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Amyre Ann Makupson

Detroit television news anchor, Amyre Ann Porter Makupson was born on September 30, 1947 in River Rouge, Michigan to Dr. Rudolph Hannibal and Amyre Ann Porche Porter. She attended Visitation Catholic Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from St. Mary’s Academy High School in Monroe, Michigan in 1965. She earned her B.A. degree in dramatics and speech from Fisk University in 1970 and her M.A. degree in speech arts/communications theory from American University in 1972.

Makupson held positions at WSM-TV in Nashville and WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. before returning to Detroit, Michigan in 1975 to work as director of public relations for Head Start, the Michigan Health Maintenance Organization. That same year, Makupson was hired by WGPR-TV, the nation’s first African American-owned television station, as a news anchor for “Big City News” and the Detroit focused talk show “Porterhouse.” In 1977, Makupson joined WKBD-TV as a news anchor and public affairs director. At WKBD-TV, she hosted “Morning Break,” the station’s daily talk show, and produced and anchored a five-minute newsbreak. In 1985, Makupson co-anchored WKBD’s “Ten O’clock News” and anchored “Eyewitness News at 11” on WKBD’s sister station, WWJ-TV.

Makupson has won six local Emmy awards including Best News Anchor, Best Interview/Discussion Program, and three for Best Commentary. In 1992 and 1995, Makupson won the Oakland County Bar Association Media Award for the show “Straight Talk” and named SCLC’s Media Person of the Year in 1995. She was also named the March of Dimes’ Humanitarian of the Year in 1996 and Makupson was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2003. An author, Makupson published “So...What’s Next?” in 2004. Makupson serves on the boards of The Alzheimer’s Foundation, the Sickle Cell Association, the Skillman Foundation, Covenant House, the Providence Hospital Fund, and the March of Dimes. Makupson lives outside of Detroit, Michigan with her husband, Walter, with whom she has two children.

Amyre Ann Makupson was interviewed by The HistoryMakerson April 5, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.097

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/5/2005

Last Name

Makupson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ann

Occupation
Schools

Visitation Catholic Elementary School

St. Mary’s Academy

Fisk University

American University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Amyre

Birth City, State, Country

River Rouge

HM ID

MAK01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Aw, Man.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

9/30/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Television anchor Amyre Ann Makupson (1947 - ) was hired as an anchor by WGPR-TV, the nation’s first African American-owned television station. She has also hosted "Morning Break," was co-anchor of WKBD’s "Ten O’Clock News," and is the winner of five local Emmy awards.

Employment

WSM TV

WRC TV

WGPR TV

Head Start Program

WKBD TV

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Amyre Ann Makupson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Amyre Ann Makupson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Amyre Ann Makupson recalls her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Amyre Ann Makupson remembers her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Amyre Ann Makupson describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about her father's medical school years and medical career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Amyre Ann Makupson recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about her household and remembers the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Amyre Ann Makupson describes her childhood personality and love for Motown

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about her Catholic faith

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Amyre Ann Makupson recalls her grade school years and going to lunch with a nun who taught her in the second grade

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about attending St. Mary Academy in Monroe, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about the Civil Rights Movement and attending high school at St. Mary Academy in Monroe, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Amyre Ann Makupson recalls her career interests as a youth and lists where she attended college

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Amyre Ann Makupson recalls her brother's death and her time at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about her mentor at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about earning her M.A. degree from American University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Amyre Ann Makupson describes her career trajectory in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Amyre Ann Makupson describes how she behaved as an anchor

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about working for WKBD under five separate ownerships, earning six Emmys and her public speaking

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Amyre Ann Makupson remembers interviewing families during telethons

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about how her racial ambiguity has impacted her life and career

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Amyre Ann Makupson recalls memorable news stories she has covered over the years

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about advancements in women's roles in the media

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Amyre Ann Makupson narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about her civic engagement in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Amyre Ann Makupson describes the most exciting days of her career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Amyre Ann Makupson describes her endeavors after ending twenty-five years of news at WKBD in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Amyre Ann Makupson describes her book 'So What's Next' and explains what motivated her to write it

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Amyre Ann Makupson reflects on the decline of Detroit, Michigan and her hopes for the city

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Amyre Ann Makupson reflects upon her life

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about working with Detroit Repertory Theatre

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Amyre Ann Makupson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Amyre Ann Makupson talks about her family

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Amyre Ann Makupson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Amyre Ann Makupson recalls working on a PSA with Isiah Thomas

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Amyre Ann Makupson narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Amyre Ann Makupson talks about her mentor at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
Amyre Ann Makupson describes her career trajectory in Detroit, Michigan
Transcript
Okay, were there any teachers that were like mentors or, or role models at Fisk [University, Nashville, Tennessee]?$$I had a teacher and her name is Dr. Gladys Ford, from Houston, Texas, she was the head of the speech and drama department which I--was my major. I am to this very day, thirty-five years later, I'm still very friendly with Dr. Ford, she still lives in Houston, Texas, I visit her often, well not often but I do visit her and she has come up to visit us and she was my drama teacher, she's the first person I sent a copy of my book to for her to review because I, I knew she would tell me the truth about what she thought about it. And, and the way we got friendly was kind of interesting because I used to debate a lot and of course she was involved in that but I just, it, it--shortly after I got there, one day I just was horribly depressed and just thinking about my brother [Rudolph Porter, III] who had died maybe, I don't know, two months earlier or three months earlier and I was kinda walking down the hall of one of these buildings where she was teaching and she says wh--what's, what's the matter? Come on in here. And I started talking to her and just, you know, you never know what kind of reaction and action she's going to have and the fact that she saw me, the fact that she asked me to come in her office, the fact that she sat there and listened as I cried and talked, just, I mean it was like somebody had given me fifteen winning lottery tickets, it just meant so much to me and that's when I definitely, 'cause I hadn't even declared a major. That's when I decided right then I was gonna be in her department 'cause I so admired her and wanted to be around her and, we've been friends for life and I just think she's a terrific person, it's one of those human things that I don't think could happen at one of these huge [University of] Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan], Michigan State [University, East Lansing, Michigan] type schools and I think it's one of the advantages of a, of a place like Fisk University. And she, she made it for me, she just, and I just, there's nothing I wouldn't do for her today, nothing.$$Okay.$So what did you do afterwards [after earning her M.A. degree from American University, Washington, D.C.], I mean, what--?$$You know what? I am one of the luckiest people alive on the face of the earth. I came back home [Detroit, Michigan] after grad [graduate] school and right about that time, they were about to launch WGPR TV in Detroit, that was, was the first black television station in the country. I knew some people over there, my father knew a couple people over there, I went over there and told them what I wanted to do and they hired me to be the anchor for Big City News, it was called, it debuted September 29, 1975, 'Big City News' with Amyre Porter and Pal D'Que. I had never anchored a newscast in my life, I had pretty much, other than an internship, never been in a television station in my life, to be able to start on that level in a top ten market in the city I grew up in, you, you can get struck by lightning first, I'm sure and win fifteen lottery tickets first as well. But that's the way it happened and that's how it started, I stayed there and I, I did 'Big City News,' I did a talk show every day called 'Porterhouse,' I didn't have a clue how to do a talk show, I would, c--in a hour a day, I would find people on the street and say, you know one thing I can do is talk, I can talk to anybody for an hour about anything, including a tree and I really believe that. I'd pull people off the streets, I'd call restaurants and ask for the owner, I called Detroit City Council and had them come in, just anybody I could think of who I knew who had something to say, I'd call 'em and invite 'em on 'Porterhouse' and we would sit there and talk and talk and talk and that's really how it all began. Now I had been there, it's a really interesting story and I used to tell this to kids in, in my speeches all the time, I had been there, oh geez, they canceled the news shortly after I started because they didn't have the money to keep it on, I decided that I was gonna stay anyway because I wanted the experience. After about a year, here I've got my big bad master's degree, I'm making zero, absolutely zero. First of all, I'd left a job, I was making 22 thousand dollars at Michigan Health Maintenance Organization, left that job to go to GPR for twelve five [twelve thousand five hundred], 30 days later they stopped paying me because they couldn't afford to keep that news on, but I stayed to do the Porter House and some other things. I'd gotten pretty discouraged and was able to get my old job back at Michigan Health Maintenance Organization at my old pay, well, just then, channel 50 called and asked me if I was interested in coming over there and I really was not, I was kinda discouraged because of what had happened and I decided, well, I'll give it one more shot. I went over there and that was in September of '77 [1977], and what I did was produce and host a live thirty minute talk show Monday through Friday and was also public affairs manager of the station, we started news in '86 [1986], and I've anchored that and, and in some form had a talk show ever since. But I, I, I walked away from a, from another job, it wound up being the best decision that I'd ever made and then I stayed there for, I stayed at 50 or WKBD for twenty-five years.$$Okay. Wow, that is--this story is, is really remarkable, you know?$$It is.$$It just seems like it just--$$It absolutely is, I was never a reporter, I never had to do the street thing, I never had to go to the cities that you've never heard of before to get experience. I never led the gypsy lifestyle, I never left there, I stayed there and never left and I'm still doing special projects for the station (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Now--