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 2017, 2016, 2015 & 2013 Lowell Thomas Award--Best Radio Travel Show, 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) 
Mark Lamers at his family owned dairy in Appleton, Wisconsin--the last family owned dairy in the state
Thomas Wilmer

  Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Mark Lamers at his family owned dairy in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The Lamers family started their dairy in a basement back in 1913. 

Mary shows off a fresh batch of delectable Wilmar Chocolates in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Thomas Wilmer

Join Paul Garvey, owner of Wilmar Chocolates in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin to discover exactly why the family-owned chocolate company has maintained a fond following for more than 60 years.

Wilmar Chocolates is also a discreet example of why businesses in Appleton and around the Fox Cities region are thriving.

Paul Garvey owner of Wilmar's Chocolates in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin
Thomas Wilmer

Paul Garvey, owner of Wilmar’s Chocolates in Appleton, Wisconsin talks about the company’s passion for handcrafting chocolate bars and treats and how his creations became a hit in Russia and China, with a fond following around America. 

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on their home turf in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Thomas Wilmer

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, The Milwaukee Brewers’ Class “A” farm team has an incredibly passionate fan base. Appleton, Wisconsin and the entire Fox Cities region consider the Rattlers as “their team” but so do folk from around the state and even Michigan’s Far North Upper Peninsula. 

Shelly Nystrom (left) owner of Eco Candle Company  in Downtown Appleton Wisconsin with associate Shelby Bradshaw
Thomas Wilmer

Soy-based Man Candles are just one of the many enticing products offered at Eco Candles located in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin

A local at The Wave near Jingbian City close to the border with Inner Mongolia
Thomas Wilmer

Xi’an, in Shaanxi Province of the People’s Republic of China is the oldest of the “Four Great Ancient Capitals of China”. It’s the most populous city in Northwest China, and  claims close to 13 million souls in the greater metropolitan area. 

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer as he explores the ancient city of Xi’an and the province of Shaanxi. 

Nebraska windmill
Thomas Wilmer

The iconic windmill has been a part of western landscape since the mid 1800s.

Tanya Meadows at the American Wind and Power Center in Lubbock, Texas, and Jim Stark at the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum in Nebraska City, Nebraska share their passion for the iconic windmill that transformed the American West. 

Tyrone Taylor proudly shares the proclamation presented by the City of Los Angeles proclaiming Tyrone Taylor the Mayor of Skid Row
Thomas Wilmer

Life was chugging along just fine for Tyrone Taylor, that is until he lost his job when the steel plant closed in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania back in 1983. Drugs and alcohol sped his descent. He eventually wound up spending 20 years homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles. 

Andy and Phyllis D'Arrigo
The D'Arrigo Foundation

  

Tom Wilmer reports from Salinas Valley where he visits with 90-something Andy D’Arrigo, patriarch of the family run agriculture business D’Arrigo Brothers. It was Andy who served as the model for the company brand created back in 1927 when he was two years old. Andy’s childhood face still adorns the label 80 years later. 

CLassic Moorish and Mission Revival influences abound at the classic- Julia Morgan designed Hacienda
Thomas Wilmer

William Randolph Heart’s old ranch headquarters was constructed in 1930.

Located a mere 11 miles as the crow flies from Hearst Castle. Hearst and architect Julia Morgan’s classic, Moorish/Mission Revival structure, dubbed the Hacienda or Milpitas Ranch House, was sold to the U.S. Army in 1940.

The Hacienda initially served as operations headquarters for Fort Hunter Liggett until the base facilities were constructed in the dawning days of WWII.

Buffalo River
Thomas Wilmer

The Buffalo National River, situated in Northern Arkansas is free flowing for more than 135 miles. It’s one of North America’s last remaining undammed rivers.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer on the banks of the Buffalo River for a conversation with National Park Ranger, Joyce Umbach, and Ben Milburn the owner and operator of Buffalo River Outfitters.

Oklahoma City Bombing April 19th 1995
NBC

A visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum--Executive Director Kari Watkins talks about the deadliest attack in America until 9-11. 

Ford Research lab
Thomas Wilmer

Your new Ford might just come equipped with repurposed U.S. currency, flax, wheat, agave fibers, and a litany of organic auto parts. 

U.S.S. Potomac at Port of Oakland
Thomas Wilmer

The USS Potomac served as the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Floating White House” from 1936 until his death in 1945. How the USS Potomac came to reside in Oakland, California is a fascinating journey.

Following a ten year stint as a Coast Guard patrol boat, the Potomac saw duty as a Caribbean ferry, Elvis Presley private yacht, and a stint as a drug smuggler that ultimately led to its sinking while tied up on Treasure Island.

www.museocr.org

Gloria Calderón is the Director of the Museo de los Niños in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Gloria as she talks about the engaging hands-on children’s museum, her passion for the country, and the work-in-progress to create an adjunct museum showcasing the former prison’s story.

The Children’s Museum opened in 1994 in a long abandoned former prison with an evil history rivaling the world’s worst hell-holes of incarceration.

Jim Ed Brown playing sax with President Bill Clinton
Courtesy "Arkansongs"

Guest host, Steve Koch, is the producer of the syndicated show "Arkansongs" a celebration of Arkansas music. Koch shares insights about Arkansawyer Jim Ed Brown who was born in Sparkman in Dallas County, Arkansas, and grew up in Pine Bluff, Ark.

“J.E.” achieved fame singing with his sisters as The Browns before he went solo in the mid-1960s.

Brown charted more than fifty singles, but was nearly as famous for his TV appearances, including being longtime spokesman for Dollar General Stores. 

Bill Clinton playing the sax
Courtesy "Arkansongs"

Associate Producer for Journeys of Discovery,  Steve Koch is host of the syndicated show Arkansongs in Little Rock. Koch shares insights about Bill Clinton's passion for music and his life in Arkansas.

Samantha Payette (left) with Shanny Covey, co-owner of Luna Red in San Luis Obispo, California
Thomas Wilmer

The San Luis Obispo restaurant industry is facing increasing costs on multiple fronts. Current and impending issues include a rise in minimum wage to $15 per hour, a regional labor shortage, mandated health care, sick leave, along with rising food costs. Restaurant owners are brainstorming ways to modify their business models, including instituting a service charge or surcharge.

Mission College Prep student Cayden Wemple performs in the KCBX studios in San Luis Obispo
Thomas Wilmer

Cayden Wemple is a passionate indie-folk singer/songwriter and a senior at Mission College Prep in San Luis Obispo. Wemple describes his songwriting techniques and practices. He also shares insights about how he draws inspiration for his songs from the political world around him. 

Coach Tim O'Connor teaches firearms safety at Heartland Public Shooting Range's Sporting Clays Range in Grand Island, Nebraska
Thomas Wilmer

I spent some time at the Heartland Public Shooting Park, located on the outskirts of Grand Island, Nebraska to visit with Tim O’Connor, a shooting-sport coach at the local Catholic high school. 

Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Thomas Wilmer

The story of Soulsville and Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis

A 60-year run at Royal Studios in Memphis--recording hits with 1960s vacuum-tube technology

Sun Studio Memphis-- birthplace of Rock & Roll

Memphis Music Hall of Fame showcases the birthplace of Rock & Roll, Soul, and Blue

Exploring Graceland, Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex, and Guest House

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in downtown Memphis, Tennessee is housed in a half-million square-foot 28-story pyramid fronting on the Mississippi River.
Bass Pro Shops Media Center

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee is a more than just a megastore.

The Memphis facility works year round empowering inner-city youth and instilling outdoor conservation awareness.

The facility also hosts hands-on field trip experiences for kids from the nearby St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Neon has been king in Las Vegas for generations
Thomas Wilmer

The story of how Las Vegas became the 9th Hawaiian Island.  

Bill Boyd, chairman of Boyd Gaming Group in Las Vegas, shares his family’s intimate involvement in the gaming industry Bill Boyd's father, Sam Boyd (born in 1910), moved the family to Oahu when Bill was in first and second grade.

slaughtered elephant
Thomas Wilmer

The Trump administration's support of Big Game hunts and recalling the tragic death of Cecil the Lion demanded a repost of the interview Tom Wilmer conducted with two big game, photographic safari guides recorded on location in Botswana.

Kids and grandparents alike delight in the rides at Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts
Thomas Wilmer

Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts is a trendsetter in the world of family vacations. Management philosophy is 100 percent predicated on creating experiences for kids of all ages, from literally six months old to octogenarians.

SLO FILM FESTIVAL 2018
SLO Film Fest

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Director, Wendy Eidson shares insights about the SLO Film Fest, March 13-18. 

There's a water ride for every sensibility at Schlitterbahn
Thomas Wilmer

The world’s first family destination water park started with a dream and vision back in 1966 when Bob and Billye Henry fell in love with Landa Resort, a small 12-acre riverfront property on the outskirts of New Braunfels, Texas.

Years of sweat equity with the three Henry children slinging mud and wielding welders turned a small family resort in to the family friendly Schlitterbahn encompassing more than 70 acres. 

FranK Lloyd Wright designed Monona Terrace in downtown Madison, Wisconsin
Thomas Wilmer

Tom Wilmer and his associate, Annita Thomas from Atlanta, Georgia visit with Diane Morganthaler, Executive Vice President of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau. Diane shares a litany of cool things to do and see for the entire family. 

Graffiti Art is part of Detroit culture
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent, Tom Wilmer reports from Detroit, Michigan for an exploration of street murals and graffiti/calligraphic art.

Country Music Hall of Fame entry
Thomas Wilmer

The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee is the Mother Ship where the entire history of country music from the 1800's to present is showcased and revered in the 360,000 square-foot multi-story facility.

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