Jeff St. Clair

All Things Considered host, Exploradio

A career in radio was a surprising turn for me seeing that my first love was science. I studied chemistry at the University of Akron and for 13 years lived the quiet life of an analytical chemist in the Akron area,listening to WKSU all the while in the lab.

A few small explosions and chemical spills helped me decide that it was time to look for a new career. In 1998 I landed a part-time position at WKSU and began hosting the Sunday local performance show, In Performance. The magic of radio did its work on me, and in December 2000 I permanently shed the lab-coat to join WKSU full-time and have never looked back.

As the local host of NPR's All Things Considered, I love connecting with listeners as they’re heading home.  It’s a privilege to introduce listeners to the fascinating guests, artists, experts, and news makers that are heard each day on NPR.  It’s a conversation that enriches us all.

I’m also thrilled to share my love of science with listeners through Exploradio, along with reporting on the environment, business, and politics.

Reporting the news is perfect for someone like me because I’m intensely curious ( i.e. nosy)  and have a very short attention span! I'm grateful to have found my niche.

WKSU is one of those rare places where creativity and technology come together to create a product that touches your intellect and your soul—it makes you laugh and carries you through times of reflection.

I sometimes imagine that a young person listening today will be inspired to make the world a better place because of something he or she heard on WKSU. I'm extremely proud to be part of one of the best stations in the public radio system.

I live in Kent with my wife and my three wonderful children.

Ways to Connect

Project layout of Icebreaker Wind Farm
LEEDCo / WKSU

There’s renewed hope for an off-shore wind project on Lake Erie.

The Ohio Power Siting Board voted Thursday to remove a provision that would have made the Icebreaker wind project financially unfeasible. The requirement, known as ‘feathering’, would have required the turbines to stop spinning every night between March and November to reduce risk to migrating birds and bats.

canoes at sunset
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

The rhythms of nature continue despite the disruptions the pandemic has caused our lives.

In southern Summit County, the season’s change is marked by a dazzling display of migrating birds. Each night bird watchers flock to witness the mass gathering of purple martins on Nimisila Reservoir.

It’s early September, a warm evening just before sunset. Dozens of bird watchers gather on shore, poised with spotting scopes and binoculars. But the best viewing is out on the water.

photo of Derf
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

Few of the dozens of books written about what happened at Kent State May 4, 1970 have the emotional impact of John Backderf’s graphic novel Kent State, Four Dead in Ohio.

The Cleveland-based comic artist, who goes by Derf, spent two years researching and another two years drawing the book.

Derf depicts the final days of the four students before they were shot down on a campus parking lot 50 years ago.

photo of a rare tropical bird known as brown booby at Nimisila Reservoir
GARY TRAVENY

A tropical bird has taken up residence in Northeast Ohio.

The local appearance of the normally sea-going brown booby has created quite a stir among birders.

It’s the first time the Caribbean native has been seen in Ohio.

Summit County Metro Parks naturalist Janean Kazimir spots the bird on a dead tree limb along the shore of  Nimisila Reservoir just south of Akron.

mary ann kasper
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

Masks are the most effective weapon we have right now in our battle against the coronavirus.

Wearing a mask does take getting used to, and they are changing the way we connect with each other.

But people are finding ways to enhance our masked communication.

Everyone at the Haymaker farmer’s market in Kent is wearing a mask.

Afterall, they are required. 

Some were purchased at the Socially Responsible Sweatshop booth, a sustainability collective founded by Mary Ann Kasper.

a photo of the University of Akron polymer building
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

The University of Akron is undergoing unprecedented challenges as it struggles to close a $65 million budget gap.

Its response includes a radical redesign of the school’s academic structure.

What will it mean for the future of Akron’s flagship polymer program?

photo of steve burns
LORDSTOWN MOTORS

Electric cars are gaining traction in the marketplace as Tesla builds a devoted following.

But is America ready for an all-electric pickup truck?

The start-up Lordstown Motors is betting on it.

They’re hoping to produce America’s first electric pickup, and part of Lordstown’s gamble is a different approach to electric motors.

A photo of Cleveland Clinic in Strongsville.
GOOGLE EARTH

The coronavirus crisis has upended much of the economy, including the health care system.

Local hospitals saw a double financial hit from both the expense of ramping up the response along with the loss of revenue from elective surgery and other cancellations.

Thomas Campanella teaches the business of health care at Baldwin Wallace University.

CLEVELAND CLINIC

Testing for coronavirus has become widespread in Ohio with pop-up stations and drive-through sampling sites.

Those labs use a nasal swab to test for an active case of COVID-19.

Another type of test is also becoming available.

It uses a blood sample to see if you may have already had the disease.

A Cleveland Clinic researcher says this antibody test is not something we should put much faith in.

ASIAN SERVICES IN ACTION

The coronavirus is bringing time-tested techniques for controlling the spread of disease front and center.

For decades health officials have been using contact tracing to manage outbreaks of TB, measles, STD’s, and Ebola.

The practice of reaching out to everyone who comes in contact with a positive case is one of the best tools to beat COVID-19.

a photo of Larry Householder speaking to reporters
KAREN KASLER / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

When Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week’s reopening of retail businesses he called it ‘a gamble.’

DeWine and state health officials are betting that people will follow the  state’s safety guidelines while shopping, and still stay-at-home as much as possible.

Kent State epidemiologist Tara Smith says whether the gamble pays off is up to us.

photo of national guard
KENT STATE NEWS SERVICE

It was 50 years ago today that Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on protesting students at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine. 

The event brought the Vietnam War home to a divided America. May 4th remains a lightning rod for questions about the rights of free speech vs. the forces of law-and-order.

city of toronto
JAMES D. SCHWARTZ / FLICKR CC

Protestors outside the statehouse have called for Gov. Mike DeWine to fire Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and to reopen all businesses.

A legislative task force is working out its own timeframe to restart Ohio’s economy.

All of this puts Governor Mike DeWine under increasing pressure to ease social distancing restrictions.

But the world’s first coronavirus outbreak provides a cautionary tale about the risks of lifting this lockdown too soon.

empty street
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

Americans are adjusting to life without social interactions.

It’s been more than two weeks since bars, restaurants, and schools closed in Ohio.

We still don’t know how long it will be before non-essential businesses can reopen and residents travel freely.

dr brian harte
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

New models show a wave of coronavirus cases could be headed our way in Northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Clinic’s latest estimates show the outbreak will peak in early May and could cause up to 10,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.

It’s a sobering picture, but our local hospitals are gearing up for the surge.

picture of coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Back in school we memorized the parts of a cell: the cell wall, nucleus, Golgi bodies, lots of stuff.

But a virus is different. It's on the border of a living and nonliving collection of molecules, mostly proteins and a string of RNA or DNA. It doesn't eat or sleep; it's sole function is to parasitize its host cell and make copies of itself. 

patricia stoddard dare
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

Congress has passed a coronavirus response package that includes paid sick leave for workers in mid-sized companies that don’t already provide it.

President Donald Trump has signed the measure into law.

It’s a temporary response to the COVID-19 crisis, but paid sick leave has long been of interest to Patricia Stoddard Dare, a professor of Social Work at Cleveland State University.

She recently spoke with WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair about why we need it now.

a photo of a test kit
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

The number of cases of COVID-19 continues to grow in Ohio and the state health director said Thursday it is likely more than 100,000 people in the state are carrying the virus. 

girls in classroom
DOWNIE PHOTOGRAPHY / LAUREL SCHOOL

Girls today are under enormous pressure.

Pressures from social media, sexism, school, sports, peers. All of it has made what should be an exuberant time of life overwhelmed with stress and anxiety.

Researchers in Cleveland are finding ways to help teens manage stress and other issues.

In this week’s Exploradio, we meet the women behind the country’s first school-based center for research on girls.

a photo of a woman with recycling bin
JOE GUNDERMAN / WKSU

Changes in international markets along with skyrocketing processing costs have thrown the industry into a tailspin.

In this first installment of our series Reduce, Reuse, Refocus, we sort through the confusion about recycling. 

Tim Ryan and LGChem executives
MICHAEL ZETTS

A delegation of Korean executives from LG Chem met in Washington, D.C., Wednesday with state and federal officials to lay the groundwork for a new electric vehicle battery factory in Lordstown.

Congressman Tim Ryan (D - Niles), along with Ohio lawmakers, Sen. Michael Rulli ( R - Salem) and Sen. Sean O'Brien (D - Trumbull), praised the investments being made in the Mahoning Valley by the battery maker and its partner General Motors Corp.

photo of Ethan Krauss
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

America has a long tradition of the lone inventor, and Ohio has long been a leader in aerospace innovation.

An inventor in Oberlin combines the two by creating a new form of aircraft in his backyard.

On this week’s Exploradio, we look at the quest for a flying machine with no moving parts.

a photo of a classroom
SHUTTERSTOCK

This is the week that advocates for school choice are highlighting alternatives to traditional public schools.

One choice that may be available to a growing number of parents is a voucher to use public money to pay for private education.

That expansion of Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program could devastate public school budgets unless lawmakers take action this week.

CHRIS CHARTIER / ASHLAND UNIVERSITY

First impressions can have lasting consequences.

New research is delving into how we evaluate a stranger’s face, and pass judgments based on fleeting impressions.

A new, worldwide collaborative started at Ashland University is helping explain that process, and tackle other questions.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair looks at how the Psychological Science Accelerator is putting a new face on how science is done.

photo of student climate protest in Cleveland
CHLOE FRIEDLAND

This story was originally published on July 22, 2019.

Fifty years ago a burning river mobilized a generation of environmental activism. Citizens pushed for new laws to regulate pollution, and our water and air has gotten cleaner.

But significant environmental challenges remain including climate change, habitat loss, and plastics pollution.

Our series Watershed looks at today’s environmental warriors and the road ahead.

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