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Levi Manchek

MC and producer JPEGMAFIA came out of Baltimore and exploded on the national rap landscape, not part of any particular music scene but drawing from many. In this episode, he talks about how songs by Janelle Monáe, Björk, and Cam'ron shaped his art.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

They came in the rain, soaked from head to foot: some with face paint dripping down, some dressed in matching jumpsuits or some,  just in simple t-shirts and shorts. And they came with their toilet bowl race cars - yes, toilet bowl race cars...exquisitely engineered to roll down Chestnut Ave. in Hampden one after another, like a parade displaying Baltimore’s sense of humor.

Twenty-three pilots boarded their homemade toilet bowl vessels and zoomed down the street while crowds dressed in rain gear and carrying umbrellas cheered them on.

Jamyla Krempel

This morning scores of students in Baltimore are marching in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike: a worldwide walk-out to underscore the urgency of climate change and to demand action from political leaders around the globe. We talk with two local organizers: Trinity Eimer, a senior at The Bryn Mawr School, and Helen Schott, a senior at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, who says the event’s purpose reaches far beyond a one-time walk-out and hopes to educate young voters on environmental issues.

John Lee



Farmers live a gambler’s life. And with climate change, the odds for farmers are changing. The state is trying to help farmers plan for what the changing climate holds for Maryland’s largest commercial industry. 


But while some farmers are looking to go on the offensive against climate change, others are just trying to make it to tomorrow.



John Lee

On a warm, picture perfect late summer day, Rob Deford, the President of Boordy Vineyards in Baltimore County is pointing out some of his grapes that are almost ready to be picked.


“We’re approaching the cabernet franc vineyard, and first you see how beautiful the crop looks,” Deford said.


This has been a great year for grape growing in Maryland.  But 2018 was not. Deford said they got 32 inches more rain than usual. It was catastrophic. He lost more than 50 percent of his best red grapes.


Rob Sivak/WYPR

Midday is thrilled to be broadcasting today from the beautifully renovated and restored Enoch Pratt Central Library in downtown Baltimore.  The library looks great following a three-year, $115 million dollar face-lift

From an impromptu stage in the Library's grand Central Hall, Midday host Tom Hall and his guests discuss what’s new about the 86-year-old building itself, and the range of programs that the Enoch Pratt Free Library offers. 

During the broadcast we meet Wesley Wilson, Chief of the Central Library, and Vivian Fisher, Deputy Director and head of the African American Department here at the Central Library. They describe the expanding array of programs and services offered by the Pratt.  

We begin by welcoming the president and CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Heidi Daniel, and Jean Campbell, an architect and senior project manager with Beyer, Blinder, Belle, the architecture firm that that oversaw the renovation of this beautiful and historic building.

The Grand Reopening of the Central Library  -- a community block party -- is slated for Saturday, September 14, from 11 am - 4 pm.  A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for noon, with Pratt CEO Heidi Daniel, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young, Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Sen. Barbara Mikulski and  other dignitaries in attendance.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR


Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians have voted overwhelmingly to reject what a union spokesman called an “unacceptable” contract. As a result, the musician’s work stoppage will continue and management will have to cancel upcoming shows. 

Join us as part of the live audience for a sneak peek at the Central Library renovations as Midday host Tom Hall moderates a panel discussion, broadcast live on WYPR 88.1FM radio.

Broadcast date: Thursday, September 12

Broadcast time: Noon to 1pm

Panelists include:

Poe Theatre On The Air - The Black Cat

Sep 9, 2019

A man brings home a cat for his animal-loving wife, to replace a cherished pet. When the new family addition becomes too annoying for the man, it leads to a dark secret that the cat reveals at the worst possible time – for the man.

Donate your car to WYPR!

Sep 6, 2019

Is your car “fall”-ing apart? “Leaf” it to us! Give your car a new purpose by donating it to WYPR. We’ll handle the pick up!

Learn more about vehicle donations to WYPR at https://wypr.carsmarketing.org/home

Year Up Baltimore Facebook page

Many good jobs don’t require a college degree. Many employers are looking for workers with a solid ethic. How to connect them? Year Up Baltimore does it with half a year of community-college classes for hard and soft skills plus a half-year internship at a business.

We meet Roland Selby, Year Up Baltimore’s executive director, and Fatma Abker, a Year Up graduate now employed in construction management. Plus, Tina Ferrandi of Laureate International Universities, describes her experience hiring Year Up students.

Maryland Historical Society

An upcoming exhibit at the Maryland Historical Society will present clothing and accessories from across four hundred years. What can we learn from clothing designed and worn by Marylanders of the past?

Dress historian Nora Ellen Carleson tells how seamstress Lottie Barton built a thriving business, styled First Lady Frances Cleveland, and evaded smuggling charges. Carleson will be speaking about dressmaking in 19th and 20th century Baltimore at a Frances Scott Key Lecture on September 12th

And Allison Tolman, Vice President of Collections for the Maryland Historical Society, describes how designer Claire McCardell, who was born in Frederick, paved the way for innovation in women’s clothing. Learn more about the Society's fashion archives here.

The exhibition, Spectrum of Fashion, opens with a gala on October 5th and will be on view through October 2020.

Join us as part of the live audience for a sneak peek at the Central Library renovations as Midday host Tom Hall moderates a panel discussion, broadcast live on WYPR 88.1FM radio. Free Admission. You must register in advance here. 

Broadcast date: Thursday, September 12

Broadcast time: Noon to 1pm

Panelists include:

Courtesy Upton Planning Committee

This weekend the past will embrace the present in West Baltimore during the first annual Billie Holiday Arts and Music Festival. Organizer Michael Johnson tells us about the live music, artist exhibits and marching bands planned for the event.

For more information 410-646-8744 or visit this link.

all photos by Wendel Patrick

Our listening tour of West Oakland’s Lower Bottoms continues as we meet the volunteers at a local food pantry, a street ball legend known as ‘the greatest player never to make the NBA,’ a transplant from Compton who’s become a wilderness survival instructor, a former Tesla engineer who’s developing an affordable co-housing living space, a US Army veteran determined to help others get their military benefits, and a pastor who relies on the power of prayer to effect social change.

Essential Tremors talks to musicians and other creative people about the music that shaped them. In the debut episode, hosts Matt Byars and Lee Gardner speak with Jana Hunter, singer, guitarist, and songwriter for Baltimore indie-pop band Lower Dens. 

Turns out the melancholy in the band's mercurial sound has its roots in Jana's experiences with the music of the Smiths, but also Vivaldi and a certain '70s AM hit.

Facebook page for "Cherry Hill - Raising Successful Black Children in Jim Crow Baltimore"

Linda Morris’s book is Cherry Hill: Raising Successful Black Children in Jim Crow Baltimore. She describes the isolated community as a haven for African American families, and tells how her family withstood the indignity of segregation when they traveled out of their neighborhood.

Fellow contributor Sidney Ellis reminisces about the joys of mother-daughter banquets and Linda’s brother attorney John Morris describes parents instilling a self-confidence that stays with him still.

Hear more about the history of Cherry Hill at an event at the Reginald  F. Lewis Museum on September 7th. More information here. And check out the book's Facebook page to see photos.

Andrew Gray

What lessons can a graphic designer apply to painting? How can abstract and descriptive styles compliment each other? Artist Andrew Gray tells how he uses his grasp of design to create works that celebrate diversity and African-American history.

Check out Gray's work at Hotel Indigo's library and Poets Modern Cocktails and Eats through September 7th. Hotel Indigo is located at 24 West Franklin Steet in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore city.

John Lee

The joke in Towson is that its town bird is the construction crane. More than a half dozen of them are part of the skyline, as Towson transforms into what one developer said will rival College Park as Maryland’s best college town. 


There is excitement about what Towson is becoming, as well as concern about what all of those changes will mean for Baltimore County’s county seat.



Google Images

Trends are suggesting that fewer and fewer people will be opting for a four-year college degree in the future. The average student who takes out student loans ends up with nearly 30,000 dollars to pay back, and many graduates just aren’t seeing a return on their investment: About 44% of graduates end up at a job that doesn’t require a college degree.

So what is the future of higher education? Some say it’s vocational and trade schools – programs that offer more technical training in specialized fields – many which traditionally haven’t required a bachelor’s degree.

But is our education system set up for students in vocational schools to succeed? What about students who don’t go to college? What sort of economic outlooks will they be looking at?

WYPR's Cuba Trip 2020

Aug 21, 2019

Join fellow WYPR jazz lovers for a culturally-rich musical journey to Cuba - for the 35th annual International Jazz Festival of Havana in January 2020! 

Click here for more information about the WYPR travel club. 


The number of students participating in a program that offers free tuition at the Community College of Baltimore County has nearly tripled this year. 

School officials hope even more students will get the College Promise scholarship, which is beginning its second year this month.

AP/Patrick Semansky

  City and state officials convened in Baltimore on Tuesday to discuss ways to prevent and treat childhood trauma, which affects more than half of the city’s children.

For the last week, the major question raging through African American barbershops, backyard barbecues and other places where black men gather had nothing to do with a possible impending recession or where to buy good property on Greenland.

No, the burning debate centers on whether one Shawn Corey Carter has left Colin Kaepernick hanging high and dry with his new deal with the NFL.

Photo by Heidi Sheppard/WYPR

Today, an archive edition of Midday, a show that we broadcast on Juneteenth, from the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of MD African American History and Culture in downtown Baltimore. Our topic was Reparations. 

Scholars, legislators and several Democratic presidential candidates have considered different ways to confront slavery’s legacy of socio-economic inequality. 

Last June, we talked about it in front of an audience at the Lewis Museum with Director Jackie Copeland, Professor Ray Winbush, columnist ER Shipp and Attorney Adjoa A. Aiyetoro.


What does America owe those who are descended from enslaved people?  Who would qualify, and what form might reparations take?  Who would decide?   Can America atone for the sin of slavery?

Our conversation was recorded earlier, so we can’t take your calls and comments.   

This program originally aired on Wednesday June 19th. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR


The city has put a busy business corridor in northeast Baltimore on a “road diet” — reducing the number of lanes for cars and installing floating bus stops and bike lanes. The goal is to make the stretch of Harford Road between Echodale and White Avenues safer not just for pedestrians, bus riders and bikers, but also for cars.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, road diets like this one can reduce crashes by an average of 29 percent.

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...

West Oakland, Lower Bottoms, Part 1: Self-Determination

Aug 14, 2019
all photos by Wendel Patrick

West Oakland’s Lower Bottoms neighborhood is home to the historical headquarters of the Black Panther Party. It’s also one train stop away from San Francisco, and escalating real-estate prices are quickly changing the character of the neighborhood.  This episode, we meet locals who find themselves living at the intersection of heritage and gentrification.

Join WYPR with for a free concert on pagoda hill in Patterson Park on Sunday, August 11, with the punky reggae band The Scotch Bonnets.

All concerts are FREE, family friendly and start at 6:30 PM at the top of Pagoda Hill. More info at https://pattersonpark.com/concert-series/

Melissa Gerr

Heed this advice from first graders: If math scares you … just sing about it! We visit teacher Dawn Johnson and teaching artist Steve Cypher's class at the Young Audiences Summer Arts and Learning Academy to discover how 7-year-olds tame tough equations through song. We also hear from YA education director, Kristina Berdan.

Plus, we meet pianist and composer Scott Patterson, who’ll perform his future-focused compositions tonight at the Peale Center … on a grand piano that’s 140 years old. His commitment to his craft is matched by his goal of helping humanity aspire to greatness.