always loved the sound-rich stories and how NPR takes you there. Within a matter of minutes, you could be transported from the scene of a environmental crisis on the coast to maybe a wildfire happening in your own county. I love that NPR paints the pictures for you with sound and brings you to the people who are affected by these issues that are happening right next door that you may or may not know about. So I'm really excited to be part of this community that's passionate about telling immersive stories and speaking to the people who these issues are really affecting.

On why she is excited to host Morning Edition

What excites me most is being able to be a voice for the mid-Michigan community and to represent all people's voices here. As a person of color myself, our voices aren't always heard. So I'm really excited to be a woman of color in media, especially now more than ever, with all of the Asian hate that's been going on. It feels empowering to be an Asian woman in the media landscape right now. Asian Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, and they are very underrepresented in the media. So as an Asian American woman, I am excited to be a host for Morning Edition at WKAR.

On which stories she is most excited to cover

I am really fascinated by the disparities in health that the pandemic has exacerbated. So we know that at the beginning of the pandemic around April 2020, Black Michiganders accounted for 41% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state, yet they only make up 14% of the state's population. And that was just really eye opening. To continue reporting on these gaps in healthcare and vaccine equity is really important.

On the podcast she's developing about transracial adoptees

The podcast is called Adoption Rewind, and it's going to take us back in time and explore the history and the experiences of transracial adoptees who live in the US and have been adopted by white parents– and I am a Chinese adoptee myself. The podcast will ask questions like, what systems are in place that allowed international adoptions to happen? So, my goal is for people to think more critically about adoption with the podcast.

On her favorite part about living in Lansing

My favorite part about living in Lansing is the access to the beautiful nature trails. I am an avid walker; I love to go on leisure walks especially after being cooped up inside all day and during the pandemic-- it's nice to get a breath of fresh air and I love the access to the biking and walking trails here.

Interview Transcript

Sophia Saliby: This is All Things Considered on WKAR, I'm Sophia Saliby. Soon you will hear a new voice bringing you the latest local news during Morning Edition. Megan Schellong comes to us from WLNS-TV. Before that, she interned for the TED Radio Hour in Washington, DC and worked for NPR member station KPCC in California. She's here with me now. Thank you for joining me, Megan. 

Megan Schellong: Thanks, Sophia. It's great to be here.

Saliby: Why are you coming back to public media after taking a break working for TV?

Schellong: The reason why I decided to come back to NPR is because I I've always loved the sound-rich stories and how NPR kind of takes you there. I have, if you guys don't already have it, the NPR One app. You know, within a matter of a drive to work or you know, when the day is we used to go and drive to work, you could be taken to any kind of place. So in California, environmental issues concerning, you know, offshore drilling and things related to preserving marine life are common stories that you might hear. And so within a matter of minutes, you know, you're transported to the Pacific Ocean, and then the next you're transported maybe to the scene of a wildfire in your own county.

And so I love that NPR really paints the pictures for you and brings you to the people who are affected by these issues that are happening right next door that you may or may not know about. SoI'mreally excited to be part of this community that's like really passionate about telling immersive stories and speaking to the people who these issues are really affecting. 

Saliby: What excites you about hosting Morning Edition every day?

Schellong: I like to think that maybe I'm a morning person, I'lldefinitely be becoming more familiar with that lifestyle soon. And I think what excites me most is being able to be a voice for the mid-Michigan community, and to represent all people's voices here.

I know, you know, as a person of color myself, sometimes our voices aren't always heard. So,I'mreally excited to be a woman of color in media, especially now more than ever, with all of the Asian hate that's been going on. It feels you know, empowering to be an Asian woman in the media landscape right now. Asian Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, and they are very underrepresented in the media. So as an Asian American woman, I am just so excited to be a host for Morning Edition at WKAR 90.5 FM station.

Saliby: Are there any local stories or beats that you already know you want to report on?

Schellong: I am really fascinated by, right now, the disparities in health, you know that the pandemic has kind of exacerbated those gaps. So, we know that at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020, Black Michiganders accounted for 41% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state. Yet, they only make up 14% of the state's population. And, that was just really eye opening. And I think to continue reporting on these gaps in health care in vaccine equity are really important. Just going off of that, like a story that I did at WLNS was the fact that Black Americans are three times less likely to find a bone marrow donor than white Americans.

And that really stuck out to me because bone marrow transplant is a life-or-death scenario for many people. And the fact that it's so much more difficult for Black people to find a donor is just it's heartbreaking. So, I am really passionate about covering, I think, the disparities in health in Michigan specifically.

Saliby: You're also working on a podcast about transracial adoptees, can you tell me more about that project?

Schellong: So, the project is called Adoption Rewind, and it's going to kind of take us back in time and explore the history, the experiences of adoptees in the U.S. who have been adopted by white parents from other countries. And so, I am one myself. And the podcast really asks the question, what is being a transracial adoptee like? What is that experience like? And as my friend said, It's so lovely.

It is very much the intersection of whiteness, Asianness and Americanness and it's really going to dive into the questions that we ask ourselves as transracial adoptees, and how our upbringing has shaped our identities. And I also want the podcast to allow adoptees to kind of question the systems that got them here. How is it that 100,000 adoptees from China were able to come here? You know what systems are in place that allowed that to happen. So, I want people to think about adoption a little more critically with the podcast.

Saliby: In these last few seconds. What's your favorite part about living in Lansing?

Schellong: My favorite part about living in Lansing has got to be the access to the beautiful nature trails. I am, I would say, an avid walker. I love to go on leisure walks. Just, especially after being cooped up inside all day and like during the pandemic. It's just nice to get a breath of fresh air, and so I love the access to the biking and walking trails here.

Saliby: Megan Schellong is WKAR's new Morning Edition host. Thank you for joining me.

Schellong: Thanks Sophia.

Saliby: You can listen to Morning Edition from 5-9 on 90.5 WKAR-FM and from 9-11 on 105.1 WKAR Newstalk

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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