Y2K: The Winter of Our Disconnect?
Radio Library


Market PlaceMarketplace, one of the most popular news programs on public radio, has done several stories on the Y2K problem over the last three years.

To listen to the radio segments, you will need a RealAudio player -- a free download from RealNetworks.

October 20th, 1999

(Listen)Y2K...Why Worry?
Public television commentator Robert X. Cringely isn't worried about Y2K computer problems. In fact, he sees it as more of a nuisance.

March 22nd, 1996

(Listen)Amanda Zeros In
The year 2000 is just four years away....and commentator Amanda Greenleaf Whelan can't wait to start writing all those zeros on her checks and other dated correspondence.

December 27th, 1996

(Listen)It's The End Of The World
With the millennium fast approaching, businesses are scrambling to adjust to a big glitch, expected to scramble data in computers as the year turns from 1999 to the year 2000. Marketplace host David Brancaccio interviews Harris Miller, president of Information Technology Association of America about the costs to businesses.

December 30th, 1996

(Listen)Millennia Troubles
In Marketplace's continuing look at the computer meltdown that many experts say will occur at the start of the year 2000, host David Brancaccio interviews the man many say is responsible for first flagging the problem. Peter De Jager is head of De Jager and Company, a computer consulting company in Canada. He also maintains a web site, www.Year2000.com.

April 16th, 1997

(Listen)The Millennium Meltdown
American companies may be preparing for the computer meltdown in the year 2000, but apparently the business world isn't so prepared in either Britain or Japan. Stephen Beard reports from London, Jocelyn Ford from Tokyo.

January 8th, 1998

(Listen)Uncle Sam And The Year 2000
Businesses have been scurrying to correct anticipated problems when their computers hit double zeroes in the Year 2000. After all, it's their loss if things go wrong. But what about the government's computers? Some say the feds won't be ready in time - and that's everybody's problem. Marketplace reporter John Dimsdale has the story.

June 30th, 1998

(Listen)Year 2000
The Y2K computer problem could disrupt every aspect of our lives when our digital calendars roll over into the next millenium. Marketplace commentator Russ Thibeault offers a few suggestions for softening the blow.

August 20th, 1998

(Listen)Year 2000 Problems
Does the computer problem that's expected to rear its head on January, 1, 2000 make you fearful? Marketplace commentator Robert Reich doesn't look forward to it and in this edition of the Public's Business, he says there is also another date he'd rather avoid.

October 14th, 1998

(Listen)Say OK To Y2K
Fear a digital meltdown in January, 2000? Marketplace commentator Linda Tatelbaum says she would actually welcome one.

December 10th, 1998

(Listen)Y2K Business
Do warnings of a societal meltdown from the Year 2000 computer bug give you the creeps? Marketplace reporter James Jones has found the store just for you...a small Amish business in Ohio that sells good old-fashioned, non-electric products.

January 5th, 1999

(Listen)Millennium Survivors
Marketplace's Helen Palmer explores an unusual Y2k phenomenon: people who are expected to hang onto life to see what's in store for the next millennium.

February 9th, 1999

(Listen)Y2K Liability
Businesses are spending billions of dollars correcting the Y2K computer bug. And as Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports, many fear they'll need to spend even more to fight-off an anticipated wave of Y2K-related litigation.

Transcripts of newscasts

Newscast September 10th, 1999
It's Friday, September 10. I'm David Brancaccio.

(Listen)So far, only a third of the major airlines around the world have ensured that their computer systems will keep working when clocks tick over into the year 2000. Also, many countries have not been forthcoming about their so-called Y2K readiness and now the U.S. Department of Transportation is threatening to halt flights to and from places that can't promise that their radar systems, runway lights or other basic aviation safety measures will function on January 1st. Marketplace's Cynthia Ingle reports.

Ingle: "Your New Years travel plans to some countries in Asia and the Pacific rim, South America and the former Soviet Union may be grounded. Nearly 40 nations haven't responded to requests from the International Civil Aviation Organization for information on Y2k readiness.

So, U.S. Transportation Department officials say they'll decide by October 15 whether to stop flights to those destinations. Aviation expert Daryll Jenkins is a professor at The George Washington University."

Jenkins: "We're not sure that in all of these countries that the power grid will work. And if the power grid is out you don't have communications and so you can't be assured of a safe landing. The second thing is the state of the air traffic control equipment."

Ingle: "The State Department plans to release a nation-by-nation report next week on the risks of computer system failure as the date changes to the year 2000. In Washington, I'm Cynthia Ingle for Marketplace."


(Listen)Newscast - September 17th, 1999
It's Friday, September 17. I'm David Brancaccio.

It doesn't sound like the powerful chairman of the Federal Reserve is going to spend New Years hunkered down with freeze-dried stroganoff and a wind-up radio. Alan Greenspan today told the President's Council on Year-2000 Conversion...

Greenspan: "The probability of a cascading of computer failures in mission-critical systems is now negligible."

The Fed Chairman praised the adaptability and ingenuity of the American worker for getting systems in order and said he's increasingly confident the financial world is prepared for the date change that is, making sure computers don't foul up by confusing the year 2000 with the year 1900. Banking and ATM systems are as prepared as they can be the Fed Chairman said. But he warned that the systems have never been perfect and it would be unrealistic to expect perfection now. What Alan Greenspan is keeping a close eye on is possible supply bottlenecks that could occur if many companies decided to stockpile extra inventory ahead of the New Years. As for your money and Y2K:

Greenspan: "The safest thing for consumers to do with their money around year-end is to leave it where it is. Consumers should prepare for the century date change as they would for any long weekend or any expected hurricane."

Those who take out too much cash run the risk of theft or fraud, Greenspan said.



UPDATE | Millennial Mania | Truth or Dire Consequences
Double Digit Debacle | Survivalists and Social Security
Home | Radio Library | Y2K, Cringely

Copyright 1999 Oregon Public Broadcasting and PBS Online

Home PBS Online Home