Tom Hudson

Vice president of news and special correspondent

In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN.  He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization's news engagement strategy.

Hudson was most recently the co-anchor and managing editor of Nightly Business Report on Public Television. In that position Hudson reported on topics such as Federal Reserve interest rate policy, agriculture and global trade. Prior to co-anchoring NBR, he was host and managing editor of the nationally syndicated financial television program “First Business.” He overhauled the existing program leading to a 20 percent increase in distribution in his first year with the program.

Tom also reported and anchored market coverage for the groundbreaking web-based financial news service, WebFN. Beginning in 2001, WebFN was among the first live online streaming video outlets. While there he reported regularly from the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Chicago Board of Trade and the CME. Additionally, he created original business news and information programming for the investor channel of a large e-brokerage firm distributed to six large market CBS Radio stations. 

Before his jump to television and broadband, Tom co-anchored morning drive for the former all-news, heritage 50kw WMAQ-AM/Chicago. He spent the better part of a decade in general news as anchor, reporter, manager and talk show host in several markets covering a wide variety of stories and topics.

He has served as a member of the adjunct faculty in the Journalism Department of Columbia College Chicago and has been a frequent guest on other TV and radio programs as well as a guest speaker at universities on communications, journalism and business.

Tom writes a weekly column for the Miami Herald and the McClatchy-Tribune News Service. He appears regularly on KNX-AM/Los Angeles and WBBM-AM/Chicago for commentary on the economy and investment markets.

While Tom was co-anchoring and managing NBR, the program was awarded the 2012 Program of Excellence Award by American Public Television. Tom also has been awarded two National Press Foundation fellowships including one for the Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists in 2006. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa and is the recipient of several professional honors and awards for his work in journalism.

He is married with two boys who tend to wake up early on the weekends.

Ways to Connect

In the 1970’s it was water beds. In the 1980’s, Keith Koenig sold dinette sets. Now it’s couches and entertainment centers.

Koenig and his brother began what would become City Furniture in 1971. He has seen plenty of cycles in the South Florida economy, as well as how consumer tastes impact his business. Housing booms and housing busts. A growing population. And wicker. Koenig has a unique perspective at the intersection of two industries: real estate and retail. His outlook?  Very positive.

Florida public school teachers will get about $250 dollars this year to spend on classrooms supplies.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Education

Teachers have gotten an annual stipend for more than a decade, helping make up for some of the money teachers spend out of their own pockets for student supplies.

WLRN's Sunshine Economy spoke with several teachers about what they spend and why.

A letter grade can be one of the clearest methods to communicate quality. The USDA uses it for meat. S&P uses letter grades for credit ratings. The state of Florida uses it for public schools.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Education

But the leaders of the two largest public school districts in the state have little or no confidence in the current letter grading system used by Florida.

Jon Hage may be one of the most important school leaders you probably have never heard of. No one elected him to a school board or hired him as a superintendent.

But his company, Charter Schools USA based in Fort Lauderdale, is one of the fastest growing charter school operators. It runs more than a dozen schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and has expanded to a half dozen more states.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Education

A new school year is underway for hundreds of thousands of children in South Florida. A new year brings with it the potential of new learning, new skills... and new challenges.

Are our kids learning what they need to in order to compete in the global job market of the future?

South Florida schools welcome back students August 19 and WLRN's Sunshine Economy looks at the education industry with "Getting Schooled, Public Education in South Florida."

WLRN's State Impact Florida education reporter Sammy Mack co-hosts the program.

FPL

The demand for electricity is growing in South Florida, but Florida Power and Light has been tearing down power plants.

The power plants like the one in the slideshow above have been generating electricity for more than 50 years in many cases. Often, they burned oil to make power.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Wise Gas

How about a fill up for less than $20 a tank?

That's the promise of compressed natural gas at recent prices.But good luck finding a passenger car than runs on compressed natural gas today but more companies are converting their trucks or buying new ones that run on the fuel.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy 

Tom Hudson

The sound of turning over the pistons in an internal combustion engine are familiar to just about everyone. The almost soothing feeling of that low rumble of a well-tuned engine in idle.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Linda Gassenheimer doesn't have these sounds or feelings anymore. And she doesn't miss them.

That's Linda on the right, in the driver's seat of her all-electric car.

And it's like her; petite but with a certain pizzazz.

Tom Hudson

We are burning less gasoline. That may sound strange but Floridians have less of a thirst for gas.

Some of the drop can be blamed on the slower economy since the Great Recession, but also we are driving more fuel efficient cars and trucks. Except for a three-year period (2004-2006) the volume of gasoline Florida drivers are buying has fallen from its high in 2002.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

A decade ago FPL burned more oil to make electricity than any other electric utility in the United States.

But this year it expects to burn 99 percent less crude oil.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Much of the difference has been made up by natural gas, with some of the new power coming from nuclear energy.

Tom Hudson

Flip a light switch, turn the ignition key or hit the start button.  These are actions most of us do several times each day without thinking about where the power is coming from. Florida may have plenty of sunshine but it doesn't have any substantial supply of fossil fuels.  And fossil fuels still power much of our lives.

That's Spencer Antle in the picture to the left. He left South Beach for Palm Beach and has seen his lifestyle fashion business flourish.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Fashion

He founded Island Company, now headquartered in West Palm Beach. His clothing designs, retail shops and now music label have landed him on Inc. Magazine's list of the fastest growing 5000 companies in the U.S. four years in a row.

Penguin, Perry Ellis and Jantzen are some of the global fashion brands that trace their corporate ownership to the Doral headquarters of Perry Ellis International.

Over several decades George Feldenkreis built the company into the firm it is today selling $1 billion worth of merchandise worldwide.

Feldenkreis came to Miami from Cuba in 1961 and began by manufacturing and distributing auto parts. Instead of bushings and pistons, Feldenkreis oversees a business today that includes fashion design, manufacturing, technology, distribution, licensing and retailing.

Pastels in Palm Beach? Parrot Head T-shirts in Key West? South Florida has an image of a very fashionable place. On August 5, the Sunshine Economy explored the fashion industry here, but what about our sense of fashion?

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Fashion

Several members of our Public Insight Network helped give South Florida some fashion advice below:

Tom Hudson

Designing high fashion is an art. So is making those designs into dresses.

Designer Rene Ruiz does both from a low-slung building in Hialeah. His factory is tucked in with furniture makers and hurricane shutters installers. About 50 people work there making dresses for Ruiz's well-heeled clients in South Florida and for his dresses destined for Neiman Marcus stores.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Fashion

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