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The Public Radio “Community”

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.

NPR Listeners Love Their Communities (1280x1097)

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.


St. Louis Public Radio Collaborating on New Programs Beginning July 1

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning ~  Benjamin Franklin

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.

NPR Voices Show Their Public Radio Tattoos

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?

Top row, from left to right: Nina Totenberg, Ari Shapiro, Michel Martin, and John Ydstie. Bottom row, from left to right: Lakshmi Singh, Jacki Lyden, David Greene, Guy Raz, and Rachel Martin

Consider More Things, Plus New and Old Friends Join our Lineup

2013 will bring some changes to the St. Louis Public Radio program schedule beginning this weekend with the permanent return of some familiar programs plus a new NPR show to test your knowledge.  Then, on Monday you’ll get more things to consider with an additional hour of All Things Considered each weekday.

The new friend joining our schedule on Saturday at noon is Ask Me Another, a lively hour of puzzles, word games, and trivia played in front of (and with) a live audience.   Ask Me Another‘s entertaining melange of brainteasers and fun is a descendant of Weekend Edition Sunday‘s Puzzle Segment with Will Shortz, but infused with the vibrancy and quick wit of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me.

ask me another
Listeners can play along, testing their knowledge of history, geography, literature, grammar, spelling, pop culture, and even mathematics, with the competitors called up to the stage.

Ask Me Another host, noted comedian, and storyteller Ophira Eisenberg, guides listeners with her witty banter aided by the comedic riffs and songs of house musician Jonathan Coulton. Each episode features an interview with a Mystery Guest (noteable actors, comedians, and authors whose identities are revealed via puzzle clues throughout the show), who then takes a turn in the contestant’s chair facing trivia games written especially for him or her.


Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg

This American Life, which has been airing at noon on Saturday, will move one hour later to 1 p.m. with its Sunday broadcast remaining at 6:00 p.m.

Also joining our weekly line-up is Radiolab, which will air each Saturday at 3 p.m.  Listeners have been able to hear the program in short runs on the station so we’re excited to have the series on each week beginning in 2013.  Hosted by Jad Abumrad with co-host Robert Krulwich, Radiolab is designed for listeners who demand skepticism but appreciate wonder; who are curious about the world, but also want to be moved and surprised. Radiolab won a Peabody Award in 2011.


Radiolab hosts Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich

Another program that you may have heard in short runs is The Moth Radio Hour, which will be heard weekly beginning this Sunday at 7 p.m.

Moth storytellers stand alone, under a spotlight, with only a microphone and a roomful of strangers. The storyteller and the audience embark on a high-wire act of shared experience which is both terrifying and exhilarating.

Originally formed by the writer George Dawes Green as an intimate gathering of friends on a porch in Georgia (where moths would flutter in through a hole in the screen), and then re-created in a New York City living room, The Moth quickly grew to produce immensely popular events at theaters and clubs around New York City and later around the country.

The final major change in the schedule begins next Monday with an expanded version of All Things Considered.  ATC will begin at 3 p.m. each weekday beginning on January 7, 2013, running until 7 p.m., with Marketplace still at 6 p.m.  We’ll also bring you expanded news coverage from the St. Louis Public Radio newsroom with news updates from Maria Altman beginning at 3:04 p.m.

The move to start All Things Considered at 3 p.m. means that we will end our broadcasts of PRI’s The World as of this Friday.  We had a long run with the program, but in looking at how we could better serve our audience we believe this is the best choice for listeners to St. Louis Public Radio.

With the new programs on the weekends, there are also new times for Snap Judgment and Marketplace Money, plus the Sunday airing of Car Talk will be leaving the schedule.  For the complete schedule see our Program Grid on the website.

Notes From the Spring Membership Campaign

Our Spring 2012 Membership Campaign ended on Friday with more 3,250 pledges from listeners supporting the programming on the station.

The Spring Campaign will mark the final on-air drive from our current studios in Lucas Hall on the University of Missouri – St. Louis campus.  We’re moving this summer to a new facility that we will share with UMSL in the Grand Center arts & entertainment district in midtown St. Louis.

We’ve looked through our records over the nearly 40 years of broadcasting from this location to estimate that this most recent campaign was the 97th pledge drive from this facility and that we have raised more than $12.5 million in pledges from those drives over the years.

We were also the recipient of a “love letter” (so to speak) during the membership campaign from our friends at the Riverfront Times last week.

The RFT ‘s Kristie McClanahan penned an ode to the campaign titled Drinking With St. Louis Public Radio’s Pledge Drive  offering a valuable public service to help its readers achieve the most enjoyment possible from our on-air fundraising campaigns.

And if that’s not enough, just as our campaign was ending, a guy by the name of Greg Studley released a video using a parady of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” using the names of NPR and public radio reporters and personalities.

Check out the NPR Name song below … and thanks to everyone for their support!

A New Way is Coming to Experience Those Driveway Moments

Twenty years ago in your car you had a radio and probably either a cassette or CD player.

Fast forward to 2012 and say hello to the connected car.  And there’s a very good chance that your next new car will probably include some or all of features that are being discussed this week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

What is a connected car?

A Ford dashboard as it would look when connected to the NPR News app.

A connected car can provide emergency services, security features, traffic and weather, navigation, information, Google and Bing search results, Internet radio and much more through mobile devices, embedded telematics and broadcast services.

The best news for public radio listeners is that the Public Radio industry is among the leaders in bringing this technology to consumers.

On Monday, NPR announced an exciting collaboration with Ford Motor Company that will give public radio a prominent place in the next generation of Ford’s Internet-connected cars.  A new version of the NPR News app will enable drivers of cars equipped with Ford SYNC to listen to their favorite public radio programs and stations on their own schedule – just as they do on their mobile devices now.

The video below offers a sampling of how the app will work.

NPR is the first major news organization to integrate its content into an emerging fleet of Internet-connected cars.

This is the first step that will lead to making it significantly easier for listeners to tune into all of the great St. Louis Public Radio programs on-demand but also to listen to all three of our services (our news service, The Gateway, and Classical | 90.7 KWMU) without the need of a HD Radio.

Lupe gives a shout out to Public Radio

This will probably be the only time that Lupe Fiasco is mentioned in this blog, but we can’t ignore the great shout out (about :45 into the video) for NPR, Diane Rehm, and Kai Ryssdal in the tune SNDCLSH in Vegas.

Check out the video below:

Okay, now we’ll return to more pressing issues like the election, the budget, etc.

Coming Soon to a Radio Near You

The New Year will bring some new programs to our weekly lineup at St. Louis Public Radio with two shows joining our schedule beginning the weekend of January 7, 2012. There is some familiarity to each of these shows but this will mark the first time they will be heard weekly on the station.

Marketplace Money host Tess Vigeland

Joining our Saturday lineup beginning on January 7 at 1 p.m. will be Marketplace Money from American Public Media. Marketplace Money, with host Tess Vigeland, is part of the portfolio of programs from Marketplace including the Marketplace Morning Report (heard weekdays at 6:50 a.m.) and the evening program heard at 6 p.m. each weeknight.

Marketplace Money brings the week’s economic headlines home by looking at matters of personal finance with wit and wisdom. The weekly, hour-long program offers a mix of feature stories and segments to help people better manage, save, and spend money.

Marketplace Money host Tess Vigeland is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a familiar voice to Marketplace listeners. She is a longtime public radio veteran, both as a reporter and host. Vigeland served as host of Marketplace Morning Report for three and a half years and as substitute host on Marketplace. Prior to joining the team at Marketplace, Vigeland reported and anchored for Oregon Public Broadcasting radio and television in Portland and at WBUR radio in Boston.

Studio 360 with Kurt Anderson will continue on our schedule moving to a new time on Sunday at 1 p.m. Zorba Paster on Your Health will be leaving our schedule with its last broadcast on Sunday, January 1, 2012. Listeners will still be able to hear the program online at the Zorba Paster web site.

Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington

Also joining our line-up on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. in January is Snap Judgment with Glynn Washington. We previewed SJ back in September with a short run during our Saturday special slot. The response from that short run convinced us to make room on a weekly basis for the program.

Described as storytelling … with a beat, Snap Judgment tells intriguing stories about extraordinary and defining events in people’s lives. The program’s raw, intimate, and musical brand of storytelling dares listeners to see a sliver of the world through another’s eye.

Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington takes listeners on a narrative journey – leaping from one person’s frying pan into another person’s fire. Deejay-driven musical delivery, paired with lush sound design, drops listeners into the very heart of what matters. Snap Judgment’s fast-paced (sometimes dark, sometimes playful) narrative highlights people from across the globe who put everything on the line.

Below is a recent story from a broadcast that was recorded before a live audience (I was among the lucky ones to attend) in Washington, DC in early November. The story is from Noah St. John, a 15-year-old writer and actor who exploded onto the performance scene by winning the Youth Speaks Grand Slam Championship and representing the Bay Area at the Brave New Voices festival as only a sophomore in high school. Noah’s story is titled The Last Mile.

Beginning on January 8th, a one-hour version of The Tavis Smiley Show will air at 8 p.m. We’re very excited about these two new additions to the line-up and look forward to hearing from you in regard to these new programs.
We are adding a new daily program to the program schedule, moving one program’s broadcast time to an hour earlier. One program is going to have a name change. Effective January 2012, The Sound of Young America is evolving. As part of that evolution, the name of the show will change to “Bullseye.” The tone of the show will remain the same, but its sound design and non-interview content will be enhanced. Host Jesse Thorn will incorporate a new twist to the show, with the help of independent producer Roman Mars, who may be best known for his work with Snap Judgment.

Bullseye, (New name for the program formerly know as “The Sound of Young America”): Sunday, 1 to 2 p.m., beginning January 8, 2012

World Café, (Evening broadcast of this program moves to an hour earlier): Monday-Friday, 6 to 8 p.m., beginning January 9, 2012

Echoes,(New Program): Monday-Friday, 8 to 10 p.m., beginning January 9, 2012

Weekday evenings, Echoes helps you escape into a modern soundscape of evocative, ground-breaking music that crosses cultures, traditions and musical boundaries. Host John Dilberto guides you through the world of contemporary music, sharing his thoughts and featuring artists and events that are shaping contemporary music. Enjoy a lovely blend of instrumental, world fusion, impressionistic jazz and intimate Living Room Concerts recorded in artists’ homes. Produced by John Diliberto and Kimberly Haas.

About John Diliberto: John Diliberto is a nationally published writer and award-winning radio producer who has spent many years exploring and exposing new music. His productions have long featured space music, avant-garde, jazz and new wave sounds, culminating in the award-winning Totally Wired program, which directly preceded Echoes.

PROGRAM CHANGE ON Classical 90.7 KWMU-3:

Sunday Baroque, (New Program), Sundays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., beginning January 8, 2012

Sunday Baroque is a celebration of beloved and appealing music from the baroque era (1600-1750) and the years leading up to it. The music you’ll hear includes: Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Concertos, George Frideric Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music Suites, and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. You’ll hear their tuneful and lively music–and music by their talented contemporaries and predecessors–as part of the mix of familiar favorites and new surprises. Sunday Baroque offers great performances of their work by yesterday’s and today’s best performers. Fresh and inviting, genial and inspiring, and often surprisingly modern sounding, it’s the perfect accompaniment for this unique day of the week, whether you’re sleeping in, joining family and friends for a leisurely brunch, or relaxing alone with the Sunday paper and a cup of coffee. Host Suzanne Bona has been a classical music broadcaster since 1987 and is a professional, classically trained flutist.

Meet Gary Knell, the new President/CEO of NPR

We learned Sunday afternoon that the NPR Board of Directors has chosen Gary Knell as the new President and CEO of NPR.  Knell is the longtime President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, the the nonprofit education company behind the beloved children’s show Sesame Street, and other highly regarded public television programs like Electric Company and Dragon Tales.

The hiring of Knell comes at a critical time for NPR and all of public radio as it recovers from a series of missteps last year that included the controversial termination of Juan Williams that ultimately lead to the exit of then CEO Vivian Schiller, News SVP Ellen Weiss, and its fundraising chief.

Knell was interviewed by Melissa Block on All Things Considered on Monday and among many things was questioned about the role of federal funding for public radio. Knell articulated that public radio needs to do a better job at making the case for funding by equating public radio to institutions such as public libraries and public museums that also received tax-based subsidies.

Here’s the full interview.

Knell’s first chance to meet with member stations like St. Louis Public Radio will come on Tuesday afternoon with a conference call with station leaders. He officially begins work at NPR on December 1, 2011.