St. Louis Speakers Series | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Speakers Series

Former Secretary of State John Kerry
Courtesy of John Kerry's Facebook page

Former Secretary of State John Kerry says it’s imperative for Congress to figure out whether President Donald Trump abused his power to harm a political rival.

Kerry’s comments to St. Louis Public Radio on Tuesday came ahead of his speech next week in St. Louis amid louder calls for impeachment over Trump’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Comedian Jay Leno, who will be in St. Louis as part of the St. Louis Speakers Series.
Courtesy of St. Louis Speakers Series

A major part of entertainment has long involved the collective watching of various activities on TV networks: late-night comedians, sports championships and glamorous award shows. But with the rising popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, the pervasiveness of appointment viewing seems to be waning.

Among the notable entertainers many have made time to tune in and watch over the years is Jay Leno. The comedian and former “Tonight Show” host said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air that while people aren’t tuning in to their favorite hosts routinely anymore, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Republican politician Jeb Bush, pictured here at a 2015 event, joined "St. Louis on the Air" for a conversation ahead of his Jan. 22 St. Louis Speakers Series appearance at Powell Hall.
Gage Skidmore

When St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Monday asked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush if he was glad to see the end of 2018 – which marked the passing of both of his parents – Bush acknowledged it had been a difficult year but focused on the celebration of what he called “purposeful lives.”

“It was a sad time,” Bush said, “but at the same time it was a wonderful time to be able to celebrate the life of my mom and dad and to see the outpouring of love and incredible support to our family.”

He joined the talk show ahead of a visit to St. Louis set for Jan. 22, when he’ll be giving an evening talk at Powell Hall as part of the St. Louis Speakers Series. He said he plans to “paint a picture of where we are as a country.”

"St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh spoke with the former FBI director, who is pictured here during a 2016 event at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
FBI | Flickr

James Comey expressed both concern and hope about the state of U.S. institutions and the rule of law during a St. Louis Public Radio interview on Wednesday.

“I think we’re in two different places,” the former FBI director told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “We’re in a place where the president of the United States relentlessly attacks the rule of law and the institutions of justice, so that’s terrible. But the second place that we’re in is that Americans have awakened to the importance of the rule of law and the danger of its erosion, and that’s a very, very important sort of antibody response. And it’s a source for optimism.”

The prolific author and TV and radio host will speak at 8 p.m. Feb. 20 at Powell Hall.
Rick Steves’ Europe

With more than 50 guidebooks to his name, Rick Steves is a go-to authority on international travel – particularly when it comes to Europe. But whether one’s destination is Italy or India, his main piece of advice is to travel thoughtfully.

“You just have to decide,” Steves said in a St. Louis on the Air interview just prior to his Feb. 20 visit to the Gateway City as part of the St. Louis Speakers Series. “Do you want to lie on the beach with a bunch of other Americans, or do you want to actually get out into the local culture and check things out?”

St. Louis Speakers Series

From revolutions to war zones, journalist and author Robin Wright has covered many massive moments in world history – all without a team by her side or a helmet on her head. She’s reported from 140 countries spanning across six continents.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, producer Lara Hamdan talked with Wright about her career and upcoming talk in St. Louis on Jan. 23 as part of the St. Louis Speakers Series. There she will talk about her expertise in Middle East issues and share her insights into the region.

Goldie Taylor
Robert Ector Photography

Former St. Louisan Goldie Taylor is the editor-at-large for the Daily Beast. Although a long-time cable news contributor (she’s been on CNN, HLN and MSNBC), Taylor said that cable news and social media have “let us down” over the issues that divide the United States.

“Maybe I’m the optimist here, but I think we’re better off than our popular media suggests, than what we see on social media or cable news,” Taylor told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “So many of us know one another as neighbors, friends, coworkers.”

Morris Dees, co-founder, Southern Poverty Law Center.
CSS Group

Morris Dees, the co-founder of Southern Poverty Law Center, was born in 1936 and grew up on a small cotton farm in Alabama. His parents didn’t own the land, but the family worked it, alongside many African-Americans. That experience was integral to his development as someone who leads the charge against hate and intolerance through his work with the SPLC, a non-profit legal organization that works to eradicate hate and intolerance through education and litigation.

Former FBI Director Mueller Visits St. Louis

Feb 17, 2015
Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III
Used with permission/St. Louis Speakers Series

Robert S. Mueller III became director of the FBI in 2001, just one week before the Sept. 11 attacks. He then had the enormous responsibility of leading the agency through a transformation into the threat-based, intelligence-led organization it is today.

Mueller spoke to St. Louis Public Radio's Katie Cook about the changes the FBI underwent post 9/11, and the many efforts its agents made to better serve the country’s changing needs.

Martin Sheen Kicks Off St. Louis Speaker Series

Sep 26, 2014
Martin Sheen
via St. Louis Speakers Series

Actor Martin Sheen will kick off this year’s St. Louis Speaker Series on Oct. 7.

“I’m going to reflect on my career as an actor, but also as an activist, as a husband, a father, a grandfather,” Sheen said.

On-screen, Sheen is well-known for “Apocalypse Now,” “Badlands” and “The West Wing.” Producer Alex Heuer talked to Sheen on the 15th anniversary of the debut of “The West Wing.”

Martin Sheen
via St. Louis Speakers Series

On Sept. 22, 1999, a drama about life in the West Wing of the White House debuted on NBC.

In advance of his appearance in St. Louis in October, actor Martin Sheen, who played President Josiah (Jed) Bartlet, reflected on the legacy of The West Wing and its effect on him.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 30, 2011 - As she talks about her past and present, Valerie Plame Wilson is short and succinct. "I'm a wife, I'm a mother,'' she says. "And I was once a spy."

Plame Wilson was a veteran CIA operative when her cover was blown by the Bush administration and columnist Bob Novak in 2003 during a dispute over the reasons for the Iraq War.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 12, 2011 - Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author Joseph Ellis, who has specialized in chronicling the lives and times of the nation's founding fathers, says that they would be shocked and dismayed by the power of money and the combative atmosphere that permeates the nation's political process.