Sheilah Kast

Host, Midday

Sheilah Kast is the host of Midday, Monday-Friday 12-1 pm.  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.

Ways to Connect

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At the top of the hour: This morning Judge Barry Williams delivered the verdict in the trial of Officer Cesar Goodson, the van driver charged in the death of Freddie Gray. He was found not guilty on all six counts. We  talk about the judge's reasoning and what this means for Goodson. WYPR reporter Kenny Burns and defense attorney Warren Brown are in-studio to discuss.

Then, what do a 1950's peepshow, promo footage from Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, and a home movie of a barbecue in Maine have in common? They’re all part of an unusual film festival coming to Baltimore this weekend. We’ll talk about the value of “ephemeral” cinema. Our guests: Rick Prelinger, founder of the Prelinger Archives, and Dwight Swanson, founding member of the Center for Home Movies and organizer of "Cinema Ephemera: The Festival of Useful Film".

Click HERE to check out our list of recommendations 

From a retelling of Shakespeare’s "The Taming of the Shrew" set in present-day Baltimore to a world where humans live among dragons, we’ve got summer reading picks perfect for lazy days at the beach or long flights out of town. Looking to dive into American history while lounging by the pool? Try a humorous account of swashbuckling Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette. Want to escape to 1940's New York? How about a thriller complete with German saboteurs and the Mafia. We’ve got mysteries, memoirs, and more. 

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Maryland’s woods, fields and urban spaces are full of food, if you know how to find it. Cattails, milkweed, wild ginger, mulberries. Did you know stinging nettles were edible? What about pine needles? More and more people are learning to utilize Maryland’s outdoor pantry. Like canning, knitting, and other skills we’d begun to forget, the ancient art of foraging has become trendy. Upscale restaurants now serve ingredients gathered from wild places, and foraging workshops are increasingly popular. What’s the appeal? Which are the greatest delicacies and how do you find them? And what’s the etiquette of filling your plate from the forest? We speak to Nick Spero, a biologist and longtime forager who teaches courses on wild edibles for the Natural History Society of Maryland, and Eric Kelly, the founder of Charm City Farms, an urban agriculture initiative that teaches self-sufficiency skills, including foraging. Kelly also founded a group called 'Foragers of Baltimore'.  

It’s summer! A week from today thousands of young people in Baltimore will start a summer job – work that not only keeps boredom at bay, but teaches skills that can lead to careers. The city of Baltimore has lined up close to 8-thousand jobs, the same number it organized for YouthWorks last year in response to the unrest. It’s a big challenge. We talk to the head of the city’s jobs effort about how YouthWorks works, why businesses are interested in offering summer jobs, and why more don’t take part. We also meet an employer, a couple of the young workers, and a strategist behind a new set of jobs that teach work skills to young teens.

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This Sunday is Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery. It’s observed across the country, but it marks the day in 1865 when slavery ended in Texas. That was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Contrary to popular belief, the proclamation did not eradicate slavery. It applied only to slave-holding rebel states. Slaves in Union states like Maryland remained captive. It wasn’t until 1864 that Maryland elected to free the state’s slaves through a referendum, by a margin of just 375 votes. How did it happen? And what was life in this divided state like for newly emancipated slaves? The end of slavery in Maryland.

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Paper, soda cans, old electronics. For both environmental and economic reasons it is incredibly valuable to recycle these products. But glass, even plastic? Not so much. Broken-down bottles are often exported overseas, burning more fossil fuels than are saved by recycling them, and it's cheaper to just make new ones. Cities across the United States are adopting zero-waste initiatives, aiming to eventually divert all waste to recycling and compost facilities. But, is more recycling always better? We speak to a critic who argues that some recycling comes with unjustifiable environmental and economic costs. He believes that our commitment to this practice may be holding us back from pursuing more valuable environmental goals. Is it time to rethink recycling?

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With the push of a button, you can summon a driver, rent out your apartment, or hire someone to paint your fence. These are all possible because of mobile platforms that directly connect individuals to freelance work. What does the so-called “gig economy” mean for the future of work? Will full-time jobs with benefits eventually be a thing of the past? Supporters argue that these jobs offer flexibility and the opportunity to be your own boss. In this hour, we speak to a critic of the on-demand economy, who argues that sites like Uber and Upwork allow companies to cut costs while exploiting workers. Is the gig economy a raw deal? 

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The death of forty-nine people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida marks the deadliest mass shooting in United States’ history. As new details emerge about the gunman, we discuss one factor that’s played a role in other shootings: mental illness. Is there a link between mental illness and mass shootings? Can a diagnosis of mental illness predict future violence? While politicians call for increased access to mental health treatment and laws to prevent those with mental illness from accessing firearms, researchers say that these conversations distract from a more effective remedy to mass shootings: gun law reform. 

Professor Mikita Brottman is a psychoanalyst, cultural critic and Oxford-educated scholar of the humanities. She’d had the experience of teaching smart, well-prepared students at MICA … but what would it be like to share books she loved with men convicted of serious crimes, and serving time for them at Jessup Correctional Institute? She tells what it’s like in her new book, "The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men’s Prison." In this hour we talk to Brottman about what the experience meant. We ask what surprised her about the men and the workings of the prison, and how their discussions changed her view of literature. And we’ll meet one of her readers, now free. 

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Zymurgy. Trub. Wort. All words related to the art of making beer. Just ask anyone at this week’s National Homebrewers Conference in Baltimore. More than a million Americans now brew their own beer. Some are purists, sticking to traditional ales and lagers. Some dabble in odd ingredients: cucumber, cilantro, even doughnuts. Some use high-tech automated machines; others make magic with little more than a bucket and a hose. Why, in an age of great craft beer, are more and more people making their own suds? This hour, we’ll wet our whistles with two homebrewing experts. Be it sour, session, malt or stout, we’ll talk about the quest for the tastiest draft.

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