Over the past 44 years, the radio and news industries have gone through many changes. Two things that haven’t changed during that time are Mary Edwards’ dedication and passion for her work at St. Louis Public Radio.
Edwards, who came to the station in 1974 after earning her bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame last year. She started as a music assistant and held positions including music director, program director, production manager and operations manager.
Edwards’ most impactful work at St. Louis Public Radio began on September 3, 1996, with the launch of St. Louis on the Air, the station’s flagship and premier local program. Friday’s show marked her final broadcast as she put in her last day of full-time work and embarked on a well-deserved retirement.
To celebrate the occasion, she came out from behind the scenes and joined host Don Marsh for a live conversation.
Recognizing Edwards’ contributions to the station and the St. Louis community, the St. Louis Public Radio board recently presented her with an award: the inaugural Mary Edwards Award for Staff Excellence.
To be given annually, part of the award citation reads that it “is designed to recognize employees who make a significant impact on St. Louis Public Radio through their dedication, commitment to excellence, deep knowledge of their work, and exceptional performance.
"Nominees should display a genuine investment in the mission of St. Louis Public Radio and be generous in their support of colleagues. They should welcome innovation and adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining a steadfast commitment to the integrity of their work. They should demonstrate an ability to foster collaboration and cooperation.”
Edwards will continue to produce St. Louis Public Radio’s Saturday night broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Facebook Live video recorded during Friday’s special segment
Many listeners and colleagues left messages sharing what they’ve appreciated most about Edwards over the years, and the hashtag #ThanksMaryEdwards was trending on Twitter. Here are just a handful of the memories and words of gratitude that have been shared.
Where do we start? Mary’s sincere and consistent commitment to the St. Louis community and ensuring that voices are heard - it’s inspiring. Thank you, Mary.
— GirlsOnTheRun STL (@gotrstl) August 28, 2018
I love that in her farewell show #ThanksMaryEdwards finds time to lecture all of us on acoustics. That is most Mary thing ever.
— Tim Lloyd (@TimSLloyd) August 31, 2018
@STLonAir @MaryEdwardsSTL was a great boss. She was always up for nerding out about classical music with me. She was the boss, but no task was beneath her. Some days when Don didn't have the script, she'd break into the classic Mary Edwards run to the printer to get them for him.
— Peace Treaty History (@histreaties) August 31, 2018
For always having time to help me troubleshoot audio issues, for having great advice, for being a listening ear, for sharing her wisdom (and great stories), for generally being an awesome kind person...#ThanksMaryEdwards
— Steph Lecci (@stephlecci) August 28, 2018
For being the model of professionalism, commitment, and excellence at STLPR. For being an example of someone who made a job into a rewarding career, and who found joy in doing good work. #ThanksMaryEdwards
— Jess Luther (@jessluther) August 28, 2018
— Maria Altman (@radioaltman) August 31, 2018
#ThanksMaryEdwards for being a supportive colleague and friend. You've been there for me during stressful times at work and through family tragedy.
You've built @STLonAir from the ground up and your contributions will have a lasting impact. Thank you!
— Alex Heuer (@alexheuer) August 31, 2018
32 years ago, at the urging of my dad, I interned at @stlpublicradio and I learned almost everything I know from Mary. I’m eternally grateful for her patience, kindness and experience. #ThanksMaryEdwards
— Mike Schrand (@MigorSTL) August 31, 2018
Mary Edwards taught me so much when I interned with her in 2014 and has continued to be a wonderful mentor and friend - a fitting tribute to an impressive producer and lovely woman! #ThanksMaryEdwards https://t.co/ABycXXb5fC
— Amanda Honigfort (@AHonigfort) August 31, 2018
#ThanksMaryEdwards for being an inspirational mentor. There are some people who you meet in your lifetime that just change your trajectory and send you in a direction that fills your life with happiness and fulfillment. That's Mary. I've got a lot of love for @MaryEdwardsSTL.
— Greg Munteanu (@STLPRGreg) August 31, 2018
— Katy Jamboretz (@KJamboretz) August 29, 2018
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer, Evie Hemphill and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.