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Living St. Louis

Bursting with energy and vitality, Living St. Louis debuted January 5, 2004. It is designed to highlight the diverse people, places and cultures that make metropolitan St. Louis an interesting and thriving area.

Tune in Mondays at 7:00 p.m. on Nine PBS.

Meet the Producers

Jim Kirchherr
Senior Director of Content

Jim Kirchherr is Senior Director of Content and has been with the Nine Network since 1991. He oversees production of local broadcast and digital content, including Living St. Louis, documentaries, public affairs specials and town halls. For his work as a producer, host and writer he has been awarded 26 regional Emmy Awards.

Before coming to the Nine Network, Jim worked as a senior news editor for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany, and as a producer and reporter at KTVI.

Ruth Ezell
Senior Producer

Ruth Ezell joined the Nine staff in 2004 after more than two decades in commercial television and radio. Her prior experience in St. Louis includes KSDK-TV (better known as Five on Your Side) and KMOX Radio.

As a Senior Producer, Ezell uses her storytelling skills to explore a wide range of topics in arts and culture, history and public affairs. She has also created compelling portraits of individuals making a difference in their communities and society at large.

Off-air, Ezell has shared her expertise with student journalists in the annual Minority Journalism Workshop sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists.

Ezell’s work has been recognized by the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Missouri Professional Communicators, the Missouri Bar Foundation, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Federation of Press Women.

Anne-Marie Berger
Senior Producer/Director

As both senior producer and director, Anne-Marie Berger has helped create some of Nine Network’s most popular programs, including the PBS documentary series Homeland, Living St. Louis, and Donnybrook. Berger has led the content behind the national public media initiative, American Graduate, focusing on positive outcomes for our regions young people and, through documentary specials, has addressed issues such as the heroin epidemic, race, poverty, and health care.

Anne-Marie began her career at WYES-TV, a PBS affiliate station in New Orleans. Since coming to the Nine Network in 2000, she has received 13 regional Emmy Awards, a National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award, and many others.

She currently serves as the Awards Chair for the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (EMMY) and as a national trustee for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Berger has worked as an adjunct professor for St. Louis Community College.

A St. Louis native, she attended St. Joseph's Academy and graduated with her B.A. from Loyola University in New Orleans. She went on to earn a master's degree in Media Communications from Webster University and now resides in University City with her husband and two daughters.

Kara Vaninger

Kara Vaninger began her career working as crew on short films and as a camera operator for Sky Sport in New Zealand covering rugby and downhill mountain biking. She started work at Nine in 2008 and became a producer in 2012. In addition to creating segments for Living St. Louis, Arts America and Science Matters, she has also written and directed long-form documentaries including Rivertowns and Mid-Century Modern in St. Louis and produced the limited series, BrainWorks - which aired on PBS stations all over the nation. She has been nominated for 2 regional Emmy Awards.

A St. Louis native, Kara studied, traveled and worked in Europe and the South Pacific for almost a decade, graduating from South Seas Film and TV in Auckland, New Zealand before returning to live in the south city neighborhood where she grew up.

Brooke Butler
Associate Producer

Associate Producer Brooke Butler started as an intern with the Nine Network in the spring of 2018 and has progressed to work on Nine’s popular programs Living St. Louis, Donnybrook, and digital-first content like The Nine Outline. She assists with content produced around the national public media initiative, American Graduate, and long-form documentaries including co-producing Mid-Century Modern in St. Louis (2020). Brooke also manages one of Nine’s advisory groups, Water Matters, which focuses on stories around the water quality in the St. Louis region. Brooke previously was an early childhood educator before graduating from Webster University with a degree in Film, Television, and Video Production.

Mary Thaier
Associate Producer

Mary Thaier is an Associate Producer for the Nine Network of Public Media. Thaier started as an intern in Summer of 2019 and since then has work on Nine’s programs, Living Saint Louis, and Donnybrook. She has also worked on digital content like The Nine Outline. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked with a team to bring the program, Teaching in Room 9, to life. The program responded to the academic year shut down through broadcasting two hours of literacy and math instruction from regional educators to children, weekdays on Nine PBS. Born and raised in St. Louis, she is a graduate of the Film, Television, and Video Production program at Webster University.