St. Louis on the Air

Sarah Fenske (left) hosts a recording of “St. Louis on the Air” in front of members of the Pierre Laclede Society at the Millennium Student Center. The show, which explores issues and challenges confronting the region, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Friday St. Louis Public Radio celebrated the 25th anniversary of its signature talk show “St. Louis on the Air.” The show has an incredible legacy of sharing St. Louis stories with local radio listeners and now has a large podcast audience, with over 1 million downloads last year.

Since 1996, “St. Louis on the Air” has explored issues and challenges confronting the region, discussed the latest innovations in science and technology, and has taken a close look at local history as well as talked with authors, artists and musicians. The show creates a unique space where ideas and opinions are expressed with respect and honesty.

The show has included thousands of topics and guests. Celebrity guests have included author Margaret Atwood, Twitter founder and St. Louis native Jack Dorsey, journalist Gwen Ifill and many others. However, the show is best known for covering current issues and connecting with everyday people.

“Having a celebrity guest every once in a while is great, but it’s most rewarding to hear from people affected by the news or who are doing the important work to make this area a better place to live,” explained Alex Heuer, who’s been with the show since 2012 and became executive producer in 2018.

Over the past month, such topics have included a conversation with ZZ, a refugee from Afghanistan who just moved to the St. Louis area; a sound-rich trip to Sumner High School, which recently convened a student choir for the first time in decades; and a fun look (and listen) at a new exhibit at the Missouri History Museum exploring St. Louis’ rich music history. Cathy “MamaCat” Daniels recently joined the show to share her love of food and activism that led her to start Potbangerz.

Other compelling stories include a conversation with the late classical music critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller, and a discussion with several men who were finally eligible for parole after being sentenced to life in prison as juveniles. Conversations like these give room for empathy, knowledge and deeper understanding.

Read more about the show’s history on St. Louis Public Radio:

UMSL Daily

UMSL Daily