Business news

Airing on Thursday, August 6, 2015: Media feel the pinch of cord cutters, the television industry shows off its new shows and a snapshot of what’s happening to the nation’s utilities.


Marketplace Tech for Thursday, August 6, 2015

Aug 6, 2015

Airing on Thursday, August 6, 2015: First up, we'll talk to Frank Gillett, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, about General Electric’s investment in the industrial Internet of things. Plus, New York Times Magazine staff writer Jenna Wortham joins us to talk about Travel Noire, an online community for black travelers that grew out of Instagram. And in the latest installment of our Noise Makers series, we're joined by Yo La Tengo's James McNew.

The conventions are coming...

Aug 6, 2015
Brian Bull and Katie Colaneri

Cleveland and Philadelphia are gearing up again to host the Republican and Democratic national conventions next summer. Economic realities have changed for both cities since the last time they played host to the big parties.

Republicans assemble in Cleveland 

David Gilbert, CEO of the RNC host committee, has a lot on his plate. He’s got to finalize 4,000 hotel rooms and raise Cleveland’s share of cash for its financial commitment for the event.

What exactly is a hedge fund, again?

Aug 5, 2015
Paddy Hirsch

Once again, investors could soon be given the opportunity to pump their money into one of the most poorly understood investment vehicles out there: the hedge fund.

Ken Griffin, the manager of Citadel LLC, is considering taking his company public. This according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that cited "people familiar with the matter."

10 bucks says it's Eleanor

Aug 5, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

I believe I've already expressed my dismay at the prospect of taking Alexander Hamilton off the $10 bill, as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has talked about doing.

If that does come to pass, however, it does raise the question of who should replace him.

Kim Adams

The tech sector is known for being very generous with its benefits. Case in point, Netflix, which now says it will offer unlimited parental leave in the first 12 months after an employee has a child. 

Law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe also offers lengthy parental leave — up to nine months. Laura Saklad, chief administrative officer, says the policy is about recruitment and competitiveness.

A small bank's big influence in New Orleans

Aug 5, 2015
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

Bill Bynum, the CEO of Hope Credit Union, has a couple of striking pictures hung on the walls of his Jackson, Mississippi, office.

Marketplace for Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Aug 5, 2015

What pay ratios mean, or not; a check-in from Athens; and a credit union's role in rebuilding New Orleans.

PODCAST: What's your luxury baggage?

Aug 5, 2015
Molly Wood

Stocks opened higher today despite a slightly weak report on hiring in the private sector. More on that. Plus, It’s rough times in the handbag business, with investors iffy on some of the other big makers posting earnings report this week. We look at the forces combining to make high-end bags a tough sell. And on Thursday, Egypt officially unveils an expanded Suez Canal, with the opening of a new lane. We'll talk about what ordinary Egyptians are making of it.

Mark Garrison

Wall Street is thinking a lot about handbags this week, with earnings reports from Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Coach. They’re three different companies that share one similar problem: a handbag market stuck in a rut.

Why that’s currently the case is the kind of thing that interests Pam Danziger, who tracks the rich for Unity Marketing. Like a lot of marketers, she loves catchy names for groups of people. One currently on her mind is HENRYs: High earners, not rich yet.

Boutique gyms bulk up with specialized training

Aug 5, 2015
Gigi Douban

Planet Fitness, the discount gym chain that boasts of its "judgment-free zone" and Pizza Mondays, is going public, hoping to double the 1,000 gyms it already operates.

More than 63 million Americans used a health club in 2014, up 2.3 percent from the previous year. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association says revenue in the industry topped $24 billion last year. But an interesting pattern is emerging in where Americans are spending their money to get fit.

Airing on Wednesday, August 5, 2015: An SEC vote could tell you how much less you make than your CEO. Plus, it’s a rough times in the handbag business, with investors iffy on Coach and some of the other big makers posting earnings report this week. We look at the forces combining to make high-end bags a tough sell. And with Planet Fitness, the discount gym chain, goes public on Wednesday, we'll talk about an interesting pattern is emerging in where people spend their money to get fit. 

Food industry plays it both ways with GMO labels

Aug 4, 2015
Annie Baxter

Reed Grimm believes nature knows best. So when he shops with his nieces at the Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op in St. Paul, Minnesota, he only goes for organic fruits, and he looks for products that say "non-GMO."

“We want to eat things that are natural, that are just coming straight out of the earth like it has been for milennia," says Grimm, a musician who lives in a Twin Cities suburb. "Nature knows what it's doing."

The 'bring your own billionaire' election

Aug 4, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

The 2016 presidential candidates are competing for the support of very rich donors.  Some of these donors have become household names, but others are relatively unknown -- billionaires like Joe Ricketts and his family, who’ve become quite active political donors over the past few election cycles.

Marketplace for Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Aug 4, 2015

If you're a government enterprise, what's the surest way to get Congress to leave you alone? Make lots and lots of money. Plus, in environmental news, there's one loser in the Obama Administration’s rules for limiting carbon-dioxide emissions: natural gas. 

PODCAST: Hiring local

Aug 4, 2015
Molly Wood

On Wall Street, analysts are digesting ongoing problems with the Chinese market, as well as the volatile oil market. More on that. Plus, we'll talk about CVS's business model as it turns itself into something of a health brand. Plus, Nashville voters are considering an amendment this summer has become surprisingly contentious: It would require big public construction projects to hire Nashville residents for 40 percent of worker hours. 

Banking on a New Orleans recovery

Aug 4, 2015
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

Alden McDonald, the President and CEO of Liberty Bank, takes a pair of work boots from the trunk of his car and paces the perimeter of a branch that's under construction in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood. He lobs question after question at his contractors: what's the square footage on the restrooms? Where will the tellers sit? Is it possible to remove one wall and add some open space? McDonald is nothing if not persistent. It's a character trait that helped when Liberty faced its most trying time.

Airing on Tuesday, August 4, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about oil's new volatility with prices creeping back up after falling to a six month low on Monday. And with CVS’s earnings report on Tuesday, we check on the corporate strategy that has helped CVS shares approach record highs. Plus, nearly ten years ago, New Orleans was inundated by flood waters, after a spectacular failure of the city's levees. We have the story of a financial institution — itself devastated — that played a key role in the rebuilding.

Dan Weissmann

The pharmacy counter was always in the back of a CVS for a reason. 

As Charles Rhyee, a Cowen and Company analyst, puts it, "They’re hoping that on your way out, you’ll realize, ‘Hey, I need some toothpaste. Or maybe I’ll pick up a newspaper or some gum at the front.' And all of those are actually higher-margin items" than just picking up a prescription.

Men responsible for your office chills

Aug 3, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

The newspaper of record explains why women are more often cold in office buildings than men are.

Marketplace for Monday, August 3, 2015

Aug 3, 2015

The word of the day today? De-carbonization. Look it up if you don't believe us. And, AT&T and DirecTV's recently announced TV and mobile phone service bundle could change the way cable companies do business. 

Don't blame millennials for their financial woes

Aug 3, 2015
Janet Nguyen

Despite attaining higher education levels than previous generations, millennials are earning significantly less money, according to the New York Times — and the future looks bleak.

PODCAST: Electric car pollution

Aug 3, 2015
Molly Wood

On today's show, we'll talk about the new consumer spending numbers out for June — they were the lowest they've been in four months. Plus, for some years now driving an electric car has been viewed by many as the ultimate badge of environmental consciousness. Yet, a growing body of research now suggests that electric cars might actually produce more pollution than a comparable gasoline-powered car. 

How leasing boosted the auto industry

Aug 3, 2015
Dan Weissmann

Analysts expect car sales to set ten-year records this summer, part of a trend that is two or three years in the making. Lots of factors contribute, including low interest rates and a decent job market, but one in particular caught our eye: the rise of leasing. 

It’s a piece of marketing genius.

As analyst Jessica Caldwell explains it, "Leasing guarantees that someone’s going to need a new car in two or three years, when their lease expires."

The strategy goes back to the recession, when new car sales were in the toilet.  

Your electric car may be a carbon polluter

Aug 3, 2015
Adam Allington

For some years now, driving an electric car has been viewed by many as the ultimate badge of environmental consciousness. If you just look at the car, electric vehicles are about as clean as they come — no combustion engine, no emissions. But that doesn’t mean they don’t contribute to pollution.

Electric cars run on electricity, and the great majority of electricity is created at power plants. Depending on where you live, generating the electricity for your electric car may create more carbon emissions than a standard gasoline engine.

A giant robot that shoots ... T-shirts?

Jul 31, 2015
Molly Wood

If the whole idea of creating a new sports entertainment league that will rival the UFC, WWE and NASCAR for sheer dollars, excitement and danger doesn't work out, the MegaBots can always do parties. It turns out that a MegaBot is a really good T-shirt cannon.

MegaBots is a startup, based in Oakland, California, doing the kind of work a lot of kids hope to be doing someday, too: building a 15-foot tall, 15,000-pound fighting robot, and hoping it'll become the centerpiece of a new global entertainment business.

The minimum wage debate

Jul 31, 2015
Marketplace Weekend Staff

Next weekend on Marketplace, guest host David Lazarus will take a look at the debate behind the minimum wage across the U.S. Does the minimum wage force companies to layoff low-paid employees? Or is a living wage fair to employees?

Have you ever lived on the minimum wage in your area? We want to hear your stories. Send us an email or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND

Marketplace for Friday, July 31, 2015

Jul 31, 2015

Airing on Friday, July 31, 2015: Have you gotten a raise lately? The Federal Reserve is interested. And boutique studio SoulCycle pedals hard toward an IPO.

The state of the market for consumer robots

Jul 31, 2015
Molly Wood and Jenny Ament

The personal helper bot is the holy grail of our robot fantasies. What's the state of the market for consumer robots, whether they're humanoid or social? Senior tech correspondent Molly Wood spoke to Dan Kara, who studies robotics at the tech market intelligence firm ABI Research. Plus, hear what people in downtown L.A. would want their personal robots to do for them and what they would pay for it. Kara weighs in on just how realistic our fantasies are.

PODCAST: Tuning with the push of a button

Jul 31, 2015
David Brancaccio

With another deadline on Monday for Puerto Rico to repay $60 million to bond holders, we take a look at the economic challenges for the commonwealth as tourism dips. Plus, we'll talk about Wall Streets' workout — two major fitness companies are planning IPOs. And a Nashville instrument maker has spent millions of dollars over the course of a decade trying to perfect the self-tuning guitar. But this year, Gibson started making automatic tuners a standard feature on most of its electric guitars.