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,” an award he was also given in the 2016 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 SunStyle 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.

Maryland GovPics

Nearly 2,700 bills were introduced in this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly, which came to a close on Monday night. Paid sick leave is in. Fracking is out. Ethics laws for lawmakers were juiced-up, as a long time member is indicted on fraud charges. There was a package of bills to address the opioid epidemic, and a measure that could lead to punishment for drug manufacturers who hike prices unreasonably. Gov. Larry Hogan reached a compromise on a transportation bill, and legislators found a way to allocate additional help to local school jurisdictions, including Baltimore. When asked to assess the third General Assembly since being elected in 2014, the Governor told reporters,“I’m not sure how it could have been any better."

Last night the Maryland General Assembly wrapped up its 437th annual session, passing hundreds of bills in the final hours of Sine Die, as the last day is known. Governor Larry Hogan was generally pleased with the session, but promised to veto a paid sick leave bill. Governor Hogan proposed a bill that would have required businesses that employ 50 or more workers in a single location to provide sick leave. Democrats rejected that bill, in favor of a bill that requires businesses with 15 or more full-time employees to provide employees the opportunity to earn at least 5 sick days a year.  

Tom speaks with House Minority Leader Nic Kipke who represents Anne Arundel County in the Maryland House of Delegates. 

AP Photo

The Consent Decree between the city of Baltimore, the Baltimore Police Department and the Department of Justice was the result of a damning report in August 2016 that described a pattern or practice of unconstitutional misconduct by Baltimore police, which has disproportionately affected the city's communities of color.   

When Judge James Bredar signed the Consent Decree this past Friday (April 7), it became an order of the court.

So now, what’s next?  What will court oversight of the police department look like?  How will the Trump Justice Department be involved with an agreement reached during the waning days of the Obama administration?  And if the police department is committed to reform on its own, why is a consent decree necessary?

Joining Tom to address these questions are four people who've been closely following the evolution of Baltimore's Consent Decree over the past two years:

Monique Dixon is Deputy Director of Policy for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund;

David Rocah is the Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Maryland;

Bishop Douglas Miles is Pastor of the Koinonia Baptist Church and Co-Chair Emeritus of BUILD, Baltimorians United In Leadership Development;

and Kevin Rector covers the courts and crime for the Baltimore Sun. 

Photo montage courtesy Daily Express

It's the Midday News Wrap, our Friday focus on the week's top local, national and international news stories, which certainly came in a cascade this week.  Our special guest and our panel of news analysts help us sort them all out:

After promising an “America First” foreign policy, President Trump last night ordered a cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase, in response to President Bashir Al-Assad’s latest use of chemical weapons.

Steve Bannon is out as a member of the NSC's inner circle.  Devin Nunes is out, at least temporarily, as the Republican's lead investigator on the House Intelligence Committee looking into Russian meddling in the US election.  

Also out: a 60-vote requirement for Supreme Court nominees.

In the U.S. for meetings with Mr. Trump were the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and China.  And the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is in, it seems, on just about everything.   

Tom begins the show today with Senator Chris Van Hollen, who won the seat vacated by Barbara Mikulski last year.  Then, Tom is joined by Domenico Montanaro, lead editor for politics at NPR and Luke Broadwater, reporter for the Baltimore Sun.

It's Movie Mayhem with Jed Dietz, Director of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post. They join Tom to give their recommendations for what to see in the theaters this weekend.

Photo by ClintonBPhotography

It's Theater Thursday on Midday, and time for our weekly visit from theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom in the studio with her review of the new musical at the Everyman Theatre here in Baltimore.  Its subject couldn’t be more topical:  Los Otros  (The Others)delves into the complexities of immigration, cultural identity, sexuality, and coming of age.

It's a timely reworking of the musical that debuted at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2012, from Tony Award nominees Michael John LaChiusa (music) and Ellen Fitzhugh (book and lyrics), who joined Tom on Midday back on March 24 to talk about their new production  at Everyman.

Directed by Noah Himmelstein, with musical direction by Jon Kalbfleisch, Los Otros presents as a series of vignettes in which two Californians, Lillian and Carlos (played by Judy McLane and Philip Hernandez), recall moments from their past in which their personal experiences -- as a white woman and a Hispanic man -- are woven together with their feelings of both "otherness" and cross-cultural intimacy.

Los Otros continues on stage at Everyman Theatre until Sunday, April 23rd. 

Penguin Random House

Today, another edition of Midday on Ethics. Later this month, HBO and Oprah Winfrey will bring the story of Henrietta Lacks to television. The film, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” based on the best-selling book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot, premiers on April 22.

You may already be familiar with the story of Henrietta Lacks, who lived in southeastern Baltimore County in the early 1950s. She had cancer, and in 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital did a routine biopsy. She died eight months later. But her cells live on, because without her consent, and without the knowledge of her family, cells taken during the biopsy were used, for decades, in medical research around the world.   In fact the HeLa cell line -- H-E for Henrietta and L-A for Lacks -- revolutionized medical research, and, by some accounts, has resulted in billions of dollars worth of medical breakthroughs. None of the proceeds, however, went to Ms. Lacks or to her descendants.

Could the same thing happen today? We’ll try to untangle the ethical questions in this conversation about Informed Consent. How much have standards changed in the 65 years since Henrietta Lacks was a cancer patient at Hopkins? What are today’s standards?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He stops by Midday regularly to talk about how ethicists help us frame the complex questions that surround stories like the extraordinary case of Henrietta Lacks.

Education Elsewhere

Yesterday, Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill allocating an additional $23 million to Baltimore City Public Schools. This comes after Mayor Catherine Pugh diverted additional funds to education in her budget. So is it enough to close the $130 million gap and avoid teacher layoffs? We’ll get an update from Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises

Then, a conversation with activists who use their artistry to empower young people. 

Photo courtesy Eric Gay/Associated Press

It’s Opening Day on Midday!

Later today, the Baltimore Orioles begin their annual quest for a playoff berth against the Toronto Blue Jays -- the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season -- while Oriole Park at Camden Yards celebrates 25 years. 

And after a record-breaking weekend in the women’s NCAA Final Four -- including one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history -- the men take the court tonight.   It'll be a face-off between the first-time finalist Bulldogs of Gonzaga (out of Spokane, Washington) and the Tar Heels of North Carolina, who lost last year’s final to Villanova at the buzzer.

Later this week, The Masters golf tournament gets underway in Augusta, Georgia -- without Tiger Woods -- and later this month, the spectacle that is the NFL draft comes to Philadelphia.   Plus, the NBA is closing in on their list of playoff contenders.

Mike Pesca, an NPR contributor and host of Slate.com's The Gist and Milton Kent, host of WYPR's Sports at Large, join Tom to sort out all the action.  And we take your calls, tweets and emails.

Photo courtesy NY Daily News

It's the Midday News Wrap, our regular Friday effort to make sense of the week that was.  

This was a week of unraveling and unveiling.  The Trump administration unraveled Obama-era rules on internet privacy and the environment.  The House Intelligence Committee, which is -- or was -- investigating Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible Trump ties to Russia, unraveled itself -- cancelling its public hearings amid loud calls for Committee chair Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. 

The New York Times and the Washington Post reported that Nunes met secretly with two or possibly three White House officials and then briefed the president about information that he had not shared with his own committee.  The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the same issues picked up the slack in what is, at least for the moment, a much more bi-partisan way.  It held ITS first hearing yesterday, which included dramatic testimony from a former FBI agent.   

In Baltimore, Mayor Catherine Pugh unveiled her first budget proposal, which calls for lowering taxes, while spending more on schools and police.  She also vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage in the city to $15 by the year 2022. 

Britain took its first formal steps to exit the European Union, and Scotland took another step toward exiting Britain…

To help us untangle these stories, Tom is joined in Studio A by a terrific panel of journalists:

Frances Stead Sellers is a writer on the national staff of The Washington Post.  She covered the 2016 presidential election for The Post and she is currently a journalism fellow at Oxford University in the UK.  She was a key member of the Post team that produced the best-selling biography “Trump Revealed…”

E.R. Shipp is here.  She is Associate Professor and Journalist in Residence at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication. She is a columnist for the Baltimore Sun and the winner, in 1996, of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, when she was at the NY Daily News. She also worked as a reporter and editor at The New York Times and as the ombudsman at The Washington Post.

And Andy Green is here as well.  He’s the Editorial page editor for the Baltimore Sun.

We also take your calls and comments.

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