Maryland Morning Podcast


RAD is the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Has it brought much-needed funds into the city's rundown public housing or does it represent a shift in how public housing, which has been around since the 1930s, is run? Producer Jonna McKone explores what’s at stake.

Then, a conversation with the designer Ellen Lupton. Her latest book Beautiful Users chronicles how the focus of design has shifted from the products themselves to the people who use them. She’ll explain how design affects everything from how we peel potatoes to how we talk on the phone.

Then, The Everyman Theatre’s resident dialects coach Gary Logan tells us about how he’s trained the Everyman actors to sound authentically Irish in their production of Outside Mullingar.

And, the Baltimore-based writer David Grimm on his book, Citizen Canine and how the status of animals in our homes, and in our society, has evolved over time.


On this Christmas morning, how about we take a break from reporting and analysis, and instead, let’s listen to a little music, and hear some poetry of the season. On December 2nd the Baltimore Choral Arts Society performed Christmas with Choral Arts at the beautiful Baltimore Basilica. This morning, we’ll listen to a few selections from that concert and we’ll hear a couple of poems

Then, Rafael Alvarez will share with us a Christmas story called Aunt Lola. Rafael has read Aunt Lola on the Signal for the last 10 years. With the Signal on hiatus this season, we’re happy to honor that WYPR holiday tradition here on Maryland Morning.

Plus: I’ll also speak to my good friend and neighbor Kafi Garrus from Reservoir Hill about how her family will celebrate Kwanzaa. 


Today, a conversation with the CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools about a range of issues affecting the 85,000 students in one of the country’s largest school districts. We’ll talk about school violence and school policing strategies, progress on the goals in the schools’ new strategic plan, the status of the $2 billion dollar school construction initiative, and the dismal results as students took, for the first time, a test called Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. We’ll assess his first 18 months on the job.

Plus, be honest: does this show make me look fat? The Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel on whether or not our idea of what overweight is, has evolved over the last 30 years.

brian donovan // Flickr Creative Commons

In his new book, the political scientist Lester Spence argues that over the last 40 years, Black politics have been co-opted by neoliberalism, as its pernicious influence has spread to Black churches, hip hop culture, and virtually every aspect of the African American experience. The book is called Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics. Dr. Spence is here to talk about it.

Then, the next installment of our series, Living Questions, in which we explore the role of religion in the public sphere. Today, a conversation with Clergy about prayer and politics in the age of ISIS.

Plus, Theater Critic J Wynn Rousuck reviews Outside Mullingar at the Everyman Theater, and I’ll have a year-end reflection on some of the artists we’ve lost in 2015.

Rachel Baye-WYPR

We begin with a conversation with one of our city’s most passionate advocates for young people.  Munir Bahar co-founded the group 300 Men March two years ago to prevent violence on Baltimore’s streets and to help African-American men become more engaged in their communities. 

Then, what’s next for Officer William Porter, and how will lawyers for the State’s Attorney adjust their strategy as they prosecute the other officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray?  David Jaros and Michael Higgenbotham from the University of Baltimore School of Law untangle the legal and social issues facing the defendants and the city. 

Plus, the music of Helicon, the Celtic masters who have performed an annual Winter Solstice concert in Baltimore for the past 30 years. Ahead of their show Saturday (December 19) at Goucher College, we observe our own Maryland Morning tradition by welcoming the band back to the studio to play some tunes.

It appears that the jury is deadlocked in the trial of Officer William Porter, accused in the killing of Freddie Gray.  What does this mean for Porter and for the other five officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death?  We’ll get legal analysis from two experienced lawyers: trial attorney Edward Smith and University of Baltimore law professor David Jaros. 

The Chesapeake Bay Program

We focus on a new report from the Abell Foundation, which says efforts in Maryland to restore the pollution-damaged Chesapeake Bay are being threatened by misguided state clean-up priorities, and inadequate monitoring of the biggest source of the Bay's pollution – agriculture.  Our senior producer Rob Sivak takes a closer look.

And, the Single Carrot Theater has been an anchor on Baltimore’s thespian landscape for almost 10 years.  Tom talks with the company's managing director and artistic director about their current production, the thriving theater scene in Charm City, and what the company is doing to address inequality.

Plus, our theater critic  J. Wynn Rousuck reviews Gifts of the Magi, a musical that combines Americana and the holiday spirit; and Zoey Washington-Sheff shares some tips on winter coat-shopping, holiday party style, and fashion gift ideas for your favorite people.

Baltimore Police Dept.

Today, a conversation with Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. In the 6 months since he was first appointed as interim commissioner, Davis has overseen a city -- and a police department – deep in turmoil over the death last April of Freddie Gray. Host Tom Hall talks with Commissioner Davis about the tensions between Baltimore police and the communities they're sworn to protect, and  about what he's doing to rebuild public confidence in the city's law enforcement establishment.

Then, the hills are alive with the Hippodrome Theater’s production of The Sound of Music.  The beloved story of the Von Trapp Family continues to thrill audiences with its Tony, Grammy and Academy Award-winning score.  Our theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, has a review of the brand-new production of this timeless classic.

The Accountability Index, our monthly series of conversations with reporters at Baltimore Brew continues with a look at Baltimore's sometimes halting efforts to audit major city departments. The Brew's senior investigative reporter, Mark Reutter, joins Tom for a discussion of what the city knows -- and what it doesn’t know -- about how it’s spending our money. 

Then, a conversation with acclaimed actor and writer Anna Deavere Smith. She returned this past weekend to her original hometown of Baltimore to perform her latest one-person play, which takes a penetrating look at the school to prison pipeline.  Tom talks with Anna Deavere Smith about Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, the Baltimore Chapter.

And The Everyman Theatre’s dialect coach, Gary Logan, is helping the show's actors master the unique regional accents used in the theater’s latest show, an Irish comedy called Outside Mullingar.   Logan stopped by Studio A to give Tom and Nathan a few tips on how to speak  like an authentic Irishman.  

Public Justice Center

Baltimore is a city of renters. Of the 622,000 of us who live here, more than half of us rent, rather than own, our homes.  The majority of renters are low income. A new report from the Public Justice Center indicates that problems with renting, evictions and fees are systemic.  And many of those problems are with what’s known as Rent Court.  We’re going to take a close look at the Baltimore Rent Court with the author of the Public Justice Center report, a researcher, an organizer and a tenant.