Professional journalist, columnist, entertainment critic and media talent
“Jim McFarlin is one of the best journalists, in print, in broadcasting, I have ever heard, seen or read.”
–- Huel Perkins, lead anchor, FOX2 News (WJBK-TV) Detroit
Hailed by noted novelist and magazine editor Beaufort Cranford as “the best feature writer in Detroit,” Jim McFarlin has enjoyed an outstanding 35-year career as a professional journalist, columnist, entertainment critic and media talent. He is that rarest and most valuable of pop culture commodities, a talented print reporter who also is skilled at imparting information and entertainment on television and radio.
McFarlin worked 16 years as the pop music reviewer and TV-radio columnist for The Detroit News, during which time the West Michigan native was voted “Michigan’s Best Rock Critic” in the first Michigan Rock Awards and created the “Big Mac Radio Awards,” an annual salute to the city’s best on-air performers. In 2005, he was named television critic for the Detroit Metro Times, the state’s largest weekly entertainment magazine. He has made national TV appearances as a media expert on Entertainment Tonight, American Black Journal and E.D.J. (“Entertainment Daily Journal”) and locally on Spotlight on the News and Kelly & Company.
A regular contributor to publications across the Midwest, McFarlin’s work has appeared in People, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Electronic Media, Hit Parader, USA Weekend, The Crisis and CODE magazines, and in USA Today. He has helped launch five magazines and written, edited or co-edited a dozen books, including the 1,000-plus page reference work MusicHound R&B: The Ultimate Album Guide, a biography of Detroit rock icon Mitch Ryder and the last three novels by award-winning crime author Mike Brogan. Additionally, he co-wrote the original screenplay The Brewster Project, an independent film that earned Best Picture audience awards in New York and Los Angeles.
On the air, McFarlin was an original cast member of the “Albom in the Afternoon” show, hosted by best-selling author and playwright Mitch Albom on Michigan’s top-rated radio station, WJR; hosted his own weekly interview series on Detroit’s WCHB-AM; spent two seasons as co-host of the public affairs TV series Studio Detroit, another two years hosting the Motor City Sports Show on regional Michigan cable, and three seasons as resident critic and co-host of the regionally syndicated movie review show Flix ‘n’ Pix.
A onetime standup comedian, McFarlin contracted Stage IV kidney failure in 2008 and received a life-renewing kidney transplant in November 2011. He used his natural sense of humor to help endure the illness and treatment, writing a humor-laden blog called “JK – Just Kidneying” that led to his winning a 2011 Robert Felter Memorial Award from the Renal Network for his “contribution to fellow patients and their families through service, outreach and education.” An ardent advocate for organ donation and kidney disease awareness, he has appeared before the Michigan Legislature and serves as contributing editor for Baxter International’s “Live Now” website encouraging kidney patients to take control of their lives.
McFarlin lives in Champaign, Ill., where his wife, Karen, works for the University of Illinois.