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Radio Free Broadside

July 23, 2009 By: Category: Friends

I am from a small town outside of Flint, Michigan called Clio. Most people read that and pronounce it “clee-o,” but most people are wrong. It’s pronounced with a long “i”. Cly-o. When I tell people that, they often scoff. I have never understood why. I guess when a town’s name is pronounced differently than you might expect, it gives the impression that the town was named by amateurs. When people laugh at my hometown’s pronunciation, I always assume that they’re really thinking, “boy, your town is so full of stupid that they can’t even pronounce their own name properly.”

Clio is just like any other small town in America. Maybe slightly better because we don’t really have any strip malls. Wal-Mart moved in a few years ago, though, so I guess we’re headed in that direction.

Most of the people I know from Clio have moved elsewhere. I have moved elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with Clio … I thought it was a very nice place to grow up, albeit somewhat lacking in diversity. The main problem with Clio is that it is stuck right between Flint and Saginaw, neither of which are exactly crawling with opportunity.

My friend Jon McCarron stuck it out. Jon is a writer. He’s a good writer; my old publishing company, Contemporary Press, published two of his stories in our Danger City anthologies. We didn’t publish his stories because he was my friend, we published his stories because they were among the best from the hundreds of submissions we received.

Recently, Jon and a few friends started a free, alternative newspaper in Flint called Broadside. I have read this newspaper, and it is a really great example of the kind of community paper that we need more of in America. Plus, it is funny. They are only a few issues in, and already they’re turning a profit on ad sales. It is far more impressive than anything I have ever done, because A) people are actually reading it and B) it is actually making money. Michael Moore, you will recall, got his start as the editor of the Flint Voice, the last good alternative newspaper in Flint. So basically what I’m saying is that I know the next Michael Moore.

Yesterday, Michigan NPR did a really great piece on the paper. You can listen to the interview here or read it here. They introduce McCarron as a “computer expert,” which is pretty awesome. If I am ever interviewed for NPR, I hope they introduce me as some kind of expert. I’m pretty sure that holds as much weight as an honorary degree in most circles.

I am proud to call McCarron my friend and Awkward Press is proud to extend our very-highest, most-supportingest 6 PIZZA SEAL OF APPROVAL to Flint Broadside! And for only $20/year, you can experience the magic yourself. Do! Now!

4 Comments to “Radio Free Broadside”


  1. Thanks for the plug, D. Your kind words mean more to this grizzled heart than I can express. Mainly because I’m horrible with words.

    Jeff’s right, you guys. The paper is pretty boss.

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  2. Lovely review/tribute. I love this: “…it gives the impression that the town was named by amateurs.”

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  3. Thanks for the clarification! I am guilty of doing just what you said, scoffing when someone told me the correct way to pronounce it. It is like my dad’s hometown in Nebraska, Beatrice. They pronounce it Bee-at-tris, with the “at” pronounced like the word “at”.

    I do want to say, though, that Clio is rather awkward, and that Wal-Mart must be wreaking havoc like it always does. When I went and asked locals in the mostly dried up business district where I should go for lunch, they told me to go to the Mexican place. “There are real Mexicans there,” they said. Turns out it is one of two places to eat that isn’t a fast food chain.

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    • Well, to be fair to Wal-Mart, the fast food restaurants have always been one of of town’s main attractions. The only bright spot had always been a great Italian restaurant called Silvio’s, but it was just replaced a few months ago by that reportedly terrible Mexican restaurant. There are some other places off the main drag that aren’t too bad, but we are definitely due for some new blood.

      One thing your story illuminates about Clio: it is probably the last place in America where someone would find it interesting to note that there was a restaurant where “real Mexicans” worked in the kitchen.

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