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Marketplace

Weekdays 3:00-3:30pm and 6:30-7:00pm


Hosted by Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace presents business news that’s in-depth, understandable, and interesting. It’s news on business, economics, and money for the rest of us.

08-22-2014- Marketplace- Emmys On Monday Not Sunday

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Janet Yellen gave a big speech today in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, about the uncertainty of the economy. Should we be worried? We catch up with Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post and John Carney from the Wall Street Journal to discuss the week that was. Plus, California could join the group of states that let community colleges offer four-year degrees in certain subjects like dental hygiene. But do you really need a four-year degree, and what’s the cost? We investigate. Also, the Emmys are on Monday this year, as opposed to Sunday. Why? Because they don’t want to have to compete with Sunday Night Football, of course. It’s just one example of the huge battle being waged over live TV broadcast space. Speaking of athletics, Foot Locker, the athletic shoe store, reported sky-high profits this year thanks to its partnership with Nike. Shoes with the swoosh account for two-thirds of Foot Locker’s sales. But what happens if wingtips become the new workplace fashion? Could Foot Locker be too dependent on Nike? 

08-21-2014- Marketplace- SoundCloud Adds Ads

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Philadelphia plans to stop offering subsidies for school bus service for high school students who live within two miles of their school. We look at the impact of cutting out school buses on families and districts and whether those effects differ between urban and suburban areas. Plus, SoundCloud is going to start putting ads into its content stream. What happens to a company when, in order to find a business model, they have to undermine the very thing that created their customer base in the first place. Also, Dollar Store X rejects Dollar Store Z’s bid for it, preferring Dollar Store’s Y bid, saying it fears the X+Z combo couldn't pass antitrust muster. Could there really be an antitrust issue with “dollar stores”? We investigate.

What is a superfood?

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A new study tries to define superfoods. Hint: it's more than just kale.

08-20-2014- Marketplace- Economics Of Halftime Shows

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Central bankers meet in Jackson Hole this week to discuss, among other things, Central Banks. We look at how the role of the Central Bank has changed and how the job of central banker has changed since the Recession. Plus, former Obama campaign operative David Plouffe has joined Uber as a vice president and strategist. Is Plouffe’s move just about the big money of a hightech startup?  Or is there an affinity between tech and the Democratic Party that he and other Dems are trying to harness? Also, did you know that the NFL doesn't pay musicians for performing at the Super Bowl? Well, turns out now the NFL wants major artists such as Coldplay, Rihanna, and Katy Perry, the three finalists for next year's show, to pay them to perform at the halftime show. Will artists play ball? We look at the economics of halftime shows.

08-19-2014- Marketplace- Chinese Hack U.S. Hospital

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Lots of police departments in the U.S. have tear gas, which they throw at disorderly civilians. But where does that tear gas come from? And how big a business is it for the companies that produce it? Plus, there’s word this week that Chinese hackers stole records of 4.5 million patients from computers at Community Health systems, one of the largest hospital networks in the Southeast. Healthcare records contain social security numbers, birth dates, addresses - a goldmine of information for identity thieves. Which is likely to make them a big fat target for future hacks. Will they be ready? Many experts say no. 

08-18-2014- Marketplace- Dollar Store Bidding War

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There's a dollar store bidding war going on out there. We report on the extent of the competition in the market, and how the stores involved differentiate themselves. Plus, the Fed is paying close attention to the number of part time workers, as it looks like the number of part-time workers has increased after reaching a five-year low. We look at why this has happened, and ask if it’s something we should be worried about. Also, every year the federal government sets the amount its employees may spend per day when they travel. The per diems for fiscal 2015? $83 for lodging and $46 for meals and other expenses. The standard is also followed by federal contractors and some private businesses. What impact do these standards have on hotels and other businesses that depend on these travelers?

08-15-2014- Marketplace- Mini Golf Tournament

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Starbucks changes some of its computer-driven scheduling policies, and we use it as a way to explain the growing phenomenon of using algorithms and big companies to schedule employes to manage labor costs — and the (negative) consequences for them — lost hours, flexibility, control. Plus, Coke is acquiring a 17 percent stake in Monster Beverage for just over $2 billion. The energy drink business is booming and the soda business — not so much. So Coke wants an energy jolt from Monster... but to get it, it's exchanging its own energy brands for Monster’s non-energy drinks.  We use Coke to look at swaps. What they are, why they’re done and whether they work. Also, the 2014 United States Open Miniature Golf Tournament that begins in Erie, Pa., today. Prizes are small, but apparently there’s enough action that it can sustain a pro circuit, Queena Kim reports.    

08-14-2014- Marketplace- Police weapons in Ferguson

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Among the many striking images from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, are those of local and state police using military-style weapons and gear. But it’s not unique to this St. Louis suburb. It’s part of a trend among local law enforcement since the 1990’s. We explain what’s behind it. Plus, Walmart has invited dozens of small and medium sized companies to a junket in Denver. It wants to convince them to do business with the retailer. But small firms are often reluctant to get into bed with Wal-Mart, as the retailer’s demands are often so overwhelming that they can end up smothering its smaller partners. Also, German car maker Daimler is offering its staff the option of turning off email while on vacation. All employees can now switch their mailbox off altogether, have all messages deleted, and send an auto-reply offering an alternative contact. Will employees return to work refreshed from a break with no office-related hassles? Are they more productive if they don’t have to wade through thousands of emails when they get back? Or will they stress out over what they missed?

08-13-2014- Marketplace- Raising Awareness With Ice Buckets

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Retail sales fell last month to their weakest reading since January, according to figures out today from the Commerce Department. So why isn’t the American consumer spending? Plus, Amazon is launching its own version of the mobile credit card reader. Amazon Local Register is taking on established mobile payments apps such as Square and Paypal Here by offering a lower cost per swipe. We look at the battle for space in the growing sphere of mobile transactions. Also, the Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ has been a viral and financial success, reportedly raising at least $4 million  nationwide since the campaign launched on July 29. The numbers are impressive, so what has contributed to this success and how sustainable is this model for other campaigns and organizations?

08-12-2014- Marketplace- Strengthening The Kurdish Peshmerga

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The European Union imposed sanctions on Russia over its activities in Ukraine. The Russians hit back with a raft of bans on European produce on alleged health and safety grounds. With the Russian export market cut off, many European nations are faced with a produce glut and are having to work out how to offload all their unwanted apples, dairy products or meat. Plus, the U.S. has begun providing weapons to Kurdish forces in northern Iraq to help in their battle against ISIS militants. Administration officials would only confirm that guns and other ”light” weapons have been shipped to Kurdish Peshmerga forces. But this wouldn't be the first time arms have been sent to non-state actors. Think Afghanistan. And most recently, Syria. So who provides the arms, who pays for them and how do they get to their intended recipients? Also, Apple is reportedly talking to hospitals about a "health kit" where all your information goes into the cloud. Every big tech company seems to be interested in this space. We explain why. 

08-11-2014- Marketplace- Another Amazonian Dispute

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Kinder Morgan, the alleged largest pipeline company in North America, is folding three of its separately-traded subsidiaries into its parent company. The merger will help Kinder Morgan expand its network of pipelines and position it to acquire other pipeline companies. Plus, you might think BuzzFeed is just a vapid company that produces listicle clickbait. But a venture capital company has valued it just shy of a billion dollars and touted its value as a tech company. Which goes to show that there’s still a lot we don’t know about BuzzFeed. Also, Amazon is under fire for not accepting pre-orders of forthcoming Disney DVD and Blu-ray titles including "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Maleficent." It echoes an earlier dispute between the online retailer and publisher Hachette over Hachette’s pricing policies. But in pressuring suppliers over pricing, is Amazon not doing what many other big retailers do?

08-08-2014- Marketplace- Easing Medical Debt Burden

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People with lots of unpaid medical bills could be getting a break on their credit scores. Fair Isaac Corp. says it is changing its FICO calculations to lessen the impact of medical debt that is already in collection. Median scores could rise by as much as 25 percent. We look into why they treat medical debt differently. Plus, the London-based system for setting the price of silver is getting scrapped next week for a new electronic-based method. How will this affect the price-setting mechanism for gold, the Gold Fix? 

08-07-2014- Marketplace- USPS Debt Collectors

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Following on Bank of America's $16 billion settlement with federal regulators, Mark looks at this broader question, “After five years and dozens of settlements, where are we?" We look at what reassurances homeowners, investors, and governments now have. Plus, Russia is banning food imports from the West as retaliation against sanctions. How will this effect U.S. agriculture, which  was already hit last year by a ban on beef imports because of an additive used here. Finally, we chat with the studio behind "Sharknado" and many, many other great bad movies.

08-06-2014- Marketplace- Creating A True Gaza Economy

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Rebuilding Gaza after Israel’s attacks will cost billions. But that’s simply to restore Gaza to a prison refugee camp. What would it take to create a true Gaza economy? Plus, we look at the calculus a consumer facing company like Walgreens makes when it’s considering an inversion, particularly when it factors in the effects of adverse public pressure.

08-05-2014- Marketplace- U.S. Business Invest In Africa

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The media company Gannet, which owns the newspaper USA TODAY, announced plans to separate its broadcast and digital division from its publishing division. The company added that this move will give the new separate companies ‘increased opportunities to grow organically’. Why has Gannett made this move now and will it pay off? We investigate. Plus, President Obama announced that U.S. corporations have pledged $14 billion worth of investments in African countries. We look at the kinds of projects U.S. companies are pursuing in Africa and where they are happening. Also, the DOJ is investigating GMs auto loan business amid speculation of fraudulent. The auto loan business isn’t so big that a loan freeze will create a systemic problem for the financial system, but if the government clamps down, people will suffer. 

Wasn't the US going to start using the metric system?

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John Bemelmans Marciano says the U.S has basically gone metric, if not officially.

08-04-2014- Marketplace- Portugal Spins Off Bad Assets

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Portugal is dealing with the thorny issue of the near collapse of the Banco Espirito Santo by using the not-so-new solution of spinning off the bad assets in the bank. It's called a good bank-bad bank strategy, and we last saw it used during the financial crisis. We investigate. Plus, the Mayor of Toledo, Ohio, says resident can drink tap water again...if they want to. But with algae blooms increasingly common in Lake Erie, what does the future hold for the water supply for Toledo and many other cities?

08-01-2014- Marketplace- Auto Sales Are Zooming

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What we have here is a jobs recovery without a wage recovery. We look at why more Americans are working, but average wages aren't even keeping up with inflation. Plus, Procter & Gamble says it’s going to get rid of half its nearly 200 brands. How did that happen, in a company famed for its highly focused brand management? Also, Auto sales are intriguing this quarter. They're not as good as analysts had expected, but those expectations were very high. We look at why cars are selling so well right now.  

07-31-14- Marketplace- Insurers On Driverless Cars

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The holdout investors in the Argentina bond negotiations bought the bonds at a low price and are squeezing Argentina for a profit. Some people might say that makes the investors good businesspeople, but Argentina says it makes them vultures. We explain what vulture funds are, what they do, and how they provide a valuable service to the bond market. Plus, among the penalties handed out to Bank of America for its actions contributing to the mortgage crisis was a $1 million personal fine charged to a former manager. We look at why so few people are being held individually responsible for their actions. Also, the day of driverless cars being on the road as cars, not experiments, is nigh. We look at how insurers might adapt to this new category of vehicle.

07-30-14- Marketplace- Movie Studios Rescue Kodak

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Twitter announced it lost $144 million in the first quarter, but it also registered a 25 percent gain in users in the period. That’s a good first step. The second step will be working out how to make money off those users, and the third step will be actually turning a profit. It’s a simple three-step road to success. So simple that a bunch of pantie-pinching gnomes could understand it. And maybe even make it work. Also, the National Labor Relations Board says McDonald’s could be held ‘jointly liable’ for labor and wage violations made by its franchise owners. How does this business model work, and what impact will yesterday’s ruling have on McDonald’s and other companies like it? Also, movie studios are working on a deal to help out Kodak by contracting to buy large stocks of old-fashioned motion picture film. Does trying to prop up a dying industry ever work?  We’ll look at a few examples.