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. 

Pages

Law
12:18 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Attorney "stunned" and "skeptical" after GM admission of "incompetence and neglect"

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Dozens of people are suing General Motors over its ignition switch problem.

Texas attorney Bob Hilliard represents about 70 families suing GM in a variety of state and federal courts.

He says his clients were “stunned” to hear GM CEO Mary Barra admit the problem was a result of "incompetence and neglect."

“I don’t think that GM can come into a court of law anymore and argue it wasn’t their fault,” says Hilliard.  He says the only thing GM can argue now is “what is the value of the loss.”

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Law
4:27 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Attorney general shifts tactics in Lansing casino case

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is proposing a $245 million dollar casino in downtown Lansing
Credit Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

As expected, Michigan’s attorney general has dropped an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to block a Lansing casino project.

But the legal fight is far from finished.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the state of Michigan could not sue the Bay Mills tribe to block it from operating a casino located off its reservation. The court ruled that the tribe has sovereign immunity.

The state was using the same legal strategy in an appeal in a case involving a proposed Lansing casino.

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Breaking
9:48 am
Thu June 5, 2014

GM CEO says "pattern of incompetence and neglect" led to ignition switch debacle

GM executives answer questions during this morning's press conference.
Credit GM / YouTube

Update 3:30 p.m.

Texas attorney Bob Hilliard represents about 70 families suing GM in a variety of state and federal courts.  

He says his clients were “stunned” to hear GM CEO Mary Barra admit the problem was a result of "incompetence and neglect."

“I don’t think that GM can come into a court of law anymore and argue it wasn’t their fault,” says Hilliard. He says the only thing GM can argue now is “what is the value of the loss.”

But Hilliard says he does worry GM will claim it's not liable for problems predating its bankruptcy. He cites a case involving a Pennsylvania man who was paralyzed from the chest down in an accident.   

“In court they say GM did not design this vehicle. GM did not manufacture this vehicle. GM did not sell this vehicle. Even though this vehicle was a 2006 GM Cobalt,” says Hilliard.

Hilliard says he's "skeptical" about the victims’ compensation fund GM is offering to establish.

Update 10:34 a.m.

The much-anticipated report that looked into what went wrong at General Motors was given to federal regulators and Congress this morning.

GM executives held a press conference this morning about what the report found and how GM plans to respond.

This is a turning point in the ignition switch recall saga for GM.

CEO Mary Barra refused to answer detailed questions from the press and from Congress until Anton Valukis released the findings of his investigation.

The New York Times' Bill Vlasic writes that GM execs hope this report will relieve some pressure on the company:

Legal experts say that G.M. has taken a calculated risk that Mr. Valukas’s findings and recommendations will sufficiently answer the myriad questions hanging over the company.

“The downside is that members of Congress, the press and the public may think that the report lacks credibility if it is in an in-house investigation,” said Carl W. Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.

But Professor Tobias said that Mr. Valukas, a former United States attorney, was a good choice for the delicate task of investigating G.M. “His reputation is on the line with this report, so he is not likely to sacrifice that for G.M.,” he said.

But this is just another step in the grand mea culpa for GM.

Vlasic reports the company faces more Congressional hearings, more investigations from the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and it will need to compensate the families of the victims of the ignition switch problems:

... the company is awaiting recommendations from the lawyer Kenneth R. Feinberg on how it will compensate victims of switch-related crashes and family members of people who died as a result of the defect. G.M. faces hundreds of private claims and lawsuits.

Mr. Feinberg, who oversaw compensation claims for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing, has said he would make his recommendations to G.M. later this month.

To see how this crisis unfolded for GM, check out this timeline from NPR's Tanya Basu.

9:48 a.m.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra says 15 employees have been fired over the company's recent ignition switch recalls.

Barra made the announcement this morning as she released an internal investigation by attorney Anton Valukis into the recall of 2.6 million older small cars for defective ignition switches.

Barra says the internal investigation into its recent ignition switch recall is "brutally tough and deeply troubling."

“What Valukis found in this situation was a pattern of incompetence and neglect,” Barra said. “Repeatedly, individuals failed to disclose critical pieces of information that could have fundamentally changed the lives of those impacted by the faulty ignition switch.”

It took GM more than a decade to report the switch failures, which it blames for 13 deaths.

In a town hall meeting at GM's suburban Detroit technical center, Barra says attorney Anton Valukas interviewed 230 employees and reviewed 41 million documents to produce the report, which makes recommendations to avoid future safety problems.

Environment & Science
9:09 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Report: The 2010 Enbridge oil spill has not left any long-term human health effects

About a million gallons of crude oil leaked from a broken pipeline near Marshall. The cleanup continues along part of the Kalamazoo River where there are still oil deposits on the river bottom.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly four years after a massive oil spill, state officials say it’s OK to get back in the Kalamazoo River.

An Enbridge oil pipeline broke near Marshall in July of 2010, spewing about a million gallons of crude oil, and fouling roughly 35 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

Since then the state Department of Community Health has been studying the potential long-term human health effects of the oil spill.

The department issued its final report this week.

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Weather
5:11 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

BWL launches program to head off problems from future storm-related power outages

It's a homeowner's responsibility to repair the mast, seen here connecting to the electricity meter, if it is damaged during a weather event.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing residents will get some additional help next time a massive ice storm knocks out their electricity.

Last December, about 40,000 Lansing Board of Water and Light customers lost their power during a pre-Christmas ice storm. Thousands spent the holiday in the dark as utility crews tried to restore power.   

The heavy ice yanked the wiring out of about 1,000 homes and businesses. Homeowners had to track down electricians during the holidays to reconnect homes to electric meters before power could be restored. Many had to wait 11 to 12 days.

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Politics & Government
8:33 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Police officers, firefighters push for exemption from bargaining law

It used to be that when municipal unions bargained a new contract that included a pay increase those raises would be retroactive to when the last contract expired.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Police and firefighter unions are pushing to be exempt from a state law that puts limits on municipal union contracts.  

A state Senate committee takes up the bill Wednesday. 

It used to be that when municipal unions bargained a new contract that included a pay increase, those raises would be retroactive to when the last contract expired. 

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Families & Community
5:57 am
Mon June 2, 2014

New Flint church seeks to save a neighborhood

The leader of Flint’s newest church is pledging to care as much about what’s happening outside the walls of the previously abandoned Northside church as about what’s happening inside.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s newest church has an unusual mission.

Its goal is to save the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Community Impact Church held its first Sunday service yesterday in a formally abandoned church. The church is surrounded by abandoned homes, blight, and vacant lots filled with weeds.

Pastor Corey James says his Allen Park-based ministry decided to set up in one of Flint’s more distressed northside neighborhoods for a reason: To help people rebuild their neighborhood.

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Politics & Government
4:13 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Michigan congressman critical of deal to win release of American POW in Afghanistan

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed yesterday after President Barack Obama agreed to release five high-level Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Credit U.S. Army/Department of Defense

A Michigan congressman is highly critical of the deal the Obama administration struck to win the release of America’s only prisoner-of-war in the Afghan war.

The Taliban released Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after holding him for five years because the U.S. agreed to release five senior Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay.

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Education
1:39 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

Poll: Student loans were a good investment....but....

The Federal Reserve estimates the total student loan debt at just over a trillion dollars, with the average student borrowing about 30 thousand dollars.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of new Michigan college graduates entered the workforce in the past month.

Many can relate to the findings of a new poll on student loans.

A new poll by a credit counseling group shows people with student loans believe by a two to one margin that borrowing money to pay for college was a good investment. But most people in that same poll would not recommend taking out a student loan now.

Older people were more pessimistic than younger college grads.

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Business
3:59 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Utility regulators say the Lansing Board of Water & Light was not prepared for December ice storm

BWL's general manager issued a statement saying the utility has "already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC."
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State utility regulators are the latest to give Lansing’s city electric utility poor marks for how it handled a massive ice storm in December.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says the Lansing Board of Water & Light was not prepared for the Dec. 21 ice storm that knocked out power to about 40,000 BWL customers. Many customers had to wait 10 days or more to get their electricity restored.

The MPSC report echoes the findings of BWL’s own internal review and a panel appointed by Lansing’s mayor. Among other things, the MPSC says BWL needs to improve its tree trimming and communications programs. The public service commission does not regulate BWL, so its findings are little more than recommendations for change.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero asked for the state review. He says the three reports will provide a “road map” for BWL to be a more reliable energy provider.

BWL’s general manager issued a statement saying the utility has “already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC.”

Law
6:01 am
Wed May 28, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court ruling may pave the way for Lansing casino

In January, 2012, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced plans to build a 245 million dollar casino next to Lansing’s downtown convention center. But a legal challenge by the state has put those plans on hold.
Credit Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

A U.S. Supreme Court decision this week may pave the way for casino gambling in Michigan’s capitol city.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero says a $245 million casino project has been “cleared for takeoff” by the high court’s decision in a different casino case.

State officials sued to close an off-reservation casino opened by the Bay Mills tribe. But the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday ruled against the state of Michigan, saying the tribe has sovereign immunity.

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Environment & Science
4:32 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

New conservation program will help Great Lakes

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Organizations protecting the Great Lakes are being promised a big boost from the federal government.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on conservation programs in eight significant regions of the country, including the Great Lakes.   The announcement was made near Bay City this afternoon. 

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Politics & Government
2:19 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Wolf hunt supporters deliver their petition signatures Tuesday

Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula during a state sanctioned wolf hunt.
Credit USFWS Midwest

After spending months collecting signatures, hunting groups plan to deliver their petitions to the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow.

The petition is aimed at cementing a wolf hunt in Michigan law.

In November, voters will decide two ballot questions challenging state laws allowing the state to authorize a wolf hunt. Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula during a state sanctioned wolf hunt.

Wolf hunt opponents say the hunt is unnecessary for a species just recently removed from the endangered list.

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Politics & Government
11:43 am
Mon May 26, 2014

The end of the road may be coming for Michigan's Driver Responsibility fees

People with driving violations, like drunk driving, have to pay the fees which can climb to a couple thousand dollars.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan is edging closer to ending its very unpopular Driver Responsibility fees.

The state fees were created a decade ago to help raise much needed-money for the state budget.

People with driving violations, like drunk driving, have to pay the fees which can climb to a couple thousand dollars.

Joe Haveman is a state representative from Holland. He says the fees are unfair.

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Economy
9:58 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Attracting young professionals to small cities

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a new effort underway to make smaller Michigan cities more attractive to young professionals.

After college, many up and coming young professionals are drawn to the big cities where the nightlife is livelier and there's more diversity. But several smaller Michigan cities are trying to change that perspective.

Jackson recently launched the Anchor Initiative.  More than a dozen of the city’s largest employers are joining forces to make Jackson’s downtown more attractive to young professionals looking for a place to live and work.

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Politics & Government
1:55 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

Turning to Michigan casinos to help collect unpaid child support

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the future, parents who fail to pay their child support might be risking more at Michigan casinos than they realize.

A state House committee recently approved a package of bills to streamline and improve child support collection. One of the bills would require casinos in

Michigan to check to see if big winners owe back child support. Casinos already check to see if big winners owe back taxes.

Ken Kurtz is a state representative from Coldwater. He says this would not be a major inconvenience for casino operators.

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Economy
1:18 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

Teen Summer job picture improving

The outlook is better for Michigan teenagers looking for Summer jobs.

But not that much better.

State officials are predicting 242,000 teens will look for summer jobs in Michigan. Most will be successful. But still about 26% are expected to end their Summer vacation without picking up a paycheck.

Jeff Aula is an economic analyst with the state of Michigan. He says it’s important for teen job seekers not to get discouraged.

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Health
9:48 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Michigan firefighters closer to receiving help battling cancer

“We’ve seen a lot of firefighter families that have had to lose their healthcare, lose their income for a cancer we know came from the job,” says Mark Docherty, the president of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan firefighters are a step closer to getting help paying for treatment of a serious illness they may contract on the job.

The state Senate this week overwhelmingly approved a bill to create a $15 million fund to cover the medical costs firefighters incur when they fall sick with cancer.

The fund would compensate insurance companies that cover firefighters who make claims for treatment of bladder, skin, brain and a half dozen other forms of cancer. 

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Politics & Government
5:34 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Voters will get their say on Michigan's Personal Property Tax August 5

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters will have a chance to drive the final nail into the coffin of the state’s  Personal Property tax this summer. The Board of State Canvassers today designated the PPT question as Proposal 1 on the August 5 ballot. It will be the only statewide question on the ballot.  

Businesses pay the tax based on the value of their equipment and other assets. Many Michigan communities rely on the tax revenues to pay for basic city services.

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Families & Community
12:16 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Report: Minorities more likely to get thrown into Michigan's child welfare system

“We know that what happens to those kids in those formative years results in either stable or less stable family relationships," says Lynn Jondahl, co-chair of the Michigan Race Equity Coalition.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report is raising questions about how Michigan's child welfare system treats minorities.

The report finds African-Americans, Latinos, and Native American children are more likely than white children to be removed from their homes.  

Minorities are also twice as likely to age out of the foster care system as whites.

Former State Rep. Lynn Jondahl is one of the co-chairs of the Michigan Race Equity Coalition.  

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