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

Flint
8:49 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Judge strips power from Flint's emergency manager

 A judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Flint’s emergency manager from ‘taking any action’ on behalf of the city.

The city's unions sought the court order claiming the emergency manager has violated Michigan’s open meetings law.  

Emergency manager Michael Brown has been running the city of Flint since December.    He’s fired city employees and taken away much of the power of the city’s elected leaders.    Brown has also been developing a deficit elimination plan that could affect more Flint city employees.    

Read more
Economy
1:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Michigan's home foreclosure crisis easing

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate continued to fall in February.

Realty Trac reports today that one in every 433 Michigan homes had a foreclosure notice filed against it in February.

That was an improvement over January (down 18%) and a big improvement compared to February a year ago (down 25%).

The better statewide numbers are mirrored in the Detroit market (down 17% from January-down 27% from February, 2011), which has long been the epicenter of Michigan’s foreclosure problems.

Environment
6:36 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Environmentalists not happy with Michigan's proposed "environmental leader" program

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A state senate committee will consider legislation Thursday to recognize Michigan businesses that are “environmental leaders.”

But environmentalists say the bill actually makes it easier for companies to do the least required to meet environmental standards.

James Cliff is with the Michigan Environmental Council.    He says the "environmental leaders program" will reward companies by giving them access to state contracts with less regulation and an early warning for inspections, without really requiring them to do very much in return.

Read more
Auto/Economy
6:28 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Recycling a former home of Lansing's auto industry

Economic development leaders hope to turn this playground for bikers in Lansing Township back into a home for automotive manufacturing
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Lansing area business and civic leaders say they are going to work together to market hundreds of acres of vacant industrial land.

The capital city region has more than 400 acres of land left vacant by cuts in the auto industry.

Bob Trezise is the president of the Lansing Area Economic Partnership.  He says in the past the different local governments tried to develop the old industrial land separately..

Crime
1:09 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Prison guards protest plans to end regular perimeter patrols at Michigan prisons

Members of the Michigan Corrections Organization picket in front of the headquarters of the Department of Corrections.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

State prison guards are upset over plans to end regular perimeter patrols outside 27 of Michigan’s 31 state prisons.    Guards protested outside the Corrections Department’s Lansing headquarters today. 

 The Corrections Department says changing to random patrols, and adding cameras and motion sensors will save the state $13 million. 

Mel Grieshaber is the head of the Michigan Corrections Organization, the prison guards union.   He says the decision to end perimeter patrols is just part of a pattern.

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Education
12:30 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Flint school officials start the process of deciding which schools to close

Frank Juarez Flickr

Flint school board members have started weighing their options for closing schools later this year.    They didn’t like the options they were given last night.

The two options presented to the school board last night included closing three elementary schools, one or two middle schools and possibly a high school.

School board members were very much against one proposal that included mixing middle schoolers and high schoolers.  

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Science/Medicine
6:05 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Finding full federal funding for FRIB

An early artist rendering of the FRIB project
(coutresy of the MSU-Facility for Rare Isotope Beams project)

Michigan State University officials are stepping up their efforts to convince Congress to fully fund a major scientific project on the East Lansing campus.

MSU was expecting the federal government to provide 52 million dollars for the next construction phase of the ‘Facility for Rare Isotope Beams’, or ‘FRIB’ for short.  But the Obama administration is only budgeting $22 million. 

Mark Burnham is an MSU vice president for government affairs.  He says university officials are talking with influential members of Michigan’s congressional delegation , including the chairman of committee that control federal spending on technology.

"We have other members who are key important members of Congress, in both the House and the Senate, and so we want to make sure we’re working through the entire delegation," says Burnham.   

Today, a state senate committee passed a resolution encouraging Congress to fully fund the FRIB project.

Science/Medicine
5:54 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Multiple insurance forms are giving Michigan doctors a headache

Michigan doctors say they are spending too much time writing prescriptions for their patients.

‘Prior authorization’ was intended to reduce the cost to insurance companies by having patients use generic drugs. But doctors say the process is bogged down in Michigan by 150 insurance companies each requiring doctors to fill out different forms.   

Stephen Newman is the president of the Michigan State Medical Society. He says doctors often spend half their time with a patient trying to wade through the ‘prior authorization’  process.

"That’s a waste of time, both for the patient as well as the physician,"  says Newman,  "And it leads to inefficiencies…that leads to emergency room visits that are unnecessary. 

The State Senate Insurance committee today approved legislation to streamline ‘prior authorization’ by requiring all insurance companies use the same form.      

Insurance industry representatives at the committee meeting were divided on the legislation.

Lansing
10:57 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Supporters turn out for public hearing on proposed Lansing casino

Lansing casino opponent at last night's city council public hearing
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Lansing business and union leaders came out to a public hearing last night to support a proposed casino project in the city’s downtown.

The Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build a $245 million dollar casino next to the city's downtown convention center.   

Two previous community forums drew a parade of casino critics who warned gambling will increase crime and cause other problems in the capitol city.   Last night, it was the supporters' turn to make their case. 

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Lansing
1:01 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Opponents plan to pack Lansing casino public hearing tonight

An artist's rendering of the proposed Kewadin Lansing casino
(courtesy of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

 A public hearing tonight in Lansing is expected to draw a large crowd of opponents to a casino in in the city’s downtown.

The Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build a new casino next to Lansing’s downtown convention center.

Supporters say the casino would bring much needed jobs to the capitol city, boost the city’s convention business and provide funding for a college scholarship program for Lansing school children.

But opponents say the costs are too high.

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Politics
4:32 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Inkster avoids emergency manager, Michigan governor approves 'consent agreement'

Governor Snyder today signed off on a consent agreement for the city of Inkster.

The move will help the southeast Michigan city avoid getting an emergency manager.

A team appointed by the governor to review the city of Inkster’s financial condition recommended a consent agreement with the city.  The Inkster city council signed off on the agreement last week.

The governor says the consent agreement will allow the state to “assist Inkster’s elected officials, in moving their city forward and returning it to a solid financial footing.”

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Environment
7:11 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

An angry, overflow crowd grills oil company execs about drilling in the Irish Hills

West Bay Exploration vice president Tim Baker uses a laser pointer to show the audience how they are drilling for oil in the Irish Hills.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

An overflow crowd filled a public meeting last night in Brooklyn, south of Jackson.    Many in the crowd are worried about the environmental impact of a growing oil drilling operation in the Irish Hills.

"There is nothing they can do here to keep from having an accident...It's going to happen," proclaimed one of the people in the audience. 

The crowd at the public meeting demanded answers from a panel of oil industry executives and state officials about drilling going on in the Irish Hills.   The region is becoming one of the leading crude oil production centers in Michigan.  

Tim Baker is a vice president with West Bay Exploration, the company doing much of the drilling.    He admits they need to do a better job explaining how they are trying to drill safely.

“These people have a lot of good questions.  This is a beautiful area.  There’s a lot of beautiful lakes and streams here," Baker said after the meeting, "We wanted to communicate to them that we are trying to develop (the oil) the best way possible.”  

 Many Irish Hills residents are worried oil drilling may end up lowering their property values.

Lansing
10:17 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Could the Lansing city council delay a vote on a controversial casino project? Maybe

A large crowd turned out last night for a public meeting on a proposed Lansing casino
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Some Lansing city council members seem inclined to delay a vote on a proposed casino project.

The Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build a casino next to Lansing’s downtown convention center.

The city council is scheduled to vote on the proposal this month.  But the tribe is scheduling a referendum among its members in 60 days.    That has some council members questioning why they have to vote now. 

Tribal Chairman Joe Eitrem says he’s not worried about a possible delay in the city council’s vote. 

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Auto/Economy
4:01 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Michigan's unemployment rate continues decline

Michigan’s unemployment rate continues to decline.

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped three tenths of one percent to 9% in January.

During the past year, Michigan’s unemployment rate is down nearly two full percentage points.

The state’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest mark since September 2008.  It’s also about five percentage points lower than at the height of the recession in 2009. 

Manufacturing and Professional services saw the biggest jump in new hires.

 

 

Education
12:27 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Religious freedom vs Academic accreditation

Julea Ward is suing EMU for being expelled from the school's master's program in counseling.
(courtesy of the Alliance Defense Fund)

 State lawmakers heard testimony today on legislation that would protect college students whose religious beliefs conflict with their university’s curriculum.    There are concerns the bill might cause problems for university accreditation.

Read more
Crime
5:02 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Michigan cities waiting to hear what's in Gov. Snyder's public safety plan

(courtesy of policemag.com)

 Governor Rick Snyder is expected to call for spending $15 million to improve police departments in some of Michigan’s most dangerous cities.    The governor will lay out his plan on Wednesday in Flint.

The FBI ranks Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw among the ten American cities with the highest violent crime rates. 

Gerald Cliff is the Chief of Police in Saginaw.    He knows what he would like to hear the governor say..

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Education
4:44 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Michigan's 'Prop 2' going before a federal court on Wednesday

The U.S. Circuit Court in Cincinnati will hear arguments tomorrow about Michigan's constitutional amendment barring state universities from considering an applicant’s race in college admissions.

Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved ‘proposition 2’ in 2006. The amendment bars state colleges and other publicly funded institutions from considering an applicant’s minority status.

Mark Rosenbaum is with the American Civil Liberties Union. He says Prop 2 violates the U.S. Constitution by forbidding the consideration of race, while other factors like whether a college applicant’s parent is an alumnus, are still permitted.

“That’s un-American because it removes ‘racial identity’ from the vocabulary of a democracy," says Rosenbaum.  

Last year, a federal appellate court ruled against Prop 2.  Joy Yearout is with the Michigan Attorney General’s office.  She says the Attorney General finds a serious problem with that ruling.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals said that by banning racial discrimination it somehow perpetuates discrimination," says Yearout, "And if that sounds crazy to you, there’s a reason.  It just doesn’t make any sense.”

The case may eventually end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lansing
3:35 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Sault Ste Marie Tribe will likely vote soon on proposed Lansing casino project

Artist's rendering of the proposed Kewadin Lansing casino
(courtesy of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

 Members of an Upper Peninsula Native American tribe may vote in the next few months on a proposal to build a casino in Lansing.

 The vote could upend the controversial casino project in Michigan’s capitol city.

 The leaders of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced their plans to build a $245 million  casino in downtown Lansing in January.

The proposal immediately drew opposition from the governor, state attorney general and other Native American tribes that already operate casinos within easy driving distance of Lansing.

Read more
Economy
1:01 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Home prices tick up in Michigan

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

There’s some good news for people planning on selling their homes in Michigan.

During the last four years, home sale prices in Michigan have been on a rollercoaster, mainly going down.

But Clear Capitol reports today Michigan home prices may finally be stabilizing.

Alex Villacorta is with Clear Capitol. He says an improving job picture,  stronger consumer confidence and more investors buying cheap homes are all contributing to a more stable real estate market.

Villacorta says nationally prices in February were only down about a half percentage point from the previous year.

"Bringing it back to Michigan," says Villacorta, "that fact that prices are actually up 1.2% over the last year is definitely a good sign…and up double digits…about 15% from the low point of 2009.”

But as with all things real estate, 'Location…location…location' is what matters.Villacorta says Grand Rapids’ home sale prices are up about six percent compared with a year ago, while home prices in Lansing and Flint continue to decline.

Election 2012
2:01 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

The primary's over, but the campaign TV ads continue

Michigan’s presidential primary may be over, but the political TV ads keep on coming.

President Obama and a pro-Obama Super Pac together spent about a three-quarters of million dollars to promote the president’s re-election during the recent primary campaign.  A primary in which the president wasn’t running.

Rich Robinson is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.    He says the pro-Obama ads were intended to counter, not just his Republican opponents, but non-profit groups attacking the president.

Robinson says two groups have spent more than $1 million attacking the president’s ties to Wall Street and a failed solar energy business.   

“These are not…electioneering communication," says Robinson,  "There will be no reporting of these particular ads to the federal election commission…because they fall outside the window of an election.”

Robinson expects third-party groups will outspend the candidates, by a wide margin, in this year’s TV ad war.

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