Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast (Archive) | WYPR

Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast (Archive)


You can find the archive of Maryland Morning with Tom Hall as host here.

This program aired with Sheilah Kast as host until 10/2/15.  Find out more about us, check out shows that aired prior to February 2014, listen to our series, and listen to each day's show.

Maryland County Executives Copy Each Other

Oct 2, 2015
Baltimore County Government


Just shy of half of Maryland’s population is packed into its three biggest counties – Montgomery, Prince Georges, and Baltimore Counties. Now the chief executives of those jurisdictions have decided they’re pretty smart about some aspects of government, and could get smarter by copying each other. ‘Smarter’ translates into more cost-effective, and less pressure to raise taxes or fees.

So right now, as we’re starting this show, Baltimore County’s executive and a few handful of his top staffers are sitting down in Rockville with the Montgomery County executive and top staffers to talk information technology, and how to do it smarter. Sheilah sat down with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz yesterday.

October's Indy and 3D Blockbuster Movies

Oct 2, 2015
New York Film Festival

  Tom is joined by our Movie Mayhem critics, Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz, Executive Director of the Maryland Film Festival to discuss some of October's best Indy films, and 3D Blockbusters.

The Rousuck Review: "Kinky Boots"

Oct 2, 2015
Matthew Murphy


Kinky Boots” won six Tony Awards, including best musical in 2013. Now this Broadway musical -- script by Harvey Fierstein, score by Cyndi Lauper -- has opened the season at the Hippodrome. Based on a movie that was in turn based on a true story, "Kinky Boots" is about a dying British shoe factory that saves itself by making stiletto-heeled boots for drag queens. Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck and Tom Hall discuss whether you’ll get a kick out of “Kinky Boots.”


Andrew Bardwell // Flickr Creative Commons

About a third of all Americans have a criminal record; less than 5 percent for violent crimes. Those of us who don’t have records are probably aware of some of the consequences, like fines, probation, jail time and parole. We may not be aware of collateral consequences that affect employment, public assistance, housing and voting rights. For example, ex-felons earn about 40 percent less annually than non- felons.

Several new laws take effect tomorrow that could allow Marylanders with criminal records to expunge or shield from public view certain parts of them. One of the new laws would also allow actions that are no longer crimes, like possession of small amounts of marijuana, to be removed from peoples’ records.

With Sheilah to talk more about the new laws is Caryn Aslan, Senior Policy Advocate at the non-profit Job Opportunities Task Force. She’s spent years lobbying in Annapolis to adopt laws to make it possible for people with a record to remove those marks. Joining them is Danielle. She’s 37, has 7 children and a criminal record for an arrest that resulted in no trial and no conviction. The offense occurred during a domestic violence dispute in 2002. 

Penguin Random House

    Tom's guest this morning is Daniel James Brown, the author of a New York Times No. 1 best-selling book, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It tells the amazing story of a group of nine young American rowers, who, against all odds, triumph at the 1936 Olympics, stealing thunder from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime, and transforming the sport.

The Boys in the Boat has been chosen as this year’s One Maryland, One Book selection by the Maryland Humanities Council. It’s just been published in a young reader’s edition, too. Daniel James Brown joins Tom this morning in Studio A.

Free Fall Baltimore


Free Fall Baltimore kicks off tomorrow. For the entire month of October, artists and arts organizations all around Baltimore will offer free concerts, exhibitions, and performances. One of the most highly anticipated of these will take place Saturday afternoon when the great jazz saxophonist, composer and teacher Carl Grubbs presents a piece inspired by Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. 

The piece is called “Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore,” and Carl Grubbs joins Tom in the studio, along with his wife, Barbara Harrell Grubbs who produces events like this one for their organization, Contemporary Arts. Grubbs will present his Inner Harbor Suite at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Saturday afternoon at 4:00.  Because of the probability of inclement weather, the venue for the concert has been changed.  It will take place in the Ballroom of the Pier Five Hotel, adjacent to Pierce's Park, where the concert was originally scheduled.

Germano's Piattini

  There’s a lot going on this weekend, not only in the Inner Harbor, but a few blocks east as well, in Little Italy. Tom welcomes Cyd Wolf, who, along with her husband Germano Fabiani run Germano’s Cabaret in Little Italy. They have organized the first ever Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival, in which some of the streets of Little Italy become the canvas for incredible art done with chalk.

The Madonnari Arts Festival starts tomorrow night and runs through Sunday in Baltimore’s Little Italy. You can enjoy music and some masters of chalk art, the Columbus Day Parade, and of course, the food for which Little Italy is famous. 

Michael Newman // Flickr Creative Commons

The Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the Pratt Library are inviting the public to a discussion tomorrow evening about bias in how the media covers communities of Baltimore, reminding us again that public radio brings something different to the table. The way public radio covered the riot and uprising in Baltimore this spring is not the way cable TV covered it. But, let’s be realistic: society is probably shaped more by commercial media than non-profit media in the way it frames race, crime, poverty and inequality. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics says the duty of journalists is to “seek truth and provide a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.” When it comes to reporting on issues of race, have the media met that standard? To what extent are media unaware of their own bias?

Journalist Stacey Patton is one of the panelists who will be addressing those questions tomorrow at the Pratt. She’s a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She is now a columnist, writing about race for Dame Magazine, which describes itself as “For Women Who Know Better.” She’s also working on two books for Beacon Press. Sheilah reached her Friday, when she called from Atlanta, where she was moderating a panel for the centennial celebration of the ‘Association for the Life and Study of African American History.’

About 13 hours ago, it was wheels-up for Pope Francis, following a packed schedule of events in Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia, that included an historic speech before a joint session of the US Congress, an address to the largest group of world leaders ever assembled in one place at the United Nations, a controversial canonization Mass, visits to a prison and a homeless shelter, and huge adoring crowds witnessing every public step he took.  This morning: a conversation about the Pope’s American sojourn with a Catholic scholar, a Jewish academic and blogger, and a Muslim radio host and professor of Communications.

John Gehring is a native Baltimorean who is the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington.  He’s also the author of a new book called The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic ChurchHe joins me in the studio.

Mark Silk, founding director of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity, where he is also Professor of Religion in Public Life also joins us. He writes the blog "Spiritual Politics" as a contributing editor at the Religion News Service and he’s chair of the editorial advisory board of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger.

And joining us on the phone from her home in Silver Spring is Sahar Khamis, an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of MD, who hosts a radio show on U.S. Arab Radio, the first Arab-American radio station broadcasting in North America.  

Richard Anderson

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice has spawned a zombie novel, a murder mystery,and even a Bollywood movie. Now Center Stage has mounted a brand new stage version. Will our own Jane Austen fan, Maryland Morning theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, take pride in this latest adaptation?

Baltimore City's Charter School Dispute

Sep 25, 2015


  About one of every six public school students in Baltimore attends a charter school, but tensions between the charters and the school district are high. The ongoing dispute over what share of public school money should go to charters led five operators of charters to file suit against city schools three weeks ago. This week Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake asked former Mayor Kurt Schmoke to facilitate discussions between the two sides and schools CEO Gregory Thornton withdrew his latest funding plan for charters.

Bobbi MacDonald, Executive Director of City Neighbors Foundation joins Sheilah to talk about the concerns of charter schools. City Neighbors Foundation operates three independent charter schools in Northeast Baltimore and is one of the five Charter School operators filing a lawsuit against the school system.

Baltimore Book Festival: Who's At The Kids' Stage?

Sep 25, 2015

  The Baltimore Book Festival begins today in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. There are a variety of stages set up along the waterfront promenade including the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Children’s Stage. Among those gracing that stage tomorrow are actress, storyteller, teacher and dancer, Maria Broom, who can now add author to her list of jobs. Her book for children is called The Village Bully.  Also at the Children's Stage is  Laurel Snyder, author of five novels for children, and two volumes of poetry.  Her latest picture book is called Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova.

Danny Greenwald - Glassine


   Now we take a listen to the Baltimore-based musician Danny Greenwald. His one-man band is called Glassine and the new album, No Stairway, is comprised solely of manipulated field recordings captured inside of a Guitar Center in Brooklyn, New York and in Baltimore.  Jonna McKone produced this audio postcard. 

The album was released on the record label, Patient Sounds. We’re looking for more musicians to profile on the show – send us a note to with your suggestions.  

jiadoldol // Flickr Creative Commons

Now we’re going to discuss superconducting magnetic levitation, commonly called “maglev.”  This is the technology that might move you from downtown Baltimore to BWI in 5 minutes. And on to downtown Washington in another 10 minutes. On trains that move faster than 300 miles an hour not with wheels rolling on steel tracks, but cars that would float—or, levitate - inside concrete pathways.  

If it sounds like science fiction, maybe that's part of its appeal. When The North East Maglev project threw itself a party this week to celebrate opening its Baltimore office, city and state leaders seemed almost starry-eyed in their support.  Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who is on the project's advisory board, said: "I love big. I love blowing people’s minds. Let's build this thing!”

But, as futuristic as it seems, maglev has been trying to get started in Maryland for more a couple of decades. A previous proposal hit legislative snags a dozen years ago, and there's always been a big price tag. Now It's estimated building the first leg of a northeast system--the line from Baltimore to DC--would cost $12 billion.

American Public Media's Marketplace

Amy Scott is Tom's guest this morning. Her voice is familiar to anyone who is a regular NPR listener because she’s the Education Correspondent for Marketplace. Amy is based here in Baltimore; her office is downstairs from Tom's here at WYPR.

During the 2012-13 school year, Amy did a series of stories for Marketplace called “One Year, One School,” in which she reported on a community school in Cincinnati, OH called Oyler. Tomorrow night at MICA, she will screen her new documentary film that came out of that experience. Oyler is also the title of the film, that Scott produced and directed.

Lisa Vega at Clarion HMH Books & Sebastian Skrobol

Ronald Smith, who lives in Baltimore, had a career of a couple of decades writing ad copy. His book writing, his fiction, was off to the side until he found himself rediscovering books he’d loved as a child.

He’s just published his first book, called Hoodoo, and Ronald Smith is with Sheilah in the studio to talk about it. He’ll be speaking about it this weekend at the Baltimore Book Festival, Friday afternoon at 1:30, at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Children's Stage. Two weeks later, Friday Oct. 9, he’ll speak at KidLitCon on the “Middle Grade Horror” panel at the Hyatt Place in Baltimore.

Imagen Evangelicas via flickr Creative Commons

For the first five years he worked on the Howard County police force, Detective Josh Mouton said he wasn't looking for situations in which women had been forced into the sex trade against their will. But now Howard County Police have tougher state laws to work with, in particular,  a 2013 law that lets the state seize assets of someone convicted of trafficking.

Joining Sheilah to discuss Howard County's tough approach against human trafficking is County Executive Allan Kittleman, who finalized the order to create a fund to provide services to human trafficking victims, and Denene Yates, Executive Director of Safe House of Hope, a non-profit based in Howard County that provides education, training and support to victims of human trafficking.

Penguin Random House


Tom's guest this morning is Scott Shane, a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun who has covered national security for the New York Times since 2004. His latest book is about how a Muslim cleric named Anwar al-Awlaki, evolved from a moderate imam who denounced the 9/11 attacks, into one of the most celebrated and influential figures in the cause of violent jihad. In 2009, he helped plan an unsuccessful attack on a plane headed for Detroit. He was influential to the perpetrators of attacks at Ft. Hood in Texas, and at the Boston Marathon. By 2010, the US government considered only Osama bin Laden to be more powerful and influential than Awlaki as fomenter of violence against Americans. The effort to locate and kill him was dubbed, “Objective Troy.”

Scott Shane’s fascinating and assiduously reported book tells the story of that operation, and elucidates the complexities and geo-political ramifications of that mission to American foreign policy in the Middle East, and to the essential moral fundaments of our democracy. It’s a great read. It’s called Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone. Scott Shane will be speaking about the book tonight at the Enoch Pratt library at 6:30

Stan Barouh


Designer Timothy R. Mackabee’s set for “An Inspector Calls,” is so inviting, you’ll wish you were a guest in this elegant dining room.

But then you notice that some things about this dining room are a bit off. In Everyman Theatre’s smart, stylish production, the room sits on a platform, disconnected from its surroundings. And the fleur de lis designs on the wallpaper are oddly oversized and covered in thick Plexiglas.

The action, set in 1912, begins normally enough in this British play by J. B. Priestley. The Birlings, an upper middle class Yorkshire family, are celebrating daughter Sheila’s engagement to aristocratic Gerald Croft. They couldn’t be happier. Then the doorbell rings. 

Spotlighters Theatre

In the theater, some names are inextricably linked. Rogers and Hammerstein. Lerner and Lowe. Gilbert and Sullivan. Tom now looks to a show at the Spotlighters Theatre that gives us a glimpse of Gilbert, before Sullivan became his creative partner. The librettist W.S. Gilbert wrote "A Sensation Novel" nearly a year before he began penning his magnum opus of iconic musicals with Arthur Sullivan. As far as anyone can tell, it’s never been performed in the United States, until now.

The Audrey Herman Spotlighter’s Theatre is presenting "A Sensation Novel" in a new edition created by Tom's guest this morning, who has also directed this production. Michael Blum joins Tom today live in the studio.  

It’s been just a week since Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake stunned the city by taking herself out of contention for re-election, five and a half years after she became mayor when an ethics scandal ago swept her predecessor Sheila Dixon out of office. She joins Sheilah in the studio to discuss her goals during her last 15 months in office.

A Tribute To A Folklore Legend

Sep 18, 2015

Alan Lomax was a folklorist who was one of the first people to record and document music from a variety of folk traditions. Jayme Stone, the leader of a group called Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project, joins Tom in the studio. Jayme Stone's Lomax Project will perform some of the music discovered by Alan Lomax at the Creative Alliance tonight.

Jonna McKone

An unusual public high school opened this fall in Baltimore, in which students can graduate with an associate’s degree, two years of college, at the same time they earn a high-school diploma, all without paying tuition. The Baltimore City public schools entered into a contract with Bard College, a small liberal arts college in upstate New York, which already operates “early colleges” in four other cities.

This week, producer Jonna McKone and Sheilah Kast visited the newest Bard High School Early College. It’s in the Middle East neighborhood of Baltimore. After class they sat down with Francesca Gamber, head of the Bard early college in Baltimore and with Tyler Williams, a third-year high school student and first-year college student, at the new Bard High School Early College. They also heard from professor Patrick Oray and from students in his Great Books seminar.

Candlewick Press

Laura Amy Schlitz, an award winning author of books for children and young adults talks about her latest book. In 2008, she won the John Newbury Medal for her novel, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village. For people practicing the art of writing for young people, the Newbury Medal is the Pulitzer Prize, the Oscar, the Tony, the Voted Most Likely to Succeed in your High School yearbook award.

And today, there’s good news for the many fans of Laura Amy Schlitz: she’s just published a new book. The Hired Girl tells the story of Joan Skraggs, who makes her way from rural Pennsylvania to an elegant home on Eutaw Place, in the Baltimore neighborhood now known as Reservoir Hill. Laura Amy Schlitz will be talking about her new book at the Children’s Bookstore in Roland Park on Saturday. 

Matthew Murphy

Anniversaries and plays by female playwrights will be celebrated during the upcoming 2015-2016 Baltimore theater season and J. Wynn Rousuck is in the studio with Tom to talk all about it. The Vagabond Players and Everyman Theatre both have milestone anniversaries. Washington’s large-scale celebration of women playwrights will reach stages in this area as well, among them: Single Carrot Theatre, the Interrobang Theatre Company, the Strand Theater Company, Rep Stage and Olney Theatre Center.

Women will also be well represented at Center Stage, which is producing an all-female “As You Like It,” two thought-provoking new plays by women, “X’s and O’s” and “Detroit ’67,” and the musical, “The Secret Garden.” Musicals in the Hippodrome’s new line-up will include the recent Broadway hits, “Kinky Boots” and “Motown The Musical.” And, Cohesion Theatre Company, in partnership with Iron Crow Theatre, will present the Trans* Voices Workshop Series.

Will Baltimore Finally See A Bike Share?

Sep 14, 2015
Llana Wurman and the Daily Pennsylvanian

Baltimore is trying to catch up with quite a few big eastern cities with expansive bike sharing systems. Washington DC was one of the first Bikeshare programs, 5 years ago and since then Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have all built robust bike shares.

Last week, Mayor Rawlings-Blake said the city is seeking a vendor to supply 250 bikes and 25 bike share stations in Charm City; the city has $2.8 million in state and federal grants to launch the system. Liz Cornish, Executive Director of BikeMore, a nonprofit that advocates for making Baltimore more bike-friendly and Jon Laria, the chairman the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Commission, join Sheilah to discuss.

Skyhorse Publishing

D. Watkins is an up and coming writer in Baltimore, and more specifically an up-and-coming black writer. Race is relevant in describing him, because race is a big part of what he writes about. He rejects being labeled the voice of young black Baltimore, but he’s certainly one of the voices who can explain what’s going on. 

We talked to D. Watkins last year, as did a lot of other interviewers, when the online magazine Salon published an essay of his, “Too Poor for Pop Culture.” Now he’s collected that and about two dozen other essays into a book, The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America.

Whitelock Community Farm

For millennia, traditional cultures around the world have made their own naturally fermented foods, from sodas and ale to dairy products to fruits and meat. And many foods you eat day to day are rooted in a tradition of fermentation: miso, yogurt, cheese, vinegar, sauerkraut, sour dough bread, kimchi, beer and various pickled foods.

Sandor Katz has spent over two decades learning the art of fermentation and the benefits of the bacteria to the digestive tract. He wrote the New York Times bestseller, The Art Of Fermentation. Tonight he'll teach a fermentation workshop at Whitelock Community Farm in Baltimore’s Reservoir Hill. 

Arash Azizzada // Flickr Creative Commons

Since Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, questions about WHY police chased and arrested him April 12 even before the fateful transport in a van have focused attention on what factors police are influencing police when they patrol.  Protestors have shouted that police would not have chased a white man talking to a friend on North Avenue.  It may be an issue in the trials of some of the police officers charged in Gray’s death.

Long before that Sunday morning and the uprising that unfolded after it, the U.S. Justice Department had issued guidelines to end discriminatory profiling by law enforcement.  Late last months Maryland’s attorney general followed up with guidelines for law enforcement in this state, declaring that officers should not consider race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability in routine police activities.

September Movie Mayhem

Sep 11, 2015

Tom talks with Maryland Film Festival's Jed Dietz and Washington Post's Film Critic, Ann Hornaday, about the state of movie industry, and some of September's most promising flicks.