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Marketplace's David Brancaccio Breaks Down The Economy For Tampa Bay Audience

The image shows David Brancaccio on the left and host Bradley George on the right talking on stage during a live interview at the Palladium in downtown St. Peterburg.
WUSF Public Media
David Brancaccio and Florida Matters Host Bradley George talked about a range of topics such as coronavirus and its possible impact on the American economy.

Just days before officials began shutting down large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID 19, David Brancaccio, host of the Marketplace Morning Report, visited downtown St. Petersburg for a live event.

He joined Florida Matters Host Bradley George at the Palladium as part of the Aresty Speaker Series, and touched on a wide variety of topics from the effect coronavirus was having on the global economy, as well as Brancaccio's ongoing Econ Extra Credit project, in which he is reading a chapter a week from an open source economics textbook.

"Where in the world do I have time to read this 1,200-page textbook?" Brancaccio said of the premise he first recommended to his public radio audience just after the new year.

"I originally was going to read it throughout the year. Twelve chapters is going to be 12 months. That was my pitch to Marketplace. My colleagues said 'No, you need to do it more intensely because people's...attention may wane so do it a chapter a week.'"

He realized it was doable once he made the time to read.

"All you do is take your time out of your social media dawdling," he said. "You just stop scrolling with a little bit of drool coming out of the side of my mouth...And I have the 35 minutes a day that I need to read this. That's a lesson to us all."

Brancaccio, a longtime public media journalist, has been with Marketplace since it was created in 1989 by American Public Media. As host of the Marketplace Morning Report, he’s heard every weekday morning on WUSF 89.7.

Here are some more highlights from the conversation that took place in mid-March:

On coronavirus:

“It's profoundly changing consumer behavior. And we don't have unfortunately, an easy model of from the past to drawn to guide us about how does this ultimately play out? How long does it go?”

On seniors falling victim to financial fraud

“Society is desperate for markers as to who might be more vulnerable, because the outward signs are not there. So among the things that they (researchers) find interesting are drawn from brain scans of living people…It's hard to find scam victims because there's so much shame that comes with that and who wants to talk about it. Also, I learned people who fall victim to scams, among the things that deter them from speaking about it is they’re afraid that they'll be judged incompetent and their kids will get their hooks in their business. And it's probably a legitimate concern in many cases. So the researcher (a former Cornell researcher) found 13 people who had resisted a scam and 13 demographically identical people — same age, income, gender — who had fallen victim to scams and looked at their brain and they were different.”

On what Marketplace – and the Marketplace Morning Report – try to provide its public media audience:

“Public Radio is an open door. It's about being accessible. And one of the things that we need to do better at in America is making this whole world of money and economics accessible to all. But I take material seriously, but don't take myself seriously. I'm not the one who tries to set himself up as an expert.”

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Dinorah Prevost is the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.
Bradley George comes to WUSF from Atlanta, where he was a reporter, host, and editor at Georgia Public Broadcasting. While in Atlanta, he reported for NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and The Takeaway. His work has been recognized by PRNDI, the Georgia Associated Press, and the Atlanta Press Club. Prior to his time in Georgia, Bradley worked at public radio stations in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.