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Peter Werbe in 1983.

Peter Werbe is an American radio talk show host and Progressive political activist. He hosts NightCall on Sunday nights on Detroit's WRIF 101.1 FM. Werbe's tenure, having commenced in 1970, makes him one of the longest broadcasting talk show hosts in radio history, and certainly for one with progressive views.



Peter Werbe has been a fixture in Detroit alternative media for the last four decades, hosting WRIF's weekly public affairs broadcast, "Nightcall."[1] Werbe also hosted a nationally syndicated program on the now-defunct i.e. America Radio Network, from October 2000 to June 2003.

Nightcall is a live, two-hour, phone-in talk show aired on Sunday nights beginning at 11pm Eastern, followed by two half-hour recorded interviews with various activists and academics at 1am. Since 2006, he has been joined by singer/songwriter and WCSX DJ, Juline Jordan. Werbe has in the past featured celebrities and authors such as Buffey Sainte Marie, Pete Seeger, Cindy Sheehan, Frank Zappa, Richard Dreyfuss, Ed Asner, Walter Mosley, Mike Farrell, Howard Zinn and Al Franken. The interviews also air on WCSX and WMGC-FM Sunday mornings.

Werbe took over a weekly show WRIF show, "Spare Change", in 1970 from Harvey Ovshinsky, founder of the Fifth Estate newspaper. When Ovshinsky left to become News Director of seminal FM rocker, WABX in Detroit, Werbe remained as weekly host until 1972 when the owners, ABC Radio, decided that each of their owned and operated FM station should have a daily overnight public affairs phone-in talk show to cover their license requirements with the Federal Communications Commission. Werbe re-christened it, NightCall, although actually it was through an on-air listener contest to name the broadcast.

Werbe hosted the program from July 1972 until 1976 doing variously a three and four hour show in the middle of the night. The show was terminated when ABC decided such programming was no longer necessary for their purposes. After a brief stint at WABX, Werbe remained on unemployment compensation until 1978 when he hired on as a week-end rock dj at Detroit's WWWW and also hosted a one hour, weekend jazz program. When the station changed its rock format to country in 1980 to sabotage an AFTRA union organizing effort, Werbe quit and worked in construction until 1982 when he was re-hired at WRIF by program director, Fred Jacobs, as a weekend DJ. When then NightCall host, Michael Collins, left, Werbe re-assumed the reins where he has held forth since. Prior to Collins, Sheila Rushlow had been the host.

Nightcall has both a FaceBook and MySpace page. peter's web site is

Werbe currently hosts a Mon-Fri classic rock show on the WCSX HD channel, Deep Trax, from 2-7pm featuring popular but seldom heard songs and ones of extended length that no long are aired on commercial radio. Deep Trax is commercial free. On line at or with an HD radio receiver.

Fifth Estate

Werbe has been a staff member of the Fifth Estate magazine almost since its inception in 1965. The publication appeared mostly as a tabloid newspaper throughout its history, but in 2002, a publication group at Pumpkin Hollow, an intentional community in rural Tennessee, took over the editorship and began producing it as a quarterly magazine. Beginning in 2006, the editorship started to rotate, and issues have been produced in Tennessee, in Detroit by Werbe and friends, in New York City and state, and as of February 2008, in La Cross, Wisconsin. The Fifth Estate is sometimes referred to as the longest-running English-language anarchist periodical, but the paper does not define itself as anarchist. However, its anarchic roots stem back to when the publication was taken over in 1975 by a group called the Eat the Rich gang, which included Werbe; after that, ads were refused, payment for staff and contributors were abolished, and the paper adopted a specifically anti-authoritarian stance.

Its editorial collective shares divergent views on the topics the magazine addresses but generally shares an anti-authoritarian/anarchist outlook and a non-dogmatic, action-oriented approach to change. The title presumably suggests that the periodical is an alternative to the fourth estate (traditional print journalism). From 1980, when the paper announced "All isms are was-isms", it became more anti-technological and anti-civilization, something for which it was well known throughout the '80's.

The current editorial collective has taken the magazine in a different direction; it refuses sectarianism and welcomes voices from disparate strains of anti-authoritarian thought. The group also distances itself from anarchism as ideology, embracing a more inclusive, yet still radical, anti-capitalist perspective.


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