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.


11:58 am
Wed January 9, 2013

That's What They Say: Towards and anyways


This time on “That’s What They Say” Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller and English Professor Anne Curzan discuss adding an ‘s’ to words like ‘anyway’ and ‘toward.’

Miller says one of her pet peeves is adding an ‘s’ to words like backward, forward and toward, but Curzan says it is okay to do so.

“The toward/towards is mostly a British/American distinction. Brits will tend to use the ‘s’, ‘towards,’ Americans no ‘s’, ‘toward.’” Curzan says. “But at this point we are seeing the British ‘towards’ in a lot of American writing.”

Yet a lot of people cringe at the word “anyways.” Is that a word? Curzan says yes.

“The word actually goes pretty far back in English, used slightly differently. Used in a way that someone might say, ‘if he is in anyways involved,’ it’s more recently that people use anyways in a conjuctive role, to mean ‘in any case,’ and that’s the one that no one likes,” Curzan says.

The Environment Report
10:42 am
Tue January 8, 2013

New Michigan law widens uses for treated sewage product

Biosolids drying in a greenhouse.
City of Fayetteville

The Environment Report for Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2012

A new law in Michigan will make it easier for sewage treatment plants to sell or give away their leftovers.

All the water we use in our houses and businesses goes down a municipal drain and ends up in a wastewater treatment plant. It's processed and decontaminated and eventually becomes something called a biosolid.

Some of it then goes into landfills, and some is used as agricultural fertilizer.

A law signed last week will allow Michigan's sewage treatment plant to sell or give away what's called "exceptional quality," or EQ biosolids.

Read more
Arts & Culture
12:39 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

That's What They Say: Dialect Society chooses its words of the year

For this week’s edition of “That’s What They Say,” University of Michigan Professor Anne Curzan spoke with us from Boston, where she was attending the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting, whose 200 members voted on their “Word of the Year.”

Rina Miller:         So the winner is?

Read more
2:00 pm
Sat January 5, 2013

Public hearing will discuss adding Parkinson's disease to medical marijuana list

Credit normalityrelief / morguefile

Parkinson's disease could be added to the list of illnesses that would qualify for medical marijuana use in Michigan.

A public hearing in Lansing later this month will address the issue.

Parkinson's disease  is a disorder of the brain that leads to tremors and stiffness. It can cause difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination. 

Dr. Kelvin Chou is an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan. He says about one in every 1,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Read more
Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat January 5, 2013

The week in review

Michigan lawmakers are using a political maneuver to ensure that it's more difficult for Michigan voters to repeal unpopular, controversial bills.
Matthileo Flickr


This week in review Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss how the "fiscal cliff" deal will affect Michiganders, some changes going on at Chrysler and what will happen with former Governor Jennifer Granholm's TV show now that Current TV is being sold to Al Jazeera.

4:15 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Michigan closes impaired-driving loophole

Credit trostle / MorgueFile

Drivers can get high on lots of things , not just drugs and alcohol. So a new Michigan law has closed a loophole that allowed some drivers to escape prosecution for impaired driving.

Read more
3:58 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Heart valve replacement procedure increasingly used for high-risk patients

The SAPIEN heart valve
Credit Edwards Lifesciences

More Michigan hospitals are using a new device to treat a heart condition without  invasive surgery. 

About 1.5 million Americans suffer from aortic stenosis. That's when a valve in the main artery carrying blood out of the heart doesn't fully open.

Read more
5:19 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Report: Michigan needs to improve health emergency preparedness

Credit kconnors / MorgueFile

A new report finds Michigan is prepared for some public health emergencies. But it also says there's more work to be done.

Read more
10:38 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Is Michigan ready for a public health emergency?

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio


A new report finds Michigan is prepared for some public health emergencies.

But there's more work to be done.

The report called Ready or Not looked at ten key indicators, including whether the state maintained or increased funding for public health programs in the past year.

Michigan did not.

“The federal, state and local budget cuts to public health preparedness, documented in the report, are very alarming and they are putting all of our past success at risk,” says Paul Kuehnert with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

5:00 am
Mon December 24, 2012

More Affordable Care Act policies to be phased in beginning in January

Credit mconnors / morguefile

The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, and parts of it have already taken effect. But more provisions will be implemented in 2013.

For example, more federal money is coming to Michigan to pay for an increase in rates from the Medicaid program to cover new preventive services. 

"That includes contraceptive services, which applies to employers with health plans that are not grandfathered, and there are certain organizations who have religious exemptions," says Marianne Udow-Phillips is director of the Center for Health Care Research and Transformation in Ann Arbor.

Read more
9:00 am
Sun December 23, 2012

The words of the holidays

That's What They Say interview for 12/23/12

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 origins of holiday words.

Here are a few:  

Mistletoe used to be called “mistleton.” “Ton” meant “twig” in old English.

The “yule” in the word “yuletide” refers to Christmas or the months of December and January, and “tide” means “a period or extent of time.” Therefore, “yuletide” means the “time of Christmas.”

And the “nog” in egg nog refers to strong ale.

Curzan and Miller also discuss how to pronounce the word “poinsettia” and Curzan explains that Santa’s reindeer named vixen is actually names after a female fox or a sexy woman.

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat December 22, 2012

The week in review

State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Ifmuth Flickr

Week in review interview for 12/22/12

In this "week in review" political analyst Jack Lessenberry chats with Weekend Edition host Rina Miller about  some of the big regional news stories of the week.

They discuss the gun legislation that would ease restriction on where guns could be carried in the state.

Governor Rick Snyder vetoed the bill. But Lessenberry says the governor didn't veto the bill as a reaction to the Connecticut school shootings.

“The sponsor of the bill was told before Connecticut that the governor would veto it unless it allowed schools to opt out and the sponsor wasn’t willing to do that," Lessenberry says.

This week the governor approved legislation that would phase out the tax on industrial and business equipment. Lessenberry says Snyder thought the bill would help expand business in the state.

Miller and Lessenberry also talked about the slew of bills Snyder signed in Detroit. The bills would establish a Regional Transit Authority to fund and operate southeast Michigan’s fragmented transit systems;  create an authority to run Detroit’s troubled public lighting system; continue a downtown development district for a new hockey arena; and help Detroit’s Eastern Market get additional funds.

Read more
Politics & Government
4:40 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Macomb County rejects ban on gun investments

Credit arker / MorgueFile

Macomb County's $170 million retiree health trust fund will not be barred from investing in gun manufacturers.

The Commission voted down an amendment Wednesday that came in response to last week's school shooting in Connecticut.

Commissioner Roland Fraschetti says investors should not have to follow a litmus test or examine the morality of their choices.

"Before you know it, we're going to say you should not invest in McDonald's or Burger King or Lorillard or R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. It will never come to an end," Fraschetti says.

Read more
2:49 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Guitar display at Mott Children's Hospital honors teen who donated brain to researchers

Laurence Carolin visits backstage with members of the band U2 at a concert in Chicago. The teen's Gibson guitar was signed by the band; it's now on display at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor. Laurence died of a brain tumor in 2010.
Credit Courtesy Lisa Carolin

The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has put a Gibson guitar signed by the band U-2 on display.

The guitar is one of two gifts a Michigan teen left before he died.

Laurence Carolin was adopted from South Korea when he was five months old. He grew up  in Scio Township near Ann Arbor and loved music, soccer and cooking. He earned the money to pay for his guitar by cooking lunches for neighborhood children.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:29 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

A few minutes with Gov. Rick Snyder

We spoke with Gov. Rick Snyder briefly Saturday morning, as he prepared to deliver the commencement address at Michigan State University.

Michigan Radio:  After a week that drew public protest over a number of measures passed by a lame-duck legislature, what message do you have for the new graduates about how democracy works in our state?

Read more
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