Tom Wilmer

Host of Journeys of Discovery

Host of the Lowell Thomas Award-winning NPR digital media travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, Wilmer has also produced the on-air travel show for KCBX since 1989, and served as digital-media travel host for KRML in Carmel, Calif.

The Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer podcast is also featured on the NPR ONE mobile app, iTunes, Stitcher.com, player.fm (UK) a selected "Best Travel Roundup Podcast" and more than 20 other podcast channels around the world. Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer travel show covers a wide array of subjects including agriculture, culture, arts, science, history and cuisine.

In addition to winning the Lowell Thomas Award--Best Radio Travel Show for several years, Wilmer is the recipient of more than a dozen prestigious industry awards for radio and video, and the prestigious Tourism Australia/QANTAS "Henry Lawson Travel Writing Award" for the best North American feature about Australia as a travel destination.

Wilmer was Travel Editor for Central Coast Magazine in California from its inception through 2008, and Travel Editor at Las Vegas Magazine (1998 - 2003), he has also been a frequent contributor to numerous upscale lifestyle magazines including Tahoe Quarterly, and Arizona Foothills, and former Home Section columnist for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and locally has produced features for New Times, The Tribune and other regional publications.

Author of three books: Romancing the Coast, California Coast Getaways, and Wine Seekers Guide to Livermore Valley. Wilmer has also produced numerous lifestyle magazine features and more than 1,500 newspaper travel feature stories. His Knight Ridder Syndicate travel features have appeared in more than 40 North American newspapers, including the Toronto Star.

His on-location shows have ranged from the Arctic to African safaris, in the wheelhouse of the Rainbow Warrior II, flying in WWII bombers, navigating a micro light above Victoria Falls, sailing around Grenada, hiking through the wilds of Malaysian jungles and exploring remote atolls and isles throughout the South Pacific. His feature, recorded live at Harland & Wolfe Shipyards in Belfast Northern Ireland, celebrating the centenary of the launch of the Titanic was the recipient of a Best Travel award from Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Recent video/audio Awards:

  • First Place Award for Best Short Video- Pinnacles National Park 2015.
  • Wilmer and his video partner, Simo Nylander produced a video for National Park Service's Alcatraz Cruises 2015
  • In-depth video audio series for the Morro Bay National Marine Estuary Winner of 2015 "Best Outdoor Video"
  • Award from Outdoor Writers Association of California, along with "Best Short Video" award for Morro Bay Estuary Water Quality feature
  • Amgen California bike race commercial 2016
  • First Place "Best Outdoor Radio Feature" Saving Cecil's recorded live on location in Botswana
  • Second Place "Best Outdoor Radio Series" for Audubon Rowe Sandhill Cranes, First Federally Funded Wild Mustang Refuge, Heartland Shooting Range Grand Island, Nebraska. Awarded by Outdoor Writers Association of California

Professional Membership:

  • National Press Club, Washington D.C. (www.press.org)
  • Vice President (SF) Bay Area Travel Writers (www.batw.org)
  • Board of Directors Outdoor Writers Association of California (www.owac.org) 
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from San Francisco International Airport, where he visits with public information officer Doug Yakel to learn about the facility’s COVID-Safe initiatives.

Thomas Wilmer

The U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii is located at Battery Randolph, a former coastal artillery fortification in the heart of Waikiki. At Schofield Barracks, an active military base north of Pearl Harbor, Tropic Lightning Museum showcases the 25th Infantry Division’s history, along with Schofield Barracks history.

Join Erik Flesch at Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s ancestral home and school of architecture in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Flesch offers an insider’s perspective on Wright’s life, philosophy and seminal works that transformed American architecture.

Issues & Ideas: local campaign contributions, the purple tier and SLO CO downtowns

Nov 18, 2020

We’ll learn about an election-related matter now before the SLO County board of supervisors, regarding campaign contribution limits for county offices. We travel to Fort Hunter Liggett for Veterans Day insights and an update on COVID-19 preventative measures at the base. Monterey County is stuck in the state's most restrictive COVID-19 category—purple—and we’ll learn how the tier system works. Both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are now in the purple tier as well. You'll hear a conversation between KCBX contributor Consuelo Meux and Shannon McOuat of Hospice of San Luis Obispo County on 'The Nonprofit Story.' Finally, KCBX contributor and Downtown SLO CEO Bettina Swigger has a conversation with Paso Robles city manager Tom Frutchey, about the challenges and opportunities facing these two Central Coast cities.

Thomas Wilmer

Kansas City style, hickory smoked barbeque is the stuff of legend. Down home fare includes white bread, beans, onion rings, fries, and the local delicacy Burnt ends. The incredibly delectable burnt ends could easily make a meat eater out of an ardent vegan. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The Nelson-Atkins maintains more than 35,000 works of art, and houses one of America’s premier collections of Asian Art. Join Kathleen Leighton, Communications and Public Relations Officer, Jamie a most passionate docent, and Kate Crawford, Curator of American Art at Nelson-Atkins for a Journey of Discovery.

Charles Bell

In honor of Veterans Day, correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County. Garrison Commander Charles Bell and Garrison HHC 1SG Clinton Unger share their passions and insights for the United States Army Reserve’s active duty soldiers, spouses and veterans. Colonel Bell also explains the status of COVID-19 preventative measures at Hunter Liggett.

Thomas Wilmer

Rugby, Tennessee was founded in a remote corner of the Upper Cumberland region as a utopian community in 1880 by noted English author Thomas Hughes. More than four hundred settlers built Gothic-style homes, but by the beginning of the 20th Century the town languished and struggled to survive for decades. 

Herald-Citizen Cookeville Tennessee

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Becky Magura, CEO of PBS affiliate WCTE in the Appalachian town of Cookeville in central Tennessee. WCTE serves one of America’s most rural realms where more than 30 percent of the 343,000 residents in the 14 county market region depend on reception via antenna, as cable service is often non-existent in the remote quarters.

Courtesy H.K. Roy

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with retired CIA operative H.K. Roy about his new book, American Spy. Roy’s 14-year career includes pursuing Russian spies, outwitting the Iranian Intelligence Service, hunting Bosnian war criminals, ducking Serbian snipers in Sarajevo and making-deals with Iraqi warlords.

KVEC

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conversation with David Congalton about his 28-year journey as a conduit for conversations about life on the California Central Coast as the Home Town talk show host on radio station KVEC.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer explores a long vanished era in Hot Springs, Arkansas when mobsters such as Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel and their cohorts selected Hot Springs as their annual go-to vacation spot. 

Thomas Wilmer

Tucked away on a side street in downtown Hot Springs, Deluca’s Pizzeria repeatedly wins rave reviews for their homemade pizzas. Chef and owner, Anthony Valinoti regularly wins accolades including one of Arkansas’s ten best Pizzas and consistantly number one in Hot Springs. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at Deluca’s for a visit with chef Valinoti.

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Arkansas' Hot Springs National Park, at the Superior Bathhouse Brewery, where he visits with owner and brewster Rose Schweikhart. Superior Bathhouse Brewery is the only distiller in the world that utilizes mineral-rich geothermal water, and it's the only brewery in America liccensed to operate in a national park.

Issues & Ideas: Election coverage, reparations and internment camp memories

Oct 13, 2020

Among the dozen ballot measures this election, California voters are deciding on Proposition 17 and Proposition 15: we hear more about those two measures. John Laird and Vicki Nohrden are vying for termed-out Bill Monning’s state senate seat. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber chairs the California Black Legislative Caucus, and speaks about which laws she believes can help address systemic racism. We look at the long-term impacts of wildfire on the Central Coast, and we get a look at the local aviation industry. Two elderly friends talk about the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II and how they adjusted to life afterward. And, we hear from a fourth-generation resident about the changes downtown San Luis Obispo has experienced over the years.

Thomas Wilmer

Historic Hot Springs, Arkansas is home to the second smallest National Park in America. Correspondent Tom Wilmer joins Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs for an exploration of the town’s timeless attractions. 

Courtesy Annette McGivney

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Annette McGivney, author of "Pure Land: A True Story of Three Lives, Three Cultures, and the Search for Heaven on Earth." McGivney is Southwest Editor for Backpacker Magazine and former professor of journalism at Northern Arizona University.

McGivney’s book tells the story of Tomomi Hanamure, a Japanese citizen who loved exploring the wilderness of the American Southwest. She was murdered on her birthday—May 8, 2006. She was stabbed 29 times as she hiked to Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Her killer was a distressed 18-year-old Havasupai youth.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. County airport director Kevin Bumen shares information about COVID-19 sanitation initiatives within airport terminals and aboard aircraft. Bumen also talks about dealing with reduced daily flights (down fifty percent from 2019), a marked reduction of income from ancillary revenue streams such as long-term parking, and Bumen's new position as the first chief commercial officer at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), with his last day at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport set on October 9.

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Door County, Wisconsin for an exploration of diverse attractions including 11 historic lighthouses (including a few that a definitely haunted), ferryboat rides to Washington Island, and bayside family-owned resorts. Distinctive culinary offerings include fresh-caught fish, and locally produced cheese and cherry culinary dishes. 

This show was originally broadcast July 16, 2019 and is reposted as a “best-of-the-best” podcast in celebration of Journeys of Discovery’s 30th anniversary producing on-air and digital media podcasts featured on KCBX and NPR One.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from English Newsom Cellars in Lubbock, Texas.

Thomas Wilmer

Join the American roots music duo, Suzanne and Jim at the Historic Arkansas Museum in downtown Little Rock. The musical duo came to the museum to do a presentation about historical presidential campaign songs, from the mid 19th century to President Roosevelt’s campaign slogan and song for the 1932 election, Happy Days are Here Again. Listen in as Suzanne and Jim sing some classic songs from historic American presidential campaigns.

This show was originally broadcast November 5, 2016 and is reposted as a “best-of-the-best” podcast in celebration of Journeys of Discovery’s 30th anniversary producing on-air and digital media podcasts featured on KCBX and NPR One.

Thomas Wilmer

Join Visit Lubbock's McKenna Dowdle and Lacie Freelen as they take us on an audio tour of cool things to do and see in Lubbock. Journeys associate producer Jennifer Simonson also visits with Arnis Robbins, owner of Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque—rated as one of top ten barbeque joints in the state of Texas.

Mark Edward Harris

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Mark Edward Harris about his journeys to the far corners of the world, including North Korea, Iran, the wake of devastation following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan and documentation of the Orangutans of Borneo.

Issues & Ideas: Wildfire smoke on wine grapes, downtown vitality and SLO's first cannabis store

Sep 17, 2020

California voters will decide this fall on a dozen ballot measures, including one measure that would exempt gig companies from a law that makes it harder to classify workers as contractors. A black box theater in Santa Barbara that was almost exclusively a rental venue before the pandemic is now producing its own shows. We’ll hear from a Central Coast grape grower, who talks about the possible effects of smoke particles on wine grapes. The cities of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara are responding to COVID-19 and imagining new ways for the respective downtowns to operate as spaces for people to live, work, and play. Finally, we’ll hear from the owner of San Luis Obispo's first cannabis retail store. 

D. Ross Cameron

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Katya Cengel, adjunct professor at San Luis Obispo's Cal Poly about her passion for baseball, specifically minor league teams. While working as a reporter at the Louisville Courier, Cengel spent over a year traveling with regional minor league teams. Her baseball odyssey is chronicled in her book, Bluegrass Baseball—A Year in the Minor League Life.

International Storytelling Center

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conversation with Kiran Singh Sirah, president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Sirah shares tales of how he manifests the art and craft of storytelling to propel conversations about peace and reconciliation around the world, and close to home in Tennessee.

Thomas Wilmer

Memphis, Tennessee, native Booker T. Jones started playing the piano as a toddler, and began singing in his church choir as a six year-old. With the release of “Green Onions” in 1962, Booker T. & the M.G.’s organ-infused Memphis soul sound became a number-one hit on Billboard’s R&B chart.

Thomas Wilmer

Travel Correspondent, Tom Wilmer reports from the Heartland of America, where he explores cool things to do and see in Nebraska with Lisa Burke, Executive Director of Visit North Platte Nebraska.

This show was originally broadcast January 7. 2015 and is reposted as a “best-of-the-best” podcast in celebration of Journeys of Discovery’s 30th anniversary producing on-air and digital media podcasts featured on KCBX and NPR One.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with grape grower Vic Roberts, owner of Victor Hugo Winery in Templeton, about the effects of smoke particles from recent Central Coast fires on grapes. Roberts shares industry recommendations to mitigate effects of smoke and ash on grapes.

southerngroundnashville.com

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Studio in the heart of Nashville’s historic Music Row. Matt Mangano, studio director and bass player in the Zac Brown Band, talks about the facility’s history and present day operations in the former church.

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