Ted Eytan/Flickr

LaFontaine E. Oliver, the president and general manager of WYPR, was voted the chairman of NPR’s governing board on Friday afternoon. 

The board is instrumental in both NPR’s day-to-day and long term strategy: it decides management’s policies and overall direction, monitors the news organization’s performance and provides financial oversight of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.


Profiles PR

The torrent of news that NPR and its affiliates around the country need to cover would be daunting in the best of times, but to cover it while the health risk is high and revenue is down presents unprecedented challenges.

About a year ago, when LaFontaine Oliver took over as president and general manager of WYPR, we talked with him on this program about his plans for our station moving forward. We promised to have him back occasionally to give listeners an update on where the station is heading. Today, we are keeping that promise...

WYPR Operations

Mar 17, 2020

As WYPR continues to bring you the latest updates on the Coronavirus, as well as bringing you our regularly scheduled programming, please note that we are also doing our part to keep our employees safe.
We have limited on-site staff to essential employees only. If you are trying to reach someone, please call them directly. If it is urgent, please call 410-657-2535. If making a delivery, please follow the instructions on our front door.

To contact our newsroom, call 410-235-6060.

Johns Hopkins University

And now, it’s Midday on Ethics.

The coronavirus doesn’t only pose epidemiological challenges. It poses ethical dilemmas as well, particularly as governments grapple with containing the epidemic.

Whenever science and health news raises potential ethical concerns, we turn to Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, who joins me now in Studio A.

Dr. Kahn is the director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He is one of the co-editors of The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics.  And he has a recurring role in “Unnatural Selection” — a four-part series on Netflix about the possible uses of gene editing.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch. 

U.S. Government/Digital Globe via AP

Last Saturday's drone attack at one of the world's largest oil refineries in Saudi Arabia destroyed about 5% of the world’s oil supply.  The Trump Administration and a lot of independent reporting has indicated that Iran is behind the attack, although Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility.   

Senator Ben Cardin (D., MD) a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, joins Tom on the line from Capitol Hill to discuss the details of the attack, how it is fueling tensions in the Middle East, and how the U.S. ought to respond.

Midday Newsmaker: BTU President Diamonté Brown

Sep 17, 2019
Courtesy of Baltimore Teachers Union

Today, a conversation with Diamonté Brown, the new president of the Baltimore Teachers Union.  She was first elected last spring in a close and contentious race to lead the 7,000-member union of teachers and school para-professionals.  Her victory, which was officially certified in July after an investigation by the American Federation of Teachers, ended the long tenure of Marietta English, who was seeking her seventh 3-year term as BTU president.

Ms. Brown ran at the top of a coalition called The Union We Deserve.  She has pledged to improve accountability, engagement among union members, and to promote social justice.

A former teacher at Booker T. Washington Middle School, Ms. Brown now leads a union of teachers and school para-professionals who are working with a shrinking population of students, in the context of a deep political divide among lawmakers over funding for schools throughout the state. She joins us in studio A to discuss the present state of the union, and the school system improvements its members are striving for.

This program was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page; you can watch the video here.


If you are a person with a condition that requires millions of dollars worth of pharmaceuticals, even having health insurance may not be enough.  Almost no individual can afford that kind of treatment, and increasingly, employer or union-based insurance plans can’t afford it either.  Is the high cost of some of these medications due solely to the greed of big Pharma?  In a word, no.  There are many reasons for why drugs cost so much. 

Tom is joined in studio by Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.  In addition to being a regular guest on this program, he is one of the co-editors of a new book: The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics, published just a couple of weeks ago by Oxford University Press.  

Courtesy of Baltimore City Health Department

In the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, a diagnosis of HIV was a death sentence.  Now, infection with HIV -- the human immunodeficiency virus -- is a chronic, treatable condition.  Even more promising, medicines have been developed which can prevent the acquisition of HIV entirely.

Today on Midday, a conversation about the feasibility of ridding the world of AIDS in the next decade.  What strategies and treatments are working, and what still needs to be accomplished? 

Earlier this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report titled “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America.” The plan focuses on a four pronged approach to ending the epidemic. Diagnose, Treat, Prevent and Respond.  Will it work?

Tom talks with a panel of local physicians and advocates involved in Baltimore's HIV prevention and treatment efforts...

AP Images / Matt Rourke

Today on the News Wrap, we examine how the internet is fanning the flames of political and racial discord in America.  Guest host Nathan Sterner speaks with writer Dale Beran about how the online message board 8-chan became a platform for far-right extremism.

Then, the latest news out of Baltimore County, including ongoing efforts to finance affordable housing projects.

And we look at a new series by the Baltimore Business Journal spotlighting  Baltimore's public transportation woes.  WYPR reporter John Lee and Baltimore Business Journal staff writer Melody Simmons join us. 

Laura Schneider / Creative Commons

It’s another edition of What Ya Got Cookin'? -- our occasional series featuring some of Baltimore’s best chefs and foodies, who take time away from their steamy kitchens to share with Midday listeners all manner of cooking tips. With July 4th looming, we’re zeroing in on that most American category of summer holiday cooking: the backyard barbeque.  What should you grill?  And how, exactly should you grill it?  Whether you’re a seasoned backyard cook or a newbie to the summer outdoor cooking scene, we’ve got your back. 

Our guests are John Shields a chef, an author and the proprietor, along with John Gilligan, of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art; and Damian Mosley, chef and proprietor of Blacksauce Kitchen, a catering and mobile food business specializing in biscuits and barbeque.  We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  To watch the video, click here. 

On April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, seven Catholic peace activists cut fences and entered the King’s Bay Naval Base in Southeast Georgia, to protest the United States nuclear weapons arsenal.  King’s Bay is presumed to be home to several Trident Nuclear Submarines.  They called their protest a “Plowshares Action,” inspired by the book of Isaiah, from the famous passage, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.”   

The King’s Bay 7, as they have come to be known, were arrested, and held at the Glynn County Detention Center in Brunswick GA.

Four of the defendants accepted terms of release that allowed them to return to their homes while they awaited trial.  Three of the activists, Elizabeth McAlister, who lived for decades here in Baltimore; a Jesuit priest from New York, Fr. Steve Kelly; and an activist from New Haven, CT, Mark Colville, chose to remain in jail.

Fifteen months later, they are still there.  Pre-trial hearings were held last November.  Another hearing is scheduled before US Judge Lisa Godbey- Wood on August 7th.  If the Judge decides to deny the defense motion to dismiss, the case will go to trial.

Photo Courtesy / Apprenctice House Press

Tom's guest is Maria Hiaasen. Her husband, Rob Hiaasenwas one of five staffers killed in a mass shooting at the Capital Gazette one year ago today. 

Rob was a beloved reporter, columnist and editor who was recently recognized with an award for mentoring scores of young journalists. Maria has overseen the posthumous publication of Rob's novel, Float Plan, as well as a collection of his columns called Love Punch.  

Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Rob Hiaasen were among 54 journalists around the world who lost their lives in 2018 while reporting.  

Tracy Hall

Today, it's another edition of Midday in the Neighborhood, an occasional series in which we've set out to spotlight the remarkable tapestry of communities that make up  the city of Baltimore.

Tom is joined in Studio A by representatives of three Baltimore neighborhoods: 

Greenmount West, located just north and east of Penn Station; 

Ridgely’s Delight, which is that historic little wedge downtown between Camden Yards, the University of Maryland Medical Center and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; and

Canton, the large waterfront community just east of Fells Point.

Lauren Kelly-Washington is president of the Greenmount West Community AssociationBen Marks is the president of the Ridgely's Delight Association. Michael Woollen is a member of the Canton Community Association and the founder of Canton Canopy, a neighborhood tree planting program.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  If you missed it, click here to watch.

Waverly Tavern's Liquor License is Suspended for a Week

Sep 14, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore City’s Liquor Board Waverly Tavern’s liquor license for a week and fined the establishment $2,500 Thursday afternoon.

Midday on the Media with David Folkenflik 7.17.18

Jul 17, 2018

It’s Midday on the Media.  Today: NPR Media Correspondent and author David Folkenflik joins me to talk about President Trump’s trip to Helsinki.  Was it a Diplomatic Debacle or as some Fox News hosts said last night, did the media simply go into a meltdown like it always does when it comes to the President?

 David Folkenflik joined NPR in 2004 after a decade as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.  He’s also the author of  a new book about Rupert Murdoch called Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires.  He joins us on the line from the studios of NPR in New York.

During the Revolutionary War, Charles Wilson Peale served with, and painted portraits of, many great leaders fighting for independence from England, including George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. 

"Diamond Jim"

Dec 7, 2017

In the early years of the 20th century, "Diamond Jim" Brady was a man of enormous appetites, for food, entertainment, and, of course, diamonds. 


On December 2nd, 1859, abolitionist John Brown met his end at the gallows in Charlestown, Virginia. 

Today, a conversation with a man who has filed or joined more than half a dozen cases against the Trump Administration: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. Mr. Frosh is a Democrat who was elected in 2014, after serving for 28 years on the Maryland General Assembly.

Earlier this year, to the chagrin of the Governor, the general assembly gave the Attorney General’s office the authority to sue the Trump administration without Governor Larry Hogan’s permission. Back in March, Maryland joined the state of Washington in a lawsuit against the second travel ban.  Maryland also filed a lawsuit with the District of Columbia alleging that President Trump violated anti-corruption clauses in the constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments after he took office. Attorney General Frosh pushed back against president Trump’s voter fraud commission, saying that the commission only exists to “indulge Trump’s fantasy that he won the popular vote.” He also called the commissions’ request for voter data “repugnant.” The lawsuits of course are not without critics. Republican state lawmakers accused the Attorney General of “grandstanding,” saying that he’s exploiting his political power to go after President Trump.

Closer to home, Attorney General Frosh has spoken out about criminal justice reform. In an opinion issued last year, he told state lawmakers that our cash bail system is unconstitutional. Mr. Frosh joins Tom to talk law, respond to comments, and field all of your burning questions.

Credit Courtesy of Dr. Brittney C. Cooper

Today, another installment of the Midday Culture Connection with Dr. Sheri Parks of the University of Maryland.

Sheri is an Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland College Park, where she is also an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies.  She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman.

We’re joined by Dr. Brittney Cooper, an assistant professor of women and gender studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University in Brunswick, New Jersey. She is also the author of a new book called Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women.

Dr. Cooper’s book explores the history of black women as intellectuals. The 19th and 20th century “Race Women” she tells us about are often thought of as activists rather than public intellectuals. Their scholarship and achievements are often overshadowed by the work of Black men like W.E.B Dubois, Frederick Douglas and others, as well as the writing and activism of white feminists. 

A little later in the program,  Tom is joined by Ellen Gee, a contemporary Race Woman, who is one of the organizers behind the Baltimore Ceasefire, an attempt to put a stop to the onslaught of violence that has plagued Baltimore, particularly since the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. She and other organizers are calling for no violence in our city for 72 hours, beginning this weekend.

A Baltimore school police officer was filmed hitting and kicking a teenager early this month while another officer watched. The video went viral, and the school system moved quickly to suspend the officers and press criminal charges. The chief was also put on leave. Critics say this is not an isolated incident. Baltimore City is the only jurisdiction in Maryland with its own school police force, separate from the police department. Child advocates say that force needs a complete overhaul; they say it doesn’t hire or manage well, and officers tend to arrest kids for run-of-the-mill misbehavior. What’s happening that is not caught on camera? Are cops in Baltimore schools doing more harm than good? 

Understanding Animal Research/Flickr via Creative Commons

Millions of animals are used in research every year. Cosmetics, pesticides, pharmaceuticals: Half of every dollar we spend on products is for something that was tested on animals. Animal-rights advocates condemn animal testing, but many scientists say it is vital. Can technology solve this problem?  Dr. Thomas Hartung, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, believes it can go a long way. His own lab at the Bloomberg School of Public Health has just developed a tiny replica of the brain using human skin cells. This mini-brain could replace hundreds of thousands of animals now used in neurology labs.

Baltimore City DPW



The City of Baltimore is rolling out a new program that, over the next several months, will provide lidded, wheeled, 65- or 35-gallon trash cans free to every household across the city.  The new cans, designed to reduce the problems of loose garbage and rodents, have been piloted successfully in a few sections of the city.  But some neighborhood groups say they believe the big new trash cans might be difficult to use.  

Jeffrey Raymond, Chief of Communications and Community Affairs at the city's Department of Public Works, joins Tom in the studio to describe how the new trash can program will work.

Pixar President Ed Catmull

Jun 10, 2014

The computer scientist and Disney and Pixar Animations president talks about the history of the company he co-founded and the future of cinematic art.

The legacy of the griot in America, through the lenses of three generations...

The Signal: 2.7.14

Feb 6, 2014

remembering Baltimore’s own Monuments Man; a punk rock love story from The Stoop; and a visit with strip-dancer-turned-novelist Margo Christie    Hollywood's Monuments Men opens in theaters across the country this weekend, and the World War II adventure movie promises to do for art historians what Indiana Jones did for archeologists - make them heroes.  The big difference, though?  The Monuments Men actually existed.  One of them, it turns out, came from Baltimore, and producer Aaron Henkin shares his story.

The Signal: 12.6.13

Dec 6, 2013

This past Thursday night, festive crowds gathered on the cobblestones at Mount Vernon Place to celebrate the annual lighting of Baltimore’s Washington Monument.  The statue of George Washington looked regal as ever, perched atop his marble column amidst the colored lights and fireworks, but the venerable structure has suffered nearly two hundred years of wear and tear.  The truth is, it could use a makeover, and, as Aaron Henkin reports, it’s about to get one.