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 host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Jon Lewis 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 The Hammond Institute for Free Enterprise.

Salad with local wild greens, wild pickled mushrooms, huckleberry powder coated goat cheese and elk tenderloin.
(Courtesy of Rob Connoley)

Including Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, the Ozarks is a geographic region known for its mountainous topography, forests and tourism. The region also has a unique culinary history.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by St. Louis native and chef Rob Connoley. The James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest is planning to open Bulrush, a restaurant rooted in Ozark cuisine, this April in Grand Center.

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

St. Louis on the Air’s monthly Legal Roundtable will get underway Wednesday as host Don Marsh delves into a variety of recent local and national stories pertaining to the law.

The discussion is expected to touch on regional matters including pretrial detention at the city’s medium-security Workhouse, the latest news surrounding the Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office and the police department, and the proposed Missouri legislation that would change Title IX procedures at colleges and universities in the state, among other topics.

Joining the discussion will be William Freivogel, J.D., journalism professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale; local attorney Nicole Gorovsky, J.D.; and retired Missouri Appellate Court Judge Lisa Van Amburg, J.D.

After retiring from a long career as a teacher in St. Louis, Beverly Buck Brennan opted to take up the art of cabaret. Her show "Love and Marriage" begins at 8 p.m. Friday at the Kranzberg Arts Center.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been said that life is a cabaret. But what exactly is a cabaret? Ask storyteller and performer Beverly Buck Brennan, and she’ll list three key things: a singer, a piano and someone to play it.

“Cabaret also, by definition, is about getting to know the performer personally,” the lifelong St. Louisan told host Don Marsh on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “It’s not like you’re in a musical or you’re playing a character – you’re just you up there, which I had to learn about … I had to really pull back [from musical-theater training] … and try to mellow out and be really in a conversation with the audience.”

College Bound's Debbie Greenberg (at left) and UMSL's Alan Byrd joined Monday's talk show for a closer look at what's happening in the world of college admissions.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis-area teens with whom Debbie Greenberg interacts at College Bound are doing everything they’re supposed to do as they prepare to further their education – seeking out mentors, studying for college-entrance exams, gaining financial literacy and more.

But with a high-profile college-admissions scandal making headlines at the same time that institutions around the country are releasing decision letters to potential students, some of those local teens are also feeling “a sense of outrage,” Greenberg said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air.

“There are still barriers, there are still roadblocks” for these high school students, she added, noting that the recent revelations about powerful parents using illegal means to get their children into elite schools are indicative of a much broader problem.

(March 18, 2019) Award-winning composer/trumpeter Terence Blanchard talked about his unlikely venture into jazz opera and his work on various Spike Lee films, including "BlacKkKlansman."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The name Terence Blanchard is well known in the worlds of jazz and opera. The Academy Award nominee and Grammy Award-winning composer/trumpeter scored a big hit a few years ago with “Champion”, a joint co-commission by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) and Jazz St. Louis about boxer Emile Griffith.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Blanchard about his latest OSTL commissioned production, “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” as well as his work on the recent Spike Lee film, "BlacKkKlansman."

(March 11, 2019) David Kimball, professor and Graduate Director of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, discussed alternative methods of voting including: ranked choice, proportional and cumulative.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The recent primary election for president of the Board of Aldermen resulted in a narrow win for incumbent Lewis Reed. He won his fourth term with less than 40 percent of the vote. His two opponents, State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed and Alderwoman Megan Green, split more than 60 percent of the votes.

With more people voting against Reed than for him, some have questioned if there are other voting methods that would reflect a more accurate majority-vote win.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh explored alternative forms of voting with David Kimball, professor and Graduate Director of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Some methods include ranked -choice, proportional and cumulative voting.  

Taran Davies, one of the producers of "Superpower Dogs," joined host Don Marsh to discuss the documentary. March 15, 2019
Cosmic Picture Limited

Dogs are often regarded as “man’s best friend,” but to many, they can be so much more. “Superpower Dogs,” a new IMAX film which opens Friday and plays through July at the St. Louis Science Center, shows working dogs all over the world and the ways they are vital – from search and rescue missions to protecting endangered wildlife.

Taran Davies, one of the film’s producers, joined host Don Marsh on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air to discuss the project. He explained that it was only during filming the dogs in action that he and the crew realized the extent of the dogs’ abilities. 

Gov. Mike Parson delivers his first State of the State address Jan. 16, 2019.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As the Missouri General Assembly hits its week-long spring break, lawmakers are mulling over what they’ve accomplished so far — and bracing for an array of items that haven’t reached the legislative finish line.

While lawmakers in both the House and Senate have been able to tackle issues that have historically stalled, such as curtailing the low-income housing tax-credit program, priorities that Gov. Mike Parson holds near and dear have run into opposition from his own party.

Radio One St. Louis invited St. Louisans to gather at Art Hill for a self-portrait of St. Louis March 14, known as 314 Day, in 2014.
Lawrence Bryant

March 14 is celebrated nationally as Pi Day in honor of the mathematical constant π. But in St. Louis, the local community acknowledges another aspect of the 314 numerical value – the city itself.

For years, locals – especially in the black community – have embraced showing pride for St. Louis through informal gatherings or St. Louis-themed parties in clubs and venues such as 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center.

The proposal would upgrade the America's Center Convention Center in downtown St. Louis to include a new public park and large ballroom among other improvements to the complex, as depicted in this artist's rendering.
Explore St. Louis

To hear Kitty Ratcliffe tell it, the America’s Center Convention Center in downtown St. Louis has had a good run since it first opened in 1977 – and since it grew bigger with the addition of the Dome in 1995. But now, she says, the 42-year-old complex needs some major attention – to the tune of $175 million in upgrades and expansion.

“[America’s Center] was not really purposely designed as that entire complex [that it is today] – it’s really three different pieces that don’t really work all that well,” Ratcliffe told host Don Marsh during Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And what we’ve seen in the last decade or so is that every major city that we compete against has either built a new building, like Nashville did, where they built a $623 million, brand-new convention center downtown, or has made major improvements to theirs. San Antonio spent $325 million, as an example.”

Sylvester Brown discussed his vision for engaging area young people on Wednesday's "St. Louis on the Air" with host Don Marsh.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Seven years ago, writer and community activist Sylvester Brown founded the Sweet Potato Project in north St. Louis to promote urban farming and provide entrepreneurial skills to underserved youth. Brown’s involvement in the project has now led to his newly released book “When We Listen: Recognizing The Potential of Urban Youth.”

“Working with young, black kids for the past seven years has exposed me to the hard truths and long-lasting effects of generational poverty, hunger, homelessness, psychic trauma, low sense of self, lack of all-encompassing love and more,” Brown said in a press release. “This was the motivation for writing this book.”

Brown, who is a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist, discussed his vision for engaging area young people on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air with host Don Marsh.

Sarah Bockel performs as Carole King in "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," which returns to the Fox Theatre March 12 through 17.  March 12, 2019
Joan Marcus

When “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” opens its 2019 North American tour at the Fabulous Fox Theatre Tuesday evening, it will be a bit of a homecoming for stage producer Paul Blake.

Blake, who joined host Don Marsh on Tuesday’s St. Louison the Air, spent 22 years as executive producer at the Muny. He left the Forest Park summer stage after the 2011 season while he was putting “Beautiful” together, and he told Marsh that his experience at the Muny was vital to developing the show.

“Had I not been at the Muny for 22 years, 'Beautiful' would not be what it is. Those years educated me so much,” he said.

Washington University School of Medicine's Deanna Barch (at left) and Joan Luby joined Tuesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A study released this week by the National Institutes of Health indicates that nearly one-third of Americans between the ages of 10 and 12 “screened positive for suicide risk in emergency department settings.”

Meanwhile, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have been studying even younger children who think and talk about suicide – and their most recent findings refute some conventional wisdom about children’s understanding of what it means to die.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, two local experts joined host Don Marsh to discuss the topic: Dr. Deanna Barch and Dr. Joan Luby.

County music superstar Garth Brooks talked to the media the day before the concert. | March 8, 2019
Jon Lewis | St. Louis Public Radio

Country music superstar Garth Brooks said he was terrified to take the stage Saturday night at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis.

He acknowledged that feeling of performance anxiety to a sold-out audience of some 75,000 fans – a record for the venue – and at a press conference the day before the concert.

“[I’m] scared to death to go into stadiums and arenas,” Brooks said. “I came [to St. Louis] because I’ve been here. It’s going to be like eating ice cream with two spoons.”

(March 11,2019) (L-R) LaShana Lewis, Susan Gobbo and Katie Carpenter discussed local efforts underway to attract and retain newcomers to the region.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Moving to a new city can sometimes be daunting, whether it’s a move for work, family or school. But it doesn’t always have to be – and in St. Louis, there are resources that transplants can take advantage of if they know where to look.

A variety of local efforts are underway to attract and retain newcomers to the region, and on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a discussion about where those activities are at – and what new St. Louisans can do to make their transition to the area more seamless.

Milkweed (at left), serviceberry (upper right) and buttonbush are just a few of the native plants that help St. Louis-area birds, butterflies and other wildlife thrive.
Shaw Nature Reserve and St. Louis Audubon Society

Even as an especially wintry winter continues to make itself known across the St. Louis region, spring is more and more on residents’ minds – and will finally be here, at least officially, in less than two weeks.

Along with warmer temperatures the new season brings renewed focus on gardening and yardwork, and on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a discussion about fostering native habitats and incorporating native plants as part of those efforts.

University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education's James Shuls (at left), SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams (at center) and Missouri NEA Legislative Director Otto Fajen discussed challenges surrounding teacher compensation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this week, the local union representing educators who serve in St. Louis Public Schools began arbitration relating to its claims about pay discrepancy within the district.

American Federation of Teachers Local 420 claims many of its members are being paid less than colleagues with the same credentials and are seeking $10 million worth of salary increases and back pay for nearly 1,000 teachers and support staff.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a conversation in light of that news, touching on challenges surrounding teacher compensation as well as other matters. Joining the discussion were SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams, Missouri NEA Legislative Director Otto Fajen and the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education’s James Shuls

Keith O'Brien is the author of "Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Ninety years ago, daring air races across the U.S. routinely attracted crowds that would dwarf attendance at spectacles such as the Super Bowl today.

“I’m talking about a half million people – paying customers – during the Great Depression coming out to watch races over the course of a weekend,” Keith O’Brien said during Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. “An additional half million would watch for free from the hoods of their automobiles parked on nearby highways … in this little window of time, air racing was one of the most popular sports in America.”

The pilots vying for the prize were usually men, and the few women pilots were often ridiculed – until they combined forces to break down barriers and make aviation history.

Catherine "Cady" Coleman (center), who spent about six months aboard the International Space Station during her NASA career, traveled to St. Louis last month to help celebrate two Missouri Girl Scouts, Molly Frei (at left) and Lilly Orskog, who are doing
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Retired astronaut and U.S. Air Force officer Catherine “Cady” Coleman is among very few people who have lived in space. But during a visit to St. Louis last month, she came across as equally excited about life on Earth – especially because of her interactions with some accomplished high school students.

Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air included a conversation with Coleman as well as comments from two Gold Award Girl Scouts, 17-year-old Molly Frei and 16-year-old Lilly Orskog, who Coleman came to town to help celebrate alongside the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri.

(March 07, 2019)  St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger answered questions on the state of the county and recent news concerning the region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

The conversation touched on the state of the county and recent news concerning the region, including the St. Louis County Council’s attempt to remove him from office, the potential city-county merger and the possible privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Esther Shin is president of Urban Strategies, a national nonprofit that is headquartered in St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A 2018 study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that a St. Louisan who earns minimum wage would have to work 81 hours per week in order to afford a modest apartment. That reality is part of what Esther Shin describes as a “national affordable-housing challenge” stretching from San Francisco to New York City.

Shin is president of Urban Strategies, Inc., a national nonprofit based in St. Louis that is among several organizations working to address the crisis.

St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed declares victory on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, after defeating three other candidates for re-election.
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed’s narrow victory on Tuesday required some unusual political coalitions and allies to come together.

Reed bested state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed and Alderwoman Megan Green in easily the toughest re-election bid since he captured the presidency of the Board of Aldermen in 2007. It came after years of political toil for the Democratic official, featuring two unsuccessful bids for mayor and high-profile fights over some contentious issues.

From left, Julie Pole, Lucinda Perry and Meredith Knopp joined Tuesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Roughly 850,000 people are facing food insecurity in the state of Missouri alone – and that includes about 220,000 kids.

“We estimate roughly one in five kids in the state of Missouri [are] hungry or at risk of not knowing where their next meal is going to be coming from,” Operation Food Search’s Lucinda Perry said Tuesday on St. Louis on the Air.

Perry, who is director of strategic initiatives for the nonprofit, joined host Don Marsh alongside guests from two other St. Louis-area organizations that focus on addressing food insecurity: Food Outreach and the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

(March 05, 2019) Moacyr Marchini (at left) and Mack Bradley compared Mardi Gras festivities here in St. Louis and Brazil, where the holiday is referred to as Carnival.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On the Saturday before Fat Tuesday – or Mardi Gras – thousands fill the streets of St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood to celebrate with music, colorful beads and booze. The holiday is one of St. Louis’ biggest events, but it’s even bigger in cities across the country and world.

The holiday dates back to the middle ages and has evolved over time. On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh explored Mardi Gras festivities here in St. Louis and Brazil, where the holiday is referred to as Carnival.

Lance Weiss is a certified public accountant and partner with SFW Partners, LLC in St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Many average Americans aren’t seeing the kinds of refunds they expected in the wake of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – instead, it’s wealthier people that are tending to see larger refunds. That’s according to Lance Weiss, a certified public accountant and partner with SFW Partners, LLC in St. Louis.

“You can’t argue with the math,” Weiss said during Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “The [new] tax code was really designed to give bigger refunds to higher-income taxpayers, and that’s exactly what it’s doing.”

He added that most people probably did see “their total tax liability” drop, however.

Dishes from Balkan Treat Box, located on 8103 Big Bend Blvd, Webster Groves, MO 63119.
Meera Nagarajan | Sauce Magazine

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about some of the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food-and-beverage community. Joining Marsh for the Hit List segment were Sauce Magazine managing editor Catherine Klene and staff writer Matt Sorrell.

In addition to highlighting the top food spots to visit, Klene and Sorrell discussed the local chefs honored by the James Beard Foundation. The organization awards chefs and industry professionals for excellence in the culinary industry. This year, six St. Louis-area chefs and one bar received semifinalists nominations.

Adam Ployd, Matt Miofsky and Shahla Farzan joined host Don Marsh. March 1, 2019
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday afternoon, international delegates from the United Methodist Church voted to reaffirm the church’s bans on holding same-sex weddings and ordaining LGBTQ clergy people.

Jason Reckamp (at left) and Patti Naumann joined Friday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with two St. Louisans directly impacted by adoption – and by the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, which thousands of people have taken advantage of since the legislation passed in 2016.

Joining the discussion were Patti Naumann, a lineal descendant of a deceased Missouri adoptee, and Jason Reckamp, an adoptee who recently connected with his birth parents after many years of searching.

Taulby Roach started as CEO and president of Bi-State Development about two months ago.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 1 with comments on timeline — Since being named CEO and president of Bi-State Development a couple months ago, Taulby Roach has emphasized improving security throughout the St. Louis region’s Metro Transit system.

A New York-based engineering firm last week released its final recommendations from a eight-month study of MetroLink’s safety and security. The evaluation comes after years of claims from riders and politicians that the MetroLink is unsafe, even though data shows that crime on the system is relatively low compared to ridership.

Greg Rannells

St. Louis on the Air’s latest Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine explored how local chocolatiers create confections ranging from truffles and sauces to classic chocolate bars – and what makes them different from mass-produced chocolates from companies such as Mars and Hershey’s.

On Thursday’s program, host Don Marsh talked with Sauce Magazine managing editor Catherine Klene and Brian Pelletier, chief chocolatier and owner of Kakao Chocolate.

It’s one thing to make chocolate, but another to whip it up as a delicacy.

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