St. Louis Public Radio Loses Longtime Host Over Telling Woman ‘You Look Great’

The Federalist | 4/4/2019 | Rebekah Curtis
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“You look great,” said Don Marsh, the 80-year-old host of the radio show “St. Louis On the Air,” to recently retired St. Louis news anchor Karen Foss (75 years young) when she entered the studio for an interview. The two veteran journalists then went on to have this pleasant and collegial conversation aired by KWMU, National Public Radio’s St. Louis affiliate.

The next morning, Foss learned that Marsh, a St. Louis institution, was leaving St. Louis Pubic Radio. Why? Someone at the KWMU studio had overheard Marsh’s complimentary greeting to Foss, perceived it to be inappropriate, and tattled to the bosses. That’s right, a man telling a longtime friend whom he hadn’t seen in a while that she looked great was Not Okay.

St - Louis - Post-Dispatch - Reports - Marsh

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Marsh was summoned to a meeting by KWMU station manager Tim Eby. According to Eby, the exchange between Marsh and Foss was not central to the meeting, but Marsh tells a different story.

Who Is Don Marsh?

Was - Marsh - Dinosaur - Guy - Champions

Was Marsh a vestigial dinosaur, the last old white guy shaming the woke champions of contemporary social ethics with his ongoing presence in the KWMU studio? Hardly.

In January, St. Louis resident Fabiano Caruana challenged Magnus Carlson in the World Chess Championship. Marsh’s “St. Louis On the Air” interviewed Yasser Seirawan, four-time U.S. chess champion, and Rex Sinquefield, founder of the St. Louis Chess Club, about the tournament and St. Louis’ significance in the chess world. On the topic of female competitors, Seirawan commented that, contrary to stereotypes of nerdy chess players, the ladies’ side of competitive chess was populated by competitors of “beauty pageant caliber.”

Marsh - Phone - Lines - End - Show

When Marsh opened the phone lines at the end of the show, a caller objected to Seirawan’s allegedly sexist remarks. Marsh did not attempt to smooth things over, but said he agreed with the...
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