Our Podcast Interview with 23-Year St. Louis Public Radio Veteran Bill Raack
“You try to be prepared as best you can—but you never are,” says news veteran Bill Raack in response to the question of how to cover challenging stories, like the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014, the not-guilty verdict of police officer Jason Stockley and the untimely death of Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, all of which happened during his tenure as news director and news editor at St. Louis Public Radio. No one needed to tell him not only how difficult it would be to break into the field of journalism, or how taxing the actual work would be once he got there.
Raack, a St. Louis native, began at St. Louis Public Radio in 1995 as a morning-news host. Three years later, he was promoted to news director, where he remained for nearly 20 years. Taking cues from National Public Radio, under Raack’s leadership the organization nimbly rode the massive wave of media transition into digital content, delving into the world of podcasts, social-media communication and quick-hitting stories.
Raack now works in media consulting and training for the St. Louis-based PR firm The Vandiver Group and will be a teaching a class about how to create a successful podcast or audio news story this fall at University College at Washington University in St. Louis. The fall-semester course will take place on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Aug. 27, and students will have the advantage of Raack’s wealth of experience.
Raack recorded a podcast with us in which he discusses his career and life in public radio, how to cover difficult stories, what it takes to be a contemporary reporter and much more. In Raack’s upcoming class, students will have the opportunity to learn from, as you’ll hear, a true master of the medium.
Cover image courtesy of Jonathan Velasquez.
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