In 2016, there was not a lack of things to talk about - or people to meet. On The Richard Piet Show, we looked into lots of those things. We narrowed down to the five interviews we felt had the most impact in 2016.

5. Lindsay Smith, Michigan Radio - Flint Water Crisis Coverage

Courtesy MSNBC

A young woman with old school reporter instincts, Lindsey Smith is an old colleague who has found her element: Journalism. She followed her nose on the Flint Water Crisis story, and her coverage garnered awards and national attention and interviews. At a time when newsrooms are being cut, Lindsey's work exemplifies a commitment to journalistic instincts and standards.

4. Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker and Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxton - Violence Against Law Enforcement


We check in regularly on the morning show with Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker and Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxton. In 2016, they appeared on the program various times to discuss a host of topics, and are always willing to do so.

In this particular visit, though, we touched on a subject of particular sensitivity: The repeated instances nationally in 2016 of violence against police officers. When we spoke in early December, the community - and entire state - was still reeling from the sudden killing of Wayne State University officer Collin Rose, who hails from west Michigan. Both Blocker and Saxton are very familiar with the stresses of law enforcement, and were profoundly affected by these stories.

3. Jeffrey Bohl, Principal, Lakeview High School - Cell Phone Ban

Lakeview High School Principal Jeffrey Bohl in the WBCK studio July 26, 2016. TSM-WBCK

We all know how it is (most of us do, at least!), we are in love with technology. Today's smartphone culture and need for instant updates means we are addicted to our devices. Teachers everywhere are very familiar with that phenomenon when trying to get through to students.

In 2016, Lakeview High School took a step many schools have not been (yet) willing to take - they banned smart phones in the classroom. Our chat with Principal Jeffrey Bohl about the thought process behind it ended up being one of the more popular posts at in 2016.

2. Actor Paul Petersen - The Donna Reed Show

Courtesy Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen, now in his 70's, was a child star in the '50's, starring in The Donna Reed Show. Donna Reed was like a mother figure to him both when cameras were and were not rolling. Shelley Fabares played one of his siblings on the show.

Paul visited Kalamazoo in February, 2016 in order to participate in a nostalgia convention, and talked with us just ahead of that visit. He spoke frankly about his days in Hollywood, how life in the fast lane at an early age affected him, his passion for keeping young Hollywood actors out of trouble, and the advice Mickey Rooney gave him years ago.

1. Lorinda Swain


It's a case that spanned from 2002 until May, 2016. Lorinda Swain of Calhoun County, found guilty of molesting her adopted son in 2002, did 8 years on that conviction - but maintained her innocence the entire time. Her son had even recanted his story, but reversing the wheels of justice is a long process. It wasn't until the Michigan Innocence Clinic at U of M became involved that Lorinda eventually realized her freedom.

We spoke with her over the course of two interviews, in which Lorinda spoke frankly about having been in the throes of addiction at one time in her life and how she managed to survive prison when many would become hopeless.

We also wanted to know some other perspectives in the case, such as why the Michigan Innocence Clinic saw potential in derailing Lorinda's prison sentence. We asked the director of the MIC, David Moran, about that and other cases.

We also wondered why the Calhoun County prosecutor decided not to pursue the case any further, even though he believes Swain is guilty. David Gilbert talked about it with WBCK.

Thanks to you for making The Richard Piet Show part of your morning routine. See you in 2017!

Hear The Richard Piet Show weekday mornings from 5:30-9 on WBCK.