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

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

Kate Virag

Journeys associate producer Rebecca Nolan reports from Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she learns about how the city is returning to its rivers and revitalizing downtown. The St. Joseph, St. Marys and Maumee rivers are the reason the city was founded. The place where Fort Wayne sits today used to be called Kekionga, the Miami tribe's largest village. When Europeans came to the area in the 17th century, the place where the three rivers met became an important trading post.

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.

Katya Cengel

With travel adventures limited due to COVID-19, Cal Poly adjunct journalism professor Katya Cengel takes us on a different sort of trip – to a country that does not technically exist. Reality may seem surreal at present, but in the former Soviet Union where Cengel lived earlier this century there were enclaves such as Trans-Dniester—and even though the little country was complete with its very own president, according to the surrounding countries, the little country does not exist.

Leo Hearn

Associate Producer Rebekah Nolan explores "Girls Who Fish" a program designed to attract girls and women to become involved in Newfoundland's commercial fishery. Nolan says, "fishing is the thing that brought the first settlers from England and Ireland about 400 years ago, and it continues to be a vital part of the province’s economy."

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with 87 year-old Dale Seaquist who’s great grandfather emigrated from Sweden to Door County, Wisconsin 150 years ago. Patriarch, Anders Seaquist was among the first settlers in the county to plant apple and cherry trees in the 1890s. Neighboring farmers quickly followed suit. Before long the legend of the farmers’ tangy, tart cherries became the rage nationwide and the Door County peninsula was dubbed Cherryland USA. According to Dale Seaquist, at the height of production, between the 1920s and 1960s, approximately 730 Door County peninsula growers annually shipped more than 50 million pounds of tart cherries.