'Stateside' host Cyndy Canty retires

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News

"Stateside" host Cyndy Canty has been talking for a living for nearly 40 years, but the response to the announcement of her impending retirement Wednesday left her speechless.

Cyndy Canty stands with her back to the Healy Pass, not far from her cottage in County Cork, Ireland. She says she’ll spend additional time in Ireland in retirement.

Well, almost speechless; she could still talk about her speechlessness. When Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted that Canty's departure from the Michigan Radio network was "soul-crushing," though ...

"I'm going to remember these hours for the rest of my life," Canty said. "The kind words from listeners, everything I'm seeing on social media ... It's amazing, and I'm loving every minute of it."

Canty, 65, has spent the last seven years at WUOM-FM (91.7), hosting "Stateside" at 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. In deference to her long commute to Ann Arbor from Oakland County, Lester Graham handles the Friday show.

She said she'll continue with the one-hour news magazine until the station completes what it called a national search for a replacement, which likely means the end of 2019.

"How many people in my business get to have a nice, self-crafted ending to a career?" she asked. "I'm feeling mighty lucky."

Canty's career, spent entirely in Michigan, officially began at a Christian station, WMUZ-FM (103.5), and ended with seven years in  public radio.

It was launched, she said, when her boss at the American Cancer Society asked her to fill in for him on a public affairs show, and culminated with a dream job because of a project assigned to her daughter in college.

In between, she served as a news anchor and morning co-host with Jim Harper on WNIC-FM (100.3), WDTX-FM (99.5) and WMGC-FM (105.1), and was a reporter and anchor at WKBD-TV (Channel 50).

Her final position has "allowed me to be a part of a passionate, hard-working, smart team" and to "tell Michigan stories," Canty said. "The nearly 7,000 interviews I’ve done for 'Stateside' will always be a source of pride. It’s a wonderful way to cap off a career."

She said she'll devote herself to her family, which includes two children and three grandkids, and the cottage she and her husband own in West Cork, Ireland.

Returning from a two-week stay there earlier this month, she said, "It just hit me: I've got this little cottage on a hilltop in heaven, and I need to take advantage of it while I'm still healthy."

Irishman Sean Canty, who plans to continue working, is a senior vice-president at an auto supplier. They met three weeks into her junior year abroad at University College Cork.

"I was storming out of a party because it was too raucous," she said, just as he was showing up in search of a free beer. He asked her what was wrong, and it was apparently the right question. They've been married 43 years.

Canty entered what's now the University of Detroit Mercy intending to become a doctor. When that plan was sidetracked by organic chemistry, she went to work for the cancer society, where she discovered her love for microphones.

Unemployed for the first time in late 2011 after Harper retired from WMGC, she said she "hit the jackpot" with WUOM.

Commercial radio, she said at the time, had become frustrating: "Talk less. Talk less. Talk even less than that."

Then her daughter, Siobhan, was assigned to explore a form of technology for a class at Michigan State.

Canty made an appointment for the both of them with a former boss, Steve Schram, who had become general manager of Michigan Radio.

Schram had long been considering a local talk show, but the idea kept getting shuffled to the bottom of his to-do list. When Canty and Siobhan walked into his office, he said, the the notion became a priority and the proper host became obvious.

Her impact, he said, "can't be overestimated. We are proud and privileged to have enjoyed Cyndy's leadership as the host of 'Stateside.'"


Twitter: nealrubin_dn