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.

NPR's ombudsman, Elizabeth Jensen.
James Wrona

In January 2015, Elizabeth Jensen was appointed to a three-year term at NPR as the organization’s ombudsman. What does that mean? Otherwise known as the public editor, Jensen is the public’s representative to NPR, answering thousands of listener queries and criticisms.

Jensen stopped by St Louis on the Air Thursday while she’s in St. Louis to attend the national conference of the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. She talked with host Don Marsh about challenges she faces in working to develop a closer relationship with news consumers.

Paul Sableman | Flickr | http://bit.ly/28QjQfu

Ever wondered about that Optimist International building on Lindell across from the Basilica?

If you have, you’re not alone. Although many St. Louisans may be unfamiliar with the non-profit organization, Optimist International has over 2,500 clubs in 35 different countries. Its mission is serving youth, and its headquarters are located here in St. Louis.

What happens when farmers become friends with the animals they need to prepare for food?
Nina | Flickr | http://bit.ly/28NrntC

For many of us, our food arrives on a plate well-dressed and prepared for consumption. We rarely pause to think about what that plate of food was before we used it as nourishment. But for some local foodies and farmers, becoming friends with their food before they eat it is commonplace.

Joe Biden speaking at the August 23, 2008 vice presidential announcement in Springfield, Illinois, while presidential nominee Barack Obama listens.
Daniel Schwen | Wikimedia Commons

It seems like a silly time to ask the question “do vice presidents matter?” when every half hour there’s chatter on news networks about who Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will choose as their running mates. But, yet, the vice presidency wasn’t always considered as significant as it is now.

St. Louis Fire, illustration in a German book from 1857.
Henry Lewis | Wikimedia Commons

Fires, floods, tornadoes, oh my! St. Louis has been witness to many kinds of disaster over the years and on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we talked about the most disastrous ones … and where you can find remnants of their existence still today.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A 100-acre site in north St. Louis will be home to the sophisticated, high-tech National Geospatial Agency facility in few years.

At the moment, archeologists are trying to find out how people on the site once lived.

"The whole idea is to understand what people’s lives were in past and get a better feel for that," said Joe Harl, principal investigator for Archeological Research Center of St. Louis.

Jesse Francis has worked his whole career to preserve historic French vertical log homes.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis area’s storied French past is well known — but do you know much about historic French architecture in the region? On Monday, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the hallmarks of traditional French architecture, the vertical log home, with Jesse Francis, the cultural site manager for the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation.

Forest Park turns 140 years old this year.
henskechristine | Flickr

St. Louisans have plenty to be proud of when it comes to Forest Park. In the summer, the park is bustling with musicals, plays, cool museums and many other recreational activities. Recently, the park was voted the best urban park in the United States by USA Today. It also made it onto a list of the nation’s best city parks, curated by Thrillist.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by Dr. Peter Raven, the former, longtime president of Missouri Botanical Garden, to discuss environmental issues. Raven recently celebrated his 80th birthday.

Even in his retirement, Raven is staying busy with his work on the board of the National Geographic Society and writing his biography. He is still deeply immersed in the challenges facing the planet today.

Jimmy Hawkins, center, stands at the Transgender Memorial Garden as marchers continue to arrive.
Carolina Hidalgo | 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. This week, we turned our discussion to the tragedy in Orlando and how the St. Louis community has responded to the mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub there that killed 49 people.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It takes a special kind of inquisitive mind to step out of the body’s current state and examine what it would look like from an entirely different perspective. Horace Miner did it in 1956 with his radical paper “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema,” and author Chuck Klosterman has done it again with his new book “But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past.”

Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club

Joe Faron, the vice president of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Foundation, says the museum he helped create is one of the best kept secrets in the United States. The secret is so well-kept that people living right around the corner from the facility in Wentzville, often come up to him astounded that it’s been in their neighborhood for coming up on nine years.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The use of the term “Ferguson Effect,” first came into play in November of 2014, when city police Chief Sam Dotson said that police officers had reduced arrests following Michael Brown’s death and “the criminal element is feeling more empowered by the environment.” He used these ideas as reasoning for why the homicide rate in St. Louis was going up.

Brittish Williams and Lorenzo Gordon.
Anderson Group

St. Louis’ own Brittish Williams has made her mark on reality television in such shows as “Basketball Wives,” and, now, “Marriage Bootcamp: Reality Stars,” which premiered on June 3. She has also started her own clothing line.

Kameel Stanley, Alex Ihnen, Dustin Bryson, Wendy Buske and Adron Buske share their podcast wisdom at a St. Louis on the Air live recording event on June 9, 2016.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“How long did it take you to get comfortable behind a microphone?”

“I’m concerned about sound…do you rent space in a studio or do it in your house? Also, with editing: do you do it yourself or do you send it out?”

“How can I use a podcast in the classroom?”

“How much do you focus on monetization?”

“What do you think, as a medium, podcasting can do to heal the region and promote social change in the St. Louis region?”

Did you know? St. Louis is considered the first major type foundry city in the Midwest.
Ian Britton | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1U07mgm

See these words on the screen right here? Do you see them? No. Do you really see them? Without realizing it, the words you’re reading right now are helping to give you a certain feeling. Not because of the boundless depths of meaning held within these sentences, but because of the typeface they are written in.

One of the world's foremost Wizard of Oz historians, John Fricke, will join St. Louis on the Air on Monday.
eyemage | Flickr | http://bit.ly/24GmVic

Ah, sweet summertime in St. Louis. The birds are chirping, our hair is frizzing out and another local tradition is about to begin its 98th season: The Muny. The first show in its lineup? “The Wizard of Oz.” But what’s the history of such a popular musical?

Dave Robertson, Jo Mannies and Vivian Eveloff discuss the presidential race 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.

This week, we discussed the current state of presidential politics.

Joining us:

Chris LeBeau, Diana Zeng and Andrew Lee are all involved with Full Circle, a non-profit created to help recent college graduates connect with St. Louis
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

There are many factors that contribute to a young professional’s decision to stay or not stay in St. Louis after graduating college. For guests on today’s St. Louis on the Air, the potential to find and build community is an overwhelmingly important concern.

Dzemal Bijedic and Adil Imdad started the non-profit House of Goods in 2015 in response to the needs they saw in the St. Louis community.
House of Goods | Facebook.com

When St. Louis city police chaplain Dzemal Bijedic responded to a call for help from a newly-arrived family of Syrian refugees last year, he couldn’t have imagined that it would lead to the creation of a non-profit organization called Bait Ulmal, which means “House of Goods” in Arabic, to provide supplies to those in need at no cost.

Mary Lynn Faunda Donovan is the executive director of VOYCE, a local organization that helps people negotiate these conversations in the family at no cost to the family.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Have you had “the talk?”

No, not that talk — a talk that is actually far more awkward, unwanted and, indeed, painful to have: a talk about end-of-life and long-term care decision making between parents and children.

Author Tim Prosch has written extensively about this issue in his book dubbed “The Other Talk.” He said the issues is becoming more prominent because 77 million baby boomers “are marching into retirement” and will live longer and require more care for a longer period of time.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In January, Jennings Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson, who is credited with turning around the district and helping it reach full accreditation, announced she was leaving to take the position of superintendent with Topeka Public Schools, effective July 1. 

New Line Theatre

Note: Due to an actor's injury, the June 10 and June 11 performances of "Atomic" have been canceled.

The creators of “Atomic,” a new rock musical currently on stage at New Line Theatre, remember living through the fear of nuclear war.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Lizzie Weber’s ‘Falling Like Fools’ Is Your New Favorite Song About Heartbreak,” read a Huffington Post story from September of 2014 about the Richmond Heights native’s first single from her eponymous debut album.

The singer-songwriter’s music has been lauded in the time since, with the music video for “Falling Like Fools,” screening at several film festivals and winning the “Best Music Video of 2016” from the Real Teal Film Festival in North Carolina.

Mike Hart and Joe Reagan discuss measures by the St. Louis Regional Chamber to boost inclusion in business.
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

While the recent economic cycle has impacted St. Louis positively, St. Louis Regional Chamber president and CEO Joe Reagan says that the long-term strategy around the future of the St. Louis economy lies in inclusion and talent attraction/retention.

“We have a change agenda,” Reagan told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “We have to make some changes. We have three elements. We have to provide equity and opportunity throughout this region. We can’t afford to leave anyone behind, we shouldn’t leave anybody behind.”

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Recently, the Arch riverfront grounds reopened with the completion of a $33 million riverfront redevelopment project spearheaded by CityArchRiver Foundation. It is part of a dozen projects revitalizing the grounds surrounding the Gateway Arch.

What’s next on the docket? On Monday, Ryan McClure, communication director for CityArchRiver, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what’s next in the $380 million plan.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | 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.

This week, we discussed public outcry about public safety in St. Louis, the NGA announcement and the Illinois budget situation after Illinois’ spring legislative session closed on Tuesday.

Here’s who joined us:

Nancy Anderson as Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
J. David Levy | Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

It has been a bloody two summers in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.

“The past two years have been a lot of death on stage,” said Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. “There is a high body count. Henry IV, Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra … I wanted something that ended with marriage and happiness.”

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Local podcasting guru Adam Frick says that a podcast can be “really anything, these days.”

“They’ve been around for over a decade now,” Frick said. “The most common example would be something like an NPR show that gets distributed digitally. It’s like Netflix or anything else that you can time-shift how you want to listen to things. They range from 5-10 minutes to three hours.”

Beth Huebner and Herb Bernsen are in the second year of a MacArthur Foundation grant to reduce the St. Louis County jail population by 15-19 percent.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a discussion about UMSL and St. Louis County’s partnership to reduce the county’s jail population by 15 to 19 percent over two years.

Beth Huebner, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at UMSL, is the lead researcher on a $2.25 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that makes this work possible. She joined the show alongside Herb Bernsen, the director of justice services for St. Louis County, to discuss how the project is going.

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