Today, the Curators of the University of Missouri System approved the merger of St. Louis Public Radio and The St. Louis Beacon. Beginning in December, the organizations will combine newsrooms and begin to change the face of independent local news in our region and beyond by providing even more depth and perspective on issues and stories that impact our community.
Additionally the new organization will work closely with the University of Missouri system, particularly the School of Journalism in Columbia, to train journalism students in public media and to develop a sustainable business model for the industry.
From Beacon reporter Dale Singer in a detailed report about the approval of the merger: “Dean Mills, dean of the journalism school at Mizzou, told the curators at their meeting that he was excited about the chance for students to work in the St. Louis area and for the Reynolds Journalism Institute on the Columbia campus to apply its research on a new journalistic structure. When approached about the idea, he said, ‘it took me 20 seconds to say yes, yes, yes.’”
Today St. Louis Public Radio general manager Tim Eby said, “We are excited about this first in the nation merging of an non-profit online news start-up and a public radio news operation. We feel that this is a model that will bring about a stronger local service for the St. Louis region on-air, on-line, and in the community.” In a post on this blog in September Tim detailed more of his take on the last year of merger talks.
Beacon editor Margie Freivogel is set to lead the newsroom effort of the combined media organization. Her thoughts on today’s developments are detailed in her editor’s column.
National press has been paying to attention to the merger. Here’s what other news organizations have been saying:
- Poynter: Merger between St. Louis Beacon, St. Louis Public Radio Gets Closer
- Current (public media industry news): University board approves St. Louis Public Radio merger with St. Louis Beacon
It was just about a year ago that the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio jointly announced their intention to explore forming an alliance to better serve the St. Louis region through journalism.
Through the past year we have been investigating how, by bringing our two organizations together, we can better serve the St. Louis region. Through this exploration we have come to believe that high quality journalism is an important component in creating a narrative about the challenges and realizations of a region reinventing itself. By providing deep reporting, thoughtful discussion and interesting perspectives on key questions, citizens in the region will gain a better understanding of the important issues happening in our region.
Our two organizations combined will have nearly 40 news and content staff producing audio, text, video, data, and photography across digital and broadcast platforms. Of course this is in addition to programs and content from our public radio partners on-air and on-line.
The discussions of the merger over the past year have also triggered exciting academic and research initiatives in a three-way partnership with the University of Missouri – St. Louis’ College of Fine Arts and Communication, and the University of Missouri – Columbia’s School of Journalism.
Through this partnership utilizing UMSL at Grand Center (the home of St. Louis Public Radio) as a base, UMSL and UMC are cooperatively investing further convergent media opportunities and research in emerging technology and interactive design, where best practices learned from the Reynolds Journalism Institute are being used to develop models for sustaining quality, multi-platform journalism in metropolitan areas.
This vision was presented earlier this month to the Board of Curators of University of Missouri System, the governing authority for St. Louis Public Radio, UMSL, and UMC. The proposal was enthusiastically received by the Curators and we have been given the go ahead to formalize an agreement between the Beacon, the University and St. Louis Public Radio that the curators can consider for approval at their next meeting in November.
As a follow-up to the Curators meeting earlier this month, Board Chair Wayne Goode and University system President Timothy Wolfe sent a letter to stakeholders of our two organizations outlining why the prospect of the merger is so exciting.
“The list of partners at both the regional and national levels for this endeavor is amazing. We recognize that the world of media is watching this with keen interest. We are proud of this pioneering effort in the future of media and journalism…”
To learn more about this effort, you can read a report from Coats2Coats Consulting from our initial work on the merger that was funded through a grant from The Knight Foundation. If you’re interested in learning more about the merger, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proving that a public radio station can listen as well as broadcast, we have made some programming changes after receiving member and listener feedback regarding our July programming changes.
- Science Friday returns to the KWMU and WQUB lineup beginning Friday, September 27, 2013 and will air Fridays from 1-2 p.m. and again from 9-10 p.m.
- Fresh Air will regain an afternoon slot on Monday-Thursday from 1-2 p.m. It will also remain on the schedule in the evenings from 9-10 p.m.
- Here and Now will air from 2-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. We will continue our collaboration with Here and Now to bring reports from St. Louis to the national program on a regular basis.
“We made the decision to bring back Science Friday and move Fresh Air back to the afternoon as a result of feedback from our listeners and members,” said General Manager Tim Eby. “Public radio listeners are passionate and loyal people, and we truly value their opinions and their support.”
We are pleased to announce that Geri Mitchell has been named the new Morning Host at St. Louis Public Radio and Quincy Public Radio. Geri will begin her hosting duties on Morning Edition this Monday, September 23 at 5 a.m.
Since 2009, Geri has been a familiar weekend voice on St. Louis Public Radio–heard mostly on Saturday afternoons. She is also a familiar voice for listeners to The Gateway | KWMU-2.
Mitchell is a 21-year veteran of radio and has spent time at KUSA, KEZK, KYKY, KSD and KMOX.
Geri has an MBA in Business Marketing from the University of Phoenix and a B.S. in Mass Communications/Journalism from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
One of the most rewarding aspects of working in public radio is that we know our listeners care about and are highly engaged in their community.
Public radio listeners have high levels of participation in all forms of public discourse, from contacting the media to attending public meetings. Listeners are vocal advocates for causes they support, and have strong community ties that give them disproportionate influence in their social and political networks.
That is why through our work we seek to illuminate, investigate, challenge and celebrate what it means to be a St. Louisan, and through these efforts connect you to stories and events from places nearby and far away.
Our efforts should:
- Help individuals live a more thoughtful and fulfilling life and be better prepared to make decisions and take action;
- Help our region appreciate its culture, recognize its strengths, understand its challenges, and embrace its opportunities;
- Help our democracy by ensuring that everyone has access to information they need to understand the events and ideas that shape our world.
This work is made possible through individuals, businesses, and institutions who support us. Thanks.
Growth and progress often are accompanied by change. And change is coming to the St. Louis Public Radio program lineup beginning Monday, July 1.
Our move to Grand Center last year initiated a significant effort by St. Louis Public Radio to strengthen our connection across the St. Louis region. The updated program schedule that begins in July will reflect that approach through an expanded effort of collaboration with producers of other public radio programs.
At 11 a.m. each weekday, we’re excited to announce that The Takeaway, with host John Hockenberry, will begin airing on Monday, July 1. The program is a unique partnership of global news leaders PRI (Public Radio International) and WNYC/New York Public Radio in collaboration with The New York Times and WGBH/Boston.
As outlined in a New York Times article from April, The Takeaway has recently taken on a new approach that includes more perspectives from reporters at local stations, instead of presenting a purely national perspective. We’re excited about this opportunity to give our excellent team of reporters and producers at St. Louis Public Radio a new venue to showcase their expertise and connect the stories and issues in St. Louis with a national audience.
In addition, some of you may remember John Hockenberry as the first host of Talk of the Nation!
Here’s a sample from a recent broadcast from The Takeaway.
With this same concept in mind, we’ll also begin airing Here & Now from NPR with co-hosts Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson at 1 p.m. This news magazine covers news that breaks between Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
As with The Takeaway, St. Louis Public Radio will be one of several local stations around the country that will be collaborating to provide news features and other content for the program. As a contributing station, we’ll have the chance to bring a distinctly St. Louis perspective to national stories.
You can listen to a sample from a recent Here and Now broadcast below to give you a taste of what you’ll hear beginning on July 1.
These additions are precipitated of course by the discontinuation on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. NPR notified us in March of its decision to cease production of the program. The final broadcast of Talk of the Nation and Science Friday will be Friday, June 28.
In coordination with these additions, St. Louis on the Air/Cityscape will move to a new time at 12 p.m. The noon hour is one of the most coveted times in radio, and the move will let us really showcase our local talk shows. Fresh Air will then move to 9 p.m. We will no longer air the second hour of On Point.
All of these changes begin on Monday, July 1.
We also have one additional change to our weekend lineup starting Sunday, July 7. We’re pleased to be adding the TED Radio Hour with host Guy Raz to our Sunday lineup at 1 p.m. Based on fascinating TEDTalks given by riveting speakers on the renowned TED stage, the show tackles astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems and new ways to think and create. Studio 360 will move to Fridays at 11 p.m.
Thank you for your wonderful support for St. Louis Public Radio this year. We look forward to hearing from you regarding these new additions to our line-up.
Here’s a short list of all of the changes:
- At 11 a.m., each weekday, The Takeaway will air.
- St. Louis on the Air/Cityscape will move to 12 p.m. (noon) each weekday.
- Here & Now will air each weekday at 1 p.m.
- Fresh Air will move to 9 p.m. each weeknight.
- We will be adding the TED Radio Hour on Sundays at 1 p.m. (starting July 7)
- Studio 360 will move to Fridays at 11 p.m.
- Talk of the Nation is ceasing production and will be leaving our air.
- We will no longer air Talk of the Nation Science Friday after June 28.
- We will no longer air the second hour of On Point.
One of the most popular thank you gifts we offered during our March Membership campaign were the Public Radio Tattos offered by This American Life. The tattoos have now made it to NPR in Washington, DC and you can see the results below.
So … what’s your favorite?
St. Louis Public Radio is working with NPR to conduct two focus groups related to the show All Things Considered on Monday, April 29. We are looking for a variety of All Things Considered listeners: those who listen every day and those who may listen only once or twice a week.
If you’re interested in participating, please start by taking this very brief survey.
Arch City Radio Hour is an hour-long program featuring music artists, bands, and events in the St. Louis region. Every two weeks, host Nick Garcia – of Archcityradio.com – will highlight notable St. Louis musicians and songs. The show will also feature in-depth interviews and live performances.
Performers Beth Bombara and Marc Chechik were featured on the previous Arch City Radio Hour.
Beth Bombara writes and performs her own music, which she describes as Americana with a shot of blues. She has released three CDs, one LP, is working on a 7″ single, and is looking forward to releasing two EPs for 2013. She was named 2012 Best Singer-Songwriter by the Riverfront Times.
Beth and her band performed “Just Can’t Win” from her first album, and a brand new, unreleased song:
Marc Chechik is the song writer and rhythm guitarist for the band Melody Den. Melody Den’s second release, “Storylines”, delivers sharp, insightful songwriting with rock n’ roll instrumentation.
Marc performed the song “Storylines”, the title cut from Melody Den’s new album:
Currently on the Show
Fred Friction and Jason Hutto are our featured guests on the current Arch City Radio Hour.
Fred Friction first made a name for himself in the St. Louis music scene as a sideman on spoons, then ran the legendary south St. Louis club Frederick’s Music Lounge while playing with rock trio Highway Matrons, and has released one album, “Jesus Drank Wine.”
Fred is in the midst of an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for his next album, “Murder Balladeer”, which Jason is producing.
Steve St. Cyr (pictured: center in blue) will be our guest for the February 18-March 3 Arch City Radio Hour.
Steve produces Songbird STL, an intimate, in-the-round singer-songwriter show, every couple of months at the Focal Point in Maplewood. Steve got his idea from seeing Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and carried this idea to St. Louis.
Steve will talk about the origin and history of Songbird, and play some of the more memorable performances from past Songbird Cafe shows, including a couple of the songs from a Songbird that took place in the UMSL Grand Center Community Room back in December 2012.
To listen to past episodes, visit stlpublicradio.org. New shows are added every other Monday.
St. Louis Public radio received the Champion of the Arts Award from the Arts and Education Council at the 2013 St. Louis Arts Awards at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel on Monday, January 21, 2013.
The event kicks off the Arts and Education Council’s 50th anniversary of funding various arts organizations in the St. Louis area. Proceeds from the event benefited the Arts and Education Council’s annual campaign which funds nearly 70 arts education organizations throughout the bi-state region.
The award is given each year to one business or organization that epitomizes leadership, generosity, and dedication towards the arts in their local community. Local groups, organizations, and citizens nominate local businesses for this honor. The award is artwork by local artists.
St. Louis Public Radio is a constant supporter of the arts community in the St. Louis area through online and on-air work. St. Louis Public Radio provides the St. Louis area with in-depth interviews, a forum for civil discussion, and entertaining programs that focus on the issues and people that make up the St. Louis area. St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts live St. Louis Symphony performances on Saturday evenings, provides a 24-hour stream of classical music online and on HD channel Classical KWMU-2, and covers happenings in the arts in St. Louis each week on Cityscape. A video of the work St. Louis Public Radio produces was shared at the event.
Also honored at the Awards were Chuck Berry with the Lifetime Achievement award in the Arts, PNC Bank with the award for Corporate Support of the Arts; Judy and Jerry Kent for Excellence in Philanthropy; the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for Excellence in the Arts; Michael Uthoff for Excellence in the Arts; and Duane Martin Fosteras Art Educator of the Year.