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 Alex HeuerEvie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan, Caitlin Lally and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

St. Louis on the Air is sponsored by University College at Washington University

A Dutch historian is in St. Louis this week searching for information about 172 African-American soldiers who are buried or memorialized in the Netherlands American Cemetery, pictured here during a Memorial Day 2017 ceremony.
American Battle Monuments Commission

Some of the U.S. soldiers who helped liberate Holland in September 1944 during World War II never made it home, and many of them are buried or memorialized in the Netherlands American Cemetery. Those ranks include 172 African-American service members.

Dutch historian Sebastiaan Vonk's efforts to learn about their lives have taken him on a trip to St. Louis.

“There are a lot of veterans coming over each year [to the Netherlands], but the African-American veterans unfortunately have not been coming over a lot,” Vonk said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. “The stories are almost unknown. So that’s something that we, I guess you could say, want to get fixed and make sure that also their stories are told and also that their service is being honored.”

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” during the noon hour on Monday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

Cornerstone Chorale and Brass is a nonprofit organization that exists primarily to serve the mainline Christian churches. Through music, narration and drama, the choir focuses on social justice.

(L-R) Will Soll, Rachel Zolotov and Rabbi Brad Horwitz talked about showcasing Jewish arts and culture in St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has been home to a vibrant Jewish community for many decades. This weekend, an arts and culture festival will bring together various artists and musicians across the country to showcase Jewish talents, food and customs.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the upcoming festival, billed as “Sababa.” It’s a joint effort by the St. Louis Jewish Community Center (The J), St. Louis Jewish Federation and other local organizations. Joining the conversation were artist Rachel Zolotov and musician Will Soll, both of whom are participating in the event. Rabbi Brad Horwitz, director of Jewish Engagement & Adult Programs at The J, also joined the program.

Webster University's Jack Croghan (at left) and local attorney and soccer enthusiast Brian Howe joined Friday's talk show to provide analysis.
Jack Croghan and St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s episode of St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went behind the headlines to discuss the mounting effort to bring a Major League Soccer team to St. Louis.

The decision to make a bid for an MLS team — spearheaded by two St. Louis families – has been attracting both local and national attention.

Joining Marsh for the conversation were Jack Croghan and Brian Howe.

From left, Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, Miriam Ruiz and Colin McLaughlin joined Thursday's show  for a focus on immigration, labor and identity through a creative lens.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

While planning for the 20th anniversary of the Sheldon Art Galleries, director Olivia Lahs-Gonzales and her team could have looked to the past, drawing material for this fall’s exhibits from hundreds of retrospective possibilities. But they opted to celebrate the future instead.

“I thought, ‘What better way – since we serve our community – [than] to focus on our immigrant communities and celebrate them and show all of the range of contributions and the issues that surround [immigration], especially in today’s world?’” Lahs-Gonzales said Thursday on St. Louis on the Air. “I think it was really fitting to kind of look out, forward, rather than looking backward.”

She joined host Don Marsh alongside Miriam Ruiz, community programs manager for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and Colin McLaughlin, musical director for Bread & Roses Missouri, to discuss how the Sheldon and other artistically inclined entities and individuals are deepening St. Louisans' understanding of social issues in creative ways.

William Knoedelseder is the author of the new book, "Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit."
EVIE HEMPHILL | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, William Knoedelseder told host Don Marsh that when he decided to write a book about the rise of the American automotive industry, he, “tried to specifically make it not a book about cars.”

Rather, the University of Missouri-St. Louis alumnus and celebrated author wanted his newest biography, “Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit,” to paint a broader portrait of a moment in American history.

Logan Ely is the chef-owner of Savage.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

Looking for some new cuisine to kick off the fall?

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed some of St. Louis’s best new restaurants with our partners from Sauce Magazine.

Joining him for the culinary conversation were Sauce’s managing editor Heather Hughes and staff writer Matt Sorrell.

Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of LaunchCode, a St. Louis-based company celebrating its fifth anniversary this October.
LaunchCode

LaunchCode, an organization headquartered in St. Louis, celebrates its five-year anniversary this week. The nonprofit helps people enter the tech field by providing education and job placement services.

“We’ve got over 1,400 careers that we’ve launched so far in the five years that LaunchCode has been [in St. Louis], but that doesn’t count the people who have taken our training and gotten placed elsewhere,” explained entrepreneur and investor Jim McKelvey.

Along with fellow St. Louisan Jack Dorsey, McKelvey is the co-founder of Square and founder of LaunchCode, a company McKelvey started because St. Louis lacked a skilled workforce adept at programming.

Joining host Don Marsh (at left) for Tuesday's discussion were (from center left) four-time Tony nominee Terrence Mann, Variety CEO Jan Albus and Variety teen performer Selah Harris.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Musical-theater aficionados likely associate four-time Tony nominee Terrence Mann with the original Rum Tum Tugger of “Cats,” Inspector Javert in “Les Miserables” or perhaps one of the titular characters in “Beauty and the Beast.” Now the acclaimed actor is diving into yet another key role – this one on a St. Louis stage that will take him under the sea as King Triton.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, while taking a break from rehearsals for Variety Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid,” Mann joined host Don Marsh for a conversation alongside two St. Louisans who are also involved in the show.

Teenage performer Selah Harris was one of them, and when Marsh asked her what it’s like to work with someone as esteemed as Mann, Harris described the opportunity as “really amazing” in terms of boosting her drive and confidence as a young performer.

Alyson Thompson (left) and Kathryn Stinson (right) give advice and stress the importance of avoiding physical and emotional burnout.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Burnout, or the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress, is an issue many people face in their day-to-day lives. Among those commonly susceptible to it are teachers, social service workers, activists and first responders.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed ways in which people who are invested in emotionally draining work can avoid burnout and practice self-care. Joining the conversation were licensed professional counselor Kathryn Stinson and Alyson Thompson, co-founder of The 4A Project.

(L-R) Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, Carol Lara and Ness Sandoval talk about the experience of running small businesses and the influence of Hispanic businesses in the region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

While Missouri may not be the first state that comes to mind as home to a thriving Hispanic/Latino population, data shows that the demographic is growing rapidly and in turn directly impacting the economics of the region.

Over a span of five years, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the region has increased by 42 percent, according to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis. Additionally, Missouri ranks sixth in the nation for its number of Hispanic residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the influence Hispanic business owners have on the region in light of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) with Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, business counselor at the HCC and co-host of the bilingual business podcast DmeToo.

Washington University historian Peter Kastor joined host Don Marsh for a special Columbus Day segment of St. Louis on the Air to discuss Christopher Columbus's complex legacy.
EVIE HEMPHILL | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

This summer, Tower Grove Park administrators announced the establishment of a commission to address mounting calls to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus currently exhibited in the public park.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh addressed the issue of Columbus’s complex legacy with Peter Kastor, professor and chair of the Department of History at Washington University.

Marsh also heard from Bill Reininger, the executive director of Tower Grove Park, regarding the status of the commission tasked with determining the future of the Columbus statue.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies (at left) and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jim Craig, director of UMSL's Veterans Studies program, joined Friday's talk show.
File photos | David Kovaluk and Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies talked at length with Jason Kander earlier this year, the former Missouri secretary of state seemed upbeat about his next political move: running for mayor in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

“More so than some other statewide Democrats who lost in 2016, Kander has been the one who’s really tried to forge a new path for himself – and did so pretty quickly,” Mannies said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

So when the rising political star announced earlier this week that he was ending his mayoral campaign, citing a struggle with depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, it came as a surprise and “was shocking” to her.

The Webster Groves Arts Commission is honoring longtime actor Joneal Joplin with an award for lifetime achievement.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Joneal “Jop” Joplin has lost count of exactly how many roles he’s performed on St. Louis-area stages during his long acting career based in the region.

“I know that I’ve done something like 215, 220 shows in St. Louis – 101 at the Rep, 66 at the Muny,” he estimated Friday while talking with host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air.

Joplin, who will be honored Friday evening with the Webster Groves Arts Commission’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, got his start as an actor in New York. But after traveling to St. Louis with his young family in 1972 to participate in just one show – a production of “Mice and Men” – he was asked to stay in town for another show.

Sandra Moore (left) and Joan Lipkin (right) helped organize various voter registration drives in St. Louis to boost voting participation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Midterm elections are important. But Sandra Moore, managing director and chief impact officer at Advantage Capital, said what’s more important is “mobilizing folks to register and vote.”

“The vote is the most powerful individual thing we have to engage as citizens,” Moore explained. The former president of Urban Strategies joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday to talk about a voter education and registration drive that seeks to energize women in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County for the Nov. 6 election.

Hours before being honored with the 2018 St. Louis Literary Award, Stephen Sondheim spoke at length with "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh.
Provided by Saint Louis University

Stephen Sondheim hesitates to settle on a single beginning point from which his now 70-year-long career in musical theater took off. There were the piano lessons he began taking as a young child, something he acknowledges may have “infiltrated” him early on. Then there’s the show he wrote at age 15, a script family friend Oscar Hammerstein gave an unsparing critique. He also credits his enjoyment of films growing up.

“The music that most influenced me at first was movie music,” the renowned composer and lyricist said Thursday on St. Louis on the Air. “I was a big movie buff, so it was the scores of people like Franz Waxman and Max Steiner and Bernard Herrmann that got me going.”

University of Missouri-St. Louis Provost Kristin Sobolik and Chancellor Tom George joined host Don Marsh. | 10/3/18
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is embarking on a five-year strategic plan.

“It reflects where we want to be and what we want to focus on,” explained Kristin Sobolik, the university’s provost and executive vice chancellor, who joined UMSL in May 2017.

The five areas of focus are: student success, research and creative works, community engagement and economic development, inclusive excellence, and planning, operations and stewardship.

Florissant teen and singer Kennedy Holmes is a strong contestant on the 15th season of NBC's The Voice – havung recieved approval by all four of the show's celebrity judges.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Within the local scene, Florissant resident Kennedy Holmes has performed at various venues, including the Muny and Busch Stadium. But the 13-year-old recently caught the attention of people across the country during her blind audition on NBC’s The Voice singing competition.

Holmes received a standing ovation and approval from the show’s four judges: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and Holmes’ idol, Jennifer Hudson. Her audition clip went viral, with nearly 5 million views on YouTube.

“[Performing on The Voice] is absolutely the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” Holmes told host Don Marsh on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Chanticleer's 19-track album "Then and There, Here and Now" is set for release later this month.
Chanticleer

Over the past 40 years, San Francisco-based Chanticleer has gone to great lengths and unexpected places to refine and expand its vocal repertoire, bringing striking arrangements of popular music into the mix as well as commissioning new choral works by contemporary composers. But centuries-old songs can also be full of surprises – including Antonio de Salazar’s 17th-century arrangement of “Salve Regina.”

After a musicology professor discovered the manuscript buried within Mexico’s colonial-era Puebla Cathedral, he prepared it specifically for Chanticleer to perform.

“He unearthed it, quite literally, and he put all the parts together, and we sing it,” countertenor Gerrod Pagenkopf said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, just ahead of Chanticleer’s concert at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. “And it’s just a marvelous setting by a relatively unknown composer.”

Harvard's Michael Sandel, pictured here during a 2013 TED Conference in Scotland, joined Tuesday's talk show.
James Duncan Davidson | Flickr

Many have asserted that the unique polarization of our current political climate has resulted in an inability – or unwillingness – to sustain civil public discourse between oppositional parties.

Michael Sandel, a best-selling author and eminent political philosopher at Harvard University, believes not only that the quality of public discourse is declining, but that this decline could be eroding American democracy.

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