After a devastating fire in March 2019, the St. Louis Media History Foundation is bouncing back to life in the Grand Center district, next to many attractions and well-known art exhibitions in St. Louis’ cultural center.
The fire destroyed the building, but thousands of artifacts were saved from print and broadcast media going back to the 19th century.
Board members stored the artifacts in their homes during the past 18 months, while an alternative home was being identified. The general public will be able to access the foundation exhibits at 3310 Samuel Shepard Dr. The foundation is renting from Kranzberg Arts Foundation.
“We are thrilled to welcome the St. Louis Media History Foundation to Grand Center,” said Chris Hansen, Executive Director of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. “We look forward to helping STLMHF pursue their work of preserving our city’s media history by providing them with the space and infrastructure they need to thrive.”
Frank Absher, Hall of Fame founder the executive director said, “We have volunteers organizing the many cartons and files, setting up the equipment for audio and video playback, readying the digital scanning equipment and other property, so it will be a while until we can become the facility we hope to be.”
In the meantime, the public can visit the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/stlmediahistory). Each Sunday, the page features four new historical photos, one drawn from each of the region’s print, radio, TV and advertising histories. “We get more than 800 ‘likes’ a week,” Absher noted, “which shows that people really appreciate this perspective on our community’s history.”
Eric Rothenbuhler, dean of communications at Webster University and president of the foundation, said 14 people representing various media will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a virtual ceremony on Oct. 3.
The annual event recognizes individuals who made major contributions to local written, broadcast, advertising, and digital media (which has been added in this year’s event). These are personalities who began their careers in and around St. Louis, going on to become celebrated media personalities on the regional or national stage. The ceremony should have taken place in March, but due to COVID-19, it will entirely be an online video celebration streamed live on HEC-TV, at a 7 p.m.
Those being inducted are:
Dwight Bitikofer and Don Corrigan, former publisher and editor of the Webster-Kirkwood Times and other suburban newspapers.
Jeannette Batz Cooperman for her work with the Riverfront Times, St. Louis Magazine, and other publications.
Arthur Donnelly, co-founder of what would become the Suburban Journals newspaper group, from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Dan Martin, a cartoonist for the Post-Dispatch, drawing the Weatherbird since 1986.
Ben Thomas, founder, editor, and reporter for the Evening Whirl, founded as the Night Whirl in 1937.
Fred Caesar, television news producer starting at KMOX, then KSD, then other markets beyond Saint Louis.
Jack Galmiche, President and CEO of the Nine Network from 2006 to his sudden death in 2019 and a major contributor to national public broadcasting matters.
Tim McCarver for his decades of sports casting work.
Tom O’Neal, a television news reporter in St. Louis for over 40 years.
Carol Carper, first Africa-American female television news director in the St. Louis market.
Peter Maer, with origins in Saint Louis, went on to be an award-winning national network reporter, including long stints at the White House.
Advertising & PR:
Steve Puckett with a long and influential career at multiple advertising agencies before founding his own Puckett Group.
Dick Vinyard, 50 years in the Saint Louis-based advertising business including founding and leading his own firm, Vinyard, Lee, & Partners.
Full biographies can be found at: https://www.stlmediahistory.org/