On The Record | WYPR

On The Record

Weekdays, 9:30 to 10:00 am

Catch On the Record, hosted by Sheilah Kast, weekdays from 9:30 to 10:00 am, following NPR’s Morning Edition. We’ll discuss the issues that affect your life and bring you thoughtful and lively conversations with the people who shape those issues -- business people, public officials, scholars, artists, authors, and journalists who can take us inside the story. If you want to share a comment, question, or an idea for an interview you’d like to hear, email us at ontherecord@wypr.org.

Theme music created by Jon Ehrens.  Logo designed by Louis Umerlik.

Ways to Connect

As she grew up, Petula Caesar's African-American father praised her good grades and her light skin. He raised her to be deferential to white people and to see blacks as dangerous.

A book release luncheon and panel discussion about the book’s themes will take place Saturday, starting at 12:30 pm at Touchpiont Baltimore, near Mondawmin mall. The address is 2401 Liberty Heights Ave.

Library of Congress, 1899

Harry Houdini is known for grand illusions and death-defying escapes. But what lies behind the curtain of Houdini as a performer? Why were some uses of trickery reviled by the master of magic? A new exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland called ‘Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini’ reveals answers to those questions and more. We hear from Marvin Pinkert, the museum’s executive director and David London, magician, performer and curator of the exhibit.

Information for the grand opening street festival and other events available at this link.

In this gourmet era, canned food doesn’t get much respect. But that humble tin of chicken soup in the pantry has a fascinating backstory. Canning was invented to feed soldiers during the French Revolutionary Wars. And the commercial canning industry that followed was, at first, a dicey business.

Historian Anna Zeide talks about her new book, “Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry.”

JHU Press

We talk with Dr. W. Daniel Hale and Dr. Panagis Galiasatos about the Johns Hopkins Healthy Community Partnership. The program promotes patient education by drawing on the familiarity and trust developed in faith communities -- and they wrote a book about it, called Building Healthy Communities through Medical-Religious Partnerships. We also meet Antoinette Joyner, the commissioner for healthcare ministry at St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church about how the program has made an impact on her congregation.

Todd Marcus

The line blurs between art and activism for bass clarinetist and jazz composer Todd Marcus. He perceives music as a way to build community and nuture healing. He joins us to talk about his latest CD, "On These Streets: A Baltimore Story." The songs are inspired by two decades of living and working alongside his neighbors in West Baltimore with the non-profit, ‘Intersection of Change.’

The Todd Marcus Quintet's CD release party is June 16 at Center Stage. More information here.

Here’s Renee Watkins’ Stoop Story about coming out to her parents … that begins with a road trip she’ll never forget. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com

It's Pride Weekend! Find information for all of the events at this link.

AP Images

We’ve interviewed the eight Democrats running for their party’s nomination to face off against incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall and asked how each proposes to address the opioid overdose epidemic, and guns and public safety. With us to share perspective and insight is the Baltimore editor of the Afro newspaper, Sean Yoes.

Melissa Gerr / WYPR radio/Baltimore

An end-of-life doula offers compassion and companionship to the dying and the people who love them. We talk with Debbie Geffen-Jones, bereavement program manager at Gilchrist, about what it takes to assume the doula role. And Kay Berney, who has volunteered in bereavement services for more than a decade, tells us what’s she’s learned as an end-of-life doula … and how it differs from the stereotype some people might expect. For more information about becoming a Gilchrist volunteer, visit this link.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Creating jobs, cutting red-tape, managing the budget---the nine Democrats running for governor told us their economic priorities. Political columnist Barry Rascovar of Political Maryland analyzes their answers.

Here’s a Stoop Story told by Lauren Francis Sharma at the Baltimore Book Festival in 2016. She was unhappily working as a corporate lawyer in 1998 when she decided to take a chance on becoming an author. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Stefan Malmesjö / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped offers books for readers of all ages in a variety of forms - from large print to Braille and audio materials. We hear from Robyn Hughes, a patron of the library for four decades. And from library director Leslie Bowman, who says new technology has vastly expanded access for readers with limited sight.

MD Dept Public Safety and Correctional Services

Maryland’s prisons have clamped how on where inmates can acquire books--they can now can order from just two limited vendors. The department of corrections says books from other sources can be used to smuggle drugs, and that can fuel violence behind bars. We ask Sonia Kumar, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, why ACLU-MD contends the new restrictions violate the First Amendment.

Then we talk to Glennor Shirley about her two decades running libraries in Maryland’s prisons and how she viewed her responsibility to her patrons.

Here is the letter sent by ACLU-MD to DPSCS

Check out the Ear Hustle podcast here

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Democrats running for governor agree Maryland public schools are slipping, and most argue the state should spend more. Baltimore Sun opinion editor Andy Green helps us decipher the field on education.

Hedwig Storch/Wikimedia Commons

It’s estimated that more than fifty million voice-assisted devices -- like smartphones and smartspeakers -- are currently in use in the U.S.

From a usability perspective, voice-assisted technology, or artificial intelligence, has made it easier for millions of people to perform daily activities and access information. But are there dangers that lie in that scenario? We ask that question to Amy Webb, founder of the the ‘Future Today Institute,’ which researches emerging technologies as they move from the fringe to the mainstream.

Maryland Big Tree Program

From tree pollen to soaring saplings, we’re wild for the woods. Matthew Fitzpatrick of UMCES explains the connection between ancient pollen and climate change. Read more about pollen DNA and tree migration here.

And Joli McCathran of the Maryland Big Tree Program describes measuring trees of record size. To find a champion tree or to nominate one, check out the Maryland Big Tree website.

Joseph Trucano

What makes some music hot--or not--and how does business enable the artistry? That’s the topic of the next Great Talk” discussion, a series that describes itself as ‘Conversations with a Purpose.’ It’s also our cue to question one of the next Great Talk presenters, classical pianist Susan Zhang. She’s co-owner of The Concert Truck, a mobile recital hall that delivers free classical music concerts to audiences in unexpected locations--from parks, to public squares to community center parking lots.

Here's improv performer Will Hines, telling his Stoop Story about the time he and his co-host Connor recorded their podcast from Abbey Road studios in London. You can hear his story and many others at Stoopstorytelling dot com.

AP Images

On the Record has spoken with all nine Democratic gubernatiorial candidates about why they’re running, what issues they think are most important and how they would address them and what they think sets each of them apart--why voters should pick them to be the Democrats’ standard bearer against incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Today our expert analyst and commentator is Mileah Kromer, associate professor of political science at Goucher College. She directors the Sarah T. Hughes Field politics center  and is the force behind the respected Goucher Poll.

Hamza Butt / Flickr via Creative Commons

Starbucks cafes across the country will be closed this afternoon for racial bias training, in the wake of an incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks last month. Two black men were arrested, seemingly for the crime of not buying anything. Millions have watched a video of the event.

Think again if you’ve been assuming curiosity is constant, like gravity. We talk to astrophysicist Mario Livio about his book, "Why: What Makes us Curious". Not only are some people more curious than others, and curious about different questions, but homo sapiens’ capacity for curiosity grew as its brain evolved. For all its variations, Livio deems curiosity an unstoppable drive.

Mario Livio will be speaking about his book tomorrow, 7 pm at the Ivy Bookshop on Falls Road. Information here.

Courtesy Donte Small

The Goucher College Prison Education Partnership gives about 100 Maryland inmates access to college courses and professors and the opportunity to work toward a degree. We talk with director Amy Roza to hear about the effect it has on lives even beyond the prison walls. We also meet Donte Small, the first alumnus of the prison education partnership to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Here's Sylvia Parks, at an all-audience Stoop event at the Wind Up Space, with the theme: “My Secret Weapon: Talents, Flairs, and Skills No One Knows About.” Feel free to sing along if you’d like! You can hear this and other Stoop stories at stoopstorytelling.com.

In the spirit of Memorial Day, we meet writer, educator and veteran marine Dario DiBattista, who shares his thoughts about military service and his experience writing and teaching writing to war veterans as a form of post-trauma therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Then we visit the Freedom Hills Therapeutic Riding program in Cecil County, and participant Don Koss, a Vietnam vet, to learn how just being near horses can have a calming effect.

A devastating side effect of radiation and chemotherapy can be-- infertility. A new state mandate now requires insurers to cover fertility preservation for cancer patients before they begin treatment. We speak to Brock Yetso, who heads the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, and Sam Horn, who survived breast cancer. She says this coverage can bring peace of mind. And fertility specialist Dr. Mindy Christianson explains how the technology of safeguarding fertility has advanced.

Courtesy Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

We're looking at the 50th anniversary of another of 1968’s tragedies: the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in early June, as he campaigned for president. We’ll talk to his eldest daughter, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former lieutenant governor of Maryland about what kind of father he was, what issues he was campaigning on and why she thinks he was able to reach across class and race boundaries in a way that many Democrats today find a challenge.

The link to the Indianapolis speech can be found here.

The link to Cleveland City Club speech can be found here.

Jinjian Liang / Flickr via Creative Commons

Maryland’s seafood industry depends on several hundred guest workers--most from Mexico--working half the year on the Eastern Shore to pick crabs. This year, few of those workers came: the seafood processing companies could not get enough H-2B visas.

We ask Congressman Andy Harris, who represents the Shore: Are more visas on the way? Then, Bill Seiling, director of the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association explains how long Maryland's seafood industry has relied on foreign labor. And Jack Brooks, co-owner of a seafood company in Cambridge, argues the shortage of foreign workers affects the security of American jobs.

Here's a Stoop Story from WBAL news anchor Jason Newton about his love for his job and his city.

You can hear more stories, as well as the Stoop podcast, stoopstorytelling.com. The next live Stoop event is May 30th at the Creative Alliance

The Baltimore Museum of Industry

Paid or unpaid, a new career or the family profession--Americans spend most of their days working. A new exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Industry asks visitors to share thoughts and feelings about what work means in their lives.

We hear from Gillian Waldo, a graduating senior from Hopkins, who helped curate the exhibit. And from Beth Maloney, director of interpretation at the museum, who led students through this process.

The Baltimore Museum on Industry will be celebrating the 10th year of its farmers' market on Saturday with live music, kids activities, and free admission to the museum. More information here.

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