Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer

Segments air during Issues & Ideas (Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m.)

Tom Wilmer’s Lowell Thomas Award-winning NPR Podcast—recorded live on location across America and around the world—showcases the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts.

We cover nouns and verbs—people, places, things, and action—everything from baseball, to exploring South Pacific atolls, to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic. Come along!

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer continues his reporting from Bristol, Tennessee. He visits with Tim Nichols, whose family has been making Appalachian moonshine for more than six generations. At Bristol Motor Speedway, General Manager Jerry Caldwell tells the story of how the competitive spirit of bootlegger delivery drivers eventually led to the creation of NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1948.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from eastern Tennessee, where he explores Roan Mountain and Rocky Fork State Parks. He then visits with innkeepers at the state’s oldest inn in historic Jonesborough, and discovers how community engagement drives business at Jiggy Rays pizza parlor in the Appalachian village of Elizabethton.

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer reporting from Kingsport, Tennessee—in the shadows of the Great Smokey Mountains—for an exploration of the town’s vibrant economy and fascinating educational opportunities for the upcoming generation.

Back in the latter 1990s, manufacturing jobs were disappearing at a frightening rate across America’s Rust Belt. Kingsport, Tennessee was a poster child for the changes, with staggering job losses and industrial manufacturing plant-closures.

Thomas Wilmer

The United States Army’s Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County is larger than all of the other Army Reserve’s training installations combined, and the U.S. Army’s seventh largest training facility in geographic area.

Thomas Wilmer

Country music leapt from the front porches of Appalachia to the living rooms of the world back in 1927. 

The Victor Talking Machine Company’s producer Ralph Peer came to Bristol, Tennessee in the summer of 1927 to record regional Appalachian balladeers, gospel singers, blues artists—performers like Jimmy Rodgers and the Carter Family. Peer’s 1927 Bristol Sessions also introduced the royalty system to the music industry.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer traverses the Great River Road in Wisconsin—from Praire du Chien in the southwest to the hip university town of La Crosse.

Rockford Peaches

Correspondent Katya Cengel reports from Rockford, Illinois, where she visits with two women who played baseball for the Rockford Peaches during WW II—chronicled in the Hollywood hit "A League of Their Own."

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer explores Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a city of 68,000 that has rapidly evolved to become a trend-setting cultural attraction.

Scott Wolf

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with locals about life in Wisconsin’s historic villages dotting the Great River Road, a network of state and local byways following the route of the mighty Mississippi for over 2,000 miles.

catiethering.com

There are two standard options for dogs and cats that arrive at shelters and pounds: adoption or euthanasia. Lisa LaVerdia decided to create another option that she dubbed The Third Door, providing a home for unadoptable dogs and cats.

University of Nebraska Press

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Cal Poly journalism lecturer Katya Cengel to talk about her new book, “Exiled: From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to California and Back." Cengel shares the stories of four Cambodian families as they "confront criminal deportation forty years after their resettlement in the United States." 

Debi Lander

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in China for an exploration of the northwest province of Shaanxi, and the numerous benefits of traveling to Tibet by automobile versus aircraft or train. 

Courtesy Chris Christensen

Morro Bay resident Chris Christensen will be in Nashville, the Ryman Auditorium on Aug. 22 to receive the Academy of Country Music Founders Award. Christensen’s mother and father started the Country Music Awards back in 1964 at the family owned Red Barrel nightclub in the Los Angeles community of Hawaiian Gardens.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Shaanxi Province in Northwestern China, just south of Inner Mongolia. Wilmer visits with Paul Su and Simon Zhang, talking about China’s relationship with countries around the world; the quest to mitigate pollution via solar, wind, and nuclear power; and the country’s mandate to transition to hybrid and electric vehicles.

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 professor of journalism at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Fort Hunter Liggett

Recently, correspondent Tom Wilmer covered a combat training exercise at an Army base in Monterey County. In this segment, Wilmer visits with Brigadier General Shane Buzza, commander of the 91st Training Division at Fort Hunter Liggett, followed by insights from two of the troops.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Shaanxi Province, China and visits with 24-year-old Dan Wang, a graduate student at Xi’an International Studies University. 

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer as he embeds with Army Reserve troops during a training exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County. Wilmer observes and visits with soldiers during training operations to clear a minefield, remove an anti-tank ditch and build a bridge, with Stryker combat vehicles providing cover.   

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.

Thomas Wilmer

The Big Island's Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, an iconic destination on the Kohala Coast since 1994, is presently completing a $50 million dollar renovation. The resort's public relations director, Vicky Kometani, talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about the resort and its historic connection with developer and environmentalist Laurence Rockefeller. 

Courtesy of Jackie Milligan

Dolphin Quest at Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s Kohala Coast serves as a memorable educational experience for resort guests. But Dolphin Quest’s unsung program is educational field trips for Hawaii’s school children. 

Thomas Wilmer

The reason the 4,000-square-mile island of Hawaii is fondly dubbed the 'Big Island' is because it’s the size of Connecticut—it’s so big, all of the other Hawaiian Islands would fit within the boundary of the island. 

Simon Amos Hotel Manager at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii visits with correspondent Tom Wilmer
KCBX

Join Simon Amos as he shares tales of his early career path in London and Paris, and international career with Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Equally fascinating is his mission to source fresh, local culinary offerings on the Big Island of Hawaii and his ongoing quest for environmental solutions and initiatives at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Rosita Worl President of Sealaska Heritage Institute
Sealaska Heritage Institute

  In July 2017, correspondent Christine Gordon traveled to Juneau, Alaska to find out what’s happened in the state since advocates and local officials succeeded in their campaign to make 20 Native Alaskan languages official state languages along with English.

Oakfire Pizzeria and Bar
Oakfire Pizzeria and Bar

Join Paul Meckler, Operations Manager at Oakfire Napoletana & Bar in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Meckler talks about Oakfire’s popular Neapolitan-style pizzas—cooked in 90 seconds at 800 degrees in special ovens imported from Italy. 

Dan Koehler operates the world's largest Refracting telescope, built in 1897 at Yerkes Observatory
Thomas Wilmer

Join Dan Koehler, Director of Tours and Programs at Yerkes Observatory. The 40” refracting telescope is the largest ever built in the world. Amazingly Yerkes Observatory’s stunning Gothic Romanesque architecturally significant structure and telescope first opened in 1897.  

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Will King, design engineer at bicycle part manufacturer SRAM’s San Luis Obispo R&D high-tech facility. King talks with Tom about SRAM’s open house on July 20 and its involvement with World Bicycle Relief, a nonprofit organization mobilizing people through "The Power of Bicycles."

Urban Tavern culinary offering
Urban Tavern San Francisco Union Square

Join Chef Michael Vaughn at Urban Tavern in Union Square San Francisco. Chef Vaughn shares his passionate quest to push the envelope of sustainable sourcing and kitchen practices.

Pacifica on highway 1 just south of San Francisco is so close to the Bay Area that one can see both SFO and the town of Seaside from the window of an airplane
Thomas Wilmer

The seaside town of Pacifica, California is just 14 miles from San Francisco but it’s a world apart. Join Jamie Monozon, CEO of Pacifaca Chamber of Commerce for an insider’s look at the town's many attractions. 

Lake Geneva Cruise Line vessels ready to take people out on lake adventures
Thomas Wilmer

A conversation with Bill Gage, third-generation steward of Gage Marine and the iconic Lake Geneva Cruise line that’s been delivering the daily mail via boat for 102 years.

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