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 host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer, and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

Subscribe to our e-newsletterThe Talk Studio, to receive previews of upcoming guests, highlights from the most-talked about shows, and questions from our producers.

The show is sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.

Raclette is a funky, nutty Swiss-French cow’s milk cheese.
(Courtesy: Sauce Magazine)

Remember when the cronut was a thing … you know, the croissant-doughnut pastry hybrid?

Well, move over cronut and hello sambal, raclette and fried rice for breakfast! Those are just a few of the latest out-of-the-box food trends that have made their way to the St. Louis area.

St. Lou Fringe Festival is back for a fifth year, running Aug. 19-27 in Grand Center, and features everything “avant-garde, independent and brand-new” that “you wouldn’t see in other theaters here in St. Louis,” said Matthew Kerns, the festival’s new executive director.

This year’s Fringe features acts from Colorado, Nashville, as well as those native to St. Louis. All the acts are one hour or under.

The start of the marathon race at the 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis.
Missouri History Museum |

As the Rio 2016 Olympics begin to wind down, it is worth remembering that St. Louis once played host to the Olympics: the 1904 Olympics, the first to be held on U.S. soil — and they were a mess. Doping, shameful “Anthropology Days” competitions among “savages” and minimal international participation were a recipe for a games that the Wall Street Journal once dubbed “Comedic, Disgraceful And 'Best Forgotten.’”

Ironically, St. Louis wasn’t even supposed to host the 1904 Olympics. As Sharon Smith, Curator of Civic and Personal Identity at the Missouri History Museum, relayed it on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air: “St. Louis took those Olympics from Chicago.”

St. Louis-based author Ridley Pearson.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based author Ridley Pearson has written over 50 suspense and adventure novels but his latest, “White Bone,” is tackling an issue that is close to him: illegal wildlife poaching in Africa.

Brittany Packnett discussed education, Teach for America, racial equity, Black Lives Matter and more on "St. Louis on the Air" on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this summer, Brittany Packnett announced she would be leaving her role as the Executive Director of Teach for America-St. Louis and would become TFA’s new vice president of National Community Alliances. That role starts October 1.

Before she starts the new position, Packnett joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to look back on her work with TFA in St. Louis, her participation on the Ferguson Commission and President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21th Century Policing and her social activism. 

Elise Quagliata and Christine Brewer in Union Avenue Opera's production of "Doubt."
John Lamb | Union Avenue Opera

August 19 will mark the first time the opera version of “Doubt” is performed in its full glory after its Minneapolis premiere in January 2013. Famed soprano Christine Brewer will reprise her role as Sister Aloysius, the principled nun whose unwavering certainty begins to buckle over suspicions of a parish priest’s improper relationship with an eighth grade student.

Robert Tebbe, Darcella Craven, and Sheila Suderwalla joined Don Marsh on Tuesday to discuss how their organizations are serving the veteran community.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Military veterans often face significant challenges in re-acclimating to ‘normal’ life in the United States. These challenges may be rooted in mental, emotional and psychological issues resulting from the trauma and stresses of war. Physical injuries can be seen, but internal struggles (what Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton calls “invisible wounds”) frequently remain hidden from the outside world.

Robyn Browning, Carla Fletcher and Carolyn Randazzo joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the Ferguson Readings on Race book group.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This interview, initially scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11, will be on "St. Louis on the Air" at noon on Monday; this story will be updated after the show. You may listen live.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss greets residents, supporters and protesters at the city police department hours after being sworn in as chief.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When we asked listeners for questions they had for Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss, we got a lot of questions like this:

J Freivogel, Sara Sitzer and Dana Hotle discussed the Gesher Festival on "St. Louis on the Air."
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

In Hebrew, the word “gesher” means bridge. The theme of this year’s Gesher Music Festival, which runs through Aug. 21, is taking that title to heart by bridging divides over immigration using chamber music.

This is the festival’s sixth year and features a variety of events, including three main concerts around St. Louis all around the theme “American Dreams.”

Willis Ryder Arnold, Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo shared their thoughts about reporting on Ferguson on "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

Betsy Cohen, Anna Crosslin and Alaa Alderie joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the economic impact of immigrants on the state of Missouri.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Today, there are 224,430 foreign-born people living in Missouri. Some 14,000 of those immigrants are self-employed and immigrant-owned businesses that generated over $250 million in business income in 2014.

Those are some of the findings in a new report published by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a pro-immigration advocacy group launched by Michael Bloomberg to influence policymakers toward immigration reform.

St. Louis-based writer Jacqui Germain shared her poetry on "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“I think of St. Louis as a place in which people are right next to each other and trying not to see each other at the same time,” said writer and poet Jacqui Germain, who has made her home here since moving from Ohio in 2008 to attend Washington University.  Germain has stayed in the area and her changing relationship with St. Louis is an integral part of her work, as is her activism.

Professors Stefan Bradley (L) and Kimberly Norwood (M) joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in studio today. Marcia Chatelain (R), is pictured here in a file photo from 2015, and joined the show by phone.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The police shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, which happened two years ago today, sparked a plethora of conversations about race, policing, protest, and social justice in the United States. One of the places these conversations have taken place is in institutions of higher education.

Michael Brown Sr. stands at the back of the Ferguson Community Center's event space during the public comment portion of Tuesday's city council meeting.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Tuesday, Aug. 9, marked two years since the police shooting death of Michael Brown. What's changed over those two years? What hasn't? What feelings does the day bring up for you?

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh and Pastor F. Willis Johnson, of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, reflected on the day and listened to your thoughts, two years later, about policing, protest, Ferguson, St. Louis and how our nation has changed since the death of Michael Brown.

Patrick Brown was recently named St. Louis' new chief resilience officer.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay recently announced that his deputy chief of staff, Patrick Brown, would become the city’s first chief resilience officer.

Roy Sorenson, Washington University philosophy professor, boggles our minds with riddles, puzzles and mind-bending tricks on "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Washington University philosophy professor Roy Sorensen knows your true philosophical quandary: ‘Which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ We asked him to answer this question and share some of his trickiest puzzles, riddles and audio mysteries for our listeners to sort through on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air.

“I’m an egg man myself,” Sorensen said. Not all of you agreed, however.

"Daisy" is one of the most famous political ads ever used.
Wikimedia Commons

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discusses the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed political ads and their impact on elections with Saint Louis University political science professor Ken Warren. 

There are four main types of political ads these days, Warren said: introductory, stances on issues, true negative ads and false negative ads. False negative ads usually make the most impact. 

Kelsey Proud started at St. Louis Public Radio in 2010, six years ago, as a temporary web producer. Over the years, she contributed to the station in many different ways, lastly, as our Digital Innovation Editor. This week marks Kelsey’s last with us, as she leaves St. Louis to take on the role of Managing Editor of Digital at Washington, D.C.’s WAMU 88.5.

Peace Through Pyramids participants at the JCC Maccabi Games, a Jewish Olympic-style event in St. Louis.
Jessica Hentoff | Circus Harmony

The night before the St. Louis-based Circus Harmony troupe left for Israel in 2014, the deadly conflict between Israel and Gaza broke out. Over 2,000 people in Gaza and Palestinians and Israelis were killed between July and August of that year in the conflict.

Fruit and vegetables
U.S. Department of Agriculture | Flickr |

In the midst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, a group of friends in St. Louis started cooking meals in the kitchen of a church. These meals were distributed to seven people they knew who were living with the disease.

That small group of friends quickly grew into a non-profit organization called Food Outreach.  

Today, 28 years after it was founded, Food Outreach provides nutritional counseling and meals to low-income individuals with HIV/AIDS or cancer.

The World Bird Sanctuary is home to over 200 animals.
Kim Oswalt | St. Louis Public Radio

From the moment Katrina (“Trina”) Whitener met “Lonesome George” – the last tortoise of his kind - in kindergarten, she knew she wanted to dedicate her life to making sure no animal had to experience what George experienced ever again.

Rachel Lippmann, Dave Robertson and Jason Rosenbaum broke down what happened in Missouri's Aug. 2 primary and gave context behind each race on Wednesday's <i>St. Louis on the Air</i>.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The results of Missouri’s primary are in and there were some pretty big surprises on city, county and state levels.

In November, Eric Greitens (R) will be facing off against Chris Koster (D) to become Missouri's next governor. Former Cass County prosecutor Teresa Hensley won the Democratic nomination for attorney general and she'll be facing off against Republican candidate Josh Hawley this fall. For more results and analysis of state-wide races, read this.  

Dr. Joan Luby and Stephen Zwolak discussed how to help a child dealing with mental health issues.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the mental health issues facing young children and how to address them. Joining the program were Joan Luby, a doctor and professor of child psychiatry with the Washington University School of Medicine and Stephen Zwolak, the executive director the University City Children’s Center.

Chess Pieces
Adrian Askew | Flickr |

The game of chess has a rich and somewhat elusive history. Where did it come from? Who invented it? Perhaps most intriguingly: What makes it so special? Why has it continued to exist when other games have not?

The cold ramen bowl at Kounter Kulture, 3825 Watson Road.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine is back and ready to help you plan your nights out at St. Louis restaurants during the month of August.

Catherine Klene and Heather Hughes, both managing editors at the magazine, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the openings and closings of restaurants you should know.

The four restaurants they particularly suggest?

An artist's rendition of what a solar roadway could look like.
Solar Roadways |

The year is 2091 and you have a business trip to make to Kansas City. You wake up in the morning, ask the speaker in your wall for a car to be brought to your door to take you there. A car arrives, no driver, naturally, and you set up camp in the back seat with your laptop to prepare for a big meeting. The car, dodging traffic reported along Forest Park Parkway, hops onto I-70 and into a line of other driver-less cars along a solar-paneled highway.

St. Louis Public Radio reporters and staffers are embarking on an initiative to hear about what matters to you. Join us Aug. 4 at Ferguson Public Library, our first stop, from 3-6 p.m.
Jay Morrison | Flickr |

As a St. Louis news organization, we often hear that we’re not getting things right. We aren’t talking about the things that matter to you — and if we are, we’re missing important details, people, places and things. We want to do better. We need your help to start.

After all, our station’s motto is “News that Matters.” Maybe what we should be saying, too, is “news that matters to you.”

Ah, Friday. Fri-yay, as some have come to call it. And this is not any Friday—it happens to be a Friday that also marks the end of presidential convention season.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the winners, losers and what exactly you should take away from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions… from a Missouri perspective. Jason has been reporting from the Democratic National Convention and spent significant time with the Missouri delegation this week.

COCA's summer musical, "Memphis," is set in a 1950s Memphis underground rock n' roll bar.
Center of Creative Arts

For Duane Foster, the Center of Creative Arts’ (COCA) production of “Memphis” has several parallels to this time two years ago, when the non-profit arts organization produced the musical “Ragtime.”

For one, both musicals delve deeply into race relations and issues of diversity in the United States during previous time periods.