Rina Miller

Weekend Edition host

Rina Miller got her start in radio on accident when she was sent to WCAR in Detroit as a temp employee. Since then, she has gained many years of experience in print and broadcast journalism, including work as a producer and program host at Radio Netherlands and as a reporter for ABC Radio News in New York. She enjoys working in public radio because the listeners are "interested, involved, and informed."

Outside the studio, Rina enjoys watching movies from the 1930s and '40s and absolutely hates karaoke. She has a deep love for animals and urges people to spay or neuter their pets, adopt from shelters and rescues, and purchase only from reputable, responsible breeders.


What three people, alive or dead, would you like to have lunch with? Why?
Dorothy Parker, because her one-liners were the best.
Kurt Vonnegut, because he was the first writer who made me laugh out loud.
Bella Abzug, because she put her courage where her mouth was.
And if there could be a No. 4? George Clooney. You know why.

How did you get involved in radio?
By accident. I was sent to WCAR in Detroit as a temp employee, and loved the environment.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Watching 1930s and '40s movies, especially those with Joan Crawford, Bette Davis or Rita Hayworth.

What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter/host/etc.?
Covering the crash of a cargo jet into a high-rise apartment complex in Amsterdam in 1992. The story was more complex than the obvious; many victims were illegal immigrants whose families were reluctant to come forward because they feared deportation. There were many substories that arose from this tragedy.

What one song do you think best summarizes your taste in music?
Leonard Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat, sung by Jennifer Warnes.

What is your favorite program on Michigan Radio? Why?
Fresh Air. Terry has an amazing range of guests, so the show's never predictable or stale.

What is one ability or talent you really wish you possessed?
To sing like Etta James.

What do you like best about working in public radio?
The listeners. They're interested, involved and informed.

Is there anyone in the broadcasting industry you find to be particularly admirable or inspiring? Who?
Jon Stewart. He's fearless without being cruel.

If you could interview any contemporary newsmaker, who would it be?
Vladimir Putin

Is there a T.V. show you never miss? If so, which one?
Mad Men

What would your perfect meal consist of?
An Indonesian rice table

What modern convenience would it be most difficult for you to live without?
The Internet

What are people usually very surprised to learn about you?
That I despise karaoke.

What else would you like people to know about you?
That I have a deep love for animals. I urge people to spay or neuter their pets, adopt from shelters and rescues, or purchase only from reputable, responsible breeders.


10:00 am
Sun December 16, 2012


That's What They Say interview for 12/15/12

This week on That’s What They Say, Anne Curzan, English professor of the University of Michigan and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller discuss the moving ‘n’ and infixing words.  

The moving ‘n’ is usually found in words like “a whole nother.”

Curzan says “nother” is a lot older than some may think.

“You can find in English back in the 14th century in expressions like ‘no nother’ which would have meant ‘no other’,” Curzan says.

But “a whole nother” isn’t the only example of the moving ‘n’.

“For example an ‘apron’ used to be a ‘napron’,” Curzan says. “Napron is related to napkin. But if you say napron, you can reinterpret that as an napron, an apron.”

Curzan and Miller also discuss the idea of infixing with words like “fan-freaking-tastic” and “absa-freaking-lutely.”

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat December 15, 2012

The week in review

The Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Week in review interview for 12/15/12

This week Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the lame duck session in Lansing.

While right to work was passed despite massive protests, Lessenberry says there is only one way it can be repealed.

“People could petition with the legislature to repeal the law and if they don’t then it goes on the ballot,” he says.

The question is, is if anyone will actually do it.

And a package of abortion bills were sent to Governor Snyder’s desk.

“The package passed is mainly regulating abortion clinics, putting them under more scrutiny, making sure that people coming in for a procedure weren’t coerced,” Lessenberry says.

And finally, a new emergency manager law also moved forward.

“This gives emergency managers more power than the old emergency financial managers have. But it also sort of gives cities a choice--whether they want an emergency manger, whether they want to move to bankruptcy or have a consent agreement,” Lessenberry says.

2:58 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Flu season arrives early -- and it could be a bad one

ronnieb MorgueFile

Michigan health officials say the flu has arrived in Michigan, and it's much earlier than usual. 

The flu doesn't usually get a grip until January or February. But more than 30 cases have been reported so far in the state.

Angela Minicucci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says it could be a nasty flu season, and with holiday family gatherings coming up, it's a good idea to get a flu shot now.

Read more
Politics & Government
2:32 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Michigan law bans cell phone use for new drivers

anitapeppers MorgueFile

Michigan lawmakers have passed a bill that will ban cell phone use by new drivers. 

The bill was named after 17-year-old Kelsey Raffaele, who was killed in a car crash three years ago. She was talking on her phone while driving and lost control of her car.

A year and a half ago, Kelsey's mother, Bonnie Raffaele, started a campaign to ban cell phone use for drivers with probationary licenses.

"If we can teach them at a young age to not do it, and it's the social norm not to do it when you're driving, they'll carry that on to adulthood," Raffaele says.

Read more
4:59 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Health officials ask for quick action on new street drug

Credit keyseeker / MorgueFile

Michigan health officials have asked  the state to put a new class of synthetic drugs on the state's controlled substance list. 

Street drugs with names like 25i, 2CB or 2X are made with a chemical called phenethylamine -- a stimulant.

Its appearance in Michigan has prompted the Michigan Department of Community Health to issue an imminent danger notification to the Michigan Board of Pharmacy.

Angela Minicucci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Read more
4:41 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

EAA schools miss out on Race to the Top award

user BES Photos Flickr

Michigan's new statewide district for low-performing schools was not a winner in a national competition to share a $400 million prize. 

The  Education Achievement Authority was launched just this year in an effort to turn around 15 of the state's lowest-performing schools -- all of them in Detroit.  

So it came as a surprise to Sandra York when the EAA was named a finalist in the federal government's  Race to the Top competition.

York is executive director of the Michigan PTA.

Read more
That's What They Say
8:10 am
Sun December 9, 2012

There must be rules

The English language is constantly changing. How do English teachers keep up?

Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller recently got a letter from a listener, Bill, from Eaton Rapids who asks why there isn’t a difference between researching English change and teaching language usage.

“I think there is a difference,” said Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan who specializes in linguistics.

She believes teachers can teach the standard language usage and talk about language change with their students.

“And I think maybe one way to help think about this, is I often talk about it as a repertoire, and the bigger the repertoire we have as speakers and writers, the more versatile we are. So what I’m trying to do is to make sure that students have in that repertoire the standard, formal written variety and perhaps the formal spoken variety so they can use it when they need to or want to. But if they have other varieties in there too, all the better,” Curzan said.

Listen to the full interview above to hear why it’s okay to use ain’t in writing. Also, Curzan explains how people in the 19th century “hated” the English passive progressive construction, “the house is being built," but now it is completely standard. An example of why people should not be too quick to judge a certain form, as it might become popular years from now.

Politics & Government
2:13 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

State House bill would eliminate background check for concealed pistol permits

user westsideshooter Flickr

The state House is considering a bill that would remove a state background check requirement for concealed pistol permits.

Supporters say a federal background check is sufficient.

That worries a number of Michigan mayors and law enforcement agencies.

Mark Glaze is director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

He said Michigan's gun permit procedure should not be changed.

“The state has access to many more federal criminal records and other information that are prohibiting factors for owning a gun, so if you take away the state system, you actually take away a significant amount of information about some people who aren't entitled to have a gun,” said Glaze.

Glaze said that includes people who have felony records, are domestic abusers or who are seriously mentally ill.

The bill would put county sheriffs in control of the permit process, rather than county boards.

7:44 am
Sun December 2, 2012

A lesson on retronyms

Merriam Websters’s definition of retronym is a term consisting of a noun and a modifier which specifies the original meaning of the noun. “Film camera” is a retronym.

Every Sunday, Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller talks with Anne Curzan a professor of English at the University of Michigan, specializing in linguistics.

In many cases the retronym is formed in response to technological advances.

“We now specify a land line because when you say phone people may assume it’s a cell phone and we need to now, talking about a phone, say a land line,” said Curzan.

Read more
Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat December 1, 2012

The week in review

User: David Defoe flickr

Week in review for 11/30/12

The Michigan legislature is wrapping up business before the end of the year and Snyder gave an address this week about the environment. This week Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss how the State House rejected a state-run federal health exchange, and the State Senate passed a regional transit authority for southeast Michigan. Lessenberry also reflected on Snyder's environmental address.

4:50 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

MCubed: Have we got a Tweet for you

Twitter was abuzz this morning on the University of Michigan campus.

That's how 50 teams of U-M faculty members learned they had been awarded grants worth $60,000 dollars each to participate in a pilot program called MCubed.

The program  encourages campus-wide research collaboration by teaming faculty members from different schools to share ideas.

The money will be used to hire students for a wide scope of  projects. Engineers might work with nurses and architects , while physicists could work with musicians and ophthalmologists.

Read more
4:29 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Study: Number of uninsured in Michigan would fall 46% under Medicaid expansion

Click MorgueFile

About a half million more Michigan residents would be covered by Medicaid  if the state implements an expansion of the program offered by the federal government.

Some two million people in Michigan who live below the poverty line are already receiving Medicaid to cover hospital and doctor visits,  prescriptions and other services.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Michigan could take advantage of 100 percent federal financing for the first couple of years to expand the program and 90 percent after that.

Read more
That's What They Say
7:56 am
Sun November 25, 2012

Could you care less if butter didn't melt in your mouth?

Why do some people say, “I could care less” to mean they don’t care? It doesn't make sense. The expression is, "I couldn't care less," right?

“What has happened here, as far as I can tell, is that speakers are no longer parsing this phrase for every word. And this is what happens with idioms. Idioms take on a meaning that surpasses their parts,” says Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan.

“I think the ‘less’ there feels negative to speakers. It already says, ‘I don’t care,’ so for them, ‘I could care less -- I couldn’t care less,’ they mean the same thing,” she says.

Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller asks Curzan to explain this idiom, “Butter would not melt in her mouth.”

Read more
6:27 am
Fri November 23, 2012

'Tis the season for shopping...and thievery

Credit Alviman / MorgueFile

If you're planning to buy some big-ticket items this holiday season, you may want to check your insurance policy first.

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6:26 am
Fri November 23, 2012

MSU law students help prevent evictions

Credit ehensley / MorgueFile

Michigan State University law students are helping some Ingham County residents avoid eviction. 

Read more
6:26 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Changes coming to Michigan's early childhood education programs

Credit Arundo / MorgueFile

Is infancy too early to start preparing your child for a career or college?

Not according to the Michigan Department of Education.

Lindy Buch is with the MDE's Office of Great Start.

She says suggested new learning standards will soon be posted on its Web site  for the state's infant, toddler and pre-kindergarten programs.

Read more
4:30 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Fewer Michigan college students getting need-based grants

Darnok MorgueFile

A new study finds the number of state financial aid grants distributed in Michigan is falling, and that's making it harder for college students to come up with tuition. 

That's especially true for poorer students in Michigan.

Karen Holcomb-Merrill is with the Michigan League for Public Policy, which looked at the pattern of grants over the past decade.

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That's What They Say
8:04 am
Sun November 18, 2012

Hello, pronoun...are you singular?

Listen to full interview above.

“People tell me that the pronoun ‘they’ cannot be singular. But here’s the thing - it already is,” says Anne Curzan. She’s a professor of English at the University of Michigan who specializes in linguistics.

Most speakers already use “they” as a singular pronoun in speech.

“In writing, we are told to use ‘he’ or ‘she,’ or change the whole sentence,” Curzan says.

English teachers have been telling us for years that “they” is not a singular pronoun. But, Curzan offers a few examples of indefinite pronouns that speakers make singular.

Read more
2:57 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Charter school enrollment rising

kakisky MorgueFile

The number of Michigan students who attend charter schools is rising. 

There are 277 charter schools in Michigan, and that number could grow.

Dan Quisenberry is president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

He says five Michigan cities now rank in the top 20 for the percentage of students enrolled in charter schools.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:52 am
Fri November 16, 2012

The week in review

David Defoe flickr


This week Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss how Michigan will comply with the Affordable Care Act, and how the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Michigan's constitutional ban on affirmative action does not hold up under the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause. Lessenberry also remembered the late former first lady, Helen Millikin.