Maryland Morning Podcast


The Democratic National Convention kicks off today. Sheri Parks from the University of Maryland and Michael Higginbotham from the University of Baltimore School of law join Tom for a DNC preview. 

Then, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews Spamalot on at Cockpit in Court.   Then, Living Questions continues with Rabbi Jessy Gross, who’s recently been named one of America’s most inspiring Rabbis. She’ll introduce us to the Charm City Tribe, a group of millennials who are practicing religion in a different way.   


With two days down and two to go, Republicans in Cleveland are making the case for Donald Trump to a general election audience.  With so many A-list Republican luminaries skipping the convention, and in the aftermath of a divisive and controversial primary campaign, has Trump begun to unify the party, and to bring the country together around his cause? Jenna Johnson has been covering Donald Trump for the Washington Post for most of the last year.  She joins Tom by phone from Cleveland. 

Then, analysis of the verdict in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice, one of the six officers charged in connection to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, with our legal experts, attorney Edward Smith and University of Baltimore Law professor David Jaros. Plus, the Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel on “The Mind Diet;” foods that feed the brain, and may help ward-off Alzheimer’s disease.  

The Republican convention gets underway today in Cleveland. Elizabeth Copeland, a Baltimore Republican who is the founder of the Urban Conservative Project, gives a preview.


Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen joins for another installment of Healthwatch. It’s one thing to call gun violence in America an epidemic. It’s another to actually treat it like a public health crisis, and to employ scientific methods to shape policy and save lives. Leana Wen talks about efforts to combat gun violence in the city. 

Then, sports guru Mark Hyman talks about the Orioles best start in almost 20 years, and how Zika has impacted the upcoming Olympic games.  Plus, Wyclef Jean talks about his new music and Black Lives Matter before kicking off Artscape tonight.

Tom speaks with Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh for the Focus on the Counties series. 

Schuh was one of three county executives elected in the Baltimore region in the Republican wave led by Governor Larry Hogan. When Steve Schuh took office in late 2014, he was the third person to head the county in two years, following the scandal-ridden administration of John Leopold, and the brief tenure of Laura Newman. His working relationship with the county council has not always been smooth; he talks about his plans to streamline government, reduce taxes, and build more schools.   Then, Baltimore author James Magruder on his latest novel "Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall," a tale about the love lives of graduate students in the 1980s.        

David Y. Lee

Three out of five people who are arrested are not able to post bail, which means they are incarcerated, sometime for months, until their cases come to trial or are resolved. What are the standards for setting the amount of bail, and do those standards disadvantage the poor? Cherise Fanno Burdeen, the executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute, and Tara Huffman, the director of Open Society Institute-Baltimore Criminal and Juvenile Justice Program join Tom to talk about making bail safer, fairer, and more effective. They also discuss #unconvicted, a photography exhibition organized by OSI-Baltimore the PreTrial Justice Institute that spotlights the plight of pretrial detainees. 

 In the light of events in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas  how has the conversation about police misconduct changed? Dr. Lester Spence, from Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Eddie Glaude from Princeton discuss how we got this point and the way forward.   Plus, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck on the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s  production of The Three Musketeers.

We continue our Focus on the Counties series with Howard County executive Alan Kittleman, In 2014, he won election as a Republican in a place where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one. Howard County is diverse and multi-cultural, and it’s one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the country. As the town of Columbia prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, will fewer people be able to afford to live there? Can Columbia continue to be a model for sustainable, diverse communities nationwide? Alan Kittleman on what’s next for Baltimore’s neighbor to the south. 

Then, from Howard County to The Bridges of Madison County. Theater Critic J.Wynn Rousuck joins Tom to talk about the musical production of the Kleenex classic at the Kennedy Center.   

Baltimore City Council

Today is the first day of the new fiscal year for the City of Baltimore. The City Council beat their deadline to approve a budget by 10 days this year, but not without considerable acrimony. City Council president Jack Young and Budget Committee Chairwoman Helen Holton threatened to shut down city government if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake didn’t restore funding for youth programs. Helen Holton (District 8) joins me, along with Councilman Brandon Scott (District 2) to talk about the Council, the Mayor and the budget.

Plus, movie mavens, Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, offer some alternatives to the big Hollywood blockbusters that are unleashed every season around the fourth of July.  

Photo by Rob Sivak

 This week, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation has convened two groups of emerging arts leaders for workshops around the idea of Undoing Racism. Trainers from The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond explore how institutional racism has come to be so firmly ensconced in American culture, and what it will take to get rid of it. Tom speaks with Kimberley Richards and Rachael Ibrahim, trainers from The People’s Institute, and A. Adar Ayira, a local artist and poet who is on the advisory board of Baltimore Racial Justice Action.  

Then, author Jessica Anya Blau joins Tom to discuss her new novel The Trouble with Lexie.


We begin this morning with another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. Retiring Executive Director Christopher Leighton, Catholic Scholar Heather Miller Rubens, Islamic Scholar Homayra Ziad, and Jewish Scholar Benjamin Sax from The Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies all join Tom in-studio to discuss leadership transition in the organization, as well as what it will take for the voices of tolerance to be heard in the din of bigotry that has taken over much of the public discourse in this unprecedented political year.

J. Wynn Rousuck reviews EVITAwhich is currently playing at Olney Theater through July 24.