Inside Marketplace — Spring 2021

Technically, the recession is over. With multiple quarters of economic growth, by definition, we are emerging from the most severe economic hardships of the last year plus. That said, there is a very long road back to some sense of normalcy, and plenty of people are still out of work. But, with spring in bloom, we’re allowing ourselves an ounce of cautious optimism. For the last year, give or take, we’ve been saying that the pandemic is the economy—and with vaccines rolling out at an aggressive pace, we look forward to brighter (more social) days ahead.

With that, what does post-pandemic reentry look like? For small businesses, for teachers, for office workers? There are a lot of unknowns.

Here is what Marketplace will be focusing on:

Back to Business: What is the future of America’s small businesses?
Marketplace has been documenting the stories of small businesses across the country since the pandemic hit last spring. Moving forward, the guiding principle for this coverage is about the future; about how businesses are moving forward, re-building, recovering, and innovating. These “looking ahead” stories will be on who recovers… and who doesn’t. This theme of reporting will be seen across PM, MMR, Tech and digital starting on April 26th. Here’s what that will look like for each show:

Tech: Big tech questions for the little guys
The team asks what tools are Big Tech companies providing that have proved invaluable to smaller businesses as we recover from the pandemic? How are smaller *tech* companies getting by, as the industry giants continue to acquire more companies? How might an evolving anti-trust system impact those strategies? And on a different note – the creator economy is, in some sense, a business of one. How is the playbook to monetize influence changing?

PM: What about the microbusinesses?
Kai and team are focused on microbusinesses (think 20 people of less)—the smallest of small companies that are engines of growth across the country. When the microbusiness coverage began, the PM team featured eight business owners from across the country—Las Vegas, Denver, Seattle, New Haven, Culver City, Detroit, Durham, and Tacoma. Focusing on this for the next few months, they will follow up with this group, as many have decisions to make in May and June about continuing their businesses. And some are busier than ever.

MMR: Owner spotlight
MMR will be doing a series of interviews that illuminate the experiences of small business owners and the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead as more people become vaccinated and the economy begins to reopen. This coverage will have a special focus on BIPOC owned businesses.

“Internet is Everything”: Marketplace Tech series
Last year, Marketplace Tech reported on how vital online connectivity became to our lives during the pandemic—it was the only way many people could go to work or school or see loved ones. But high-quality broadband isn’t evenly distributed across the country, and federal officials don’t even have a good sense of where the problem spots are. With the CARES Act, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package and a possible infrastructure bill, there is an unprecedented amount of federal aid for expanding broadband. Marketplace Tech plans to follow several municipalities over the next year, beginning in May, as they figure out how they will spend that money and build out access to underserved areas.

Audio spotlight:
Spring brings a high demand for bikes. What to expect if you’re looking for a new ride. Listen here!

Thank you. Enjoy the longer days and warmer weather.

Marketplace Leadership