Listening Topic: Money – Radio report about local currencies

A. Listen to the radio report about a town that has issued its own currency. Then answer the questions below.

 What is a local currency?

 Why might some communities use a local currency?

B. Read the questions and answer the ones that you can. Then listen to the report again and complete your answers. Listen again if necessary.

 What picture is on the Wilks banknote? ______________________

 How much is one hour worth? ______________________

 Where can the money be used? ______________________

 How much of the Wilks currency is in circulation? ______________________

 How many businesses accept the local currency? ______________________

 What do businesses do with the money they receive? ______________________

 How many other examples of local currencies are mentioned? ______________________

 What is written on the back of the Wilks bills? ______________________



1   A local currency is a system of money that is issued and used in a local community.

2   Communities use local currencies to stimulate the local economy and to keep money circulating in the community.


1   A picture of a lake

2   Ten dollars

3   In businesses downtown and for local services

4   About 20,000 hours

5   More than 300

6   Pay part of their employees’ salaries, pay for local services, or cash in the money

7   Four

8   In Wilks we trust


A = Host, B = Tom, C = Adrienne Moore

A:   Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Your Money or Your Life. First, we’re going to take a look at a movement that is becoming popular in small towns and communities across America, and that is the trend towards local currencies. That’s right. Some small towns are issuing their own banknotes that are valid only in the local community. We have a report from Tom, in Wilks, Nebraska. Tom?

B:   Hi there. I’m here in Wilks, and with me is Adrienne Moore, from the Chamber of Commerce. Hello, Adrienne.

C:   Hi.

B:   Now, I’m holding a beautiful banknote. I just bought this at City Hall. It feels just like a regular dollar bill … but it’s blue! And it has a beautiful picture of … I guess this is a lake?

C:   Yes, that’s right. It’s Lake Washington, about five miles from here. It’s done by a local artist.

C:   Now, on the note it says “One Hour.” One hour is about ten dollars, is that correct?

C:   That’s right.

B:   What other notes are there?

C:   There’s a one, a five, and a ten … plus a half hour, and a quarter hour.

B:   OK, so where can I spend this money?

C:   You can use it just about everywhere – all the businesses downtown: coffee shops, bookstores, department stores. Plus you can use it for services: building contractors, painters and decorators, nanny services, artists, you name it!

B:   They’ll accept this just as if it was a regular dollar, or ten dollars?

C:   That’s right. The money is legal tender wherever it’s accepted.

B:   And how much money is in circulation?

C:   About twenty thousand hours so far.

B:   Why did you decide to do this here in Wilks?

C:   Well the idea is to stimulate the local economy and to keep move … keep money moving around the community. A lot of money was leaving town because people were spending it in chain stores that came from out of state. We wanted to encourage shoppers to shop locally. And if you use your own currency, that’s different from the dollar, then it’s easier for people to see where their money’s going.

B:   How many businesses accept these?

C:   Oh … more than three hundred. We publish a newsletter and we list all the businesses that accept the currency.

B:   And what do the businesses do with the money? I mean, can they cash it in or …?

C:   Well, they can cash it in, but that’s not the objective! What we want to do is to keep the currency in the community. Employers use it to pay part of their employees’ salaries. Or they pay for local services with it. So you see, it re-circulates. It goes back into the community that way.

C:   The idea of a local currency is not new. Americans have been doing it since before the American Revolution. And it’s still popular. Apart from Wilks, several other communities in the United States have also issued their own currency. There are Real Dollars in Lawrence, Kansas, Valley Dollars in Greenfield, Massachusetts, Greenbacks in Brooklyn, and in Canada they have Toronto Dollars.

B:   I see that on the back of the bills is written, “In Wilks We Trust.” It’s really about trust in the community, isn’t it? When you use these, you’re trusting that they’ll keep their value, and that people will continue to accept them.

C:   I guess so, yes. We’re a very trusting community!

B:   From Wilks, Nebraska, this is Tom Cohen, for WXBC.

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