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

Environment
5:42 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Enbridge gets EPA approval for 2012 oil spill cleanup plans

A view of cleanup work along the Kalamazoo River near Battle Creek in August, 2010
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 The EPA this week gave approval to Enbridge Energy’s plans for continuing its cleanup of an oil spill in the Kalamazoo River.    The plan suggests major cleanup operations may change next year.  

More than 840 thousand gallons of crude oil spewed from a broken pipeline near Marshall in July, 2010.   The exact amount remains in dispute.     

Hundreds of workers have spent the past 17 months removing the oil from the river.    

Read more
Flint
9:12 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Flint emergency manager gives city's elected leaders a little more to do

Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is giving back some responsibilities to the city’s mayor and city council.  

One of the first things Michael Brown did after the governor appointed him was to eliminate the pay and benefits for Mayor Dayne Walling and the entire Flint city council. He also canceled future city council meetings. 

This week, Brown reinstated 60 percent of the mayor’s salary, as well as his full benefits. Mayor Walling will also get some of his powers restored, including his role in economic development, master planning, intergovernmental affairs, and community engagement. Walling is also a member of an advisory panel for the emergency manager. 

In a written statement, Walling says "Manager Brown has followed through on his commitment to make this a collaborative process that involves elected leadership and engages residents." 

The emergency manager also is letting each member of the city council collect seven thousand dollars a year in pay, or about half of their former annual pay, but with no benefits.  

The Flint city council will have a little less to do than the mayor. The emergency manager will only permit the council members to attend public meetings in their respective wards, as directed by him. The Flint city council will meet once a month, but only to address items on the emergency manager’s agenda.  

The emergency manger was appointed to fix Flint’s ‘financial emergency’ that has the city mired in debt.

Education
11:45 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Flint school officials plead for public's help to prevent vandalism

Flint's Northwestern High School, like many schools in the district, has been hit by thieves looking for things to steal.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People stealing metal, computers and other equipment have done more than a million dollars worth of damage to Flint school buildings in the past 18 months. 

Linda Thompson is the Flint Community Schools superintendent. She says the problem goes well beyond kids with spray paint.   

Thompson says in one case a school building was ransacked as part a sophisticated scheme.   

"These are not kids doing this," Thompson insists, "You can look at the fact that electricity was disconnected….we’re talking about people who are not amateurs about doing this either."  

Thompson is worried vandals might take advantage of the upcoming Christmas break to do more damage to Flint schools.    

She’s urging people to report any suspicious activity around Flint schools to the police.  

Thompson says Flint is not alone. Many urban school districts have seen a big increase in vandalism during the past few years. 

Politics
12:56 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Payroll tax cut debate divides Michigan's congressional delegation

The debate over how to extend a payroll tax cut is dividing Michigan’s congressional delegation.   

The U.S. Senate voted for a two-month extension over the weekend. But the U.S. House is expected to reject the extension this evening.   

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow is among those who voted yes.   

“What we’re talking about is a tax increase happening on over 5 million Michigan workers come January 1 if this doesn’t get extended at least in the short run," says Stabenow. 

Read more
Jackson
12:48 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

An honor for fallen Michigan police officer

The Law Enforcement Congressional Badge for Bravery and certificate honoring former Jackson police officer James Bonneau
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 A Jackson police officer, who died in the line of duty,  is the latest recipient of the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge for Bravery.   

James Bonneau was 26 years old when he was killed by a suspect in a domestic assault case. Bonneau was able to call for  help, saving the life of another police officer who was also wounded by the suspect. The suspect was also shot and killed during the incident in March, 2010.  

Marc Bonneau says his son had always wanted to be a police officer.   

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Education
4:01 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

MSU study finds English language test is negatively affecting some Michigan school children

In 2011, nearly 70,000 Michigan school children who speak English as a second language had to take a special test of their English language skills. A new Michigan State University study says that test is causing unintended problems for those students.   

The English Language Proficiency Assessment is intended to identify which students may need help learning English as their second language.

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Education
2:25 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Reconfiguring Lansing schools

Lansing school children hurry to class
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Lansing public schools may soon undergo a big shake up.    

The plan on the table would affect most children in the school district.    

The Lansing public school district has about half the student population it once had. The district is looking at ways to trim its budget in the short term and stabilize its future finances.   

A special task force has been meeting since this summer to come up with ways to address the district’s problems.   

The plan the board of education will see tonight proposes closing a high school and reconfiguring the district’s elementary and middle schools. 

The plan also addresses ways to improve academic performance among Lansing public school students.   The plan calls for offering preschool and developmental kindergarten to 3 and 4 year olds.

Sports
4:51 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Skating for the gold in East Lansing

Hundreds of the nation’s best teenage figure skaters are in East Lansing this week competing in the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships. Organizers say the Lansing area economy is among the winners.   

On the ice, figure skaters glide through their routines to strains of classical music.  But it’s the hundreds of skaters, their coaches and families who are music to the ears of East Lansing businesses.   

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Environment
4:36 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Michigan's aging water systems

Rainwater Infiltration into Sewer Line
(Courtesy of the East Bay Municipal Utility District)

A coalition of union and environmental groups says it’s time for the federal government to invest more money in the nation’s aging water and sewer lines.    

The group points to the city of Lansing as an example. The Laborers’ International Union of North America says it would cost more than $280 million to fully repair and replace the capitol city’s aging water lines. It  estimates the cost statewide would be in the tens of billions of dollars. 

The union’s Ben Lyons says water systems everywhere are failing.  

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Politics
12:08 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Remembering Howard Wolpe

Former Michigan Congressman Howard Wolpe
(courtesy of Wikipedia)

A large turnout is expected today at a memorial service for former Michigan congressman Howard Wolpe.  

Wolpe died October 25th at his home in Saugatuck. He was 71.  

Former Michigan congressman Mark Schauer will be among the speakers at the memorial service at Western Michigan University. He says Wolpe was a mentor and inspiration. 

"He made his decisions based on principles and values…and intelligence. And always trying to do what’s right for the people he represented," says Schauer.  

Wolpe represented Kalamazoo in Congress for seven terms and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1994.

Lansing
12:09 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Lansing voters will decide if their city council meets too often

The Lansing city council holding one of its many formal sessions in 2011
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Lansing voters will decide next year if their city council should meet less often.    

The city council approved putting a charter change question on the ballot. It would cut in half the number of times the council is required to meet. Currently the council is required to formally meet 50 times a year, or almost once a week.   

The vote won’t happen until August. Council members worried there wouldn’t be enough Lansing voters turning out for February’s Republican presidential primary to weigh in on the question. 

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope has been pushing the reduced council meeting schedule. Swope says he’s fine with waiting until August for the vote.   

“So it will be a while…but it’s been kind of a long term thing that I’ve worked on …I’m just glad to have it be moving forward," says Swope.    

Swope hopes by meeting less often Lansing city council members will be more efficient in how they handle the city’s business.    

If it’s approved,  the charter change would take effect in 2013. 

In other Lansing city council business:   

The council shot down other proposed ballot questions that would have allowed the sale of Waverly Golf Course and the Vector building.   The council did approve an ordinance authorizing an historic district designation for the old Knapps building downtown.   The ordinance will help with the planned renovation of the former department store site.

Economy
3:01 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Removing a barrier to high speed rail from Detroit to Chicago

Amtrak Acela train
(courtesy of Amtrak)

Today could be a significant day for the future of high speed rail in Michigan.    

Consultants have until today to submit their proposals to study how to solve a crucial problem for high speed rail between Detroit and Chicago.  

The problem: a railroad bottleneck between northwest Indiana and Chicago.     

A high volume of passenger and freight traffic already overwhelms the existing rail lines and threatens to put the brakes on high speed trains.   

Read more
Education
1:01 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Flint school board sending deficit elimination plan to state today

The Flint School District will deliver its deficit elimination plan to the state today. But a long-time critic doubts the district’s administration will be able to make the plan work.     

State law requires local units of government that finish their fiscal year with a deficit to send a ‘deficit elimination plan’ to the Treasury Department. 

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Education
1:16 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Flint school board approves deficit elimination plan

An overflow crowd attended last night's Flint school board meeting on the district's $3.7 million deficit elimination plan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A divided Flint School Board narrowly approved a state mandated deficit elimination plan last night.   

The board first deadlocked whether to approve the $3.7 million deficit elimination plan. After being told the district would potentially lose some pending state funding, the board revoted on the plan and passed it.  

Linda Thompson is Flint’s school superintendent. She said the plan should help the district avoid falling under the oversight of a state appointed emergency manager. Maybe.   

Read more
Auto
9:35 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

UAW local authorizes strike at Delta Twp. plant

GM's Delta Township Plant makes the Chevy Traverse.
© GM Company

UAW members in Lansing voted this week to authorize a strike at a General Motors plant.  

Local 602 reported tonight that 86 percent of its members voted to authorize a strike at GM'S Lansing Delta Township plant.

Union leaders say they hope the vote will encourage both sides back to the bargaining table.

The union and GM have been unable to reach an agreement on several workplace issues.

The plant produces the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.

Flint
5:15 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Flint's emergency manager tightens his grip on city finances

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint’s emergency manager is taking further steps to bring the city’s finances under control.

Michael Brown’s been on the job as Flint’s emergency manager for a week. His first steps to lift Flint from its ‘financial emergency’ were to fire a half dozen top city employees and eliminate pay for the city’s elected officials. He says that alone should save the city a million dollars.

Read more
Economy
5:10 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Union groups protest looming unemployment benefits deadline

Protesters stand outside the Lansing office of Michigan Republican Congressman Mike Rogers
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Union members and others picketed outside the offices of Michigan’s Republican congressmen today to protest the lack of a deal to extend unemployment benefits.

About three dozen protesters waved signs at honking motorists outside Congressman Mike Rogers Lansing office. They were there to draw attention to a deadline looming at the end of the month.

Sixty-six thousand Michiganders may lose their unemployment benefits in January if an extension is not passed

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Auto/Economy
11:45 am
Thu December 8, 2011

UAW local voting on strike authorization

United Auto Workers members are voting on whether to authorize a strike at General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township plant.   The vote centers on several workplace issues.   

The Delta Township plant produces the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.  Tracy Handler is an analyst with IHS Global Insight.    She says if UAW members strike at the Lansing plant, the effect would not be immediate on GM.   

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Economy
1:01 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Michigan's home prices are stabilizing

A new report says home prices in Michigan, and the rest of the country, are stabilizing.   

During the recession, home prices swung wildly.  First plunging down, then bobbing up as government incentives spurred buying.  

Alex Villacorta is with Clear Capital.   He says their data shows home prices in Michigan remained relatively flat over the past six months.   Villacorta expects 2012 will bring slight growth in Michigan home prices.  Though he cautions, in cities like Detroit, home prices are still going to be very low.   

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Politics
9:23 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Levin says Congress must extend payroll tax break

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, (D) Michigan
Courtesy of the office of U.S. Senator Carl Levin

Senator Carl Levin says Congress needs to pass an extension of the payroll tax break that’s set to expire at the end of the month.   

Levin says the cut in the taxes collected to pay for Social Security saved the average worker about $1,000 in taxes during the past year.

“If we do not extend this payroll tax reduction," says Levin, "we’re going to find 160 million people with a tax increase on January 1.”   

Republicans are balking at extending the tax break. They want Democrats to agree to budget cuts to make up for the loss of money for the Social Security system.  

Democrats want to pay for the tax cut with a surcharge on the very wealthy.  

A final deal is not expected until next week.

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