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.

James Cridland via Flickr

The recent school shooting in Connecticut brought up renewed discussions about the relevance of an Illinois appellate court’s ruling which endorsed the right to conceal and carry.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a new appointment to the state Supreme Court.  And, the LGBT community in St. Louis County recently received good news.

Host Don Marsh talked with a panel of experts during a monthly legal roundtable discussion.


(Courtesy: HarperCollins Publishers)

When St. Louis native Bill Knoedelseder pitched the idea for a TV series about a wealthy brewing, baseball-team-owning family, Hollywood was skeptical. How could a Midwestern mansion hold a candle next to, say, an oil family in Dallas?

(via Flickr/Rojer)

Midwesterners are often known for their kindness and, unfortunately, some people take advantage of it, especially during the holidays.

Host Don Marsh talked with Bill Smith, an investigator for the St. Louis Better Business Bureau.

They addressed ways to avoid becoming the victim of so-called “grinches,” including these twelve tips to outsmart scammers.

Evan C. Parker / Via Flickr

Going over the so-called fiscal cliff is the major talk in Washington D.C. though the Missouri and Illinois delegations are dealing with other issues as well.

Host Don Marsh talked with St. Louis Beacon Washington D.C. Correspondent Rob Koenig about the latest news from the nation’s capital, including the fiscal cliff.

(via Flickr/Eric Fischer)

The “Delmar Divide” refers to Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis.  It is a street which runs east/west and to a large extent separates the racial make-up of the city.  In a sample of households north and south of Delmar, residents south of Delmar Boulevard are 73% white, while residents north of Delmar are 98% African American, as the BBC pointed out in, “Crossing a St. Louis street that divides communities,” last year.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The main location of the St. Louis Public Library system has reopened after a $70 million renovation and restoration.

The downtown landmark was unveiled to the public on Sunday, December 9, 2012 after more than two years of construction.

Host Don Marsh talked with Waller McGuire, Executive Director of the St. Louis Public Library and George Nikolajevich of Cannon Design.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann reported:

(Courtesy: Jenny Dibble)

When Jenny Dibble returned to St. Louis after five years on the West Coast, she was struck by two features of her hometown’s entrepreneurial culture: one, it was way bigger and more dynamic than she expected; and two, there were a lot of men.

“At every event I attended, I noticed a strange absence of women,” Dibble said.

She decided to investigate and found that she was not the only St. Louis businesswoman craving a community. From that, the idea for Women Entrepreneurs of St. Louis (WEST) was born.

(Courtesy: Saint Louis University Medical Center)

The World Health Organization has declared tuberculosis a global health emergency.

There is already a TB vaccine given to infants in countries other than the United States  but it was developed more than sixty years ago.  That vaccine protects babies from the worst forms of TB but it does not protect adolescents and adults from a type of tuberculosis which accounts for most cases of the disease.

(via Flickr/slgckgc)

The St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center debuts a new interactive exhibit called “Change Begins With Me: Confronting Hate, Discrimination and Ethnic Conflict” this week on the premise that “the lessons of the Holocaust are not yet learned.”

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

George Will is a Pulitzer Prize-winning political journalist and author.  He is perhaps most well-known for his conservative columns in the Washington Post, which have appeared in the paper since 1974.

Will is scheduled to deliver the fall 2012 keynote speech for the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University.

When the Kennedy family approached author David Nasaw asking him to write a biography of Joseph P. Kennedy, father of the nine Kennedy children, he tried to say no.

“I said over and over and over again: you don’t want me to write this book. I’m a crazy-obsessive researcher - I’m going to find something the family doesn’t like,” Nasaw told “St. Louis on the Air” guest host Jim Kirchherr. “[But] they said, ‘Anything that you write is going to be better than the garbage that’s out there.’"

(Courtesy Photo)

John Seigenthaler is a journalist and champion of the First Amendment.  He was previously an editor and publisher of The Tennessean in Nashville and was the founding editorial director of USA Today.  Prior, he served as a special assistant to Robert F. Kennedy during the 1960s, when Kennedy served as U.S. Attorney General. 

During his time as a special assistant, Seigenthaler was involved and injured while trying to protect some of the freedom riders in Alabama.

(Photo By: Richard Stamelman / Provided By: Random House)

The guest on today’s program was Calvin Trillin.  He’s a guest of top billin’.

He talked with host Don Marsh.  It was an interview, which despite the political climate, was not harsh.

Trillin is a journalist, humorist, and author of “Dog Fight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse.”  It’s a volume of poetry, concise but not terse.

Trillin was born and raised in Kansas City.  Discussion of politics is witty, and focuses less on Obama than it does on Mitty.

Related Event

Brain sculpture in Bloomington, Ind.
(via Flickr / Ali Eminov)

While it may be well established that our brains command our actions, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we can have greater control over the message.

Increasingly, research shows people can take steps to protect the health of their brain and as one aspect of that, may be able to sidetrack compulsive behaviors such as eating disorders.

The Missouri Eating Disorders Association is one agency which provides education, resources and advocacy to bring understanding and support to those treating or affected by the disease.

(via Flickr/mike matney)

A group called Missourians for Equality is interested in gathering petition signatures for a ballot measure which would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Plus, St. Louis firefighters won a big decision in the Missouri Supreme Court.  The ruling allows them to live outside city limits if they’ve been with the department for at least seven years.

Those are just a couple of the topics for our monthly legal roundtable.  Host Don Marsh talked with a panel of legal experts including:

(Courtesy: The Grannie Annie)

Public radio listeners are familiar with weekly Friday segments from StoryCorps in which family members and close friends talk with one another, sharing memorable stories.

And as we head into the holiday season and families begin to gather, we’re reminded of opportunities to take full advantage of documenting and preserving family histories and stories.

(via Flickr/SodanieChea)

Within approximately the last twenty years, Missouri ranks among the worst states in which the gap between rich and middle-income households has widened.  That’s according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we also take note of the report’s finding in which the gap between the very richest and the poor is even larger with the top 5 percent of Missouri households having an average income 11.7 times that of the bottom fifth.

Evan C. Parker / Via Flickr

The lame duck Congress is now in session and while historically known as a time of inaction, the large task of avoiding the “fiscal cliff” is ever-present.

The fiscal cliff is a combination of tax increases and spending cuts which would take effect on January 1, 2013, primarily due to the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts.

Host Don Marsh talked with Rob Koenig, the St. Louis Beacon’s Washington D.C. correspondent.

(Judy Schmidt, James Gathany / CDC)

On November 6, 2012, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition E, which prohibited the Governor or any state agency from establishing or operating a state-based health insurance exchange without legislative or citizen approval.

The Affordable Care Act, however, moves on toward full implementation in 2014.

Host Don Marsh talked with Sidney Watson, Professor of Law at Saint Louis University’s Health Law Policy Center, and Ryan Barker, Director of Health Policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health.

Don Crinklaw

Many St. Louisans remember Elaine Viets from her time as a columnist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

In the 15 years since she left the city, she has become a prolific and New York Times best-selling author of mystery novels.

One of Viets’ series features St. Louis mystery shopper Josie Marcus.  The series debuted in October 2005 with “Dying in Style.”  “Murder Is a Piece of Cake" is her eighth adventure.

Host Don Marsh talked with Viets about her new book and experiences in St. Louis.

Related Events

(UPI/Rick Meyer)

The EF-5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri in May 2011 killed 161 people and a left city and its residents devastated.

Two filmmakers - Beth Pike and Erica Tremblay - have created films documenting the disaster, the fallout, and what they call a “remarkable recovery.”

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Thelma Golden is the Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Through art, Golden says, people can have a dialogue about race and culture.

This year, Golden is part of the Contemporary Art Museum’s Susan Sherman Annual Distinguished Speaker Series.

Host Don Marsh and St. Louis Public Radio fellowship producer Erin Williams talk with Thelma Golden about her career and work.

Related Event

The Bridgeman Art Library

The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are two of the most well-known and recognizable paintings.

The Italian artist, Leonardo da Vinci, was not famous when he began painting The Last Supper in 1495 and he faced much professional uncertainty.  He was forty years old and had left several patrons dissatisfied with his work.

However, The Last Supper, a fifteen feet high by thirty feet wide work, is considered a masterpiece.  It depicts the last supper of Jesus with his disciples and the reaction to him saying he would be betrayed.

Jason Epperson

Jean King and Richard Baron first met in 1968, when the two joined forces to protest conditions and rent hikes in St. Louis public housing.

Together, they earned a reputation as “imaginative leaders” and community advocates, attracting the attention of author/filmmaker Daniel Blake Smith.

Robert Peterson / St. Louis Public Radio

The transition from active military service to civilian life can challenge veterans and put a strain on a city’s homelessness resources.

Ariana Tobin / St. Louis Public Radio

One of the most dramatic military stories of this young century is about the Navy Seal raid that killed Osama bin Laden, in May 2011.

Host Don Marsh talks with St. Louis native and journalist Mark Bowden, the author of the new book, “The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden.”

Bowden is best known for his 1999 best-selling book, “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War,” which was later made into a film of the same title, directed by Ridley Scott.

Bowden’s new book about the raid of bin Laden’s compound is drawing praise.

(via Flickr/Martijn.Munneke)

Host Don Marsh talks with pianist and author Caroline Stoessinger.

Stoessinger is author of "A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor."

She is participating in the 34th Annual Jewish Book Festival.

Related Event

34th Annual Jewish Book Festival
November 4 – 15, 2012
Various Times
Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive

(via Flickr/League of Women Voters of California)

Women are not a homogenous voting bloc in elections though their influence as a group plays a big role.

President Barack Obama carried 55 percent of the demographic on his way to re-election.

Host Don Marsh talks with two political experts about the role women played in the 2012 election cycle, both as voters and as candidates.

Marsh is joined by Dayna Stock, Manager of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, and Gwyneth Williams, professor of political science at Webster University.

Robert Peterson / St. Louis Public Radio

The election is over and despite some predictions that the results would take a considerable amount of time to trickle in and may even be unknown for a few days, that was not the case.

Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill handedly won re-election, defeating Republican Congressman Todd Akin.

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

The number of heroin deaths in St. Louis County has decreased in recent months when compared to recent years, however, use of and addiction to the drug in the St. Louis area has grown to epidemic proportions.