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. 

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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.

Politics
4:31 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Super Pacs spent big in Michigan's Republican presidential primary

The SuperPACs supporting Romney and Santorum spent around $3 million leading up to the February 28 primary.
Mark Brush Flickr user gageskidmore/Facebook

A new report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network shows Super Pacs outspent the candidates in Michigan’s Republican president primary.

It should be no surprise that a lot of money was spent in the days and weeks leading up to Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary. It’s probably also not a surprise that much of the money was spent by third party groups.

Winner Mitt Romney’s campaign spent one and a half million dollars on TV ads during the primary campaign. A pro-Romney Super Pac spent nearly two million dollars during the campaign.

Runner-up Rick Santorum spent just under a million dollars, while a pro-Santorum Super Pac spent over a million dollars.

Third place finisher Ron Paul spent less than 60 thousand dollars for TV ads in Michigan.   Paul had no support from Super Pacs.

"Money prevailed in the end as it usually does," says Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Breaking down the numbers, Mitt Romney and his Super Pac spent about $8.45 for each vote the former Massachusetts governor received in the primary.

Rick Santorum and his Super Pac spent about $5.81 per primary vote in Michigan.

Third place finisher Ron Paul spent a relatively frugal 48 cents per vote.

Politics
3:57 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Bill aimed at keeping Michigan grad students from unionizing passes House

UM graduate student research assistants James Henderson and Elaine Landy testify in front of a committee in the Michigan House of Representatives against SB 971 which would prohibit the GSRA's from forming a union.
GEO YouTube

The Republican-led Michigan House has approved a bill aimed at blocking unionization efforts by graduate student research assistants at public universities.

The measure was approved Thursday by a 62-45, mostly party line vote. The House hasn't yet taken a procedural "immediate effect" vote or returned the bill to the Senate, which approved the bill last month. But the measure soon could be headed to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

The legislation specifies that graduate student research assistants would not be considered public employees as related to collective bargaining rights.

The measure comes as University of Michigan graduate student research assistants attempt to unionize.

That case is pending before an administrative judge after the Michigan Employment Relations Commission last year reaffirmed a 1981 decision that bars research assistants from banding together.

A spokeswoman says Governor Snyder is ‘inclined’ to sign the bill into law. If he signs it, the case before the Michigan Employment Relations Commission would be moot.

University of Michigan Graduate Employees Union president Sam Montgomery had a request for Governor Snyder.

“We ask that when the bill reaches the governor’s desk that he leaves this decision in the hands of the commission which is designed to make those decisions," said Montgomery.

A majority of the U of M Regents support letting the graduate research assistants form a union.   But University president Mary Sue Coleman and many U of M professors oppose it.

University professors who support the bill say allowing their research assistants to form a union would undermine their mentor-relationship.

Economy
6:10 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Lansing casino opponents make voices heard at community forum

Developers of Lansing’s proposed casino faced a small, but passionate group of opponents last night.

One opponent of a Lansing casino says the state capitol risks becoming known as a center for “pot shops, strips clubs and gambling” if a casino is built downtown.

The pot shops and strip clubs are already there.   But dozens of people at last night’s public forum worry a downtown casino will bring with it increased crime and problem gambling to Lansing.

“Our community should be built on biblical principles.  And I am here to stand on that today that we will reap what we sow if this project goes through…there will be consequences,” casino opponent Laura McMurtry told Lansing city council members during last night’s public forum at the Southside Community Center.

Opponents also fear a casino will siphon money away from other Lansing businesses.

Developers say they understand the opposition’s concern.

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

More Michigan mortgage lenders turning to 'short sales' to avoid home foreclosures

(file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A surge in so-called ‘short sales’ is helping reduce the number of Michigan home falling into foreclosure.

It’s a trend that may eventually help Michigan’s struggling real estate industry.

Pre-foreclosure sales, also known as ‘short sales’,  are where banks agree to sell a home for less than what’s owed on its mortgage. 

Read more
Lansing
9:01 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Lansing residents will hear more tonight about the proposed casino project

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

A controversial plan to build a casino in downtown Lansing goes before the public tonight.     A large turnout is expected at the first of two community meetings on the casino project.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build a $245 million casino next to Lansing’s convention center.     The tribe will ask the federal government to approve the project this summer.   

But first, the Lansing city council must vote on the development deal by the end of next month.

Read more
Election 2012
11:07 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Voters in Genesee and Oakland Counties fill vacant state house seats

State Representative-elect Joe Graves talks to his supporters after winning Tuesday's special election
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Tuesday’s election did not change the balance of power in the state house. 

Two vacant state house seats were up for grabs.

Voters in Genesee County filled a vacant state house seat on Tuesday.   The seat was made vacant last fall by a union-backed campaign that succeeded in recalling Republican Paul Scott.

Last night, Republican Joe Graves defeated Democrat Steve Losey to serve out the final year of Scott’s unfinished term.     

Graves says his message of jobs lead to the victory.

Read more
Economy
1:05 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Detroit home sale prices improve, while other cities see declines

OK it sold, but for how much?
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A new report says home sale prices fell in 19 of 20 major American cities last year. The exception was Detroit.

Standard & Poors follows monthly and yearly home sale prices. Maureen Maitland is an S&P vice president. She says Detroit’s home sale prices bucked the national downward trend last year and actually rose by half a percent in 2011.

Maitland says a few factors are working in Detroit’s favor.

“(Home sale prices) really couldn’t fall much lower. It really had bottomed out. It really had suffered a lot in the past two or three years," said Maitland, "But secondly, the auto industry is picking up. So, on a relative basis, there may be a few more jobs coming into the Detroit market.”  

Maitland says it will take another five to seven months of sustained growth to suggest Detroit’s housing market might finally be on the rebound. 

And in December, home prices declined slightly in Detroit.  

Detroit homes are selling now at prices that haven’t been seen since the mid-1990’s.

Auto/Economy
1:01 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Michigan gasoline prices moving into historic territory

This Marathon gas station on Jolly Road, in Okemos is charging more than any other gas station in Michigan for a gallon of regular gasoline.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Motorists are spending $4 for a gallon of regular gas in Troy and Okemos. And other parts of Michigan may soon join them. Michigan’s gasoline prices shot up 12 cents on Monday.     

Dustin Coupal is a co-founder of GasBuddy.com. He says increasing world demand for oil is pushing Michigan’s gasoline pricescloser to record high territory.

“Over time, it’s a definite certainty…whether it happens this week ….or next month," says Coupal, "Unfortunately higher gas prices are coming.” According to GasBuddy.com, Michigan’s average regular gas price is around $3.80 a gallon. The state set a record last May, when the average price hit $4.26 a gallon.

Politics
2:00 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Last day on the campaign trail in Michigan

Fmr. Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney talks to supporters in Albion
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

It’s a busy day of campaigning in Michigan for three leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney spent today hopping from one rally to another in hopes of getting enough support to win Tuesday’s presidential primary in his native state.

Hundreds of people jammed into a machine parts manufacturer’s plant near Albion to hear Romney.

"This sure has been fun these last ten days or so," Romney joked, "We started off…15 points behind in the polls.  Now, we’re leading in the polls.   Thanks you guys."

Read more
Politics
2:01 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Elections officials unsure how many Michiganders will vote in Tuesday's GOP presidential primary

Will there be long lines outside of polling places in Michigan on Tuesday?
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Predicting presidential primary turnout is a tricky business. You would think if anyone would have a good idea of what to expect it would be the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections in Michigan.

“We don’t have a turnout estimate at this point," says Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, "because it is a presidential primary and they do vary greatly from cycle to cycle.”

Woodhams says August primaries generally bring in about 18 to 20 percent of eligible voters. But then again that’s August. Adding to the uncertainty is a host of local issues which may, or may not, boost turnout.

Voters in parts of Oakland and Genesee Counties are electing people to vacant state house seats. There are also numerous school bond and other local issues on the ballot in communities around the state.

Offbeat
4:01 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

Michigan's roads - A sign of Spring

There’s another sign that winter never really came to Michigan this year.   And it can be found along the state’s roads.

Every year in preparation for the Spring thaw, county road commissions impose weight restrictions on trucks to reduce wear on roadbeds made brittle by winter’s cold.     But not this year.

About two/thirds of Michigan road commissions haven’t imposed restrictions, and most probably won’t, because freezing winter weather never materialized.    

Read more
Economy
4:00 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Five Michigan cities stand to lose mail processing centers

U.S. mail processing centers in five Michigan cities could close this May.    The U.S. Postal Service says the closings are necessary to help the struggling mail service with its mounting budget deficit.

Mail facilities in Lansing, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Saginaw and Iron Mountain have been on the bubble since the postal service announced last year that it wanted to shut down more than 260 processing centers.   The reason?  Postal officials believe closing the processing centers will save a billion dollars.  

The Postal Service had agreed to put the final decision on hold until May to give Congress time to work out an alternative.   But the chances of a Congressional solution appear increasingly dim.

John Marcotte is the president of the Michigan Postal Workers Union.     He says there’s still time for people to demand Congress and the postal service stop the closing plan.

“Get on the phone.  Tell’em you don’t want this," says Marcotte,  "Tell them you want the jobs in Michigan…you don’t want the mail slowing down."

Marcotte says if the mail processing centers close first class mail delivery will slow dramatically in Michigan.

Politics
2:01 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Michigan Tea Party groups meet this weekend to pick their choice for Republican US Senate race

Tea Party activists from across Michigan will gather this weekend to pick a consensus candidate for U.S. Senate.

A crowded field of Republicans are on the August primary ballot.   The winner will face incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow in the November general election.

Cindy Gamrat is the organizer of Saturday’s convention in Mt. Pleasant.  She says they hope to pick a candidate to support now in hopes it will help Tea Party members to organize to defeat Senator Stabenow. 

"If we wait to really get behind a candidate after the primary, we only have a few months," says Gamrat, "That doesn’t give you much time to put an effective ground, grassroots campaign together.” 

Gamrat says the straw poll results will not be binding on Michigan’s Tea Party members to follow, but she hopes it will be enough to convince some candidates to drop out of the race. 

Gamrat says the group also hopes to hear from candidates in next week’s Republican president primary at their convention this weekend.

Lansing
12:49 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Lansing casino gets a boost (and leads to a resignation)

The proposed Lansing casino project has picked up a key endorsement. But there is some controversy of about the decision by a city economic development agency.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build a new $245 million casino in downtown Lansing.  One small parcel of land critical to the project is owned by the Lansing Economic Development Corporation.   The LEDC has given its approval to the deal, which will see the group’s parcel turned into a temporary casino while construction on the main casino proceeds.

Read more
Education
2:41 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

State Senate committee deals blow to U of M grad students' hopes to unionize

Students walk on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus (file photo)
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A group of University of Michigan graduate research assistants suffered a significant defeat today in a state senate committee. The senate Government Operations committee passed a bill that would specifically prevent university graduate research assistants from forming a union.       

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says a union could interfere with the relationship between students and teachers.

“That relationship is a special relationship…it is one of learning and mentorship…and I think its important that we don’t interfere with that from the outside," Richardville said after the committee meeting.   

Samantha Montgomery is the president of the Graduate Employees Organization.  She remains optimistic that the hundreds of U of M graduate research assistants will eventually have a chance to vote on forming a union.   Montgomery says grad students like working with their professors on academic research. 

“And we are hopeful the presence of a union would help maintain that working relationship," says Montgomery. 

The Michigan Employment Relations Commission is considering the grad students’ application to hold a union vote.    But the proposed state law may make that process moot. 

Both sides accuse the other of playing politics with the issue.    Today’s vote was along partisan political lines, with three Republicans voting for the bill and two Democrats voting against. 

The results of a union vote are not certain.   A sizable number of U of M graduate research assistants signed a petition opposing a union.

Lansing
11:48 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Lansing city council expressing frustration at flow of information on casino project

An artist's conception of the proposed Kewadin casino in downtown Lansing
(courtesy of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Lansing city council members are expressing growing frustration at not getting the information they want about a proposed Indian casino project.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build a $245 million casino in the capitol city.   The casino would be built adjacent to the city's downtown convention center. The city council’s approval of the deal is necessary before the tribe can ask the federal government to place the land in trust.

Read more
Politics
7:01 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Kalamazoo County Commission takes up 'homeless' tax

(GothamGazette)

The Kalamazoo County Commission Tuesday will discuss taxing home owners to help others avoid homelessness.

A coalition of groups wants the commission to agree to let voters decide later this year on a proposal to add a one-tenth mil increase on their property tax bills.    The  added property tax would raise about $800 thousand  over four years.

The money would fund programs to prevent evictions, as well as provide vouchers for short-term and long-term housing.

Read more
Sports
12:10 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

Flint Boxer wins Olympic trials

February 19, 2012 Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood and Claressa Shields (middle) made history on Saturday by becoming the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women's Boxing Champions
(USA Boxing)

Flint boxer Claressa Shields took a big step toward her Olympic dream Saturday night, winning the middleweight title at the USA boxing trials.

USA Boxing summed up Shields performance in the championship final:

Teenage sensation Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) continued her amazing run through the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in her rematch with fellow middleweight Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.). She once again got off to a quick start in the bout, racking up 13 points to 9 for Hemingway in the opening two rounds. She continued to build on her lead in the third to claim at 19-13 advantage with one round remaining. Hemingway could not dent her deficit and Shields went on to win a 23-18 decision. The victory gave Shields the first-ever middleweight crown and completed the trio of boxers who will vie for spots in London. Yet Shields accomplishments didn’t end there, she was also named Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament, only her second in the open division. 

Shields must now prepare for the World championships.  The top eight women boxers at the world championships will qualify for the Olympic tournament in London.

Education
8:37 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Lansing school superintendent given 'two weeks notice'

Lansing school superintendent Dr. T.C. Wallace (file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Lansing school board voted Thursday night to give the district’s superintendent two weeks notice.

Dr. T.C. Wallace has been the capitol city’s school superintendent since 2007.  

He agreed last year to leave the district at the end of this academic year. 

But the school board decided to speed up Wallace’s departure.  

The district is facing major restructuring questions  and an estimated budget deficit that could be as high as 20 million dollars.

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