Business news


Airing on Thursday, September 17, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about GM's settlement with the U.S. government; a drop in foreclosures for August; and the surprising amount of confidence investors have in the stock market.

Saving seniors hope for higher interest rates

Sep 17, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Update: The Federal Reserve announced Thursday it will keep its interest rate target near zero.

Whenever a long-awaited increase happens, it will make some folks very happy: savers.

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sep 17, 2015

Airing on Thursday, September 17, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about Comcast's plan to expand its coverage to businesses; banks exploring the block chain; and Farhad Manjoo stops by to talk about mobile ad blocking in iOS 9.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Officials at the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation say the people have spoken, and it will show in an updated plan for redeveloping Buffalo's Outer Harbor.

Marketplace for Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sep 16, 2015

Knock, knock. Who's there? Inflation. Inflation who? Aren't you glad I didn't say interest rates again? Seriously, folks, we're looking at the good ride borrowers have had; the wages-poverty relationship; and the economics of live political debates.

Keeping medical IV’s safe

Sep 16, 2015
Lauren Silverman

As our devices get smarter, they also are at risk of more sophisticated cyber security attacks.

Think about the cars connected to the internet that make tracking trips and monitoring teen drivers easier. On one hand, they help make our lives easier, but now shutting the motor down with a few keystrokes is no longer science fiction.

Cars aren't the only machines to showcase the opportunities and risks of wireless. Medical devices are increasingly connected as well. Which means they're also increasingly vulnerable.

Kim Adams

Wednesday is the first day of the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. And Thursday, we'll know if the central bank will raise interest rates, which have been near zero since the financial crisis.

This guy implanted a computer chip in his hand ...

Sep 16, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Daisy Palacios

GrindFest is a gathering of people who enjoy experimenting with electronic modifications to the human body —they are biohackers, or grinders. Dylan Matthews, a senior correspondent at was there and participated; he had a microchip implanted in his left hand.

On why he had a computer chip implanted in his hand: 

Networks cash in on debates

Sep 16, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

 It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. If you’re a cable or tv news network. 

Fox News’ Republican debate last month, with 24 million viewers, was the ninth-most-viewed cable program. Ever. The other eight were college football games. 

CNN is now staring a windfall in the face as it expects a record-breaking number of people to tune in for its debate.  

“This is going to be huge for CNN,” says Billie Gold, vice president and director of programming research at Dentsu Aegis. 

The Banker's Almanac: A guide to interest rates

Sep 16, 2015
Sam Weiner and Bridget Bodnar

The audio version of this story will be added shortly.

Comedian Sam Weiner is tired of waiting for the Federal Reserve to finally raise interest rates. So he's turned to the Banker's Almanac.

Will the Fed raise interest rates? For the answer, we can turn to our old friend, the Banker's Almanac.

Like the Farmer's Almanac, the Banker's version provides valuable predictions based on top-secret meteorological data and homespun claptrap.

Federal poverty measure unchanged from last year

Sep 16, 2015
Noel King

More than 46.5 million Americans are living below the poverty line, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday. The poverty rate held steady at 14.8%, and median income remained flat, a sign, economists say, that wages are not rising. Even those who have had a pay bump find themselves squeezed. 

PODCAST: The hype surrounding the Fed

Sep 16, 2015
Molly Wood

On today's show, we'll talk about a possible merger between the two largest beer companies in the world; if Wednesday's Fed meeting will be more hype than action; and why everything about the U.S. military uniform is American made ... except for the shoes.

On the bright side for FedEx: growing e-commerce

Sep 16, 2015
Sally Herships

When a giant country like China has financial problems, they ripple right through borders. For shipping companies, that can mean sending fewer goods or materials.

It can have an effect on what's known in the industry as "general cargo", which are "loads that are a few tons in weight," says Satish Jindel, president of SJ Consulting Group, a research and consulting firm in the transportation logistics industry, and part of the founding team of FedEx Ground.

Marketplace Tech for Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sep 16, 2015

Airing on Wednesday, September 16, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about the FBI's mistake in charging Temple Univ Professor Xi with spying; paying extra for replays on Snapchat; and using Twitter for political donations.

Airing on Wednesday, September 16, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about a possible merger between the world's two largest beer brewers; the outlook for FedEx; and a reshaping of how Fannie Mae looks at mortgages.

Sam Kaplan

The U.S. military outfits service members almost entirely in American manufactured uniforms. This is partly due to tradition, but also a 1940s law called the Berry Amendment, which requires the Department of Defense to do so. There has been an exception though: athletic shoes.

In April 2014, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts, who led the lobbying effort to ensure that military recruits sneakers were made only in the U.S., announced that Pentagon officials had "conceded … that recruits' running shoes should be made domestically."

All in the family: the new mortgage math

Sep 16, 2015
Noel King

Fannie Mae is making changes to a mortgage product for middle- and low-income earners in order to better reflect the way many folks live now: with working parents, children or roommates who may not be the main mortgage borrower, but who pitch in money for rent, groceries and utilities.

Like 27-year-old Kristin Bjornsen. She is college-educated and works two jobs: as an editorial designer for a newspaper chain and a legal assistant. Despite the two jobs, she lives with her mom in Fort Lauderdale, in part, because her mom needed help paying the mortgage. 

Paper industry wants customers back

Sep 15, 2015
Jim Burress

To the paper industry, you’re half the consumer you used to be.

Thanks to e-mail, e-vites and e-readers, the industry says per capita use of paper has dropped 46 percent since the year 2000, and shreds about 5 percent each year.

But paper manufacturers want you back. This year, they’re pouring tens of millions of dollars into a campaign in the hope you’ll think good thoughts about the product.

Marketplace for Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sep 15, 2015

Self-driving cars; tax policy; and the Fed's big decision.

Here's why an interest-rate increase is inevitable

Sep 15, 2015
Tracey Samuelson

Come Thursday at 2 o'clock Washington time, the Federal Reserve will announce … something. Whether it will raise interest rates or let them stay at current levels a bit longer is the economic question of the year. But here’s another one: Why do they have to raise rates at all?

“Eventually, they’ve got to come up,” says Ken Kuttner, an economics professor at Williams College. “The only question is when.”

Kuttner says while consumers and companies might like to borrow money at cheap rates, savers don’t like the low returns they’re seeing.

Refugees bring in big business in Europe

Sep 15, 2015
Kai Ryssdal, Mukta Mohan and Bridget Bodnar

We're in the middle of the biggest mass migration in Europe since the end of the World War II, and as distasteful as this may sound, that's a huge business opportunity. It ranges from housing refugees to selling commodities.

One husband puts his wife's career before his own

Sep 15, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Daisy Palacios

A couple of years ago we did an interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter, previously the Director of Policy Planning for Hilary Clinton at the State Department, and before that a Dean at Princeton.

Poltical campaigns fav donations via Twitter

Sep 15, 2015
Kim Adams

Twitter and the online payment company Square announced Tuesday they are joining the 2016 campaign. The two companies have come up with an integrated product that lets people contribute to campaigns directly from a tweet — just in time for Wednesday's GOP debate, by the way. The companies — and politicians — are hoping it will turn people's social media commentary to actual cash for campaigns.

A driver's defense of self-driving cars

Sep 15, 2015
Molly Wood

People love to drive. 

We've been driving for pleasure in America since the late 1800s; sightseeing was cited as one of the many reasons the government should fund the federal Interstate System when it was first proposed in the late 1930s. 

Molly Wood

On today's show, consumers started shopping again in August; news from Frankfurt and the largest auto show in the world; and AT&T takes on one of the world's richest men.

Airing on Tuesday, September 15, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about the world's largest car show; an initiative by the Obama administration to combat wasted food; and millennials get into the housing market.

Wasting food is more than a waste of money

Sep 15, 2015
Annie Baxter

The Obama administration is about to roll out a plan for the U.S. to stop wasting so much of its food. Officials from the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency will announce the nation's first-ever food waste reduction goals at an event Wednesday in New York.

The Agriculture Department says nearly 90 billion pounds of edible food get tossed each year — which is costly to society on many fronts, including the environment.

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sep 15, 2015

Airing on Tuesday, September 15, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about Etsy's initiative to connect sellers with manufacturers; and Google's new hire in its driverless car division.

AT&T is challenging one of the world's richest men

Sep 15, 2015
Sam Harnett

It takes Diego Sepulveda about five minutes to walk from his apartment in Mexico City to a cell tower. But Sepulveda says he gets no reception at home. “I live three blocks away from this tower where I am supposed to get the best signal in Mexico City,” he says. “And I have no signal.”

A more accurate measure of poverty?

Sep 15, 2015
Amy Scott

We’ll get an idea of how widely shared the economic recovery is on Wednesday of this week, when the U.S. Census Bureau releases its yearly report on income and poverty in the United States. For the first time, the Supplemental Poverty Measure will come out at the same time.