Business/Economy | KERA News


05/22/2017: Cereal may no longer be a breakfast staple

10 hours ago

As part of a wider shakeup at Ford, the car company is replacing CEO Mark Fields with Jim Hackett, a former leader of the company's self-driving car unit. We'll explore more of Hackett's background and why investors wanted Fields out. Afterwards, we'll look at the decline of cereal and then dive into the wind power boom happening in Texas.

Jana Kasperkevic

Starting in 2018, anyone in the U.S. will be able to pick up a Kinder Egg without having to worry about incurring the wrath of the Food and Drug Administration. Except, this Kinder Egg will look slightly different than its outlawed cousin.

Jana Kasperkevic

People buy a lot of stuff. As the global middle class grows from 2 billion people in 2010 to 5 billion in 2030, we are bound to buy even more stuff. That means companies will have to produce more even as natural resources are dwindling. As a result, many manufacturers are trying to come up with a long-term sustainability strategy to replace the old “take, make, dump” business model.

Ford to fire CEO Mark Fields

13 hours ago
Marielle Segarra

Ford is replacing CEO Mark Fields. The auto company’s stock price and U.S. market share have been falling, and last week it announced plans to lay off 1,400 people. 

Take a stroll down the cereal aisle at your local grocery store, and check out the Lucky Charms. General Mills, the cereal’s maker, has an attention-grabbing promotion right now: It’s giving away 10,000 boxes with nothing but those brightly colored marshmallow pieces inside. It raises health and nutrition issues, and also points to some serious challenges facing cereal in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. And that explains one possible reason for this sugar-coated promotion: Cereal sales have fallen 3 percent a year since 2012, the market research firm IBISWorld says.

Andy Uhler

John Dudley lives in Comanche, Texas, and wears a couple of hats: He's a cattle rancher and a wind farmer. We met on his 20,000 acres in the Texas hill country. His land holds more than half of the 87 turbines that make up the vast Logan’s Gap Wind Farm. His brown Herefords roam among the giant stalks, as they spin up to 40 stories overhead.

“Yeah, we put up some turbines, and that changes the way the hilltops look," he told me. "But we think that will probably be instrumental in allowing us to continue to own our family lands.”

The Trump administration is expected to release its detailed 2018 budget tomorrow. According to “near-final” documents leaked to the Washington Post last week, the proposed cuts include more than $10.5 billion in federal education initiatives. On the chopping block are more than $1 billion in grants that fund after-school and summer programs for low-income kids. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.


Over the past several weeks, we've been exploring aspiring tech hubs across the country. Cities — big and small — want to be the next Silicon Valley. Well, what about Phoenix, Arizona? It's becoming a hotbed of startup activity that has attracted the likes of Uber, Waymo and Intel. We'll take a look at the city's strengths, along with some of the challenges it faces on the way.

05/22/2017: Ford to fire CEO Mark Fields

16 hours ago

With Ford's stock down from 2014 levels, the company is gearing up to remove Mark Fields as CEO. We'll take a look at some of the criticisms that investors had about Fields, and who he's being replaced by. We'll also take a close look at one Rhode Island after-school program that faces closure over Trump's budget cuts. Plus: a look at the peripheral industry that's sprung out of crowdfunding, which includes crowdfunding consultants, social media managers and marketers.

Prom season is here, and it can cost families a pretty penny

May 19, 2017
Lizzie O'Leary and Jana Kasperkevic

It started as a joke, but ended up being a viral promposal.

Jacob Staudenmaier did not have a prom date for his high school prom. And so the teen, who claims resemblance to Ryan Gosling, decided to ask Emma Stone. How? By making a parody video of a "Another Day of Sun," an opening number from the popular movie musical "La La Land."

The band Phoenix takes the Marketplace Quiz

May 19, 2017
Hayley Hershman

No matter who you are, you've probably had a rough day at the office that changed your perspective, or maybe you made an impulse purchase you really, really wish you could take back. This week, Thomas Mars and Laurent Brancowitz from the French band Phoenix took our money-inspired personality questionnaire. Their latest album, "Ti Amo," is out in June. 

Below is an edited transcript of the conversation.

Thomas Mars: Fill in the blank: Money can't buy you happiness but it can buy you ____________.

Predictability is bad for Netflix and HBO, but great for network television

May 19, 2017
Lizzie O'Leary, Adrienne Hill and Hayley Hershman

It's upfronts season — that time when television networks showcase their new fall shows for advertisers. Unlike Netflix and HBO, networks have to appeal to the broadest audience possible to get the most advertising dollars. This means feel-good, predictable shows are king. This season there are a lot of reboots and spin-offs of old shows. Marketplace's entertainment correspondent Adriene Hill ran us through the latest line up of fall television. 

The cost of prison is more than just time served

May 19, 2017
Eliza Mills

Robert Shipp was 20 years old when he was sent to prison in 1994. He was convicted of a nonviolent federal drug charge: distribution of and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. At the time, conviction meant a mandatory minimum life sentence. Shipp's time was reduced to 30 years in 2015, and he has twice been denied clemency. 

The long tradition of being bored at work

May 19, 2017
Bridget Bodnar

In this commentary, we hear from author Mary Mann, who ponders why we're bored at work and what it means about your job in her book, "Yawn: Adventures in Boredom." 

Boredom is this sort of irritated restlessness. A lot of times, people will avoid talking about boredom because it's kind of embarrassing. Nobody really wants to admit that they get bored.

Marketplace Weekend Staff

Let's talk about avocado toast.

It's a simple pleasure. A thick slice of wholewheat, rye or whatever fluffy carb-filled goodness you choose. Add a generous slathering of buttery avocado — only the ripest will do — and top with a little salt, a dash of pepper, maybe a slice of smoked salmon if you want to be fancy and enjoy. 

The U.S.'s delicate balance between arms deals and diplomacy

May 19, 2017

President Trump is headed to Saudi Arabia, the first stop on his first foreign trip as president. The Saudis buy a lot of weapons from the U.S., and more arms deals could be announced this weekend. The U.S. keeps careful tabs on who buys American-made weapons and what they buy. There is sometimes a delicate balance between arms deals and diplomacy.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.


Rachel Abrams of the New York Times and Sudeep Reddy of Politico join us to discuss the week's business and economic news. This week, they talk about how the latest revelations from the White House will affect Donald Trump's economic agenda ahead of his trip to Saudi Arabia. Plus, with the controversies surrounding Trump and former FBI Director James Comey, we ask if people outside of the Beltway and New York are paying attention to it. 

Kai Ryssdal

The new “Alien” movie and the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” are expected to top the box office this weekend, both just the most recent examples of big tent pole productions that suck all the oxygen and money out of the movie-making ecosystem. So, with the summer movie season approaching, host Kai Ryssdal talked with New York Times culture critic Wesley Morris about what to expect in the upcoming summer blockbuster season.

PETA takes its fight to other animal entertainment

May 19, 2017
Adrienne Hill

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is calling it quits after a final show this Sunday. When Ringling announced it was shutting down for good, the folks over at the PETA were ecstatic.

“I think it’s an indication of the fact that people now, see using and abusing animals for entertainment is really a throwback to a less enlightened time,” said Lisa Lange, senior vice president of communications at PETA, or the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Bad! Why the AT&T strike means jobs woes for Trump

May 19, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

Update: As of 3 pm EDT on Friday, 40,000 AT&T employees have gone on strike. "This is a three-day strike. AT&T workers will go back to work on Monday," a spokesperson told Marketplace. 

In April last year, 40,000 Verizon workers went on strike. Rain or shine, the employees stood outside stores, demanding a better contract. The strike went on for 44 days until an agreement was reached.

Marielle Segarra

In March, the Department of Homeland Security banned laptops from the cabins of flights coming from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Now, the agency is reportedly considering expanding the ban to all international flights.

Stocks and bonds have echoed the turbulence in Washington this week. We'll chat with FTN Financial's chief economist, Christopher Low, about why markets took a dip and progress on the GOP's health care bill. Afterwards, we'll examine how Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia could lead to the approval of up to $300 billion in arms sales.

Prepared meal kits have grown into a huge market, now worth an estimated $1.5 billion. It’s been driven by startups, like Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, HelloFresh ... the list goes on. But major supermarkets like Kroger and Publix are now muscling in and testing their own versions.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Peggy Lowe

If there was a world series for crazy ballpark food, the Kansas City Royals would be winning.

Kansas City takes two slots on USA Today’s ranking of “10 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 MLB season”  – more than any other team.

Trade is center stage as President Trump heads to Saudi Arabia

May 19, 2017

President Trump travels to Saudi Arabia today, the first stop on his first foreign trip as president. A number of American CEOs are also tagging along because, it turns out, there are deals to be done in Saudi Arabia.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.


That whole Panama Papers scandal? The U.S. also needs to take a look at itself

May 19, 2017
David Brancaccio and Janet Nguyen

The West tends to think highly of itself when it comes to dealing with corruption, but it's an image that's been showing cracks, according to the book "Unmasked: Corruption in the West."

05/19/2017: Why all the focus on chip-making?

May 19, 2017

Google and Apple are making their own chips, a move that could have long-ranging effects on smaller chip-focused firms like Nvidia and Imagination Technologies. We'll take a look at why these two tech giants are dipping their toes in this area, and then play this week's Silicon Tally with the Financial Times' San Francisco correspondent Hannah Kuchler. 

05/19/2017: Corruption in the West

May 19, 2017

President Trump is traveling to Saudi Arabia today, a trip that'll include a number of American CEOs. The reason they're tagging along: there are deals to be made. On today's show, we'll take a look at the state of trade between the Gulf kingdom and the U.S. Afterwards, we'll explore the meal-kit war between startups like Blue Apron and major supermarkets like Kroger. Plus: Author Laurence Cockcroft explains rising corruption in the West and how the Trump administration is trying to roll back rules aimed at combating the issue.

Trump is actually trying to renegotiate NAFTA

May 18, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

After a couple of fits and starts, the White House made it official today, sending formal negotiations to Congress — and one assumes to Mexico and Canada, as well — that it's going to open up the North American Free Trade Agreement for renegotiation.

Why Pittsburgh bought $1,200 garbage cans

May 18, 2017
Erika Beras

It’s a Monday morning and Val Trinkala and Robert Sledge are slowly making their way along Pittsburgh's downtown streets, stopping to check public trash cans in a Department of Public Works truck. About half the cans need emptying; the rest they skip. But they still check every can on every street on their route.