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An inside look at the return of Marketplace’s “Million Bazillion” podcast

Nova Safo and Natalie White Apr 11, 2024
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Courtesy Marketplace

An inside look at the return of Marketplace’s “Million Bazillion” podcast

Nova Safo and Natalie White Apr 11, 2024
Heard on:
Courtesy Marketplace
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Marketplace’s award-winning podcast “Million Bazillion” is back with a new season! Hosted by Bridget Bodnar and Ryan Perez, the family-friendly show makes younger audiences smarter about the economy.

To date, the show has covered topics like the history of banks, who sets the price of rent, and what happens to the quarters that you put into a claw machine.

“Marketplace” correspondent Nova Safo sat down with Bridget Bodnar to talk about what listeners can expect, along with some of the questions they will be tackling. Below is an edited transcription of their conversation.

Nova Safo: The premise is that you answer questions kids send in. What are some of the questions you’re going to be answering this season? 

Bridgette Bodnar: We got some heavy hitters this season. So, we’re going to be answering “What is a union?” “What is a college savings account?” I love that we get to answer that during the FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid]meltdown that we have right now. We’re starting off the season with one which is “How are cars made

Safo: Why did you pick that one for the first episode? 

Bodnar: Kids love to know how things are made, and cars are a really good stand in for how a lot of things are made. Most stuff is kind of made the same way with an assembly line. We also know that the auto industry is really important to the U.S. economy. It employs a lot of people. It’s worth a lot of money to our greater, kind of broader economy and all that good stuff.

Safo: I’m picturing robots on assembly lines, mass production. How do you bring that to life for children?

Bodnar: We do use a lot of fun sound and sound effects of “This is what this would sound like,” but we’re also using skits and little audio metaphors. So, we’re talking about the tool and die stamps that are stamping these metal pieces that cars are made of. But we’re also comparing it to a giant cookie cutter, because kids maybe know a cookie cutter even if you say “tool and die,” and they’re like, “I don’t know what that is.”

Safo: I’m not sure I totally know what that is. 

Bodnar: You know what, I always knew that. My grandfather was a tool and die maker in Michigan at an auto plant. He would make the stamps that they would then use to cut out these pieces of a car.

Safo: I love that. So, what do you suggest for parents who are trying to encourage their kids who have money questions?

Bodnar: I would say just do your best to encourage their curiosity. Go check out the back catalogue “Million Bazillion.” Maybe we’ve answered it. Send us a question we can answer in a future episode. Then also just listen to Marketplace with them and ask them, “Did you have any questions about that? Like wasn’t that weird when they said that thing? What do you think about that?”

You know your kid and what sort of things might pique their interest. Because ultimately, if you can encourage their curiosity and their interest in money and the economy, that is just going to be really good for them later on in their lives.

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