Kenny Malone

Kenny Malone hails from Meadville, PA where the zipper was invented, where Clark Gable’s mother is buried and where, in 2007, a wrecking ball broke free from a construction site, rolled down North Main Street and somehow wound up inside the trunk of a Ford Taurus sitting at a red light.

Malone graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH as a mathematics major and economics minor. He took an un-ironic oath to use mathematics for good not evil. Per that oath, Malone has taken on a wide array of non-evil numbers-based reporting endeavors -- everything from proving the existence of a home-field heat advantage for the Miami Dolphins to explaining South Florida’s economy in terms of automobiles on I-95 to exposing the extraordinary toll the densest cluster of assisted living facilities in the state had on both local authorities and the residents of those facilities in Lauderhill, FL.

Malone’s work has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition as well as APM’s Marketplace and The Story. His work has won national awards for religion, financial, crime and investigative reporting as well as three Best in Show Green Eyeshade Awards, the National Edward R. Murrow Award for use of sound, the National Headliner and PRNDI awards for series reporting, and the Scripps Howard Award for In-Depth Radio Reporting.

Malone lives in Miami Beach with his scruffy dog, Sir Xavier Charpentier III.

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Lots of industries acknowledge they have a diversity problem. Maybe it's with age or gender or race. Our Planet Money podcast wondered, how exactly does an industry begin to change itself? And reporter Kenny Malone says the answer is on your feet.

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As the digital currency bitcoin has skyrocketed in value, many of the early adopters have become millionaires - only if, that is, they can find their bitcoins. Kenny Malone from our Planet Money team went on a virtual treasure hunt.

Plenty of people will tell you they're getting rich off of bitcoin. They could be right. But there's another group of bitcoin owners that aren't so ecstatic. Because they might be rich, too, but they lost the passkey that would let them get at their digital fortune. Syl Turner is in that second, less glamorous group. When he got around one-and-a-half bitcoins seven or eight years ago, they were nearly worthless. So worthless he bunked the hard drive that held the key somewhere and now he can't remember where.

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Economists used to assume that people were, overall, rational. They may make mistakes now and then, but, if reasonably informed, they do the right thing. Then came Richard Thaler, who, in October, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.

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In Stockholm this morning, the Nobel Prize in economics was announced.


In 1874, if you wanted to buy groceries on store credit, the cashier would reach under the counter and pull out a little blue book. Inside would be your name, profession and whether you paid your debts on time. It was the beginning of the Equifax business model. And it was never about the regular citizens. It was about the businesses that wanted to lend to them. Regular people are the product. Banks and businesses are the customers.

There are just about 30 days — and 30 nights — left in South Florida's rainy season. That will not deter a monumental building task being attempted by a group of people near Miami.

The Hidden Ark project was originally planned for a 5-acre spot just outside Hialeah, Fla., not far from the Everglades. In the spring, builders worked to create a one-tenth of a full-scale Noah's ark — imagine a 150-foot-long bathtub made of wood.

South Florida-based Spirit Airlines is known for being cheap. It boasts "ultralow" base fares and then charges for items such as carry-on luggage or printing out your boarding pass at the airport.

That thrift carries over to Spirit's advertising. Even compared with other low-cost airlines, Spirit spends almost nothing on ads. And yet the company makes a surprising splash with its campaigns. A visit to Spirit headquarters reveals the secrets of its marketing.

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