Ben Markus

Ben Markus is a business reporter for Colorado Public Radio. He has created dozens of databases to track the important drivers that define the Colorado economy and covers the topics and trends that make up Colorado’s economy.

Bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in English, University of California at Davis.

Professional background:
Ben joined Colorado Public Radio in April 2011 as a general assignment reporter.
Ben was named business reporter in 2017. He’s shaped CPR’s business and economics coverage creating dozens of databases to track the important drivers that define the Colorado economy. Ben covers the topics and trends that make up Colorado’s economy – from the fast-growing Front Range to the state’s more traditional economic contributors.

Ben came to CPR after spending three years at Hawaii Public Radio where he produced award-winning coverage on a range of subjects, including health care, technology and education. He learned the ins and outs of public radio from his first job at Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, California. Following that, he served as a reporter and producer at KUAC-FM/Alaska One in Fairbanks, Alaska.

In 2010, Ben won the top prize for general news and feature reporting in the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He also served as senior fellow in NPR’s Economic Training Project.

Why I became a journalist:
I first realized I wanted to be a journalist after watching the movie “All The Presidents Men.” It was empowering to know that good journalism—exposing the truth—can shake the pillars of American society. I think members of the press still occupy a unique and revered role in our society as members of the fourth estate. I’m proud to call myself a journalist, and I take the job seriously.

Why I got into radio:
I came to radio because I wanted to tell stories that touched people’s lives, the way NPR so often touches mine. Like many listeners, I was glued to my radio following 9/11. Melissa Block’s reporting at that time was part of what inspired me to become a reporter.

How I ended up at CPR:
After living the island life in Hawaii for three years, I was ready to make a change. CPR stuck out to me because of the news team’s commitment to local issues, the state-of-the-art facilities, and the fact that there is a lot of support for CPR in the community. It was an added bonus that Colorado offers a lot of options for the leisure activities my wife and I enjoy, including traveling, listening to live music and attending sporting events. Denver seemed like an ideal place for us, and I’m really happy to being a part of CPR’s bright future.

  • Rents are at historic highs in parts of the Front Range, and it’s prompting renters to look at buying. The problem is, there aren’t a lot of affordable homes on the market these days. Ryan McMaken, an economist for the Colorado Division of Housing, speaks with Ryan Warner.
  • On a warm Sunday, 30 years ago, news went out on the radio that Exxon was abandonning its oil shale operations on the Western Slope. Instantly, more than 2,000 people were out of work. Today is the 30th anniversary of what would become known as Black Sunday.
  • CU-Boulder’s annual 4/20 marijuana smoke out is later today.  The university is trying to crack down on the event this year, but Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports, activists and students are fighting back.
  • This week Colorado Public Radio is reporting on the Niobrara oil formation — a strech of deep oil-rich rock spanning the Front Range.  An oil company has set its sights on the last big undeveloped parcel in Colorado Springs, aiming to tap the Niobrara field.
  • The State levied a massive penalty against the Suncor Refinery in Commerce City yesterday.  $2.2 million for, in part, not properly maintaining filters that keep a toxic chemical — benzene — from going into the air.
  • Firefighters are finally making progress on the wildfire burning southwest of Denver.  Officials announced the fire is now 15% contained.  More than 500 firefighters, from all over the country, are on the ground.  And aircraft are dropping loads of water and retardant.
  • Hundreds of people marched on the state capitol yesterday in honor of Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teen killed by a private citizen who said he was acting in self defense. But Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports organizers used the occasion to protest allegations of abuse by Denver Police officers.
  • For about a century, entrepreneurs have tried to squeeze oil from rock on Colorado’s Western Slope. It’s often said that there’s enough oil shale out there to dwarf Saudi Arabia’s reserves. But no one’s ever been able to make any real money extracting it.  That COULD be changing.
  • Link to the BLM plan: Click Here With Colorado Public Radio, I’m Mike Lamp.  The future of development on the Western Slope has pitted familiar foes against each other — environmentalists versus the oil and gas industry.
  • Today’s the deadline for 23 medical marijuana dispensaries to close their doors or relocate.  The order came from the Justice Department, targeting shops near schools.  While school administrators have applauded the move, dispensary owners are crying foul.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports.   Reporter Ben Markus: Businessman Andy Telsey loved the dispensary business.
  • Why do we chicken out? That’s a simple way of describing research that’s going on at CU Boulder. Think of a time in your life when you agreed to do something– maybe speak in front of a large crowd or ask someone out– only to renege later.
  • Colorado’s Republican presidential caucuses are only a few days away, but the state hasn’t exactly been deluged by candidate visits or campaign advertising.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus explains why this battleground state isn’t getting more attention.
  • It might seem like science fiction: commercial space flights shuttling people across the globe in two hours. But that scenario is on it’s way to becoming reality. And those flights could eventually take off from a small, little-known facility near DIA called Front Range Airport. It’s seeking so-called spaceport status from the feds.
  • Rick Santorum surprised the political establishment by handily winning Colorado’s GOP Presidential caucuses last night. In fact, the former Senator swept all of Tuesday’s contests, winning in Missouri and Minnesota as well. The victories gave some much needed momentum to Santorum’s once fading campaign.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus has this report.
  • Nationwide, private non-profits conserved a whopping 10 million acres of land over the last five years.  Most of the conserved land was in the West, with states like Colorado leading the way. How could this happen during one of the worst recessions in American history?
  • When you hear the word “avalanche,” you most likely think of snow cascading down a mountain. Well, there are also ice avalanches. Though generally more rare, they do occur in Colorado and the west. But scientists are concerned that global warming could mean more and bigger ice avalanches.