Jack Lessenberry to join 910 AM

The Detroit News
Jack Lessenberry

Jack Lessenberry is no longer on the airwaves at Michigan Radio, but he'll soon be back on the airwaves with a 2-hour morning show on 910 AM, the radio station announced Thursday.

Lessenberry heads up the journalism program at Wayne State University, but a recent Deadline Detroit report, detailing his alleged "long history of questionable behavior with women," led Wayne State to pull him out of the classroom. He was suspended from, then resigned, a contributorship at Metro Times. 

Lessenberry's 2-hour show will run from 9 to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, meaning that the show hosted by Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley, which runs from 7 to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday, will serve as its lead-in.

Lessenberry resigned from the Michigan Radio job, effective July 31, but will start on the airwaves at 910 AM on July 9, said a spokeswoman representing the station. There was no immediate word on what would become of the show hosted by Motor City Muckraker Steve Neavling, who according to the 910 AM website currently holds the 9 to 11 spot. 

Neavling took that slot to fill the spot after David Bullock left the station to serve as campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar, said 910 AM owner Kevin Adell, who also owns The Word Network and WADL. When Lessenberry starts his show, Neavling will move back to his original time slot, 11 a.m. to noon, Adell said.

As for why the station hired Lessenberry, Adell said: "He's a big name. He's a good get. Very professional, very knowledgeable, and he taught a lot of my staff (in his position at Wayne State)."

As for the allegations that have dogged Lessenberry, Adell said that they're just that, accusations, and that nothing has yet been proven.

Lessenberry was a foreign correspondent and national editor for The Detroit News in the 1980s.

Lessenberry, who has been affiliated with Wayne State since 1993, informed the dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts last month that he was voluntarily stepping aside from any instruction or student engagement, said Linda Galante, WSU’s associate general counsel.

"We informed him the university was going to do an independent investigation with an outside investigator," she said. "Given the allegations and events of the last couple of days, President (M. Roy) Wilson decided it was important to retain an outside investigator."

The university has not set a deadline for when the investigation has to be completed.

Galante said the university has not suspended Lessenberry, though he will not be teaching two courses scheduled for the summer. The department will find a substitute to cover the classes, she said.

Galante also reiterated the university is aware of only one formal complaint about Lessenberry during his years there and no action was taken because it was determined there was no misconduct. The complaint was received this March about an alleged incident that happened in 2005, she said.

"Other than that complaint, we've had no complaints that have been documented about Prof. Lessenberry in 25 years," Galante told The News last month.