The WBFO Business & Economy News Desk is funded by The M&T Charitable Foundation.

NBA's D-League partners with Gatorade

Mar 14, 2017
Andy Uhler

The NBA Developmental League won’t be called the D-League next season. It’s going to be the “G” league, because Gatorade bought the naming rights. The NBA hopes Gatorade will throw its brand behind marketing and that more people will watch.

Sam Beard

Journalists in search of supporters of the far right Dutch politician Geert Wilders gravitate toward the small lakeside town of Volendam, northeast of Amsterdam. The town, once a major fishing port and now a flourishing tourist attraction, is a Wilders stronghold.

Kai Ryssdal

Tom Scocca has made it his personal mission to bring truth to the internet when it comes to caramelizing onions. Frustrated by recipes grossly understating the amount of time necessary for onions to turn brown and soft in a pan, he wrote a blog post for Slate in 2012 to correct the record.

Who wins and loses under the GOP’s health care proposal?

Mar 14, 2017
Kim Adams and D Gorenstein

Nearly 24 million people will lose their health insurance coverage under the House GOP plan to replace Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated. Republicans have defended the plan, with House Speaker Paul Ryan arguing that it’s about “giving people more choices and better access to a plan they want and can afford.” So who exactly would benefit from this reform?

For the sixth time since 2000, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament comes to Buffalo this week. The experience has helped tourism officials better plan for the crush of visitors, says Jim Fink of Business First. During WBFO's Press Pass, Fink talks about the tournament and the many development projects that are emerging in some long-forgotten parts of Buffalo.

The Netherlands' Donald Trump?

Mar 14, 2017
Sam Beard

First there was Brexit. Then there was Trump's presidential victory. Where next for the populist, anti-establishment wave that was in full flood last year? Has it petered out or is it about to wash up on mainland Europe? The first test will be this Wednesday when the Dutch hold a general election, and all eyes will be on one of the front-runners, Geert Wilders, leader of a far-right, anti-Islam, anti-immigration and anti-European Union party.

“I support Geert, and so do many of my parishioners," Pastor Henk-Jan Prosman told Marketplace.

David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, joins us to discuss the economic impact of the GOP's new health care proposal and how seasonal changes can affect the government's monthly jobs report. Next, we'll look at a new survey that finds 40 percent of colleges and universities have seen a drop in international applicants, and then explore the economic factors driving the upcoming Dutch election. 

For a while now, universities and colleges have been concerned about international applicants and whether they’d be scared off by the politics surrounding immigration to the U.S. Now we have some signs those fears are founded. A new survey of about 250 schools finds about 40 percent of them have seen international applicant numbers drop this year. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Andy Uhler

Puerto Rico's financial oversight board was a central part of last year’s PROMESA bill, a law passed in the U.S. Congress that allowed the commonwealth to avoid defaulting on billions of dollars in bond payments for a time. The board's revised plan, announced Monday, calls for austerity measures and big cuts in public spending.

03/14/17: Going from a science lab to Capitol Hill

Mar 14, 2017

Intel is entering the self-driving game by purchasing chipmaker Mobileye for $15 billion. Johana Bhuiyan of Recode explains why big companies are acquiring other businesses, instead of creating their own products. Next, we'll talk about Uber's court loss in London over a requirement that all drivers have to take an English-language test. And finally, we'll look at why the nonprofit 314 Action wants to helping scientists run for office.



The Congressional Budget Office has revealed how many people would lose insurance coverage under the GOP's new health plan. We'll look at who would benefit from the proposal and who's expected to see costs go up. Next, we'll look at a plan from Puerto Rico to get the island out of crippling debt, and then explore the leading candidate in the upcoming Dutch election: Geert Wilders, a politician that has drawn comparisons to President Trump. 

WBFO file photo

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has selected an architectural firm, known for its work with historic buildings, to design several future structures for Buffalo's Canalside. On Monday morning, the Corporation's board approved a $1.3 million contract for the firm's services.

24 million Americans could lose health insurance under GOP plan

Mar 13, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office released its long-awaited score for the Republican replacement for Obamacare, what the GOP is calling the American Health Care Act. The CBO's report estimates the impact of the bill on people. Sarah Kliff covers health care for Vox, where she is a senior editor. She breaks down what we've learned from the report. 

Kai Ryssdal: Give me the headlines on this one. What's a big takeaway for you?

It’s FAFSA season, when families apply for federal aid to pay for college. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool makes it easier for applicants to add the required tax information to their forms by transferring it directly from the IRS. Or it did. The IRS has suspended the service for several weeks, and if history is any guide, this could mean fewer students complete the forms and go to college.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

D Gorenstein

The Republican plan – or the American Health Care Act – radically reconfigures Medicaid by cutting federal funding by $880 billion over 10 years, according to recently released figures from the Congressional Budget Office. That could mean a loss of services for millions of people, including one in 10 million Americans with disabilities on the program.

Reaching Mars is a hard sell, but not impossible

Mar 13, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

During his address to Congress, President Donald Trump said that “American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.” While the details about that dream are unclear, what is clear is that last month Congress approved an authorization bill for NASA. That bill allows NASA $19.4 billion in spending money for 2017, and NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot has already instructed his team to consider what it would take to send people to Mars. So how likely is it that we'll see a televised Mars landing?

When people hear the term “student loans,” they typically think of tuition bills, pricey textbooks and other campus-related expenses.


Bak USA is expanding its production facilities in downtown Buffalo to meet increasing demands for the company's computers.

Future of downtown movie screens remains dark

Mar 13, 2017
WBFO File Photo

In recent years the City of Buffalo has seen an increase in the number of residents living downtown. Vehicular traffic has returned to Main Street. And more restaurants and shops have opened. But there's still no movie theater.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Buffalo-based business competition 43North, which has awarded millions of dollars to startups for the past three years, has officially launched its fourth annual contest. To help kick off the event Friday, guests including elected leaders and representatives of past winners took turns praising the program.

What Russian cheese can tell us about the trade deficit

Mar 10, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

President Donald Trump got some bad news earlier this week — the U.S. trade deficit of $48.5 billion reached a five-year high in January. While economists do not believe that a trading deficit is a reason for concern, Trump has made it his administration’s mission to reduce it.

Lauren Silverman

It's 2017, but medical records are still mostly stuck in the dark ages. Most hospitals use electronic health records, but if you want your primary care doctor to share information with your allergist or surgeon, it’s a pain.

The most popular idea right now for connecting medical records — without compromising privacy — is blockchain. The platform used for bitcoin, the digital currency system, could serve health care.

03/10/2017: Coal and politics in Gillette, Wyoming

Mar 10, 2017

Almost 40 percent of U.S. coal is mined in Gillette, Wyoming. We're reporting from Gillette this week, talking to the people who live there and what the economy feels like post-election. Plus, we go long and short on topics from the week's news, talk health care and explore the market for California raisins. 


We got the jobs numbers for the first full month of the Trump administration today: 235,000 jobs and 4.7 percent unemployment. We'll talk about what that means in the Weekly Wrap, and then look at the folks who still cant' find work as we near "full employment." Plus, oil's public image problems and one very expensive field trip.

What the February jobs report means for the upcoming Fed meeting

Mar 10, 2017
Mark Garrison and Marketplace staff

The first jobs report fully under the Trump administration is out, and the employment numbers are better than expected, giving the Federal Reserve further motivation to raise rates at its March meeting.  

The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February, with the unemployment rate falling to 4.7 percent.

Blog: The Make Me Smart Book Group

Mar 10, 2017
Jennie Josephson

On a recent Facebook Live video, Molly Wood talked about a book that includes one of her favorite topics: path dependence — the idea that the decisions we make depend a lot on past knowledge and decisions we've made, even if those ideas are no longer relevant. Kai Ryssdal suggested a book club. You responded! So drum roll, please. Welcome to the Make Me Smart book club.

Here are a few of the books we're reading (listeners included): 

03/10/17: The end of sugary soda's reign

Mar 10, 2017

February employment numbers are out, revealing that the U.S. added 235,000 jobs last month. FTN Financial's Chris Low joins us to explain what these numbers say about the economy. Next, we'll explore rise of co-worker spaces designed specifically for women. Plus: news that bottled water has overtaken soda as the no. 1 drink of choice for Americans.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

There's another fight brewing over a decaying Buffalo building. While it may be one of the oldest surviving structures in the city, the building currently features boarded up windows.

Karen DeWitt

Members of a leading senior citizens lobby group are advocating for a retirement plan in New York that could benefit their children and grandchildren.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a robust 235,000 jobs in February and raised pay at a healthy pace, evidence that the economy remains on solid footing nearly eight years after the Great Recession ended.

The unemployment rate dipped to a low 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. More people began looking for jobs, increasing the proportion of Americans working or looking for work to the highest level in nearly a year.