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

Midday Friday

Oct 16, 2015
Stephen Melkisethian / Flickr via Creative Commons

  Former NAACP President Ben Jealous today put out a six-point plan to improve police-community relations in Baltimore. Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun tells us more. We’ll also hear from two protesters who were arrested for occupying City Hall this week -- Tre Murphy of Baltimore BLOC and the Baltimore Algebra Project and Makayla Gilliam-Price of City BLOC. Plus, news headlines from Jonathan Munshaw of the Baltimore Business Journal, and Lawrence Brown, assistant professor at Morgan State University, provides some historical perspective on why zoning is a public health issue. And this weekend is the Baltimore Running Festival. We speak to Lee DiPietro, who ran the Baltimore marathon 8 times and came in second twice. She tells us how her love of running gave her strength during difficult times.

Federal prisons are about to release 6,000 inmates ahead of schedule and  about 140 of them will return to Maryland. We’ll learn what it means for those ex-felons, and for the criminal-justice system. Our guests: James Wyda, Maryland's Federal Public Defender; Steve Cook, President of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys; and Jim Sents, Vice-President of the Vice President of Corrections, Veterans and Housing Services For Volunteers for America.

Democratic Debate Debrief

Oct 14, 2015

  We're analyzing the first debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls – former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Virginia Governor Jim Webb, and. Our guests: Political commentator Barry Rascovar of the blog and Matthew Crenson, professor emeritus of political science at Johns Hopkins University. Join us for the conversation by sending an email to or calling 410-662-8780.

Democratic Congresswoman and Senatorial candidate Donna Edwards joins Midday to talk about her run to fill the seat that will be left vacant by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s retirement in 2017. We’ll talk gun control, equal pay, investment in STEM education, and her call for six debates with her rival, Rep. Chris Van Hollen.


Today, a look at a troubling situation affecting students nationwide - chronic absenteeism. "Chronic absenteeism" is defined as missing 10% or more of school days in a school year for any reason. New research out of Johns Hopkins estimates that 5 million to 7.5 million students nationwide are chronically absent each year, including 10 percent of kindergartners and first graders. In Baltimore City, more than 40 percent of high school students are chronically absent. Robert Balfranz, research professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, joins us to talk about a new White House initiative on the issue.

Baltimore’s homicide count for 2015 is up to 261- eleven just this week. We’ll speak to  community activist Ericka Alston about how West Baltimore neighborhoods are responding to the gun violence, and ask Darrel Stephens, the Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association about nationwide homicide trends. Then, a look at changes to the Charm City Circulator’s route with Kirby Fowler of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. We also talk S.A.T. scores and economic disparity with Timothy Sandoval of the Baltimore Business Journal. We’ll discuss the results of the recent Goucher Poll of Maryland residents with Mileah Kromer.  Plus a preview of a short film playing this weekend at the Baltimore International Black Film Festival.

New Supreme Court Term - Key Cases to Watch

Oct 8, 2015

  The Supreme Court opened its 2015 term this week. We speak with two local law professors about the cases the court is likely to hear -- cases involving hotly debated issues such as affirmative action in college admissions, unions, the death penalty and abortion. Our guests: Mark Graber of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and Garrett Epps of the University of Baltimore School of Law.


  The White House announced last month that 10,000 Syrian refugees will be admitted to the United States over the coming year. Since 2011, when civil war erupted in Syrian, fewer than 2000 displaced Syrians were welcomed into America.

  More than 13,000 people in Baltimore are living with HIV or AIDS, and the city has the sixth highest rate in the country of people newly diagnosed with HIV. Late last month, the Baltimore City Health Department won $20 million in federal grants to target vulnerable populations - gay men and transgender people -- and to build partnerships with community groups. We’ll find out about the city's strategy from Dr. Patrick Chaulk, assistant commissioner for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.  

Midday host Sheilah Kast talks with Sheila Bair, the new president of Washington College, a private liberal arts school on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We’ll cover her background in the field of finance, and get her thoughts on the student loan crisis. Plus, how do you make the transition easier for students from inner-city school? According to President Bair, it’s time for colleges to consider group admission.