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!

Mary Risley (L) founder of Food Runners visits with Jo Licata at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Thomas Wilmer

Ms. Jo Licata spends full-time working with San Francisco’s non-profit organizations in partnerships with the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and numerous other SF hospitality enterprises.

Licata's mission as Hilton's Community Projects Manager is to provide non-profits with essential goods and supplies from food to furniture, mini-fridges and so much more. 

Ann Arbor's elegant restored State Theater
Thomas Wilmer

Join Russ Collins in Ann Arbor, Michigan for an engaging conversation about the city’s passion for cinema and live musical performances.

A keystone in Ann Arbor is the historic circa-1927 grand Michigan Theater in the heart of downtown. When the theater opened on the heels of the silent film era, the Michigan was replete with a symphony pit and a grand Wurlitzer-style organ—it’s fully restored, and the local symphony still performs here.

Classic Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a visit with Michael Kondziolka, the Director of Programming at UMS, and Marian James, the Executive Director at the Ark—“Where Music Lives”.

The University Musical Society, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan has been presenting a full spectrum of performing arts since 1880. 

B-17 prepares for flight at Yankee Air Museum Yipsilanti, Michigan
Thomas Wilmer

Join Correspondent, Tom Wilmer at Willow Run for a conversation with Kevin Walsh, Executive Director of the Yankee Air Museum in Yipsilanti, Michigan.

In the depths of WWII, Ford Motor Corporation opened the Willow Run Bomber plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1942 on the outskirts of Detroit. 

Admiral Thomas Fargo USN Ret.
Thomas Wilmer

In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor--probably the most transformative moment in 20th century history--the island of Oahu will be hosting 11 days of events and memorials (December 1-11). Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Oahu as he talks with four-star Admiral, Thomas Fargo, retired Commander of the Pacific Fleet, and Chairman of the Hawaii governor’s Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Committee

Kathleen Ramsden and Ian Frazier at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii
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’s history, along with Schofield Barracks history. 

Karl's Cuisine Cafe downtown Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
Thomas Wilmer

Karl’s Cuisine Café is an anchor of sorts in downtown Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. It’s located directly across from the legendary Soo Locks where 1,000 foot-long freighters trundle past. Karl and his wife Paula also own Superior Winery and Brewery. 

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Michigan
Thomas Wilmer

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is located at Whitefish Point in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the southeast corner of Lake Superior.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with Bruce Lynn, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. 

Ghostly tales told in St. John Newfoundland, Canada
Rebekah Nolan

Newfoundland has a long and rich supernatural history. This island, suspended in the North Atlantic is said to be home to ghosts, fairies and the occasional witch.

The St. John’s Haunted Hike, run by storyteller, and folklorist Dale Jarvis celebrates the supernatural tradition of the city. 

USS Missouri three football fields long
Thomas Wilmer

The legendary Battleship USS Missouri, fondly nicknamed “The Mighty Mo”, saw action in WWII. It was on the deck of the Missouri that the Japanese government formally surrendered on September 2nd 1945. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer on Oahu at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii aboard the Mighty Mo. 

elegant historic homes abound in Little Rock's Quapaw Quarter
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with John Mayner Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mayner talks about Little Rock’s economic development and vitality. Cliff Fannin Baker founder and interim producing director of the Little Rock Repertory Theater talks about the town's live theater history and evolution.

Quaint motels in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
Thomas Wilmer

Sault Ste Marie, Michigan is situated just about as far north as you can go before bumping in to the Canadian province of Ontario. Actually if you’re paddling your canoe and the wind blows you off course you’ll make landfall in the sister city of Sault Ste Marie, Canada. Join Correspondent Tom Wilmer in Sault Ste Marie. Linda Hoath, Executive Director of the local Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Lake Huron viewed from Michigan Upper Peninsula village of Hessel
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, not far from Lake Huron. Our journey starts at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Master Brewster and owner of Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub at Camp 33, Lark Ludlow’s beers are so popular she can’t keep up with demand, and some of seasonal brews are now brewed year round, like her delicious Raspberry Wheat Ale. We’ll then head over to Les Cheneaux Culinary School in the lakeside village of Hessel, situated on the shores of Lake Huron.

Oaks at Ojai entry
Thomas Wilmer

Modern Aerobic exercise was the brainchild of Sheila Cluff back in 1959. Ms. Cluff was teaching middle school P.E. in Ottawa, Canada when she devised a plan to enthuse her students by putting skating routines to music.

A conversation with Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan talks about Detroit’s renaissance, and visiting towns like Ann Arbor, Frankenmuth, and Traverse City.

Lorenz also shares his passion for Michigan’s “True North” destinations such as Sault Ste Marie, one of North America’s oldest towns, fondly dubbed “The Soo”, in the heart of Michigan’s legendary Upper Peninsula.  

San Luis Obispo Blues' coach Dan Marple
Katya Cengel

From tying up teammates on buses to sleeping on the side of the road, life in baseball's minor leagues isn't easy. Join NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer associate producer Katya Cengel in a conversation with San Luis Obispo Blues' coach Dan Marple. 

KUHS Hot Springs Arkansas

NPR podcast host Tom Wilmer reports from Hot Springs, Arkansas at KUHS L.P. 97.9--KUHS is a trend setter as the station is Arkansas’s first solar powered radio station. Come along and join the founders of Hot Spring's community radio, Cheryl Roorda and Zac Smith.

Arnis Robbins at Evie Mae's Pit Barbecue
Thomas Wilmer

Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque on the outskirts of Lubbock, Texas specializes in slow cooked Brisket. It used to be that the main place you’d find brisket was in Central Texas at legendary diners like Clem Mickeska’s in Temple and Belton, and Johnny’s in Salado. Out here in West Texas it’s been the capital of killer steaks, but the playing field is expanding and owner Arnis Robbins is leading the charge with delicious BBQ brisket. 

CG 4A glider on display at Silent Wings Museum
Thomas Wilmer

Close to 14,000 glider aircraft were manufactured for combat roles in the European theater of WWII.

The gliders first saw duty in Italy and subsequently played a vital role in delivering troops and material during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Only five glider aircraft remain in the world and one is showcased at the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock.

Chuck Wagon at Lubbock
Thomas Wilmer

From his roots in Sweetwater, Texas Dr. Carl Andersen went on to become a Methodist Minister, and a subsequent career as a college professor at Texas Tech. An addiction to alcohol led to his contemplating suicide, and a month at Hazelden treatment center in Minnesota in 1982 utterly transformed his life. 

Teresa Stephens at Cast Iron Grill
Thomas Wilmer

Teresa Stephens, owner of the Lubbock, Texas Cast Iron Grill recounts her fear of the homeless. She confronted her phobia and wound up embracing the homeless and made major sacrifices to feed those in need. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Cast Iron Grill in downtown Lubbock as Teresa shares her poignant tale of personal sacrifice that ultimately enriched and transformed her life through serving the homeless.  

tractor on display at Bayer Museum of Agriculture
Thomas Wilmer

The Bayer Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock, Texas is the Smithsonian of all things Ag from primitive McCormick Reapers to state of the art computer assisted John Deere Cotton Strippers.

Dinosaurs at Texas Tech university
Thomas Wilmer


Join correspondent Tom Wilmer reporting from the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Come along and join Dr. Gary Morgan CEO where he shares his passion for the multidisciplinary showcase of everything from giant dinosaurs to a premier collection of Southwest and Native American Art. 

Quynh and David Rathkamp
Thomas Wilmer

Quynh and David Rathkamp made a dramatic transition in their lives. They both gave up successful medical practices to save the world one beer at a time. 

They started the Save the World Brewing Company in Marble Falls, Texas and their business became the first 100 percent philanthropic production brewery in America with all net profits earmarked for worthy causes such as Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels. 

Arroyo Grande, California historian, Jim Gregory spent years researching the lives of 52 Civil War veterans who settled in Arroyo Grande in the years following the war. The culmination of Gregory’s exhaustive research is his just released book, Patriot Graves—Discovering a California Town’s Civil War Heritage.

John Osborne Lubbock Texas
Thomas Wilmer

Lubbock, dubbed the Hub of West Texas is a thriving community of 250,000 where arts, culture, and live music are intrinsic to this college town that was and remains rooted in agriculture.

Join John Osborne, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance for an insiders look at the town’s diversity of attractions for locals and visitors alike.  

Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas
Thomas Wilmer

 80 percent of Texas grapes are grown here. Twenty five percent of the country’s cotton, and yes, beef is big here too.

And this is why Lubbock is the home of the National Ranching Heritage Center, but Lubbock is much more than Ag.

Texas Tech State University’s 40,000 undergrads add a vibrancy to downtown nightlife. 

Wesley Keegan Tailgate Beer
Tailgate Beer

Wesley Keegan distributes a wide array of craft beers around the state of Tennessee, while the overseas market is clamoring for his brews to the point that they are rationed and sold only by the single can in England.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit at Tailgate Brewery in Nashville with owner Wesley Keegan. Tailgate averages 30 beers on tap, and rolls out at least two new beers every week.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Nashville, Tennessee at the Black Abbey Brewing Company for a visit with founder, Carl Meier as he share’s the brewery’s signature beers, and connection with 16th Century Martin Luther, his wife Catherine, and modern day Frothy Monkey coffee.

Austin Smith & Tom Wilmer talk hot chicken
Joe McGhee

It’s hot chicken, big brews, and frozen craft-cocktails at Party Fowl in Nashville, Tennessee

At Party Fowl restaurant in Nashville Tennessee, hot is an understatement, as they have refined the art of serving “Nashville Hot” southern fried chicken to a fine art.