St. Louis on the Air | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis on the Air

Noon-1 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. (repeat) Monday-Friday
  • Local Host Don Marsh

St. Louis on the Air creates a unique space where guests and listeners can share ideas and opinions with respect and honesty. Whether exploring issues and challenges confronting our region, discussing the latest innovations in science and technology, taking a closer look at our history or talking with authors, artists and musicians, 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 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 EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

Harvard University’s Jonathan Walton will discuss “Religion at a Conversation Starter! Embracing King’s Political Philosophy of ‘Somebodiness’” on Tuesday, April 17, at Wash U.
Jeffrey Blackwell | Harvard University

Religion and politics don’t always pair well, and both have a reputation as conversation stoppers. But so much of the work of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. occurred at the intersection of those two often-avoided topics, and his efforts were part of a tradition that lives on.

“I’m thinking, for example, of folks here in St. Louis, names like Rev. Traci Blackmon, Rabbi Susan Talve,” said Lerone Martin, a Washington University faculty member who joined St. Louis on the Air on Thursday for a discussion of King’s legacy. “And even more broadly in the U.S. we can think about someone like Rev. [William] Barber, who’s trying to plan a poor people’s campaign in a similar tradition and vein.”

Howard Weissman and Nichole Dawsey of NCADA
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The number of opioid-related deaths in the St. Louis region is poised to once again break a record.

Opioid-related deaths include overdoses on prescription painkillers, heroin and, increasingly, fentanyl - a prescription drug more potent than heroin that is often mixed with other substances.

In 2016, 712 people died due to opioids. That number is expected to be about 750 people in 2017, explained Howard Weissman, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA).

Saint Louis University faculty member Cara Wallace offered ideas for why – and how – people can broach important topics related to end-of-life care.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air included the sort of conversation that often doesn’t happen as often or as early as it should among loved ones – the kind about planning for the end of life.

Joining host Don Marsh for the discussion was Cara Wallace, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Saint Louis University.

Her research focuses on overcoming barriers to end-of-life care as well as improving quality of life, and she also educates health-care students, professionals and the general public about facing issues surrounding death, illness, loss and grief.

The Apollo 11 command module Columbia will be on display at the St. Louis Science Center.
Eric Long | National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

A treasure trove of invaluable artifacts from the space race will be on display at the St. Louis Science Center.

“Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, opens Saturday in St. Louis.

UMSL criminologists Lee Slocum (at left) and Finn Esbensen discussed a variety of safety issues that students and teachers deal with daily.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Mass shootings in U.S. schools continue to occur and make headlines. Other types of school violence, typically affecting one or two students at a time, garner less attention and more often end in suicide than homicide.

That’s according to University of Missouri–St. Louis criminologist Finn Esbensen, whose recent research in St. Louis County schools alongside colleague Lee Ann Slocum suggests that many young people struggle with school attendance out of fear for their safety.

Jeff Clements (left) and Alderwoman Megan Green (right) discussed a nation-wide campaign thats calls for a 28th amendment to limit campaign contributions.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

A series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission struck down long-standing campaign finance laws. The rulings determined that the use of unlimited money to influence the outcome of an election by individuals, corporations, unions and other entities is free speech protected by the First Amendment.

The organizations American Promise and American Constitution Society have launched a national town hall tour to garner support for election financing reform which could result in a proposal for a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

SLU soccer stand-out Saadiq Mohammed (at left) and local attorney Javad Khazaeli talked about how they’ve been impacted by recent shifts in U.S. policy.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has been home to Saadiq Mohammed for about three years now – ever since he fled Somalia to seek safety and education in the United States. But along with college coursework and soccer at Saint Louis University these days, Mohammed has something else weighing on his mind on a daily basis: whether his request for asylum will be approved.

“It’s really tough,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh during Monday’s show. “Every day I think about it a lot … When you wake up, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Immigration scholars (from left) Jorg Ploger, Adriano Udani and Florian Sichling discussed the incorporation of immigrants and refugees into their respective communities.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of miles separate St. Louis, Missouri, from Dortmund, Germany, but when it comes to immigration and refugee resettlement, the two cities aren’t so far apart.

Among the most pressing debates that link them are the “politically contradicting messages about the purpose of immigration,” as Florian Sichling describes the issue.

Jessica Mefford-Miller has taken the lead on Metro Transit’s draft plan outlining a new approach to public mobility in the region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite increased use of public transportation among young adults, overall ridership numbers in the St. Louis region have been on the decline the past four years. And that trend is part of the motivation behind Metro Transit’s newly unveiled hopes for its MetroBus service.

“That’s one of the reasons we need to take a fresh look at our system and make some changes to ensure that we’re providing service that meets the needs of our customers and provides a quality, fast ride,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, assistant executive director for transit planning and system development.

William Freivogel (left) and Shula Neuman (right) discuss the implications of Sinclair Broadcast Group's requirment for local stations to read their recent statment regarding "fake news."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of local television stations in the country, recently required its news anchors to read a scripted statement that accused other media outlets of disseminating "fake news."

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went behind the headlines to discuss the issues raised by the statement that had led to public outcry. The broadcast company faces backlash from media critics for the conservative slant of their stations' news reporting and other programming decisions.

Catherine Werner is the director of sustainability in the mayor’s office.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Within a global context of climate change, individual attention to butterfly gardens, light bulbs, recycling and other efforts can sometimes seem rather futile. Catherine Werner is familiar with that notion – and with persuading people that such relatively small things do in fact matter.

“You think, ‘Oh, well, what can I do, and what’s one little light bulb going to do to make a difference?’” Werner said during Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “But if you do your whole apartment or your whole home, and then you tell it to your neighbor and they do it next door, it really does add up and can make quite a difference.”

Tiny Desk Happy Hour showcases 3 St. Louis bands

Apr 5, 2018
STLPR’s Lindsay Toler (at left) and local musician Paige Alyssa discussed the broad spectrum of musical styles demonstrated among the local groups who entered this year’s competition.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 50 St. Louis-area bands responded to the call for submissions to the 2018 Tiny Desk Contest from NPR Music over the past few weeks. And this year, Paige Alyssa made sure her group was one of them.

“[Last year] I was like, ‘Next year I’m going to make sure I get that going,’” Alyssa said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air in conversation with host Don Marsh. “And so I got me and my band together, and we got into a practice room at my job and pulled my desk in there, and we set the tone and got the vibe right. And we just did a few takes of ‘The Plug,’ and here we are.”

Longtime St. Louisans (from left) Mike Jones, Jamala Rogers and Virvus Jones joined Wednesday’s show to reflect on the impact of what occurred on April 4, 1968.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Mike Jones remembers being “shocked but not surprised” when he heard that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered.

The assassination of the civil rights leader occurred a half-century ago this week in Memphis, Tennessee, when Jones was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“The forces in America that have been against black progress have always taken black lives,” Jones said during a St. Louis on the Air conversation marking the 50-year anniversary of King’s death. “Black lives have always had less value in America. And men and women who actually fight for that kind of change usually do not live to be old men or old women, so no, you wouldn’t be surprised.”

The bibimbap bowl at VP Square is a dish from Sauce Magazine's 'Hit List' for April 2018.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with our partners from Sauce Magazine about the best new restaurants to try during the month of April.

Joining him for the discussion were Catherine Klene and Matt Sorrell, managing editor and staff writer, respectively.

Gwen Moore is curator of urban landscape and community identity.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The history of civil rights in St. Louis is compelling and complex.

More than 245,000 people have visited an exhibit at the Missouri History Museum detailing the area’s civil rights history. It closes April 15 after a 13-month run. 

“I think it tells us that people are really interested in St. Louis history and that they will turn out when you present that history to them,” explained Gwen Moore. “I think that we’ve done that in a very compelling way.”

Sonja Perryman has found her niche at the intersection of storylines and public health.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Sonja Perryman’s love for storytelling developed early in life, along with her sense of its potential to impact lives. She has vivid memories of reading “The Baby-Sitters Club” books as a girl and telling her father about one particular character in the series.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, she has diabetes, and she’s always thirsty and always hungry,’” Perryman recalled in a conversation this week on St. Louis on the Air. “And I remember my dad’s face going pale – well, as pale as it could go, but he looked like he saw a ghost – and he was like, ‘What were her symptoms again?’”

Anna Quindlen fields a question from Don Marsh during last week’s event.
Photo courtesy of St. Louis County Library

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, listeners heard host Don Marsh in conversation with bestselling novelist Anna Quindlen. She was in town last week for a book-signing event presented by St. Louis County Library, and Marsh interviewed her on stage before an audience of more than 200 people.

Among many other topics, the discussion touched on Quindlen’s decision to give up a Pulitzer Prize-winning career in journalism to become a full-time novelist.

A painting of William H. Gass hangs in Washington University's Olin Library. (Detail; oil on canvas, 1995, Marion Miller)
Image courtesy of Washington University

The writings of the late author and philosopher William H. Gass have a reputation for being cerebrally intimidating to some would-be readers. But when Joel Minor opened one of Gass’ books for the first time years ago, he was pleasantly surprised by a sense of accessibility.

“I found his work very approachable,” said Minor, who now oversees the Modern Literature Collection where Gass’ literary archive is housed. “‘Middle C’ is, I think, a very engrossing, approachable book. If you go into it knowing it’s not going to be a strictly linear narrative from start to finish, you’re going to be able to follow it and really appreciate his ability to work the language in a unique way in this character’s perspective.”

Basketball players huddle for a prayer at the Monsanto Family YMCA.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

For Marcus Wilson, basketball is more than just a game — and he has the career to prove it. Before becoming the executive director of the Monsanto Family YMCA, Wilson learned that basketball could take him far in life and away from the rough neighborhood he came from.

Now he wants to make sure others have that same opportunity.

Every Saturday morning, Wilson opens the court of his YMCA off of Page Blvd., free of charge for anyone wanting to play basketball.

MADCO, Saint Louis Ballet and The Big Muddy Dance Company all come together this weekend for “New Dance Horizons VI: Live at the Grandel” presented by Dance St. Louis.
Gerry Love

Several weeks’ worth of intensive collaboration will culminate this Saturday as three local dance companies present brand-new works during a performance that is really three shows in one.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed what makes the “New Dance Horizons VI: Live at the Grandel” event particularly unique. Joining the conversation were Brian Enos, artistic director of The Big Muddy Dance Company, and Terence Marling, artistic consultant for Dance St. Louis.

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