Public Radio Series, “The Surprising Legacy of Y2K,” to Document the History and Effects of the Computer Scare on Its Fifth Anniversary

Contact: Connie Molby
(651) 290-1113

Public Radio Series, “The Surprising Legacy of Y2K,” to Document the History and Effects of the Computer Scare on Its Fifth Anniversary

Joint American RadioWorks and Marketplace investigation examines the hype over Y2K and finds a direct connection to the growth of high-tech offshoring

The three-part series will air on Marketplace and Marketplace Morning Report Jan. 3 and 4, 2005

WHAT: Five years after the hoopla and warnings about Y2K, many dismiss it as a hoax, scam or non-event.

Not only was Y2K — shorthand for the inability of computers to recognize "00" as a reference to the year 2000 — a real threat narrowly averted, the work done in the rush to fix the problem laid the groundwork for perhaps today’s biggest economic story: white collar jobs being sent overseas — particularly to India.

Producers Chris Farrell, Catherine Winter and Ochen Kaylan examine this economic, technological and cultural event on its fifth anniversary.

"When we approached the Y2K story, I figured it would turn into a tale of hype and greed," said Farrell. "But the economic fallout of Y2K was far greater than I realized. We are still living and working with Y2K’s impact five years later."

Included in the report:

  • Reflections from John Koskinen, the witty Y2K czar appointed by President Clinton. He discusses how his was the ultimate "bag man job": If he succeeded, people would think Y2K a hoax. If he failed, he would be blamed for the crisis.

  • The story of Ben Levi, who built a house in the Boulder foothills. The house can be disconnected from the power grid, and Levi was a little disappointed that nothing happened – he hoped Y2K would lead people to be less dependent on technology and more concerned with sustainability.

  • Interviews with Indian high-tech entrepreneurs and workers in Silicon Valley. The Indian population in the U.S. has surged over the past decade, and connections between the Silicon Valley and India tightened dramatically during Y2K.

TUNE IN: "The Surprising Legacy of Y2K" will broadcast during the afternoon business program Marketplace on Jan. 3 and 4 and during the Marketplace Morning Report on Jan. 3, 2005. To find local broadcasts, go to

ONLINE: A companion Web site allows visitors to listen to or read the stories or share their own. They can also join the discussion on the controversial practice of offshoring skilled work. Online at www.americanradioworks/features/y2k. [Note The site will be available Jan. 2, 2005.]

WHO: "The Surprising Legacy of Y2K" is a joint production of American RadioWorks and Marketplace. ARW is the documentary unit of American Public Media in St. Paul, Minn. Marketplace and Marketplace Morning Report are produced by American Public Media in Los Angeles and distributed by Public Radio International. Marketplace and Marketplace Morning Report air weekdays on more than 400 stations reaching almost 8 million weekly listeners.

ABOUT CHRIS FARRELL: Chris Farrell has more than 25 years of experience in economics and personal finance journalism. In addition to his central role on the Sound Money, American Public Media’s personal finance program. Chris serves as the personal finance expert on Marketplace Morning Report. He’s also contributing editor at Business Week magazine. He was host of public television’s personal finance program Right on the Money and is the author of the show’s companion book “Right on the Money: Taking Control of Your Personal Finances.” He’s also a journalist with American RadioWorks, American Public Media’s award-winning documentary unit. Chris is a graduate of Stanford and The London School of Economics.

Editor/Producer Catherine Winter began working for Minnesota Public Radio in 1987 as legal affairs correspondent. She later produced features on rural issues for MPR’s Mainstreet Radio team. She is the recipient of numerous national awards for her work, including two Silver Gavel awards from the American Bar Association and the Unity Award for reporting on issues affecting minorities and disabled persons. She taught writing and journalism at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 1999-2004. Winter holds a master’s degree in English and linguistics from UMD and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.

Web Producer Ochen Kaylan comes to American RadioWorks with extensive digital and graphic design experience, including serving as the Manager of Digital Design at the Walker Art Center and Senior Designer at Larsen Design. He has also taught at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Kaylan has received numerous design and advertising awards including: a Gold Pencil from The One Club; AIGA Minnesota Design Show selection; The Standard of Excellence Award from the Webawards; and a Merit from HOW Interactive. His digital and audio artwork has been shown at the San Francisco Art Institute, Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery, Austin Museum of Art, Walker Art Center,, and Gallery 9.

INTERVIEWS: Contact Connie Molby to arrange an interview with Chris Farrell.

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