Bill Raack

News Director

Raack has been in radio for over 20 years. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas in 1983, he worked at commercial radio stations in Kansas and then Illinois. He moved to public radio in 1990, joining the staff of WILL-AM/FM in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, as a host/reporter and then as news director in 1993. He returned to his hometown of St. Louis in 1995 as the local host of St. Louis Public Radio's Morning Edition program and also served as a reporter/producer until 1998, when he was named news director. Bill and his wife Kim are proud parents of two public-radio-listening children.

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Cardinals at the White House
4:40 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Obama: World Series-winning Cards "greatest comeback team in the history of baseball"

The St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series championship team poses for a photo with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House on Jan. 17.
(Screen Capture/WhiteHouse.gov)

Members of the St. Louis Cardinals were honored at the White House Tuesday for the team's World Series championship last year.

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Chicago White Sox and Cubs fans respectively, both heaped praise on the Cardinals for their late-season comeback and their ability to beat the odds in the playoffs, defeating the Texas Rangers in the World Series.  

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Weather
8:11 am
Fri December 30, 2011

2011 to be remembered as year of weather extremes

Damage to the nose of an American Airlines plane can be seen through a shattered window in the C concourse at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis on April 23, 2011.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The year 2011 got off to a strange start following a rare winter tornado on New Year's Eve. It was one of a number of severe weather events during the cold weather months, followed by the F-4 tornado that hit north St. Louis County and Lambert Airport in April, and plenty of flooding.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kramper says it was a very unusual first five months.

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Morning round-up
7:53 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Morning headlines: Friday, December 30, 2011

Mo. lawmakers will take up school funding formula when they convene January 4.
(via Flickr/alextakesphotos)

Mo. lawmakers to consider changes to school funding formula

Legislative leaders say addressing Missouri's school funding formula is one of their top priorities for the annual session that starts Wednesday.

Because of tight budgets there has not been enough money in recent years to fully fund the education formula. That has prompted concern that the distribution of the money could benefit certain districts at the expense of others.

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A Good Year St. Louis
6:35 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Grab some popcorn: it was a good year for local documentaries

A title-screen snapshot of several of the local documentaries that had "a good year" in 2011.
(Screen captures/press kits/ compiled by Kelsey Proud/St. Louis Public Radio)

It’s been a good year for documentary films focused on issues in St. Louis and for local filmmakers. “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth,” about the urban housing complex of the 1950s and 60s; “Brick by Chance and Fortune,” which looks at St. Louis’ architectural heritage; “The Gray Seasons,” about a four-year span with the Saint Louis University women’s basketball team; and "Give a Damn?," the story of three St. Louisians who explore the issue of poverty across three continents; have all been popular at film festivals in 2011.

As part of St. Louis Public Radio’s series, “A Good Year”, Bill Raack spoke with Cliff Froehlich, the executive director of Cinema St. Louis. Here's a summary of their conversation: 

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Missouri Department of Transportation
9:23 am
Tue December 27, 2011

MoDot director says agency facing leaner 2012

The Missouri Department of Transportation decided to address budget troubles in 2011 with a plan to lay off workers, close some facilities and sell off equipment. MoDot Director Kevin Keith says he's optimistic 2012 won't be as tough.
UPI/Missouri Department of Highways and Transportation

The head of the Missouri Department of Transportation is hoping that 2012 will be a better year than this one. The agency had to make some pretty drastic budget decisions this year.

"It was hard," said MoDot Director Kevin Keith. "You know, that was the first word that comes to mind. It was hard."

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Arts & Culture
4:55 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Arch grounds renovation project gets grant; could be scaled back

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar await their turn to talk about the federal grant for the CityArchRiver intitiative at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis on Wendesday.
(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

The renovation of the Gateway Arch grounds is being called a “magnificent project” by two presidential cabinet members. 

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood were in St. Louis Wednesday to celebrate a new $20 million federal grant for the project. The grant will help pay for a new “pedestrian lid” over Interstate 70 so people can move more easily between the Arch and downtown St. Louis.

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Radio contract
8:40 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Motorola gets contract for County emergency radio system

(via Flickr/ines_saraiva)

Motorola Solutions has been awarded a $75 million contract to design a radio system for first responders in St. Louis County.

The system will allow more than 150 police departments, fire departments, paramedics and other public safety agencies to communicate directly with each other by radio. Officials say their inability to do that makes it difficult to respond to disasters effectively.

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Claire McCaskill
3:28 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

McCaskill proposes bill designed to boost jobs

Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. (at right) and Susan Collins, R-Maine announce their legislation to cut payroll taxes, boost transportation funding and restrict regulation.
(via Flickr/Senator McCaskill)

Two U.S. senators are proposing legislation to cut payroll taxes, boost transportation funding and restrict regulation.

Missouri Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill and Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, on Tuesday announced their proposed legislation.

The federal lawmakers say the legislation will boost jobs. They also called it an example of what bipartisanship can produce.

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Conservation - Endangered Species
11:25 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Breeding program at St. Louis Zoo gives hope for giant Ozark salamander

For the first time ever, an endangered amphibian found only in a few Missouri and Arkansas counties has been successfully bred in captivity.

Officials with the St. Louis Zoo and Missouri Department of Conservation said Wednesday that 63 Ozark hellbenders have been bred at the zoo. The first hatched on Nov. 15, and an additional 120 eggs are expected to hatch within the next week.

The breeding is the result of a decade-long collaboration of the zoo and the conservation department. 

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Airport improvements
4:16 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Main runway reopens at St. Louis Downtown Airport

Construction on a now-finished runway at St. Louis Downtown Airport.
(via St. Louis Downtown Airport Facebook page)

Officials say the completion of improvements to the main runway at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia will help the facility expand its clientele and generate new business. 

The six-month, $7.4 million project widened and lengthened the runway and improved the runway’s lighting system. Airport director Bob McDaniel says they also strengthened the runway to support larger aircraft like the Boeing 757 and Airbus 320.

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