Sheilah Kast | WYPR

Sheilah Kast

Host, On The Record

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.  Originally, she hosted WYPR's  Dupont-Columbia University award-winning Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast from 2006 - October 2015.  She began her career at The Washington Star, where she covered the Maryland and Virginia legislatures, utilities, energy and taxes, as well as financial and banking regulation.  She learned the craft of broadcasting at ABC News; as a Washington correspondent for fifteen years, she covered the White House, Congress, and the 1991 Moscow coup that signaled the end of the Soviet empire.  Sheilah has been a substitute host on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and The Diane Rehm Show.  She has launched and hosted two weekly interview shows on public TV, one about business and one about challenges facing older people.


There are many ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Maryland … from mountains to ocean, and from forest to stream. Our guest today is dedicated to helping enthusiasts discover new adventures and learn more about the geography, flora and fauna that await. Biologist and naturalist Bryan MacKay walks us through his three new guidebooks: Cycle Maryland, Hike Maryland and Paddle Maryland. Whether you’re novice or seasoned, MacKay urges you to get out of the car and go into the wild.

Patrick Daniels

Baltimore City College, the third oldest public school in the country, is also home to a venerable debate team. Alumnus Gil Sandler, class of ‘41, describes how the art of debate has changed since his time on the team.

Taura Zarfeshan

There’s a revolution afoot, and it’s being fueled by high school students across the country who are discovering the power of political engagement. Galvanized by the tragedy in Parkville, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead last month, students across the country have staged rallies and walkouts demanding stricter gun laws and an end to gun violence. Saturday, March 24, is a focus of much of the organizing--the ‘March for Our Lives’ in Washington DC. Hundreds of thousands of young people and families from all parts of the US are expected -- demanding their voices be heard.

We talk with Park School of Baltimore Freshman Liza Sheehy, senior class president Mahey Gheis and Rommel Loria director of civic engagement and service learning about what students in their school are doing to engage politically.

We also meet Ericka Alston Buck, founder of Kids Safe Zone, who will travel to the march in D.C. with a fleet of buses full of high school students, organized by Mayor Catherine Pugh. Finally, we speak with Michaela Hoenig, a senior at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, who has organized lodging for hundreds of students and families attending the March For Our Lives.

To sign up for FREE bus rides to the rally from Baltimore, visit this link: Baltimore and Beyond March for Our Lives Rally Tickets.


New cuts in federal income taxes would raise state taxes, unless the legislature takes action. We ask the vice chair of the Senate’s tax committee, Rich Madaleno, why the Senate voted to increase the standard deduction than every taxpayer can claim. 

Here’s a Stoop Story from Matt Hayat about finding his place in the deaf community.

You can hear his story and many others at, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Flour Power

Mar 16, 2018
Maryland Historical Society

The opportunity to tell one’s story can be empowering. Especially for those who think they don’t have a voice … or believe that others aren’t interested in what they have to say. We meet Johns Hopkins film student Amelia Voos along with illustrator and educator Jonathan Scott Fuqua ... they’ve been working with 8th-grade students at Morrell Park Middle School, to teach them the skills of telling their personal stories through video. Their films will be screened March 22 at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. More info here.

Baltimore Police Department

A crisis hotline, mobile teams that travel to residents in distress - just some of the services provided by the nonprofit Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc.

Executive director Edgar Wiggins describes how BCRI helps city residents living with mental illness or substance abuse. And how they train police to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and de-escalate stressful situations.

The 24-hour crisis hotline number is 410-433-5175.

Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education

Inadequate health care--or NO health care--can keep a pupil chronically out of school. The Rales Health Center and wellness programs inside KIPP Academies in Baltimore are in place to help combat that scenario.  The initiative is sponsored by the The Ruth and Norman Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education and Johns Hopkins University Medical School. We hear about the impact it has on the classroom from teacher Carina Wells, and medical director Dr. Kate Connor explains why the effort has such a big impact in the KIPP community.

Gunpowder Valley Conservancy

As spring approaches and the weather warms, it’s time to go outside and reconnect with nature.

Robert Cook, master gardener for the Baltimore City branch of the University of Maryland Extension shares tips on planning and planting year-round vegetable gardens. Info for the March 21st event on edible gardens here. More on soil testing here.

And Peggy Perry, of the nonprofit Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, tells us about volunteer efforts in Baltimore County to keep streams clear of trash and riverbeds strong. Info on the March 17th adopt-a-stream training here.

Rhoda Smith shares a story about pursuing her dream to attend college. You can hear other stories and the Stoop podcast here.

Tonight at 8pm, catch a live stoop show at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The theme is Intercambio: Stories about Inspiration and Exchange Across the Border.

Jackson Davis

In the early 20th century, Morgan State University--then, Morgan College--planned a move from its congested campus in West Baltimore to the verdant neighborhood of Lauraville.

Protests and lawsuits followed, as angry white residents opposed the arrival of African-American students and faculty.

Historian Steven Ragsdale takes us back to Morgan’s fight against segregation and its mission to built homes and businesses around the campus.

His talk will take place next Thursday, March 15th, 7:30 pm at the Village Learning Place, 2521 St. Paul St. in Baltimore. The event is organized by the Baltimore City Historical Society.

Lisa Nickerson/Kennedy Krieger Institute

When an adult has a stroke, signs and symptoms are often recognizable. But what if the victim is a toddler? Or an infant … someone who may not be able to sense or communicate that something is amiss? Pediatric stroke is more common than you think. We hear from Dr. Frank Pidcock, medical director of Kennedy Krieger Institute's ‘Constraint Induced Movement Therapy’ program. Then we visit Brooklynn, who suffered a stroke at the age of one and a half, and her mother, Nikki Wolcott at a therapy session. Original air date: 11/8/17

Meager education, a criminal record, gaps in employment - all can stand in the way of getting a good job.

Today we hear about two job training efforts in Baltimore: One at The Samaritan Women, a residential program for survivors of human trafficking, which launched a program for safe food-handling. Susan Schneider tells us about their foray into baking and we hear from resident, Eddie, who is marketing the treats.

The second, at the nonprofit The Lazarus Rite. Founder Christopher Ervin thinks Baltimore is uniquely situated to support careers in commercial driving. And graduate Kendall Bellamy describes his job driving for the city’s Department of Public Works.

Maryland Farmers Market Association

One in nine Marylanders depends on food stamps; half are children or senior citizens. The Trump administration is proposing deep cuts in food stamps, now called SNAP, for “supplemental nutrition assistance.” We ask chief external affairs officer Meg Kimmel and president and CEO Carmen del Guercio of  Maryland Food Bank about the likely impact if SNAP benefits shrink or become harder to qualify for. As that national debate heats up, farmers are calling for Maryland’s governor to put money into doubling the power of food stamps spent at farmers markets. Founder and executive director of the Maryland Farmers Market Association Amy Crone is leading that drive. We also hear from Sarah Steel, who uses SNAP to feed her family of four.

Read the Atlantic's explanation of the Trump administration's proposed bill here.

Find information about the SNAP program for Maryland Farmers Markets here.

Terradynamics Lab, JHU

Most people are repulsed by the sight of a cockroach … but we hear why Johns Hopkins researcher Sean Gart at the Terradynamics Lab finds inspiration in the creepy- crawlers … to inform robotic design. And we talk with Derek Paley, director of the Collective Dynamics and Control Laboratory at the University of Maryland-College Park. He examines the fluid movements of fish to improve underwater vehicle function and tells us why scientists look to nature for answers.

American Visionary Art Museum

The night sky is filled with billions of stars … we marvel at them, far off in the distance, suspended in space millions of light years away. And we're more connected to stars than we might think. That's the message of our guest,  astrophysicist Dr. Michelle Thaller. She's the Deputy Director of Science for Communications at NASA. She's also a presenter next Sunday, March 11, at the American Visionary Art Museum’s Logan Visionary Conference that focuses on ‘Two Views of Heaven: Spiritual and Scientific.’

For Christians, Lent is a time of fasting and penance, a reminder of Jesus’ time in the wilderness. What do wizards and elves have to do with Lent? Not much by themselves, but Michael Fischer tells us how the fantasy series ‘The Lord of the Rings’ offers a new way to think about mercy and fellowship. Check out his blog and reading schedule here.

Siyh / Flickr via Creative Commons

A new report by the nonprofit Job Opportunities Task Force dives deep into the ways the poor in Maryland are at greater risk of criminal charges or penalties. Caryn York, executive director of JOTF, says the poor face consequences that are blind to their ability to pay. We hear JOTF's recommendations for reform on issues ranging from bail to car insurance. 

Julek Plowy

Catholic Relief Services, whose humanitarian aid stretches across the globe, was founded to help to help the dispossessed after World War II. With a new podcast, CRS is highlighting some of the colorful characters and memorable events that make up its history. CRS producer and content creator, Rebekah Lemke and podcast host, Nikki Gamer, share stories and explain why Catholic Relief Services’ work is as necessary today as it was 75 years ago.

You can listen to the anniversary podcast here.

Wikimedia Commons

We often think of racism as operating solely on a visual level - judgments based on skin color or facial features. But what about sounds? What judgments of intelligence, education, and personality lie behind ideas about sounding ‘white’ or ‘black’?

Jennifer Lynn Stoever is Associate Professor of English at Binghamton University in New York, and Editor-in-Chief of the blog, “Sounding Out!”. She joins us ahead of a talk she’ll give Thursday at the University of Maryland Baltimore County on her book, “The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening”.

Erika Clark/Make Studio

Artists who face challenges -- whether physical, developmental or emotional -- find a welcoming space at Make Studio. This month marks eight years that the nonprofit has been fostering a creative, inclusive community for artists. Make Studio also provides access to materials, studio space and exhibition prospects. We meet Erika Clark, a member-artist for five years, and co-founder Cathy Goucher, who talks about the intangible support Make Studio offers. 

They'll celebrate the anniversary at GO FIGURE: MAKE STUDIO Celebrates Our 8th! More info here.

Creative Commons/Flickr

The latest edition of the Goucher Poll shows that none of the eight Democrats running for governor has a commanding lead and that four months ahead of the primary, “undecided” polls higher than all the Democrats combined. Governor Hogan remains popular, the poll finds, but less than half intend to vote to re-elect him. We talk with pollster Mileah Kromer and political reporter Bill Zorzi to decipher what all the numbers mean. You can see all the results for yourself at this link.

Jason Lander / Flickr via Creative Commons

A year ago, Maryland began issuing licenses for direct-entry midwives--someone who is not a nurse, but is trained in the art and science of caring for expectant mothers. Few families choose home birth, but the number who do is on the rise.

Midwife Alexa Richardson walks us through the care midwives provide--before, during, and after birth--to ensure mom and baby are safe and healthy. And Lauren Turner, who had both her children at home and is a doula, describes the visceral experience of birth.


In the first few pages of Sunburnwe learn that its main character has walked out on her family--just left her husband and young daughter on a Delaware beach, and hitchhiked west. As the tale unfolds, we’re treated to the tropes of film noir--slick dialogue as the protagonists circle each other in a mix of distrust and desperate infatuation. We talk to Laura Lippman about the inspirations behind her latest mystery.

Former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan explains why it will take new policies as well as more money to bring Maryland’s K-12 schools to a world-class status.

Here is a Stoop Story from Gwen Mayes about the lessons she’s learned from living with heart disease. You can hear her story and many others at, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Oregon Ridge Nature Center

Pancakes, waffles, ice cream--they all taste better with a drizzle of maple syrup. While Maryland isn’t known for commercial production of maple syrup, this month, you can get a locally-made taste at Oregon Ridge Nature Center. They tap maple and black walnut trees and turn sap turn into thick sweetness. We hear the ins and outs of making syrup and maple candy from the center’s Jessica Jeanetta.

Creative Commons/Wikimedia

Hemp literally shares roots with the same plant that produces marijuana--they’re both cannabis. But as marijuana laws loosen in most states, the laws surrounding hemp production--including in Maryland--remain rigid. Environmental reporter Rona Kobell explains industrial uses for hemp, and how it could provide farmers with a potentially profitable choice in their crop rotation. And we meet Anna Chaney, a hopeful hemp farmer who talks about how growing it can benefit the soil.

Jason Shellenhamer

Two archeologists and scores of volunteers have been probing, digging, sifting and cataloging to unearth the mysteries hidden under a park in the city’s northeast corner. A big manor house no one knew about, and more. How does it all connect to the power families of old Baltimore? We hear about it from Jason Shellenhamer and Lisa Kraus, who direct the Herring Run Archeology Project. They entice their neighbors to get their hands dirty alongside them, digging up stories that reveal the past. Shellenhamer and Kraus give a talk on the project at the Engineers Club of Baltimore on Sun., Feb. 18 at 2pm. More info here.