Steve Carmody

Mid Michigan Reporter/Producer

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting. During his two and a half decades in broadcasting, Steve has won numerous awards, including accolades from the Associated Press and Radio and Television News Directors Association. Away from the broadcast booth, Steve is an avid reader and movie fanatic.

Q&A

What person, alive or dead, would you like to have lunch with? Why?
My wife. She’s the best company I’ve ever had, or expect to, over lunch.
 
How did you get involved in radio?
I started listening to all news radio when I was about 8 years old. In my teens, when other kids were listening to rock stations, I was flipping between KYW and WCAU in Philadelphia. I was fascinated listening to the news developing and changing through the day. When the time came to decide on what I wanted to study at college, I was drawn to broadcasting and journalism. I spent most of my four years in college at the campus radio station, including two years as news director.  
 
What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
I read (usually two books at a time, one book at work, another at home) and I go to see a lot of movies (about 50 or more a year)
 
What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter/host/etc.?
Covering the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995 was a remarkable experience. It was going to be a quiet day newswise. Not much happening. I was at the state capitol to cover a rally. The earth shattering explosion changed that. I spent the next ten hours wandering around downtown, filing reports to my home station and NPR. For the next six weeks, it was literally the only story my station covered.
 
What one song do you think best summarizes your taste in music?
Zilch. I don’t listen to music.
 
What is your favorite program on Michigan Radio? Why?
This American Life. It’s the best story telling on radio.
 
What's a hidden talent you have that most people don’t know about?
I have no talent. Anyone who knows me well would agree.
 
What is one ability or talent you really wish you possessed?
The ability to cook.
 
What do you like best about working in public radio?
I like having the time to tell a story. I’ve grown tired over time working in commercial radio of trying to tell a complex story in 25 seconds or less. You can tell some stories in less than 25 seconds. But often, a truly interesting story needs a minute, 3 minutes or more to explain.
 
If you could interview any contemporary newsmaker, who would it be?
No one really.
 
Is there a T.V. show you never miss? If so, which one?
The Amazing Race. As a fan and a former contestant, I just enjoy the thrill of seeing different parts of the world.
 
What would your perfect meal consist of?
A light appetizer. A good fish course. A well done steak. A pleasant dessert. A fine 20 year tawny port.
 
What modern convenience would it be most difficult for you to live without?
The computer. It has changed my personal and professional life.
 
What are people usually very surprised to learn about you?
That I not only watch Reality TV, but that I’ve been a Reality TV star (retired).
 
What else would you like people to know about you?
I enjoy living in Jackson, MI. So many Michigan cities and towns are struggling these days. Jackson’s no different. But, the people there are forging ahead. Jackson is also committed to being a community. 

Ways to Connect

The lawyer in charge of state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s investigation, Todd Flood.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After many months of finger-pointing, there’s an effort underway in Michigan to determine just who’s at fault for the city of Flint’s drinking water crisis.

Michigan’s Attorney General has now appointed a special counsel to investigate how the city’s tap water became contaminated with lead.

People in Flint have spent nearly two years drinking bottled water.

For almost as long, there’s been a demand that someone be held accountable for the decisions that left their tap water undrinkable.

Today, Michigan’s Attorney General took a step in that direction.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll from the University of Michigan says most parents have strict rules for teen drivers.  

Researchers say teen drivers are vulnerable to distractions.  

They say it’s important for parents to set rules to reduce those distractions.  

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health finds a majority of parents strictly forbid teen drivers from talking on cell phones or texting. Most also put limits on the number of passengers, as well as where and when teens can drive.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor is getting more “authority” at city hall.

A state oversight board today approved a resolution giving the mayor the ability to hire and fire city department directors. That’s more authority than Flint’s mayor’s has had since the 2011 state takeover.    

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver was unable to attend Friday’s meeting. She hasn't been able to catch a flight from snowstorm-crippled Washington D.C.

Speaking over a phone during the meeting, Weaver thanked members of the Receivership Transition Advisory Board for supporting the resolution.

Amir Hekmati steps off a plane at Bishop Airport in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After being held for more than four years in an Iranian prison, Amir Hekmati, the former U.S. Marine from Flint, is home. The Flint man was part of a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran. Hekmati was arrested in Iran in 2011 while he was visiting his grandmother. He was charged with spying.  At one time, he was sentenced to death. His sentence was eventually changed to 10 years. Hekmati and a handful of other Americans were exchanged for seven Iranians held in the U.S. The Iranians were charged with violating a trade embargo. 

We updated this post as he traveled home. You can scroll below and read up to follow the events.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s governor has promised people living in Flint he will fix their tainted drinking water.

But many residents in the city of 100,000 don’t believe him. There’s increasing distrust as concerns about lead in the tap water have worsened in the last six months.

During his State of the State address last night, Gov. Rick Snyder apologized. He said he was sorry for mistakes that allowed corrosive river water to damage Flint’s water pipes – which allowed lead to leach into the city’s tap water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder may have to go under oath about the Flint water crisis, if some class-action attorneys have their way.

A trio of class-action lawsuits have been filed in the Flint water crisis. Among other things, the suits are demanding the state create a special fund to cover damages related to the crisis.     

Attorney Michael Pitt says the crisis is the state’s responsibility.

“When I went to kindergarten, my kindergarten teacher said ‘if you make the mess, you clean it up,’” says Pitt.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint State Representative Sheldon Neeley would like to hear Governor Snyder commit to spend part of a budget surplus to address Flint’s water crisis during his State of the State address. 

Last week, state budget officials estimated Michigan will have a $575 million, one-time revenue surplus this year.

Neeley knows where he would like the money to be used: Flint’s water emergency.

"Price Reduced" sign in front of home.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a sharp uptick in banks repossessing homes in Michigan.

In 2015, 31,000 Michigan homes were in the foreclosure process.  That’s similar to the numbers before the Great Recession.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A nondescript warehouse on Flint’s north side is now the epicenter of the city’s response to its drinking water crisis.

Forklifts are busy moving flats loaded with cases of bottled water from semis onto trucks that deliver them to local distribution centers. There are at least two million bottles of water in the warehouse at any one time.

“Actually ‘warehouse’ is a misnomer,” says Don Faust, the logistics manager for the American Red Cross. “It’s actually a pass-thru. We try to get everything that comes in to go out just as fast.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Protesters will be dogging Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for the next few days. 

There’s a growing chorus of people calling for Michigan’s governor to resign over his handling of Flint’s water crisis.

Saturday afternoon, dozens of people gathered on the front lawn of Flint city hall chanting “Snyder’s gotta go.” Many carried signs calling for Governor Snyder to either resign or be arrested.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s drinking water crisis continues to draw national attention. 

The Reverend Jesse Jackson held a rally at a Flint church today. 

Jackson says the city’s lead tainted drinking water has turned Flint into a “crime scene”.

“The people of Flint have been betrayed,” says Jackson, “They have been given poisoned water and told it was pure, healthy when it was corrosive and sick.”

Some people who took the pulpit at the Heavenly Host Church of the Harvest on Flint’s north side made their case in language that was more blunt. 

A 2001 USMC portrait of Amir Mirza Hekmati.
USMC

(Editor's note: See this post: Follow Amir Hekmati's journey home from an Iranian prison to Michigan for updates as Hekmati makes his way home.)

The AP reports the Swiss plane carrying Amir Hekmati and other Americans from Iran has landed in Geneva, Switzerland.

Amir Hekmati is coming home.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Even as President Obama was signing the disaster declaration for Flint and Genesee County, hundreds of protesters were gathering on the front lawn of Flint city hall.

They chanted “Snyder’s gotta go” and carried signs calling for Michigan’s governor to resign and/or be arrested for his role in Flint’s water crisis.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“I just want to say the president has granted our request for an emergency declaration,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver smiled broadly as she told a crowded news conference at city hall Saturday afternoon.

The declaration will mean federal assistance in getting bottled water and filters to help the city deal with its lead tainted water supply. A switch to the Flint River as the city's drinking water source created toxic levels of lead in the tap water. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan National Guard is more than doubling its footprint in Flint.

Major General Greg Vadnais says the number of guardsmen handing out bottled water and filters at five fire stations will increase from 32 to 70 on Sunday.  

Vadnais says after staffing the fire stations for a few days, they realized the need for more boots on the ground.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has the backing of Michigan’s governor to wield more power.

But she needs to get the approval of a state oversight board. 

At a news conference earlier this week, Gov. Rick Snyder said Weaver should have more authority to hire and fire at city hall.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are questions being raised about Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s plans to investigate Flint’s water crisis.

Schuette issued a press release this morning announcing his decision to open an investigation into Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder met privately with Flint and Genesee County leaders today, hours after asking the Obama administration for help in dealing with the city’s water crisis.

“We’re finally getting the attention that we need and deserve,” said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in a written statement. “For so long, our voices have gone unheard. This man-made water disaster has been devastating and frustrating for the residents of Flint. We can’t fix what’s happened to the people of Flint. But, we can get them the things they deserve as a result of it.”

Attorney General's office

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is launching an investigation into Flint’s water crisis.

Flint’s drinking water was contaminated with lead after the city’s tap water was switched to the Flint River in 2014.

The Attorney General says his investigation will see if any state laws were violated. 

Governor Snyder has acknowledged that mistakes were made that allowed corrosive Flint River water to damage the city’s pipes which in turn leeched lead into the water.

Schuette promises his investigation will proceed “without fear or favor.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are efforts underway to help Flint children exposed to lead in their drinking water.

There’s also an effort to see if those interventions are working.

Children exposed to high levels of lead benefit from better nutrition and early education. A new collaboration between Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital will try to find the best ways to do that.

Aron Sousa is the interim director of the MSU College of Human Medicine. He says intervention is good, but “the key thing is figuring out if your intervention is working.”

Members of the Michigan National Guard preparing to help residents in Flint get access to clean drinking water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More Michigan National Guardsmen are on their way to help relief efforts in Flint.  

But not as many as you might expect.

Lead contamination has made Flint’s tap water undrinkable. The Michigan State Police, the American Red Cross and other groups are augmenting local efforts to distribute cases of bottled water, water filters and lead testing kits.

This week, Gov. Rick Snyder activated the Michigan Army National Guard. 

But don’t expect to see hundreds of guardsmen flooding the streets of Flint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan National Guardsmen are in Flint today.

They’re there to pass out bottled water and filters to residents. That’s because for more than a year, the city’s tap water has been unsafe to drink.      

Numerous missteps by government agencies allowed the city’s water to become contaminated with lead, and many residents say they no longer trust the governor to fix the problem.

Tuesday afternoon, about a dozen children were sitting at a table in their school gymnasium piecing together snowflakes in an arts and crafts project.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Members of the Michigan Army National Guard are helping distribute cases of water and filters to people in Flint.

 

  

Governor Snyder activated the guard yesterday to assist with Flint’s drinking water crisis. The first half-dozen guardsmen arrived Wednesday morning.

 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Researchers from Virginia Tech announced yesterday they are ending their investigation into Flint’s lead tainted water.

Virginia Tech sounded the alarm last summer when their tests turned up high lead levels in Flint drinking water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State troopers and volunteers are knocking on doors in Flint, handing out bottled water, water filters, and lead testing kits.

The city and state have been offering the water and kits for months. But many people say it’s difficult for them to travel, especially during the winter.

Lt. David Kaiser says the door-to-door outreach is part of a larger effort to help people in Flint get the clean water they need.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder continues to defend himself against questions about when he knew the extent of the Flint water crisis.

On Monday, the governor was in Flint to announce the formation of a joint city-state panel to examine the city’s water crisis and ways to address it. 

The Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee will be composed of state officials with emergency management, environmental quality, health and human services, and other state agencies. Flint’s mayor and Genesee County officials will also be on the committee.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, state and local efforts are being stepped up to help people in Flint have clean water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The sister of a Michigan man held in an Iranian prison for four years will be a guest at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Last year, Flint Congressman Dan Kildee’s guest seat at the annual speech by the president was left empty as a protest against the continued imprisonment of Amir Hekmati. 

This year, his sister Sarah will fill the seat at the State of the Union. 

Hekmati was arrested on spying charges during a trip to Tehran to visit relatives four years ago.    He denies the charges.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint museum is opening a new exhibit later this month that will take a close look at the city’s drinking water crisis.

When Sloan Museum executive director Todd Slisher booked the national traveling exhibit “Water’s Extreme Journey” nearly two years ago, he had no idea of the crisis that would soon grip Flint.

The city’s disastrous switch to the Flint River ended up damaging the city’s water system and led to health concerns.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress could take up legislation this month to require a federal standard for labeling genetically modified food.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says the public has a right to know that the food their families are eating contains genetically modified organisms or GMO’s.

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