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Maryland Morning


Maryland Morning with host Tom Hall aired its final broadcast on September 16, 2016. Programs airing from 10/15 - 9/16/16 can be found below.  Tom is now hosting Midday which can be found here.

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In his book, Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority, Steve Phillips explains how dramatically the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. population has changed over the past 50 years. He argues that this change has given the progressive movement in America a historic opportunity to reshape the political landscape.

Phillips is the co-founder of a social justice organization called PowerPac, which has mobilized voters in support of political candidates like Barack Obama, Cory Booker, and the Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris. With the political campaign season in full swing across the nation, candidates of the major parties are hard at work appealing to a wide range of constituencies in their political bases, from Tea Party conservatives and Evangelicals on the right, to progressives and people of color on the left. Steve Phillips joins Tom on the line from his home in San Francisco to discuss the possibilities of a new left coalition of progressives and minorities.

MICA website

Samuel Hoi was appointed president of the of the venerable Maryland Institute College of Art in 2014. Mr. Hoi, known to his friends as "Sammy," joins Tom to talk about how the training of creative artists encompasses much more than lessons in painting and sculpture, and how the role of artists in society, and in the city, continues to evolve in Baltimore’s post-uprising period.

The conversation also turns to how MICA itself is launching new programs to support a vibrant and sustainable artist community.

photo by Tina Revazi Studio Theater

Every Monday on Maryland Morning, our theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio to share her thoughts on some of the best (and sometimes not the best) stage productions in Baltimore and throughout the Maryland region. This morning, she arrives with her knit hand puppet Chaussette ​(photo below) to tell us about a remarkable new production of the 2015 Broadway hit and multiple Tony-nominee, Hand to God, now playing an extended run at Washington, D.C.'s Studio Theatre until October 2.

 Set in a church basement in a Texas backwater town, it takes us into the world of a Christian puppet ministry, where one puppet becomes the very black sheep of this hapless flock.  The puppet's demonic energies trigger a torrent of angry and lustful epiphanies among the town's denizens, in what Studio Theater calls "a ruthless comedy about sex, sinners and sock puppets."

Jen Rynda, Baltimore Sun Media Group

On July 31st, devastating flash floods, triggered by unusually torrential rains, rampaged through Ellicott City, leaving two people dead and over 200 buildings damaged or destroyed in this 244-year-old river town. On Thursday, August 18th, many residents were allowed for the first time to return briefly to their homes and businesses along historic Main Street. Residents will have until Monday to clean up and retrieve their belongings. Then the street will be closed to the public as work crews begin an intensive, 3-month program of cleanup, repair and rebuilding. 

Sports Illustrated

Culture critic Sheri Parks joins Tom in the studio to talk about the role race is playing at the Olympics. Black athletes have had prominent story lines at this year’s games including Simone Biles’ record-tying four gold medals in gymnastics and Simone Manuel’s precedent-breaking gold and silver medals in swimming. How will their wins change the narrative around sports and race?

Plus, they discuss Comedy Central's cancellation of Larry Wilmore's short-lived late-night TV show, and the challenge he faced conducting conversations about race as satirical entertainment.

photo courtesy Old Line Spirits

Since 2011, more than a dozen new distilleries have opened or are set to open across Maryland. Baltimore magazine last year described it as “a spirit-making tsunami.”  Here in Baltimore, four craft distilleries have fired up whiskey stills in recent years.  If this trend continues, Maryland could return to its pre-Prohibition status as the country’s 3rd biggest spirit-maker after Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Tom's guests in the studio this morning are two guys who are making a run at this booming booze market.  Mark McLaughlin and Arch Watkins are friends who met while serving as flight officers in the Navy.  They founded the Old Line Spirits distillery in 2014.  While they utilize other facilities to prepare their special blend of American whiskey, they’re putting the finishing touches on their refurbished distillery in Highlandtown, and plan to have it up and running before the end of the year. 

Creative Commons

On the evening of Monday, August 1st,  the Baltimore City Council voted to send back to committee a bill that would mandate raising the minimum wage to $15 in 2022. 

To help us dissect  how the City Council came to its decision, and what this might mean moving forward, Tom is joined in Studio A by Luke Broadwater, who covers City Hall for the Baltimore Sun, and Kenneth Burns, the Metro Reporter here at WYPR.

Sagamore Development

This morning, a conversation about one of the most complicated and controversial issues facing Baltimore today: the $5.5 billion dollar proposal to develop Port Covington in South Baltimore.  Sagamore Development, the development arm of Kevin Plank and Under Armor, has proposed to build what amounts to a city within a city on Baltimore’s Southern Shore.  It’s a project that is slated to unfold over decades, and it has the potential to transform the city’s economy and its international profile.  Critics, however, are wary.  They fear that it will further segregate the city, and that local leaders are missing an opportunity to create not only jobs, but affordable housing, and a road out of poverty for many residents.  Joining Tom in studio to walk-us through the latest in the on-going Sagamore Saga are Natalie Sherman of the Baltimore Sun and Melody Simmons of the Baltimore Business Journal.

Monica Reinagel

Nutrition Diva Monica Reinagel joins Tom in the studio for this month’s Smart Nutrition segment. With more Americans worried about the health effects of a meat-rich diet and the treatment of animals by the meat production industry, more people are turning to meat and dairy substitutes like veggie burgers, vegan cheese and other soy- , wheat- and vegetable-based products. How good do they taste?  And are these meat alternatives more healthful and nutritious in the long run? 

 Monica Reinagel is a licensed nutritionist who blogs at Quick and     

photo courtesy Baltimore Sun

Carla Hayden, who has led Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library for nearly a quarter-century, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13 as President Obama's pick to be the 14th Librarian of Congress.  When she is sworn in, Ms. Hayden will be the first woman, the first African-American - and only the third professional librarian - to hold the esteemed position, whose mission is to curate and champion the nation's literary treasures.

In her first interview since being confirmed as the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden joins Tom in the studio to reflect on her long career heading Baltimore's public library system, and to describe the digital conversion and public awareness projects she hopes to tackle first in her new job at the Library of Congress.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum.

 The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture’s latest exhibition is called Now, That’s Cool!  The collection tells the story of the long and varied African-American experience in Maryland, a story that for many decades was defined by slavery, segregation and the legacies of those institutions.  

The exhibit includes more than 40 artifacts collected by the museum over the past 10 years, including a door from the once-segregated Druid Hill Park bathhouses that reads "White Men;" original pictures of abolitionist Frederick Douglass; and a broadside poster from 1802 advertising the capture of two slaves in Frederick, Maryland. 

In this report by producer Bridget Armstrong, museum curator Charles Bethea explains the importance of the exhibition's pieces, and museum visitors share their reactions to the artifacts. 

Now, That's Cool! will be on display at The Reginald F. Lewis museum until December 31. 

Photo by Will Kirk/BSF

There are two striking non-traditional elements in the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s production of “Julius Caesar.” First, it’s set at the time of the American Revolution. And second, although almost all of the characters are men, women play more than half the roles.

The reason for the changed time period, to paraphrase director Chris Cotterman’s program notes, is that the story of Julius Caesar was distant – but relatable – history to Shakespeare’s original audiences. So why not create a similar link – okay, not quite as distant – that would resonate with American audiences?

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is dedicated to “recreating the experience that Shakespeare’s audiences would have had.” I can’t say how relevant his audiences might have found the hubris of the title character – the presumptive king. But I suspect it might touch a chord with audiences here.

photo courtesy Emory University

The first anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray, and the protests and violent uprising that ensued, has come and gone. The trials of the six police officers indicted in connection with the young black man's death, from injuries he sustained in a police van, have ended without a single conviction.  In the July issue of Harper's Magazine, author Lawrence Jackson, who's been a professor of African-American Studies and English at Emory, reflected on his hometown, Baltimore, and the decades of city policies and practices that preceded -- and seeded -- the uprising of April 2015.  The title of his article invokes a phrase that's familiar to anyone who's lived in Charm City for a while -- The City That Bleeds.  Lawrence Jackson joins Tom in the studio to discuss the dynamics of the article's subtitle: "Freddie Gray and the makings of an American uprising."

National Press Foundation

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joins Tom in the studio for our monthly Healthwatch conversation. Dr. Wen discusses how to stay safe during our dangerous Code Red heat-alert conditions. The Health Commissioner also talks about the continuing efforts to keep the Zika virus from spreading in Maryland, about the serious opioid overdose epidemic in Baltimore, and the informational website  that the city recently launched, which shows you how to administer Naloxone, a drug that can save a person from a potentially fatal opioid overdose.

Photo by Arash Azizzada

The Department of Justice released a scathing report on the Baltimore Police Department on Wednesday. The report found systematic deficiencies and a pattern of unconstitutional and racially biased behavior in the department. 

The DOJ found that BPD routinely made unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests, used excessive force, retaliated against people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression, targeted African-Americans communities, failed to adequately investigate sexual assault allegations, and failed to hold officers accountable for wrongdoing.  Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis joins Tom by phone to respond to the report. 

Photo courtesy Frederick County Government

In another installment in our Focus on the Counties series, Tom is joined by Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner. Ms. Gardner is 59 years old and a native of Northwestern Pennsylvania. She moved to Frederick County in the early 90s, where her husband’s family has resided for six generations. A mother of three adult children, she and her husband now live in the city of Frederick.

Ms. Gardner is a Democrat and Frederick County’s first County Executive.  She holds an M.B.A. from Xavier University. She served as Frederick County Commissioner and the President of Frederick County Commissioners before being elected County Executive in 2014.

According to census data released last year, Frederick County is the fifth fastest-growing county in the state of Maryland.  County Executive Jan Gardner explains how that growth has been affecting life - and governance - in Frederick County.


Jazz and classical pianist Jeffrey Chappell joins Tom to discuss his new quartet Otherworld

Chappell, who is the director of Jazz studies at Goucher College, taught or directed all of his band mates at some point in his career. The band included Jake Kohlhas on guitar, Chris Taylor on bass, and Jake Marinari on percussion.  Unlike other bands, Otherworld, which was born out of a jam session, doesn’t have a "leader."  Instead, members enjoy equal status and input.  Chappell talks with Tom about the band’s genesis and what inspires their music.

Photo from

Two decades ago, new research and new diagnostic tools led to a sharp rise in the numbers of children diagnosed with autism. The surprising prevalence of the developmental brain disorder – affecting an estimated 1 in 68 children born in the U.S. – sparked a wave of special programs designed to help autistic children achieve their full potential.  Now, as these children have grown into adults, programs to help them live their lives with purpose and dignity are few and far between.  This morning, producer Rob Sivak reports on some local efforts to address the unique challenges of adults with autism.

Itineris, a non-profit agency launched in 2003 by a grass-roots coalition of health professionals and parents of autistic children, is one of the few organized efforts in Baltimore that's helping autistic adults meet those challenges.   Another, larger, fee-for-service operation is the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism,  established in 2007 as part of the Institute for Well-Being within Towson University's College of Health Professions. 

Rob pays a visit to the Hussman Center and talks with staff and adult participants; we hear how the facility provides both a training environment for Towson University students interested in learning about autism, and a valuable resource for young adults living with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Speaks is a key online resource for families with children and young adults living on the spectrum and who are interested in self-advocacy.

Photo by harry Bechkes

Now in its 35th year, the Baltimore Playwrights Festival has been going through structural and organizational changes. This summer’s season consists almost entirely of script-in-hand, staged readings, which continue into September.

The only full production is “Crash & Burn, P.A.,” written by festival veteran Robert R. Bowie, Jr., and produced by the Theatrical Mining Company. Bowie is a lawyer and like several of his previous plays, “Crash & Burn” is set in the legal world.

But unlike some of those earlier plays – which tackled subjects ranging from slavery to repressed memory – “Crash & Burn” is a farce, a farce that takes place in the office of a pair of bottom-feeding lawyers. Mark Crash is a low-level criminal attorney; his partner, Mike Burn, apparently prefers dead clients – he specializes in wills.

Tim Stephens

Suzanne Feldman's  debut novel, Absalom's Daughters,  follows the adventures of two teenage girls as they embark on a journey to find their father -- and themselves. 

The story is set in Mississippi during the 1950s, as the two young girls, one black and one white, learn that they share the same white father. He has abandoned both of the girls and left for Virginia. The sisters  set out on a road trip through the Deep South to find him.

The Frederick-based writer joins Tom in the studio to talk about her novel and its unusual inspiration.

As the 2016 Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, resident sports guy Mark Hyman joins Tom in the studio to give us a preview. Several athletes with ties to the greater Baltimore region are competing in this year’s games. Are swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky ready for a repeat? Are track and field stars Christina Epps and Matt Centrowitz ready for a breakout? They’ll also discuss the concerns over water safety and athlete housing in Rio that have some saying the city isn’t ready for big games.

David Gallagher

Our movie mavens, Ann Hornaday,  film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz, founder and executive director of the Maryland Film Festival, join Tom to talk about the movie hits and misses of season.

They discuss anticipated blockbusters like Suicide Squad and Jason Bourne, indy breakouts like Captain Fantastic and Don’t Think Twice, a movie produced This American Life host Ira Glass.  

photo courtesy Harford County Government

We begin today with another installment in our Focus on the Counties series.  Over the past few weeks, Tom Hall has been joined in Studio A by the county executives of Baltimore, Howard, and Anne Arundel Counties. This morning Tom welcomes Harford County Executive Barry Glassman to the studio. Mr. Glassman is 54 years old and a native of Havre de Grace, Maryland.  He is a Republican, elected in 2014.

Glassman is a graduate of Washington College, in Chestertown.  Before entering politics, he worked as an insurance investigator and held positions with Baltimore Gas and Electric. He was a member of the Harford County Council in the 1990s, a State Delegate from 1999 to 2008 and a State Senator from 2008 to 2014.

Among the topics Tom takes up with the Harford County Executive are how he's been handling water quality issues, managing the Susquehanna watershed and Harford County's Chesapeake Bay shoreline, his efforts to foster both rural interests and suburban development, and Mr. Glassman's passion for fiscal balance and efficiency in government.

Photo by Mackenzie Smith

When William Golding's novel "Lord of the Flies" was first published in 1954, it was a sensational but disturbing best-seller. The dark allegory tells the story of a group of British schoolboys stranded on a remote island, who find that in their struggle to survive, the veneer of civilization can prove very thin indeed.

Annex Theater's new production of "The Lord of Flies," purposely departs from the plotlines (and the precise title) of the Golding novel, moves the venue to a high-security animal disease research center, and dives into another dark and troubling issue: how technology can become both a protector and a menace. Adapted by M. Coan, and collectively directed and acted by S. Jacklin, J. Budenz, S. Lamar, and R. Kidwell.,

The Lord of Flies continues at Baltimore's Annex Theater until August 7.

Baltimore City Gov.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joins Tom in the studio for the full hour today. Among the topics they discuss are Under Armor's Port Covington development, last year's Uprising, the dropped charges against the police officers indicted in connection with Freddie Gray's arrest and death, her decision to not seek re-election, her role at this year's Democratic National Convention, and the political landscape ahead. 

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Last night, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the DNC to accept the party’s nomination. After she was introduced by her daughter Chelsea Clinton, Sec. Clinton appealed to disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters who find her policies too moderate and working class families who feel forgotten by politicians. 

Baltimore Sun

On Wednesday, the State’s Attorney’s office dropped the charges against Officer Garrett Miller, Officer William Porter and Sgt. Alicia White, the officers still awaiting trial for the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in April of 2015. 

Officers Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson and Lt. Brian Rice were acquitted of all charges earlier this year. Officer William Porter’s trial ended in a hung jury last December. He is the only officer to ask for a jury trial; his retrial was set to begin in September.  In a news conference held on a sidewalk at the Gilmore Homes, the neighborhood in which Freddie Gray grew up, State’sAttorney Marilyn Mosby called into question law enforcement’s role in investigating Freddie Gray’s death, saying “There was a reluctance and an obvious bias consistently exemplified, not by the entire Baltimore police force, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department, at every stage of the investigation.” Attorney Edward Smith and University of Baltimore law professor David Jaros join Tom for an analysis of how these trials have affected the Baltimore Police Department, and what they could mean for the future of police-community relations in the city.

Jim Young/Reuters

It’s Day 3 of what has been a contentious Democratic National Convention. After Wikileaks published emails from Democratic National Committee staffers, including DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, showing clear bias for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Wasserman Shultz announced that she would step down as chair at the end of the week. However, after Rep. Wasserman-Shultz was booed at a delegate breakfast on Monday, she relinquished her opening and closing gavel duties to Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who serves as the secretary of the committee.


Big change is coming to the National Aquarium's 25-year old dolphin exhibit.  Last month, Aquarium CEO and marine conservationist John Racanelli announced that the institution will move its small population of dolphins to a marine sanctuary somewhere in the Florida/Caribbean area by the year 2020. The decision comes five years after the Aquarium ended its traditional dolphin shows, and follows protests at the Inner Harbor facility by activists calling for more humane treatment of dolphins. The proposed sanctuary has been applauded by many animal welfare groups.  Dr. Heather Rally, a wildlife veterinarian with the research and conservation arm of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), calls the transfer of the dolphins to a non-breeding marine sanctuary "a monumental move."

Resident foodie Sascha Wolhandler, owner of Sascha's 527 Restaurant & Catering, is back for another installment of What Ya Got Cookin. This morning, Sascha joins Tom in-studio to share salad recipes from around the world.  Popular international salads, she believes, mirror the diversity of America's immigrant communities.