Ben Thorp


Ben grew up listening to WCMU and has become an obsessive of podcasts, radio, and the home life of Ira Glass. Ben joined WCMU in December, 2015 as a general assignment reporter. Since then, Ben has won multiple statewide awards for his reporting efforts, and had several stories aired nationally on NPR's 'Morning Edition' and 'All Things Considered.'

Ben is a native of Petoskey, and graduated from Michigan State University in 2014.

Ways to Connect

Peretz Partensky /

A new survey found that 84 percent of gun owners in Michigan support permit and training requirements for people carrying concealed weapons.

The study was released just one day after a packet of bills that would remove any permit or training requirements for concealed carry passed out of committee and into the house.

Mark Kaletka /

The second 100 percent renewable factory in the nation controlled by the SC Johnson Company is now located in Bay City.

The factory has been in Bay City for twenty years, and produces plastic ziploc bags.

It is the fourth of SC Johnson’s factories worldwide to achieve one hundred percent renewable energy running the plant.

Kelly Semrau is the Senior Vice President for the SC Johnson Company. She said the Bay City plant is part of a company wide trend.

Alan Light /

A new report from Michigan Future found that four year degrees correlated more closely to increased wages than tax cuts.

Officials with Michigan Future say while the state economy is doing, better wages have been stagnant.

Lou Glazer is the President and CEO of Michigan Future, which advocates for a healthy middle class. He said despite Michigan’s economy being on the upswing, wages in the state remain stagnant.

llee_wu /

The state is planning to launch a pilot program this fall welcoming owners and  their pets to state parks.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will launch the initiative in November, allowing select cabins to host up to two pets.

Maia Turek is with the Department of Natural Resources. She said national data helped push them towards starting the program.

torbakhopper /

A new survey of transgender persons in America is being called one of the biggest ever on the topic.

The survey includes a focus on Michigan, where it found the transgender population suffers from high levels of  poverty, unemployment, and psychological stress.

Of the 28 thousand  transgender persons surveyed 900 were Michigan residents.

In Michigan about one third of of transgender persons reported living in poverty, and 43 percent said they felt psychological distress.

James Marvin Phelps /

A series of bills introduced in the U.S. Senate this week (5/24) would give the Department of Transportation the authority to shut down the line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

The bills, introduced by senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, create stringent guidelines around pipeline safety - particularly in the Great Lakes.

The bills would designate pipelines in the Great Lakes as ‘offshore’, making companies liable for the entirety of cleanup.

Senator Peters said companies that couldn’t afford a cleanup would have their pipelines shut down.

Simon Q /

The National Guard is testing residential wells in Grayling for toxic chemicals that may have leaked from the Camp Grayling National Guard base.

Jenine Taylor is with the local Health Department. She said a preliminary test of wells on the base found high levels of a chemical used in firefighting foams.

D. C. Atty /

A bill in Lansing would protect police body cam footage from Freedom of Information Act requests if the video was taken on private property.

F Delventhal /

Policy organizations are calling the Trump Administration's proposed budget an assault on the poor.

According to officials with the Michigan League for Public Policy, federal budget cuts would impact food assistance, disability, and medicaid.

Gilda Jacobs is the CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy which promotes economic opportunity for all. She said the budget is an assault on the poor.

A new book follows a young boy as he tries to understand his family's legacy, communicate with aliens, and launch a rocket into space.

The book, See You in the Cosmos, is written by Detroit native Jack Cheng and follows Alex Petroski on a roadtrip across the country who records his adventures on an iPod.

Ben: Talk to me about the central idea of Into the Cosmos and the way it’s written as a series of audio journals and where that idea came from.