Tom Hall | WYPR

Tom Hall

Host

Host, Midday  (M-F 12:00-1:00)

In the Bromo (3rd Friday of the month at 4:44)
What are You Reading? (4th Friday of the month, at 4:44) 

Tom Hall joined the WYPR staff as the Host of Choral Arts Classics in 2003.  After 10 years as the Culture Editor and then host of Maryland Morning, in September, 2016, Tom became the host of Midday, the highly rated news and public policy program that features interviews with elected officials, community leaders, and thought provoking authors, artists, researchers, journalists, and scholars from around the world. 

Tom is also the Host of In the Bromo and What Are You Reading? on WYPR.  In addition, he has served as the host of the Maryland Morning Screen Test, and the WYPR/MD Film Festival Spotlight Series.  In 2006, as the Music Director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Tom received an Emmy Award for Christmas with Choral Arts, a special that aired on WMAR television, the ABC affiliate in Maryland, for 21 years.  He has been a guest co-host of Maryland Public Television’s Art Works, and in 2007, he was named “Best New Broadcast Journalist” by the Maryland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2009, the Baltimore City Paper named him "Best Local Radio Personality." In 2016 and again in 2017, he was recognized as "Best Talk Show Host" in the Baltimore Magazine Reader's Poll. 

Tom is invited frequently to speak to professional and community organizations, including the Oregon Bach Festival, the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, the College Endowment Association, the Baltimore Broadcaster’s Coalition, The Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, the Johns Hopkins Community Conversations Series, and the Creative Alliance.  He has moderated panels and given presentations at the Baltimore City Lit Festival, the Baltimore Book Festival, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, the University of Maryland, the Enoch Pratt Library, and MICA. He has also moderated Mayoral Debates, panels at Light City in Baltimore, and at the Stevenson University Speakers Series.

He appears each year as the moderator of the Rosenberg-Blaustein Distinguished Artist Recital Series at Goucher College.  His publications include articles in the Baltimore Sun, Style Magazine, and Baltimore Magazine, as well as many scholarly music journals, and he is the co-author of The Bach Passions in Our Time:  Contending with the Legacy of Antisemitism, published on-line by the Institute for Islamic Christian and Jewish Studies.  Tom was appointed the Music Director Emeritus of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in 2017.

Tom Hall lives in Baltimore, with his wife, Linell Smith.  Their daughter, Miranda, is a playwright, based in Washington, DC.

Courtesy of Hari Kondabolu

Tom's guest is Hari Kondabolu, the comedian/satirist and co-host of the popular podcast "Politically Re-Active" with fellow comedian W. Kamau Bell.

Their show focuses on what they call "the dumpster fire that is the U.S. political landscape" with leading activists and writers.

A major draw on the nationwide standup comedy circuit and a regular on late-night TV talk shows, Hari's latest stand-up album (available via digital download) is called Hari Kondabolu's New Material Night, Volume 1 , which was recorded live in San Francisco in 2013.

Ahead of his two upcoming shows at The Creative Alliance in East Baltimore on Sunday August 27th, at 7:30 and 9:00pm, Hari joins Tom on the line to talk about racism, rebel statues and living in Donald Trump's America.   

Photo courtesy CBS Sports

We begin with a conversation about the horrific events that took place in Charlottesville, Va.  over the weekend which resulted in the death of one woman and two VA state troopers.  Many were injured, and brazenness about racist and hateful rhetoric is alive and well.  White nationalists succeeded in shining a bright spotlight on themselves in Charlottesville.  The president of the United States has said little to dim that light, drawing severe criticism from, as he might say, many, many sides.  Dr. Nathan Connolly, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, joins Tom to reflect on Charlottesville and its aftermath.

MTA

Today, we take another look at Baltimore Link, the city’s new bus system.

Gov. Larry Hogan promised the bus system overhaul after he killed the proposed Red Line extension of the Light Rail in 2015. Hogan contended that the $135 million overhaul of the Baltimore bus system would be a better option that the $2.9 billion dollar light rail proposal.  

MTA officials promised that Baltimore Link would speed up travel times for commuters and get people closer to more of the places where they work.  We discussed Baltimore Link on Midday right after it launched in June, and today, we re-examine it, now that it’s had a couple of months to work out some of the kinks, which are to be expected with any large overhaul.

Tom speaks with Senator Ben Cardin, the senior senator from Maryland and ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about President Trump's  escalating war of words with North Korea. This conversation was recorded on Thursday morning.  At that time, President Trump had already talked about the "fire and fury" of a response to North Korea should they initiate hostilities. This morning, the President tweeted that the US military was "locked and loaded" with military solutions should North Korea act "unwisely." The President appears to be implying that he’s ordered some sort of new military plan for North Korea.  Most military observers doubt that American preparedness for a conflict with North Korea is, in fact, substantially different than it has been for some time. 

Baltimore’s annual festival that celebrates African American art, music and culture, known as AFRAM, takes place tomorrow at Druid Hill Park.  The festival is in its 41st year and free to the public. It features performances from local artists, interactive exhibits, children’s activities, as well as job training and health and wellness information.

Afra White, the planner of AFRAM festival, joins us on the line from City Hall today. She’s the director of external affairs for the Office of the Mayor. The Baltimore festival is presented this year by Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and the City of Baltimore with the support of the advisory board and steering committee.

This week the American Visionary Art Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The museum highlights the work of so-called “outsider” artists as many of the artists are self-taught visionaries. Back in the early 90s now-retired Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski spearheaded a movement to pass a resolution in Congress that made the American Visionary Art Museum an official national museum. For more than two decades the museum has served as an education center and repository for intuitive, self-taught artistry. The founder and director of AVAM, Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, joins us today in Studio A to talk about the museum and its current exhibits. 

Photo courtesy of Rev. Maria Swearingen

This is another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, which we produce in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.  

This past January, the leadership of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC, elected the Reverend Maria Swearingen and Reverend Sally Sarratt as their congregation’s co-pastors.

Calvary Baptist has a long, progressive history since its founding by anti-slavery abolitionists in 1862, but the selection of these two women to lead their congregation was nonetheless a bold move.

Maria Swearingen and Sally Sarratt are a married, lesbian couple.  They join Tom in the studio to talk about the journey that brought them to Calvary Baptist, what they are doing in their co-ministry, and what their election as co-pastors may say about the Baptist Church and about tolerance in established denominations across the broader religious landscape.

Rousuck's Review: "Love's Labour's Lost"

Aug 10, 2017
Photo by Will Kirk

Every Thursday, Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck stops by with her review of one of this region's theater productions.

Today, it's the new production of Love's Labour's Lost by the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, which is being staged as part of their seasonal Shakespeare in the Meadow program.

The play -- one of the Bard's early comedies -- follows the attempt by Ferdinand, King of Navarre, and his three companions to forswear the company of women for three years. Their plan does not go particularly well.

Chris Cotterman, the associate artistic director of the BSF, directs the light-hearted production, which runs through Sunday, August 13, outdoors at the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory in Evergreen Meadow (located at the Johns Hopkins Evergreen Museum and Library). From August 18-20, the production moves indoors to the Great Hall Theater at St. Mary’s Community Center. Check the Baltimore Shakespeare factory website for details.

The House and Senate and the president have all left town for the August recess. Just before they left they were deep in the drama of the Senate Republicans’ failure to repeal and/or replace Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act.

During this exodus of all politicians from Washington we’ll put politics aside for a moment and ask: What should the healthcare system and healthcare coverage in the U.S. look like? Can we take the system we’ve got and make it work better? And if we were starting from scratch, what kind of system would we create?

Two experts who have been thinking and writing about healthcare for years join Midday to answer these questions.

Today, a conversation with a man who has filed or joined more than half a dozen cases against the Trump Administration: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. Mr. Frosh is a Democrat who was elected in 2014, after serving for 28 years on the Maryland General Assembly.

Earlier this year, to the chagrin of the Governor, the general assembly gave the Attorney General’s office the authority to sue the Trump administration without Governor Larry Hogan’s permission. Back in March, Maryland joined the state of Washington in a lawsuit against the second travel ban.  Maryland also filed a lawsuit with the District of Columbia alleging that President Trump violated anti-corruption clauses in the constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments after he took office. Attorney General Frosh pushed back against president Trump’s voter fraud commission, saying that the commission only exists to “indulge Trump’s fantasy that he won the popular vote.” He also called the commissions’ request for voter data “repugnant.” The lawsuits of course are not without critics. Republican state lawmakers accused the Attorney General of “grandstanding,” saying that he’s exploiting his political power to go after President Trump.

Closer to home, Attorney General Frosh has spoken out about criminal justice reform. In an opinion issued last year, he told state lawmakers that our cash bail system is unconstitutional. Mr. Frosh joins Tom to talk law, respond to comments, and field all of your burning questions.

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