On The Record | WYPR

On The Record

Weekdays, 9:30 to 10:00 am

Catch On the Record, hosted by Sheilah Kast, weekdays from 9:30 to 10:00 am, following NPR’s Morning Edition. We’ll discuss the issues that affect your life and bring you thoughtful and lively conversations with the people who shape those issues -- business people, public officials, scholars, artists, authors, and journalists who can take us inside the story. If you want to share a comment, question, or an idea for an interview you’d like to hear, email us at ontherecord@wypr.org.

Special WYPR Coronavirus Coverage

Theme music created by Jon Ehrens.  Logo designed by Louis Umerlik.

Ways to Connect

Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr Creative Commons

At the end of this month, hundreds of thousands of Maryland renters may be called to court for failure to pay rent.

State Senator Shelly Hettlemen represents Baltimore County. She leads a workgroup advocating for a dozen actions to address the looming crisis. Read their reccomendations here. We ask what she's hearing from residents.

And Adam Skolnik, head of the Maryland Mutli-Family Association, says smaller property owners are shouldering the greatest burden, but finding support from local banks.

Creative Commons/Cristina_Frost

During the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are staying home in order to stay safe. But what if home is the opposite of safe … because you’re trapped inside with your abuser? Fushena Cruickshank from the The Maryland Health Care Coalition Against Domestic Violence, tells us how they’re training healthcare providers to help patients in these dangerous circumstances. And Lauren Shaivitz, director of the non-profit Chana, talks about the unique challenges their clients are facing during lockdown.

Check The National Domestic Abuse Hotline for resources or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Who needs camp when you can design a mosaic, carve a statue from soap or compose a song … all from home! The ‘Baltimore Summer Arts Passport’ offers alternatives to ‘a cancelled camp summer’ for thousands of city youth. We talk with Julia di Busolo, executive director of Arts Every Day, who spearheaded the project, and with Dana Carr, executive director of Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center. She believes the project could set the stage for future instruction.

For more information about the Baltimore Summer Arts Passport, visit this link. To make a Baltimore Summer Arts Passport donation, visit this link.

Stories From The Stoop: Terry Sapp

Jul 31, 2020
Stoop Storytelling Series

Here's a Stoop Story from Terry Sapp about the healing power of heavy metal music. You can hear his story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com or on the Stoop podcast.

Simon & Schuster

If white Christians take a closer look--at their church’s history, at its pious images, at the sermons they hear--they may begin to see a deeply racist theology embedded in the DNA of their faith. Robert P. Jones’ new book, “White Too Long” calls for a reckoning.

Jones is the founder and CEO of the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute

BHSB Facebook page

Every day, scores of people in mental or emotional distress call for help. If they dial 9-1-1, what happens? As many argue for curtailing the role of police, what are other options in Baltimore for such emergency calls?

Adrienne Breidenstine of Behavioral Health System Baltimore describes where gaps in the system let people down, and how they might be filled. And we ask Edgar Wiggins, founder of Baltimore Crisis Response, which is funded by BHS, how it works.

Wikimedia Commons

Throughout Maryland’s history, the Bay’s bounty -- and its access to transatlantic trade -- proved irresistible to pirates. In her book “Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay,” Jamie Goodall explores the role of these legendary rebels and describes the fine line between piracy and privateering.

Simon and Schuster

Four hundred years ago, after Galileo heard rumors that lenses in a tube could bring the planets and the surface of the moon into focus, he made detailed observations with a telescope and laid the groundwork for the scientific method. He also brought on himself the wrath of the greatest power in Europe, the Catholic Church, which called his analysis heretical. In a new biography, Galileo and the Science Deniers, astrophysicist Mario Livio compares Galileo’s critics to those who today deny climate change ... or the science behind the coronavirus.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here is a Stoop Story from activist Destiny Watford about the power of storytelling to change minds.

Click here to learn more about the Stoop Storytelling Series and the Stoop podcast.

Banneker-Douglass Museum

Harper Collins

Like most of Laura Lippman’s novels, her new book is set mostly in Baltimore … and centers on a smart woman with complicated motives. But this protagonist is not fictional--this is Lippman herself, publishing her first non-fiction since her days as a newspaper reporter. It’s a collection of essays titled My Life as a Villainess. We learn why Lippman considers herself a bad friend, … why she used to steal penny-candy, … how it feels to be asked if your new baby is your grandchild. Essays full of revelations, but not many regrets--not even the grudges.

You can attend virtual talks featuring Laura Lippman at The Strand Bookstore  on Aug. 3 and at the Ivy Bookshop on Aug. 12.

Baltimore Rock Opera Society

The Black Lives Matter movement has emboldened Black communities to demand justice and equity in nearly every realm of American life. The Baltimore Rock Opera Society has taken that message to the online stage with its portrayal of the evolution of rock and roll ... told using a more accurate, more inclusive arc. We talk with Petula Caesar, producer of ‘Rock Opera 101: American Music’ … and Jonathan Gilmore, its creator, director and lead performer.

Amazon/the author

When Spiro Agnew, faced with prosecution for bribes dating back to his days as Baltimore County Executive, resigned the vice presidency in 1973 -- it seemed the glaring end of his political influence. But the book, Republican Populist: Spiro Agnew and the Origins of Donald Trump’s America, contends Agnew did create a political legacy, and we see it today in Donald Trump’s America. Authors Zach Messitte and Chuck Holden write that Agnew excelled as Nixon’s emissary to the Silent Majority.

Senior Airman Sarah M. McClanahan/The National Guard / Flickr Creative Commons

The COVID-19 pandemic may not be a hurricane, a terrorist attack or a war, but it is a disaster. As a disaster psychologist Dr. George Everly has spent four decades responding to the mental-health needs of victims of calamities around the world.

The many awards and enormous audiences for ‘Hamilton - An American Musical’ have catapulted the show into Broadway history. But what about the American history portrayed on stage … How accurate is that? This month, as TV audiences can view the spectacle at home, we ask University of Maryland historian and Hamilton fan Richard Bell what the creators got right, and what misses the mark. He sees the show as a living, breathing document that can read differently over time, but enthusiastically gives it a passing grade.

You can see Bell's presentation ‘Hamilton: How the Musical Remixes American History’ this month through Smithsonian Associates Streaming series on July 21 and through the Montgomery County Public Library on July 28. For information about Bell's books and other educational events, visit this link.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here's a Stoop Story from Tiffany about the importance of standing up for what you believe in. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Baltimore Heritage / Flickr Creative Commons

Decades after the Civil War, monuments honoring Confederate soldiers and leaders were erected across the country. University of Maryland law professor Larry Gibson says these monuments were part of the Lost Cause Movement--a campaign to glorify the South and minimize slavery as a cause of the Civil war.

Alissa Eckert, Dan Higgins/CDC

Some scientists are calling urgent attention to the way the coronavirus can waft long distances through the air. These are not the droplets that fall to the ground or onto a surface within a few feet. These are tinier gobs of virus, much smaller than a human hair. They can linger indoors, then settle deep in our lungs. Dr. Donald Milton, a respiratory disease expert at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, led a group of scientists pointing to such airborne transmission. 

You can read a PDF of the science community's letter to the WHO at this link.


Before Jaclyn Paul learned to manage her ADHD, her life was a turmoil of missed appointments, clutter, lost bills, late fees, stalled goals and unfinished projects. She struggled to create a social life and a peaceful home for her husband and son. In short, she was in pain. Getting organized was her way out of that pain.

Maryland Historical Society

The fight for Black civil rights started long before the 1960s. That’s a central theme in ‘The Black Freedom Struggle,’ a free webinar hosted tomorrow by the Maryland Historical Society. It focuses on the free Black Maryland experience from before the Civil War to the early 20th century. We hear from presenter Christopher Bonner, associate professor of history at the University of Maryland. He describes how Black communities organized and mobilized...to push back against the gauntlet of laws and restrictions laid down by white lawmakers.

For information about the MDHS webinar, visit this link.

For information about Bonner's book, "Remaking the Republic: Black Politics and the Creation of American Citizenship," visit this link

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here is a Stoop Story from Rosemary Raun about what it takes for your voice to be heard. Check out more information about the Stoop Storytelling Series and listen to the Stoop podcast.

Asian Development Bank / Flickr Creative Commons

Melissa Gerr

A century from now, what will people remember about life during COVID-19? Allison Tolman of the Maryland Historical Society talks about the new project, ‘Collecting In Quarantine.’ She says it’s important to collect stories ‘in the moment’ to capture the nuances of daily life. Plus, UMBC professor Rebecca Adelman tells why she launched the website ‘Coronavirus Lost and Found: A Pandemic Archive' -- a repository of pandemic experiences from around the world.

Links: Coronvirus Lost and Found, Collecting in Quarantine.

Phalinn Ooi / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a disruptive year for students. The school year dissolved into distance learning, then summer vacation, and now educators are bracing for a bigger than normal “summer slide” when classes resume.

Lydia Thompson (21st Century Fox) for National Geographic

Powerful painkillers can often dispatch acute pain, but using them for chronic, persistent pain carries the risk of addiction. Nearly two million Americans have a substance abuse disorder stemming from prescribed opioids. So scientists are researching ways to treat pain without drugs. We talk with journalist Yudhijit Bhattacharjee who wrote about them in National Geographic in "Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of Pain." And we talk with University of Maryland neurobiologist Dr. Luana Colloca featured in the article. She describes her research using virtual reality to manage chronic pain and her discoveries with the use of placebos. For more information on the National Geographic article, visit this link. For more information on Dr. Luana Colloca's research at the University of Maryland, visit this link.

Anne Ditmeyer / Flickr Creative Commons

"There’s an extraordinary need out there, by any measure. Within the first 24 hours of launching the program on Wednesday we had 1700 applications either in progress or already submitted.” Baltimore Housing Commissioner Michael Braverman describes a need that reflects the desperation of renters.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here is a spooky summertime Stoop Story from Tom Jub about why 12-year-olds are probably too young to be camp counselors. Check out more Stoop stories and the Stoop podcast here.

Martin Falbisoner/wikimedia.org

People aren’t working as much or buying as many things--which hurts not only their individual economic lives, but the state’s revenues also. The state board with the job of balancing the budget has started reducing spending. We speak with the only member of the board who voted ‘’no”-- State Treasurer Nancy Kopp -- about why she thinks it’s worth taking another month before locking in budget cuts. Plus Sen. Guy Guzzone and Del. Maggie McIntosh, the chairs of two important legislative committees, explain how they’ll approach rewriting next year’s budget.

Here's how The Baltimore Sun and the news site Maryland Matters covered the vote by the Board of Public Works.

Victoria Pickering / Flickr Creative Commons

The Supreme Court recently blocked President Trump’s attempt to end DACA--a program that protects some immigrants who arrived in the US as children from deportation.

Melissa Gerr

Almost everyone can agree that cleaner air and water is good for the planet. But what if you’re being left out of the discussions that determine priorities, processes and goals? Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper, has been working to grow the participation of Black and Brown communities in the environmental groups that serve them. He describes making some headway, but says he knows there’s a long way to go. Plus, we talk with Jenn Aiosa, executive director of Blue Water Baltimore, for a look back at ten years of environmental outreach, education and watershed restoration!

For information about Blue Water Baltimore's Tenth Anniversary events happening June 30, 2020 visit this link.