Tom Hall

Host - Maryland Morning, Choral Arts Classics, In The Bromo and What Are You Reading

Tom has been a dynamic force in Maryland since 1982, as a broadcaster, performer, lecturer, writer, and educator. Tom was named "Best Radio Personality" by the City Paper in 2009, and in 2006, he was named "Best New Journalist" by the Maryland chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  Tom began his WYPR career as a co-host of Dupont-Columbia University award-winning Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast from 2006 - October 2015.  Also in 2006, he won an Emmy Award for his television broadcast of Christmas with Choral Arts on WMAR Television.  As the Music Director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, he has collaborated with many of Maryland's leading arts organizations, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Maryland Symphony, the Walters Art Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. For many years, he appeared regularly as a guest conductor throughout the U.S and in Europe, and he has been invited frequently to speak to professional and community organizations in Maryland and throughout the United States.

Tom has published articles in the Baltimore Sun, Style Magazine, and many professional music journals; he has served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts, and he has lectured and taught courses at the Peabody Conservatory, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Baltimore, and Morgan State University. He is a former board member and former chair of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. Tom lives in Baltimore with his wife, Linell Smith.

Center Stage

Center Stage is about to undergo a physical transformation. Later this week, the theater will announce specifics about its plan to renovate its Calvert Street home. Many theater fans will tell you that the transformation at Center Stage began in 2011, when Kwame Kwei Armah was appointed the theater’s Artistic Director. His initiatives like the My America Project, and Third Spaces; the Raisin Cycle or his original musical based on the life of Bob Marley are examples of how he has tried to expand the boundaries of what a theater company can be; how it connects to our community, and how it fits into the world at large.

Before the construction begins on the building, Tom thought it would be good to check in with Kwame Kwei Armah, and get a sense of what he’s looking to do as Center Stage enters this new era in its storied history.

Laura Gardiner

The Everyman Theater and Center Stage may be Baltimore’s biggest theaters, but they are by no means the only places where interesting theater happens. The Charm City Fringe Festival starts on Sunday.

The launch party takes place Thursday night at 7:00 at Joe Squared in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Zachary Michel,  co-founder and President of the Charm City Fringe Festival, joins Tom in the studio.

Baltimore's Mayoral Race: Who's In, Who's Out

Oct 30, 2015
Flickr Creative Commons // Wally Gobetz

The Democratic primary for Baltimore City Mayor takes place six months from now, on the 26th of April.  When Stephanie Rawlings Blake won the last Mayoral election in 2011, it was decided to grant her and other Baltimore elected officials an extra year in office, so that the Mayor’s race could be aligned with the Presidential Primary.  The federal and local general election will take place in November of 2016, making the general election season for Mayor considerably longer than it was the last time around, when the primary preceded the general election by less than two months.  Today, we’ll take stock of the candidates for Mayor who announced so far, as well as a few who are expected to run, but who have not yet announced.  I’m joined by two folks who keep a close eye on the local political scene.  Fern Shen is the founder and editor of the Baltimore BrewTaylor Stewart is the Regional Director of Leadership for Educational Equality.

WANN Radio Station Records, Archives Center, NMAH


Now, we’re going to look back at an Annapolis radio station that broadcast music primarily catered to an African American audience for 50 years from 1947 to 1997.  Ephemera and objects from the station, called WANN, are on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American history, which has a permanent exhibit that opened in July called “American Enterprise” part of the museum’s new “innovation wing.” The exhibit traces the country’s development from a small, agriculturally-dependent country to a global economic powerhouse. It’s an eclectic collection:  things like an early Monopoly board game and the name tag of a shoe clerk who worked at the department store, Woodward Lothrup.

To highlight the African American experience from the consumer era, what the Smithsonian is calling the 1940s through the 1970s, they selected artifacts from WANN.

Larry Blum is the son of the founder and owner of WANN, Morris Blum.  He joins me on the phone from Glen Burnie, Maryland.    And joining us from Willamsburg, Virginia is Dr. Charlie McGovern, Program Director & Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of American Studies and History at the College of William and Mary. 

Ensemble Galilei

Ensemble Galilei has been mining the rich traditions of folk and early music for 25 years.  They have played in concert halls and churches across the US, and for six years, two of its members played weekly at Walter Reed Hospital, providing the comfort and consolation that only music can, to wounded warriors.  This weekend, they will unveil their latest CD, From Whence We Came, an eclectic mix of original compositions and music from around the globe.  Ensemble members Carolyn Surrick and Kathryn Montoya join Tom in Studio A to talk about the new release.  

Howard County Conservancy

We begin today with a look at the Howard County Conservancy, a 200-acre tract of rolling hills, forest, meadow and streams called Mt. Pleasant Farm, at Woodstock, about a half-hour’s drive west of Baltimore. The Conservancy -- which marked its 25th anniversary last Sunday, introduces young people and adults to environmental stewardship and conservation.

To tell us more about the Conservancy, Tom is joined in the studio by its executive director, Meg Boyd, and by Ann Strozyk, an award-winning environmental educator in the Howard County school system who is based at the Conservancy. On Friday night at 7:00, there’s a Flashlight Hike to check out the nocturnal life at the Conservancy, just in time for Halloween.


In 1955, Vladimir Nabokov began his most famous novel, which shocked the world, and placed him in the highest echelon of modern writers. In a new biography, my next guest examines Nabokov’s time in America, in the years leading up to and after the publication of Lolita.

Robert Roper is a novelist and journalist who is on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University. He’ll be appearing at the Ivy Bookshop tonight at 7:00. His new book is called Nabokov in America: On the Road to Lolita.

Socially Responsible Agricultural Project // Flickr Creative Commons

Back in the day, when we heard this music by Aaron Copland, we knew it meant one thing: Meat. In the 1990s, it was “what’s for dinner,” according to the Beef Council. Last February, the Federal Government revised their guidelines about what we should eat, and they said we should eat less meat, and in fairness to meat, they also suggested we eat less sugar. On Monday, The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, published a report that seems to have upped the ante a bit. Red meat has been declared a probable carcinogen.

The verdict on Processed Meat, according to the study, is more severe. When it comes to bacon and beef jerky, they drop the qualifier, “probable,” and say that it is a carcinogen. So what does this mean? Whenever we have a question of this kind, we turn to the Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagle, who blogs about nutrition at Nutrition Over Easy and hosts a podcast at Quick and Dirty Tips.

Hyunah Yu

Oct 27, 2015

On the October edition of Choral Arts Classics, Tom talks to the internationally acclaimed soprano Hyunah Yu, the featured soloist in the Choral Arts performance of Dona nobis pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams.


Last June, Pope Francis published an extraordinary encyclical on the environment.  For the first time, the leader of the Catholic Church stated that climate change is real, that it’s being caused mainly by human activity, and that it poses a particular threat to the world’s poor.

Like the Pope's call to the faithful to take actions to heal the Earth, followers of Islam and Judaism are also drawing on their religious traditions to confront the challenges of climate change.

We learn of two such faith-driven initiatives as Tom talks with Kori Majeed, the founder of the Web-based environmental group, GreenRamadan, and with Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center in Philadelphia, co-author of a Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis that's been endorsed by more than 400 rabbis since its publication last June.