October 17th: What's On Today's Show

Occupy Wall Street participants walk on a protest march on their way to stage a demonstration on Times Square in New York, October 15, 2011.

Occupy Wall Street participants walk on a protest march on their way to stage a demonstration on Times Square in New York, October 15, 2011.

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Mid-Sized, Not Small, Business May Drive The Economy
Politicians often insist that small businesses are the engine that drives the U.S. economy. According to a recent survey, that's not true. While many small businesses struggle to get loans to expand and major corporations continue to avoid adding workers, so-called "middle market" companies grew by some 2 million workers in recent years. The middle market consists of businesses with annual sales between $10 million and $1 billion, and despite their growth, they generally lack the lobbyists, government supporters, and associations that small and big businesses often enjoy. Host Neal Conan talks with NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax and Christine Poon, Dean of the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, about the role of the often overlooked middle market.

What Occupy Wall Street Protesters Want
The Occupy Wall Street protests just reached the one month milestone, and spread to cities around the world. Demonstrators are marching against greedy bankers, politicians, government cuts and the growing gap between rich and poor, among other issues. Organizers have raised nearly $300,000, but many observers wonder: To what end? The many groups that call themselves the 99% have yet to present any demands. Host Neal Conan reads from opinion pieces about the future of the Occupy Wall Street protests, and how they might define success.

'West Side Story' Turns 50
The film version of the acclaimed Broadway musical West Side Story premiered 50 years ago tomorrow. The production, which set Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" against the backdrop of 1950s New York City, wasn't always set on the West Side and wasn't always a smash hit. Still, for many, the story holds up as well today as it did five decades ago. Host Neal Conan talks with theater critic Misha Berson, author of Something's Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination, about the musical's evolution and its lasting influence on musical theater and pop culture. Two of the film's stars Rita Moreno, who played Anita, and George Chakiris who played Bernardo, also join the program to talk about what the production means 50 years on.

'The End of Sparta: A Novel'
Hollywood popularized some of the most important battles of ancient Greece in recent years. Brad Pitt lead the Spartans against the Greeks in the battle of Troy. Gerard Butler brought the battle of Thermopylae to the big screen in 300. We know much less about the Battle of Leuktra — perhaps one of the most stunning military victories of all time. Host Neal Conan talks with military historian, Victor Davis Hanson, about his first work of fiction, The End of Sparta.

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