The Marc Steiner Show

From Marc – May 8


On May 19th, from 6 to 8 PM, I will be hosting a special two-hour, live call-in with Baltimore Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso on WEAA, 88.9 FM, your community radio station.

One of the issues we will talk about is violence in our schools. In many city schools, it is palpable when you walk through their halls or when you talk to students and teachers who are in them every day.

It is fine to give more control to individual principals and schools, but there needs to be a system-wide policy to address what is in their control to address. Violence cannot be tolerated. Students who attack teachers and other students have to be dealt with firmly. Students have to know the limitations. The response can be therapeutic and healing, but it must be swift and with consequences.

Then you can talk about what individual schools can do.

So, please, join us on the 19th; it will be great being back on the air with you and taking your calls.


So, I wandered over to the WYPR website yesterday. Don’t do that often. Actually, this may the second or third time I have done it since they kicked us off the air. I thought I would take a gander to see what was going on.

The Board of Directors meeting scheduled for May 20th at the Learning Tree has been turned into an internet meeting to be streamed live. Apparently, so many folks still outraged by the senseless cancellation of our show called in to say they were coming to attend the meeting. So, the folks at the top at the station said we could be in compliance with Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) open meeting rules by streaming it on the web.

It is amazing they really have no respect for the people of this community or their station’s listeners and members. It is outrageous and very telling when the leaders of that station are afraid to face and listen to their listeners.

For a while a few years ago, I was excited by how much underwriting was being brought into the station. It was to be a model for the nation’s public radio stations on how to address the dwindling federal support for public broadcasting. Then I realized that while underwriting grew, funds for expanding and building membership were being eviscerated at the station. Underwriting accounted for over 53% of funds and membership was down to the thirties. Underwriting by large corporations has steadily grown at WYPR since the station’s founding. The influence that the corporate money buys is significant, but that is clearly to the liking of the management.

I now realize that this is not the salvation of public radio, but the bells chiming that could be its death knell. Public broadcasting is supposed to be adventuresome, where opinions outside the mainstream are heard and given voice, where creative experimentation is unleashed, where members and listeners actually participate.

We are losing control of our public airwaves and we must demand them back.


I was reading in the Sun about the MTA light rail dilemma, which got me thinking about mass transit. So, more people seem to be using light rail because of high gas prices. That is a wonderful thing. Most seem to believe we can’t get people out their cars into public transit. Well, I think over the long run we can. Keep gas prices high, stop building new developments, squeeze the auto industry to make hybrid/electric/hydrogen vehicles, and for god’s sake put money into mass transit and stop building so many bloody highways. Life can change. It takes, it takes patience …… it takes money.

In the meantime, MTA has to get its act together. The state should take some of that highway money (those highway contractors and developers are powerful lobbies in Annapolis) and put it into MTA and the MARC to buy more cars, high speed (give them a lane) hybrid alternative diesel busses, and more maintenance workers and inspectors. In the long, they should build more rail (so MARC runs faster and the Light Rail has at least two tracks with more routes.)

That is the answer. Short term – buy more cars and busses. Long term – give us more rail.

It can be done. Am I nuts? What do you think?


The common wisdom has been, and primary election vote analyses tell us, that higher income people with more education, African-Americans, and younger voters are voting for Obama and that older voters, white women, Latinos, to a degree, and working people with less education are going with Clinton. No matter what happens, a portion of the Hillary voters will never vote for a Black man and a portion of the Barack voters will never vote for Hillary or a woman. The majority of primary voters, many of them new or voting for the first time in many years, could be Democratic voters in the fall.

It means that the two candidates have to come together and convince their supporters to support a new tomorrow together or they may once again lose despite Americans’ frustrations and anger over the state of the economy and the war in Iraq.

They have to ignore the demagogic demons of cable talk TV, these so-called pundits with nothing to say but divisive viscera of mistrust and hate. Democrats have to stop talking about Reverend Wright, ignore and rise above the media’s obsession with their “bittergate" and dividing people with emotionally charged rhetoric over race and class. Sure, race and class are at the core of our fears, our mistrust, and the most horrendous parts of our history.

They have to speak forcefully, passionately, persuasively and intelligently about those things that concern Americans. You have to speak to people’s hopes and fears about the future. There is no reason why the wealthiest nation on the planet cannot guarantee a decent income, health care, and schools that we want our children to go to. Someone has to make sense of immigration and our relationship to the world economy honestly and clearly. People will hear it. Americans want us out of Iraq; we did not want to be there in the first place. Now it has to be clear that the Republican mess has to be cleared up, and it won’t be easy. Say it clearly; it will be heard. Most Americans want large corporations and the financial investment industry to be regulated and allow small business to flourish. People want immediate help and a vision for the future. Most folks don’t mind paying if they know where they are going. That is as long as the paying for is equitable where the wealthiest and the major corporations are carrying their weight and then some.

Talk about those issues and bring our future into the clear light of day and most Americans will go…"Reverend WHO?”

The Republicans have their vision and their candidate(s). The Democrats better see to theirs unless they want to sit by the gates of the White House panting like a thirsty dog for the next four years.


So, one of my favorite spots to eat near our new Hampden office is Soup’s On, located on 36th Street in Hampden. They’re closing this Saturday for three months. Just two days left to get your favorite soup, salad, chicken pot pie, iced coffee and dangerous cupcakes. The lovely Cynthia, proprietor and creator of Soup’s On, is going to have a baby. Get her wares while you can, or wait till the end of the summer.

Also, went to Luca’s Café in Locust Point, on Fort Avenue across from the Phillips Seafood HQ. The food was just phenomenonal and prices, well, four of with a few drinks was $96 bucks. Great wine list too. Check it out.

At the Baltimore School for the Arts, students and faculty are putting on four one-act Moliere plays. It runs through Sunday. Don’t miss it. The plays are really well acted by adults and students. My old friend Tony Tsendas is hilarious, right in his element (I think he channels the Marx brothers.) Richard Pilcher directs it all. Don’t miss it. Our School for the Arts (and Carver in Baltimore County) is among the best in the nation.

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


  1. Funny you should mention corporate underwriting, Marc. Dana Davis Rehm, from NPR, spoke at the April 15 BoD meeting. I forget what her position at NPR is. Anyway, Brandon asked her a question about the NPR business model for the future. She replied that NPR had gone way overboad in their dependence on corporate underwriting, and that future plans included more effort to develop funding sources that are more in keeping with the NPR mission.


     Can’t imagine why a transcript of those remarks is not available at the WYPR website.

  2. I have a simple criterion for deciding when we have enough light rail. I think we should build light rail (and enhance MARC and expand D.C. Metro) until we no longer need to build more expressway lines and miles, and can stop building more parking garages downtown. One of the saddest things a person can do around here is stand on the ColdSpring or 41st St. bridge over the JFX and watch all those cars carrying one person to work or home. The stupidity of it makes me cry.

  3. I hear you. What’s definite at this point is that we’ll be on the air this Monday night from 6-8pm live with Andres Alonso. We are planning to have a regular time slot on WEAA to announce soon, but the details are still being ironed out. Sorry for the suspense!

  4. It just amazes me that that monstrosity is being built on the east side at 95 and 695. If only the countless dollars being spent were used to expand the light rail from east to west instead of encouraging even more people to drive.

  5. Although the BoD meeting will be meaningless at best, and propaganda more probably, capturing the webcast migfht be worthwhile. Surely WYPR will not archive the webcast for public use.

     I have never used media capture software. Is it fall-off-a-log simple? Does anyone have advice? Learning curves are hell.

    Here is a website about capturing streams.

    Here is a page of try-it downloads from one vendor. Perhaps the first package would be sufficient. Lots of FAQ, demos, and archives to spelunk.

  6. Marc, this “special” with WEAA on May 19, is it a one time thing or, as the Sun seems to suggest on today’s article, is it going to be a regular thing?

  7. Looks like WEAA is midst a programming adjustment that is more serious than a tweak. "The Takeaway" is coming, and at long long last "Democracy Now" will come to Baltimore.

    Last night (Sunday) I listened to "First Edition", which I thought was a good program even though it was about the Dem primary.


  8. The article in the Sun a few days ago about WYPR’s ratings going up since Marc left is irrelevant. Ratings should have nothing to do with public radio. If ratings dictate programming policy, then WYPR should drop all its programs and have the type of programming that gives 5 commercial stations in Baltimore higher ratings than WYPR. Ratings are a commercial criterion for programming. That indicates where WYPR’s management head is at. If you think this is accurate, let me know and I will send this as a letter to the Sun.

    Did the rating survey include WYPR’s remote stations in Ocean City and Frederick? Is WYPR airing less Baltimore issues lately? How would this effect ratings?

  9. Last week I took care of a pet at the home of a friend who has cable TV. I watched quite a bit of CNN – based on Bob Somerby’s reporting, I thought I would not be able to tolerate watching some of the other channels. Jes asked us, a while ago, what we thought of cable news. Now I know.

     Gack. What fools these idjits be. If American voters take that dreck seriously, no wonder our national discourse is so messed up.

     Marc, no need to confine your remarks about what Hillary and Barack voters won’t do to Hillary and Barack voters. They are true for the country as a whole.

    I am at a loss as to how to put positive spin on Clinton’s decision to persevere, at this point. Her campaign died weeks ago and has been kept alive only in simulacrum form, zombie fashion.

     I’m not a poll junkie and don’t know historical numbers, but I would be very surprised if either major party has nominated a candidate with unfavorables as high as Clinton’s in my lifetime, and if such a candidate was nominated, I would be shocked to discover that the candidate was elected. Clinton’s unfavorables have been very high and rock solid ever since she entered the race. The national polling numbers she is getting right now are as high as they ever will be.

    Obama, in great contrast, has proven that the further he gets into a campaign, the more people get to know him, the better he does. He has room on the upside, Clinton does not.

    Clinton has startled me by insisting on exactly the same electoral college strategy that lost in 2000 and lost again in 2004. Her insistence that she can make it work in 2008 is delusional. How can a supposedly brilliant politician such as Bill Clinton possibly get away with arguing that the causcus states don’t matter? That is worse than delusional, it’s simple craziness.

    Besides determining who the Dem candidate will be, the central feature of this campaign is a huge struggle for control of the Democratic Party. I didn’t hear one word of discussion about this on CNN. The centralized top-down corporate DLC philosophy nearly killed the Democratic Party during the Clinton years, and the Dean-Obama 50-state strategy is rejuvenating it. I think if the superdelegates nominate Clinton, it will mean the end of the Democratic Party as a useful force in this country, and the end will come sooner than the witless wonder windbags on CNN can conceive.

    Not saying that the Democratic Party has been very useful lately.


  10. I was at a breakfast meeting of progressive ministers this morning where Anthony McCarthy was the speaker. I was so impressed by this relatively young man who has accomplished and been through so much recently.
    At any point, when asked about his mentors and heroes, you should know that at the top of the list was Marc Steiner!

    Min. Kaleb Miller

  11. Marc:
    Your podcast series on this Web site featuring students, teachers, and the CEO is astounding and you should do it again.

    As a city teacher myself, I am threatened every day I go to work. Yesterday for instance I asked a student to go to the “buddy teacher” (which is how we give students a time out so situations can cool down; then they come back), and she cursed and flipped the desk, which tapped me in the foot. Not really a problem in the scale of things, but also just another day. That incident would be in addition to the direct threat of the day from whomever it is that day among the 5-10 that are slightly dangerous and / or aggressive in posture. This issue is ripe for more investigation and exploration. I am glad you’re keeping at it.

  12. Marc, Maybe you should interview Otis Rolley, head of the new Central Maryland Transit Alliance. He is working to reinvigorate mass transit in the region, and if anyone can make sense of how to fix the current system, it just might be he.

  13. Violence in schools is only a symptom of a much larger problem facing society. There are no easy answers. But at the minimum, we have to find ways to bring more adults with whom kids can identify into direct contact with kids on a regular basis.

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