A New Chicago Show For A Good Friend of Changing Gears

This afternoon, our partner station WBEZ in Chicago  kicks off Afternoon Shift with Steve Edwards, a daily two-hour live talk show featuring a good friend of Changing Gears.

Steve Edwards, WBEZ

You’ve heard Steve as a co-host of Changing Gears’ specials and call-in shows. Most recently, he co-hosted our Changing Gears/WBEZ special, “Getting By.”

For Steve, a well-known voice in Chicago, it’s a homecoming to the airwaves. He served as host of Eight-Forty-Eight, the morning news program, from 1999 to 2007. His weekly feature, “The Best Game in Town” was a must listen during last year’s Chicago mayoral campaign.

Tune in weekdays from 2-4 pm CT (3-5 pm ET) for a lively mix of local and national topics, including news, politics and business stories. (Anyone with a background in manufacturing will get the meaning of the show’s name.)

Meanwhile, check out some of Steve’s best interviews.

Changing Gears Special: A Retrospective on 2011

Our mission at Changing Gears is to report the economic transformation of the industrial Midwest, through the stories of people driving and experiencing this change.

Recently, our stations aired an hour-long encore presentation of our favorite series from the fall, as well as other stories from throughout 2011.

Have you ever wondered if small business really plays an important role in job creation? Or why our region seems to focus so much on one magic thing that will save the entire economy? And, have you wondered what will become of all the thousands of the empty houses and factories that litter our region?

Corey Greenwald's machines are shaping intricate designs in metal blocks, largely unattended.

We also went to a few factory floors to see what manufacturing is like these days – including one place where the machines continue to work at night, unattended, long after the human workers punch out.

We hope that these stories – about the Magic Bullets that are supposed to save our economy, innovative ways people are filling Empty Places, and what the modern factory looks like, help fulfill our mission.

Our partners at WBEZ are featuring our special on their site. You can check it out here.

Mark Your Calendars for “Getting By,” A Special Broadcast From Changing Gears

As you’re relaxing on Boxing Day, tune in to our partner station WBEZ Chicago for the Changing Gears special, “Getting By.” We’re talking to eight Illinoisans from all walks of life — a banker, a farmer, a hospice nurse, a returning veteran and others — about the way they dealt with the economy in 2011, and their hopes for 2012.

"Getting By" participants

There are many statistics about the economy, like the unemployment and foreclosure rates, but we don’t often get to hear the human side.

Our conversation, recorded at my dining room table, covers everything from the mortgage crisis, to job hunting successes and failures, to the personal decisions our participants have had to made because times are tight.

WBEZ’s Steve Edwards and I are the co-hosts You can listen live at WBEZ’s Web site. “Getting Live” airs at noon Central Time on Monday, Dec. 26.


A Crystal Ball From Some Experts on Midwest Manufacturing

Midwestern manufacturing activity continued to inch up – albeit a fractional amount – in September compared with August, according to data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago last week. More importantly, when compared with last year, regional manufacturing in September rose 7.2% from a year earlier. National output increased 4.3% in that same period..

Fast forward to January 2013, when our next president will be inaugurated. What’s your best (and worst) case scenario for manufacturing?

That’s the question we posed to the four panelists who will speaking at a manufacturing breakfast in Chicago on Thursday sponsored by Changing Gears/WBEZ and Crains Chicago Business. Continue reading “A Crystal Ball From Some Experts on Midwest Manufacturing”

Amid Economic Uncertainty, One Chicago Restaurant Gains Ground By Bartering For Goods and Services

Cheesecakes and pastas. Computers and cars.

What do they have in common? They’re items that Chicago restaurant owner Richard Wohn procured through trade instead of cash transactions. Many of the items in the dining room of the Fireside Inn, the North Side eatery he’s owned for 22 years, have been obtained the same way.

Barter has been a long-time component in Wohn’s business strategy, he tells our partner station WBEZ. Amid economic turmoil, the practice has been gaining in popularity. From its small-scale roots, industry insiders estimate the barter business was worth $8.4 billion in 2004. Given the proliferation of free classifieds and barter services that have emerged since then – and more dubiously, of cash-strapped wallets – they believe the barter economy has only grown.

Continue reading “Amid Economic Uncertainty, One Chicago Restaurant Gains Ground By Bartering For Goods and Services”

A Look Back At Changing Gears’ Summer Reports

WBEZ 848 Host Alison Cuddy

Our partners at WBEZ‘s daily news magazine show 848 today featured a retrospective on Changing Gears, including our recent Road Trip stories and a few others.

I sat down with 848 Host Alison Cuddy to provide some insight about the series, including the reason we decided to do it, and a few other tidbits that never made it on the air.

I also provided a preview of some stories we’re planning for the fall. Take a listen.


Reinventing Pittsburgh Part 5: Answers for Gary?

Pittsburgh and steel began a courtship in the late 1800s. That courtship would eventually produce a lovechild: Gary, Indiana. In the early 20th Century, Pittsburgh’s U.S. Steel Corporation began searching for a spot to build its new steel mill near Chicago. It found one on the southern shore of Lake Michigan in Indiana. The new mill employed thousands and helped the young city of Gary grow big and strong. But when those plentiful steel jobs began to dry up, both cities fell on hard times.  Continue reading “Reinventing Pittsburgh Part 5: Answers for Gary?”

Results Pour in On Election Night 2010

Updated early Wednesday

The 2010 election is turning out to be an eventful one for the Changing Gears region. Our Changing Gears partners are providing live coverage with reports from NPR and their own newsrooms.

Listen to live election coverage on WBEZ

Listen to Michigan Radio's Live Election coverage

Ideastream's 2010 live election coverage

Meanwhile, our public broadcasting partners at The Newshour are streaming live on the Web for the first time. Watch here.

Here’s a quick summary of major results:
Continue reading “Results Pour in On Election Night 2010”