Archive | May 2012

We Are The Champion…

… Of the Arts!

So says the Arts and Education Council in announcing the 2013 St. Louis Arts Awards.

Presented since 1992, the St. Louis Arts Awards is the preeminent award ceremony honoring individuals who achieve a legacy of artistic excellence, and organizations and businesses that enrich St. Louis’ arts and cultural community.

Joining St. Louis Public Radio as honorees in 2013 are:

  • Chuck Berry, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts;
  • PNC Bank, Corporate Support of the Arts;
  • Judy and Jerry Kent, Excellence in Philanthropy;
  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Excellence in the Arts;
  • Michael Uthoff, Excellence in the Arts; and
  • Duane Martin Foster, Art Educator of the Year.

In making the announcement, Cynthia A. Prost, president of the Arts and Education Council, said:

“These honorees represent the breadth of the arts community and the exceptional creative work happening across the St. Louis region. We are honored to recognize their achievements and welcome the community to join us in celebrating their contributions to St. Louis and the world.”

The recognition as Champion of the Arts is a perfect fit for us given our commitment to celebrating the arts and culture in the St. Louis region. Each Friday Cityscape showcases the region’s arts happenings at 11 a.m., with the rebroadcast at 10 p.m., and we’re regularly covering the arts with our regional news efforts.

St. Louis Public Radio also serves as the broadcast home for the St. Louis Symphony’s Saturday night concerts as well as our 24-hour, 7-day-a-week classical music service on Classical 90.7 KWMU-3. Plus, we have a long history of collaborations, partnerships, and sponsorships with arts organizations throughout the region; we hope to expand this even more with our upcoming move to our new home in Grand Center.

The 2013 St. Louis Arts Awards will be held Monday, January 21, 2013 at the Chase Park Plaza beginning with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards program at 7 p.m. The awards ceremony kicks off the Arts and Education Council’s 50th anniversary year and will be chaired by Ken and Nancy Kranzberg. Presenting sponsor of the event is Emerson. Proceeds from the event benefit the Arts and Education Council’s annual campaign, which funds nearly 70 arts and arts-education organizations throughout the 16-county bi-state region.

The Arts and Education Council is a collaboration of businesses, individuals, and community partners who work to raise funds and enhance the quality and variety of arts experiences throughout the 16-county, bi-state St. Louis region.

Philanthropy and The Firewall

Last week we were thrilled to share the news of a gift of $1 million from Monsanto Company in support of our future home in the Grand Center Arts & Entertainment District in midtown St. Louis.

The Monsanto Community Education Center will be located on the first floor of the new UMSL at Grand Center building, 3651 Olive Street in St. Louis. The building will also serve as the new home for the studios and offices of St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU.

With this exciting gift from Monsanto Company, the $12 million campaign for a new home for the station is now just $2.6 million from completion.

As exciting and important as this announcement is for us at the station, it also resulted in some questions from a few  listeners worried that a gift of this size from a company that we frequently report on might adversely influence our editorial decision-making.

We have always maintained a strict policy that separates our funders (individuals, corporations, and foundations) from the editorial content that you hear on the station.  We model this firewall from similar policies that NPR has in place to protect its editorial integrity.

Like NPR, the journalists at St. Louis Public Radio – including senior news and programming managers – have full and final authority over all journalistic decisions. We work with all other departments at the station toward the goal of supporting and protecting our journalism. This means we communicate with our sponsorship and development departments to identify areas where we hope to expand our reporting. It also means we may take part in promotional activities or events such as coordinated fund drives, listener support spots, and public radio audience-building initiatives.

St. Louis Public Radio greatly appreciates the financial support it receives from individuals, from foundations and from corporations. Their support is essential. At the same time, it is the staff of St. Louis Public Radio who make their own decisions about what stories to cover and how to report them. Neither the people and the organizations who support NPR financially, the sources we come in contact with, our competitors, nor any others outside our newsroom dictate our thinking.

But we observe a clear boundary line: St. Louis Public Radio journalists interact with funders only to further our editorial goals, not to serve the agendas of those who support us.

In the specific case of Monsanto, this is certainly the largest gift we have received from this St. Louis-based company, however they have been a supporter of St. Louis Public Radio for several years and, like our other funders, understand and honor the firewall that exists between our funders and our editorial content.

If you are interested in more information on who provides funding to St. Louis Public Radio, I encourage you to review our annual report.