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

Penn State / Flickr via Creative Commons

Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed. Plato, Socrates, Hippocrates. All of them had at least one thing in common. They fasted. It turns out these influential figures were on to something, at least when it comes to health. Some scientists say that regularly abstaining from food for even short periods of time may improve health, boost brain power, and fight diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes to Alzheimer’s. It could even extend lives. The catch is that you have to periodically put down your fork. Could you permanently say goodbye to breakfast if it meant you might live longer? What about skipping all your meals two days a week? We speak to Mark Mattson, chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, and University of Maryland molecular geneticist Steve Mount, who has been a practitioner for the last 12 years.

Whether you’re an avid star-gazer or just a fan of outer space, chances are you’ve turned your gaze to the night sky in search of constellations, planets, and other celestial attractions. But you may not have considered how studying space can be a catalyst for community building. Baltimore’s Popscope is working to make astronomy fun, free, and portable. We speak to volunteers Ariel Hicks and Joseph Long about Popscope’s goal of creating an inclusive community of astronomers throughout the city. Plus, Herman Heyn, Baltimore’s self-proclaimed "star hustler” has been a street corner astronomer for nearly thirty years. What wonder do the heavens still hold for him?

If you’re feeling safe, that you made it through a digital revolution and a near-collapse of the world economy, and you still have a job … Alec Ross wants you to know there’s more innovation on the way – a tsunami of changes coming soon that will re-make our economy, again. In his new book, "The Industries of the Future," the Johns Hopkins distinguished visiting fellow predicts robots not just performing physical labor more efficiently, but taking on tasks humans could not imagine doing. Ross pictures technology vaporizing language barriers, and the so-called sharing economy hammering the working class. With all this, some advice for our children. Alec Ross, and the future of your job, on Midday. Original air date: February 18, 2016.

The war in Syria has displaced more than half the population, and hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed. The country’s rich cultural heritage is another victim of the conflict. Syria’s archaeological sites include the ruins of our earliest civilizations and some of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. ISIS has attacked archaeological sites, including the famous ancient city of Palmyra, with bulldozers and explosives. Bombing, looting, and illegal excavation have wreaked further havoc. Palmyra is one of six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Syria. All have been damaged or destroyed. What’s been lost and what’s being done to protect the antiquities that remain? 

Did you know that dinosaurs didn’t actually go extinct? One group is still with us: they’re called birds. Were you aware that most dinosaurs had feathers? Does it surprise you to hear that Tyrannosaurus Rex is closer to us in time than it was to Stegosaurus? Dinosaurs are as popular as ever, particularly among children. But the picture the general public has of them hasn’t kept pace with the science. Today University of Maryland dinosaur paleontologist Thomas Holtz, Jr. joins us to talk discoveries, dispel myths and tell us how we know what we know about one of the most successful groups of animals to ever walk the earth.

Raised on the Registry / Human Rights Watch

Roughly 200,000 people are on the sex offender registry for something they did as a child, as young as age nine. Some committed serious offenses. But pulling down a classmate’s pants or having sex underage can also land you on the registry, with devastating consequences. Sex offenders must steer clear of churches, parks, and schools. They must keep law enforcement constantly informed of their whereabouts. Their photographs and personal information are often public. And they can remain on the list for decades, even life. Critics say the registry does profound, lasting damage to kids who are placed on it, while failing to protect public safety. Is it time for reform?

D. Watkins’ is rooted in East Baltimore. His compelling writing style has earned him a toehold among young black writers commanding national attention. Watkins’ latest book, "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," takes us deep inside Baltimore’s drug trade and offers a rare glimpse into what it takes to escape that world. 

four12/Flickr via Creative Commons

People with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter than other civilians approached by law enforcement. That’s the finding of a study last year by the nonprofit Treatment Advocacy Center. Today, we talk about how training can help police recognize the signs of mental illness and de-escalate tense situations. We speak to retired Major Sam Cochran, who founded a crisis intervention model that addresses the special challenges to law enforcement posed by persons with mental illness. And we hear from Lt. Steven Thomas and Jen Corbin, director of Anne Arundel County's Crisis Response System, about how the county is connecting police and mental health professionals with the greater community.

Father Daniel Berrigan - poet, pacifist, and Jesuit priest - passed away last month in New York at age 94. A member of the Catonsville Nine, Berrigan gained notoriety for destroying draft cards during the Vietnam War. His activism landed him on both the cover of Time magazine, which dubbed him and his brother Philip “rebel priests,” and the FBI’s Most Wanted List. How did his activism shape the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 70s? What motivated Berrigan to continue when critics dismissed the impact of non-violent protest? The legacy of Father Daniel Berrigan.

These days, the old cliché that women aren’t funny sounds pretty ludicrous. We are in an age of hugely popular female comics: Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, among many others. Yet male comedians still dominate the comedy circuit, book the talent, and make more money making jokes. Some female comedians have also started to speak out about sexual harassment and abuse within this largely male world. Is the comedy scene unwelcoming to women? Are there topics male comedians shouldn’t make jokes about, like rape? If so, what else is off limits? What’s funny and not so funny about being a funny lady? We hear from Megan Wills, co-founder of the Charm City Comedy Project and the Charm City Comedy Festival in Baltimore; Jessica Henkin, performer with BIG, the Baltimore Improv Group; and Meshelle, the Indie-Mom of Comedy, stand-up comedian. (Meshelle's new album, Funny as a Mother..., is available on iTunes.)