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.

Chris Mann

Jan 22, 2016

Tom talks with Chris Mann, the star of The Phantom of the Opera, which comes to the Hippodrome Theater on January 27, 2016.

For ticket information:

Mark Hyman via

It’s time to talk sports here on Maryland Morning.  Our resident Sports Guy, Mark Hyman, joins Tom in Studio A to review some of the top stories in sports.  Mark is on the faculty of George Washington University, and he's the author of several books, including his latest, Concussions and Our Kids.

Wide Angle Youth Media

Now, we turn to a team of young reporters and producers -- all of whom are in middle school -- who are enrolled in a program called Baltimore Speaks Out, at the Herring Run Branch of The Enoch Pratt Free Library. The program is one of several at various city library locations run by Wide Angle Youth Media, a non-profit that teaches city youth how to tell their own stories and become engaged in their communities.  We want to shine a spotlight on these creative young people and hear their stories. Here’s a report they’ve sent us about access to healthy food choices in different neighborhoods in Baltimore. 

Steven Depolo/flickr

If you’re looking to update your wardrobe this season, you might head for the mall or wait for a sale – or go online, but a lot of smart shoppers are taking advantage of resale or consignment stores – it’s one of the hottest trends in fashion these days.  Whether online through places like ETSY or EBAY or in a place down the block, resale stores can be treasure troves of great fashion for the person with the right eye and a little time.  Zoey Washington Sheff is our fashion guru.  She’s a fashion editor and creative consultant for Essence, ELLE and other leading magazines, and the founder of Littlebird, a fashion consulting company focusing on the teen market. She talked with Tom in the studio.

Sheila Dixon Campaign Website

Today we continue our series of conversations with people who have announced their intention to run for Mayor of Baltimore. As of January 20th, 8 Democrats, 2 Republicans, 1 Green Party candidate, 2 Independents, and 5 Unaffiliated candidates have registered with the Board of Elections to be on the April 26th mayoral primary ballot. At least 4 candidates have opened campaign headquarters and have been actively campaigning, but have yet to file with the Board of Elections. Their deadline to do so is two weeks from today, on February 3rd. Each Wednesday for the next several weeks, we’ll take some time here on Maryland Morning to speak with candidates about their visions for the city.

Tom's guest today is Sheila Dixon. She is a Democrat. She is 62 years old, and lives in Hunting Ridge on the city's west side. Ms. Dixon is currently working with the Maryland Minority Contractors Association. She was first elected to the City Council in 1987. She served as the Mayor of Baltimore from 2007-2010, until she resigned following a misdemeanor conviction for fraudulent misappropriation of gift cards given to her by some real estate developers.

Photo for by Howard Yang

Joining Tom in the studio is writer Kathy Flann. She's the author of two short-story collections, Get a Grip (Texas Review Press, just published), which won the 2014 George Garrett Fiction Prize, and Smoky Ordinary (Snake Nation Press, 2008), which earned Flann the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award.  Her novella, Mad Dog (White Eagle Coffee Shop Press, 2007), received the A. E. Coppard Prize for Fiction. Flann's fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including The O. Henry Festival Stories (1998).  She's an associate professor at Goucher College in Towson, where she teaches courses in fiction and creative non-fiction.

Get a Grip, her latest short-story collection, is a terrific read, set mostly in and around Baltimore, and peopled with fascinating and richly textured characters, including two 7-foot-tall Estonian brothers hoping to get admitted to Loyola College, an aspiring writer trying to keep her deadbeat dad at bay, and a guy who finds a meteor in Catonsville.  Their stories mirror the Baltimore region's charms, complexity and self-doubts.

You can meet Kathy Flann for a reading and discussion Thursday night at the Ivy Bookshop in North Baltimore. She’ll be joined by poet David Ebenbach and novelist Leslie Pietrzyk.  The event begins at 7:00. 

Sheila Dixon Campaign Website


Today, we continue our conversations with candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City.  Sheila Dixon joins me in Studio A.  In the late 90s she became the first African American woman elected as the President of the City Council, and in 2007, she became the first African American woman to become Mayor.  Her story after that is well-known: she resigned in 2010 after a conviction and an Alford plea.  She has entered a crowded race asking for a second chance.  I’ll ask her about her vision for the City.

Then, the award-winning local writer Kathy Flann introduces us to some of the quirky characters who populate her new collection of short stories.  Get a Grip explores Baltimore from the perspective of people who often live on the margins, and who flavor the city with funky charm.

This morning, as we celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, we want to focus on where the Civil Rights movement is today, as well as the current state of some of the city’s most important Civil Rights landmarks. But first, let’s start with a look back at the history of the movement here in Maryland. In the early years of the movement, men often overshadowed the women who played pivotal roles as activists and organizers. Last week, Tom spoke with two women who were front and center in the fight for equal rights.

First, Dr. Helena Hicks. She grew up in Sandtown-Winchester, and she has spent a lifetime agitating for civil rights. She was involved in an action at Read’s Drug Store in Baltimore in 1955. Tom asked her to take us back to that chilly morning as she waited for a bus to take her to school at what is now Morgan State University.

Then, Tom turned to Civil Rights Activist Gloria Richardson. She was part of the Cambridge Movement in the 1960s on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – an area that she has compared to living in the Deep South. She helped organize the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee.

Arash Azizzada // Flickr Creative Commons

Now, a look at the current state of the civil rights movement. In an age of increasing economic, educational and employment inequality, the conversation about race in America is as important as ever.  So, too, is the struggle for equality and justice. How has the conversation about race changed as incidents of police brutality across the country are disseminated today so quickly and widely? How has the conversation about race been affected by presidential campaign demagoguery? And how has the movement for civil rights and social justice evolved 60 years after Dr. King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

Tom explores these questions with the Rev. Dr. Todd Yeary. He is the senior pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church here in Baltimore. He’s also an adjunct professor in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore and the Political Action Chair for the Maryland State Conference NAACP.  And joining the discussion by phone is Jamye Wooten, the founder of KineticsLive.Com, an on-line information ministry. He’s a Social Justice Institute Fellow at the Boston University School of Theology. Mr. Wooten has organized and documented social movements in the US, Africa and the UK.

Baltimore Heritage

Why are so many of Baltimore’s civil rights landmarks neglected, and unprotected? Eli Pousson joins Tom to talk about what can be done to save these landmarks. He is Director of Preservation and Outreach at Baltimore Heritage, a nonprofit historic and architectural preservation organization.