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) 
Catiethering.com

There are two standard options for dogs and cats that arrive at shelters and pounds: adoption or euthanasia. Lisa LaVerdiere decided to create another option that she dubbed The Third Door, providing a home for unadoptable dogs and cats. In a recent visit, correspondent Tom Wilmer learns that LaVerdiere was a successful tort lawyer with a specialization in asbestos issues and juvenile lead poisoning. 

Thomas Wilmer

Teresa Stephens, owner of the Lubbock, Texas Cast Iron Grill recounts her fear of the homeless, until she confronted her phobia and wound up embracing and making sacrifices to feed those in need. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Cast Iron Grill in downtown Lubbock, adjacent to the Buddy Holly Museum, as Stephens shares her poignant tale that ultimately enriched and transformed her life through serving the homeless.

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas: We learn more about a STEAM—science, technology, engineering, the arts and math—program for middle school students offered by the Foundation at Hearst Castle. And a nationwide shortage prompts distilleries in San Luis Obispo County to turn production over to hand sanitizer. We hear more about a nonprofit organization called 'School on Wheels' that tutors homeless children in Santa Barbara County. And Father Ian takes us on an educational tour of Central Coast olive groves and olive oil producers. 

Randi Hair

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the Greensboro, North Carolina where he meets with Greensboro Battleground Parks District's imagineers. 

Irish Archeology

The famine ship Jeanie Johnston, built in 1848, made 16 trans-Atlantic passages carrying more than 2,500 passengers. The vessel is revered in the annals of the Irish Potato famine as not one life was lost throughout her career—while many famine ships lost more than 30 percent of their manifest to disease, lack of fresh water and toxic food. 

Randi Hair

12 year-old Tu Sen arrived in America from a Thailand refugee camp in 1986, clutching her treasured possessions wrapped in a cardboard box. Eventually settling in High Point, North Carolina, Tu worked in her family’s restaurant for 19 years before opening her own eatery, 98 Asian Bistro, five years ago. Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Tu Sen and meets with Patrick Chapin, CEO of High Point Chamber of Commerce, about the reinvention of downtown High Point.

On this week's episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear how the pandemic is affecting the hospitality industry in Monterey County, and operations at the SLO County airport. Cal Poly journalism lecturer Kim Bisheff talks about the current media landscape, and suggests ways we can find news outlets we can trust. We visit Atascadero Lake to witness the installation of a new bioswale project and learn how it will improve water quality. And we hear about the hundreds of 'catch-and-eat' rainbow trout just planted in the lake. 

Randi Hair

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Louisiana's East Baton Rouge Parish, in the outback near the village of Zachary. Following a pitch-black evening drive along a gravel road, we arrive at Teddy’s Juke Joint for a visit with the legendary proprietor 73 year-old Lloyd Johnson Junior. 

Thomas Wilmer

Kevin Bumen, director of the San Luis Obispo County Airport, offers insights into the current status of travel by air and specific health and safety responses to COVID-19.  

Randi Hair

Louisiana's East Baton Rouge Parish Library has come a long way since its founding in 1939 with a collection of second-hand donated books. Today the card catalogs are long gone, and the library’s collection now includes more than two million items serving more than 325,000 registered borrowers. 

Thomas Wilmer

Michael Young, the Foundation at Hearst Castle's executive director, talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about the foundation’s conservation and restoration programs, and what he considers the benefits of membership. Young also shares his passion for the Foundation’s middle school field trip experiences, aimed at inspiring students through Hearst Castle State Park STEAM experiences. 

Courtesy Jill Dutton

Jill Dutton, author of the "USA by Rail" travel blog and "Ride the Southwest Chief," a soon-to-be -completed series of twelve rail travel guides, talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about traveling around America by train. 

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear from local winemaker Neil Collins, named 2019 “Person of the Year” by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Collins visits the KCBX studio to talk about his background, changes he’s seen in the local industry and a coming new certification for products produced by regenerative operations. 

Courtesy Carrie Theis

The village of Carmel-by-the-Sea is just one square mile, but within its bounds there’s more than 50 family-owned restaurants, 45 inns and even more art galleries. The town is distinctive for its storybook architecture and its fondness for dogs.

Thomas Wilmer

"Songs of Hope and Justice" is a free musical prelude to the annual North Carolina Music Festival. Held in the Van Dyke Performance Space, singers, instrumentalists and songwriters from all quarters of North Carolina come together to share their passion for life through music. Following the September 5, 2019 performance, correspondent Tom Wilmer met with the host of the event, Grammy award-winning songwriter and singer Laurelyn Dossett

David Holt

A summer of ‘69 road trip through southern Appalachia struck a cord with musician David Holt and determined his future as a passionate advocate for traditional American folk music and the rural story telling tradition. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conversation with David Holt, along with some of his music and storytelling. 

Don McPhail

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conversation with author and former Hawaiian Airlines sales executive Don McPhail. McPhail’s eight decades of adventuring led him on a literary journey to distill and bring to life enthralling stories that take place throughout the 20th century, from the 1929 Stock Market Crash to the attack on Pearl Harbor to the Vietnam War era. McPhail's poignant perceptions of life in the last century are vividly brought to life in his recently-released historical-fiction books, "The Millionaire's Cruise" and "The Guest from Johannesburg." 

Camp Roberts Historical Museum

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Camp Roberts, the U.S. Army training base located 16 miles north of Paso Robles, where he visits with Gary McMaster, chairman and curator at the Camp Roberts Historical Museum.

Hunterliggett.armywmr.com

Fort Hunter Liggett, located in Monterey County, is the largest and one of the most remote U.S. Army Reserve training bases in America. Come along and join correspondent Tom Wilmer as he explores how the base provides for the moral, welfare and recreation needs of the soldiers and civilian employees, as well as the civilian residents of nearby farming communities. Wilmer visits with Brian Lee.

Thomas Wilmer

Back in the latter 19th century, African American athletes often played on baseball teams alongside whites. But segregation took an ugly turn in the dawning days of the 20th century and black players were barred through Jim Crow laws. Undaunted, black teams were formed across America. The first organized league structure was conceived in Kansas City in 1920, and thus was born the Negro National League, followed by eastern and southern leagues.

Thomas Wilmer

Retired Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary guard George DeVincenzi served on “The Rock” from 1950 to 1958, departing just five years before the infamous island prison closed forever in 1963. Correspondent Tom Wilmer met with DeVincenzi in the old prison hospital, directly across the corridor from where DeVincenzi long ago played checkers with the infamous Bird Man of Alcatraz. 

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for an exploration of Tennessee’s rural realms. Discovery Park of America is located in Union City a 3-hour drive from Nashville. The park features an array of attractions focused on science, technology, engineering and math, a vintage train depot, log cabins, a Titan missile and much more. 

Thomas Wilmer

One of Nashville’s coolest destinations is just nine miles from the heart of downtown. Warner Park encompasses 3,100 acres of forests and open fields, featuring nationally-recognized jogging trails, biking and equestrian trails, a legendary steeplechase and a nature center.

In this episode of Issues & Ideas, we discuss affordability and housing issues on the Central Coast. Greta Mart speaks with journalist Kate Cimini of the Salinas Californian newspaper and CalMatters about her reporting on Salinas farmworking families. In another segment, we learn more about San Luis Obispo County’s YIMBY movement. YIMBY means 'Yes In My Backyard,' and the grassroots group advocates for creating more affordable housing stock in established city neighborhoods.

Thomas Wilmer

Jeff Ray, executive director at Alabama’s Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, talks about the institution, which many consider a $100 million investment in the state of Alabama and its largest philanthropic enterprise. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Hawaii's Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, where he visits with Brittany Horn and Madeleine Longoria Garcia—co-owners of Pacific Coffee Research; and baristas from Kona Coffee & Tea in Kailua-Kona and Waimea Coffee Company, located in the town of Waimea.

Oak Ridge National Labs

In the depths of World War II, top-secret labs were staffed around the clock to create a nuclear bomb. Oak Ridge in Tennessee, dubbed 'Secret City,' was built from scratch in a matter of months and became home to 75,000 Manhattan Project scientists and support personnel, including thousands of women. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the L’ecole de la Maison Cooking School at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. General Manager Lola Roeh takes Wilmer on a tour of the award-winning cooking school. 

National Archives and Records Administration

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Geir Gundersen, supervisory archivist at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Part of the same institution, the Ford Museum is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Thomas Wilmer

Located in a century-old building in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, Elsewhere is a 'safe space' for LGBTQ+ experiences in the American Southeast. Artists from around the world sign up for residencies to explore their craft, and educational experiences range from QueerLab to creative retreats. 

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