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) 
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.

Pete Murdaca in the kitchen at Pietro's in Lodi, California
Pietro's Trattoria

Pietro’s has been a favorite with Lodi, California locals since the Italian eatery for three decades. Family owned by Jim and Annette Murdaca, I stopped in for a visit with their son, Chef Pete who spent a year and a half learning the craft as an stagiaire (intern) in Calabria and Parma Southern Italy. 

Tim McCormick Project Manager (left), Jim Fricke Curatorial Director (right), Tom Wilmer (center) at Harley-Davidson Museum
Harely-Davidson Museum

Join Jim Fricke, Curatorial Director at the 130,000 square-foot Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as he shares highlights of the legendary motorcycle’s 117-year history.

Green Bay, Wisconsin's City Deck redeveloped waterfront
City of Green Bay Wisconsin

Jeff Mirkes, Executive Director of Downtown Green Bay Inc., explains how the town’s waterfront City Deck redeveloped riverfront attracted an influx of new business ventures and urban dwellers into the heart of downtown.

S.C. Johnson & Son Research tower built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1951
Thomas Wilmer

   Racine Wisconsin has been home to many iconic American manufacturers since the Civil War. 

Case New Holland has been based in Racine since the 1840s. Racine is home to Oster, Hamilton-Beach, and Massey Ferguson.

Malted milk was birthed here in 1887. The garbage disposal was invented here in 1927--and it remains as the home of Insinkerator today.

S.C. Johnson, an integral part of Racine since 1886, produces Raid, Glade, Johnson Wax, and Windex and a litany of cleaning products.

Join Chris Paulson, Racine Heritage Museum’s Executive Director as he shares tales of Racine’s incredible history. 

Road to the tip of the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin
Thomas Wilmer

It’s just a two and a half hour drive from Green Bay, Wisconsin to the tip of the Door Peninsula where the family owned Washington Island Ferry awaits to take you on a five mile, thirty minute boat ride to another world. 

Sandi Twist talks SUP with correspondent Tom Wilmer on the docks in Morro Bay, California
Jennifer Little

A visit with Sandi Twist, owner of The Paddleboard Company, fittingly located on the waterfront in Morro Bay. Twist walks about the explosive popularity of stand-up paddling (SUP) for both the curious and serious.

Colonel Kerry Norman, Commander U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett, California.
Thomas Wilmer

A mere taste of Colonel Norman’s diverse background with the U.S. Army includes service as Operations Officer 82nd Airborne, Provost Marshall Military Reserve Command, and the Military Intelligence Readiness Command. She also served as Professor of Military Science at Seattle University.

The heart of Skid Row in the heart of Los Angeles
Thomas Wilmer

Skid Row in Los Angeles is home to more than 2,000 homeless who sleep on the streets, in doorways, alleys, under bridges, and on streetcars. Skid Row is just a slice of a larger population of homeless in Los Angeles County with a total homeless population of around 60,000. And this does not include the cities of Glendale, Pasadena, and Long Beach—three of the County’s larger towns.

Madison Children's Museum

Join Gabriella Gerhardt, Development Officer at the Madison Children’s Museum in Wisconsin. It’s a hands-on engaging place where free-play is the operative. Discover why NPR ranked one of the exhibits among the top ten in America, and learn about the live chickens, the human hamster cage, the engaging Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit, and more—just for kids.

Carla Contreras, Deputy Director of Store Operations at Saint Vincent de Paul’s Thrift Store
Saint Vincent de Paul Los Angeles

Saint Vincent de Paul’s downtown Los Angeles Thrift Store, the largest in Los Angeles County and one of the largest thrift stores in America, provides quality merchandise to those in need as well as a burgeoning trade with millennials and Gen Z.

The secret is out that that this is the place to score a great bargain—and it’s a win-win as all proceeds go to support Saint Vincent de Paul’s various programs including the Cardinal Manning Center in the heart of Skid Row.

Dr. Charles Price (right), President of the Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Roanoke, VA visits with  correspondent Tom Wilmer
Harrison Museum

Situated in the Center in the Square in the heart of downtown Roanoke, Virginia, The Harrison Museum of African American Culture deftly showcases the African American experience with a focus on Western Virginia and the Blue Ridge Roanoke region

Back in the latter 18th century, black players often played on baseball teams alongside whites. But segregation took an ugly turn in the dawning days of the 20th century and blacks were barred through Jim Crow laws. 

Stax Museum in Memphis, Tennessee
Thomas Wilmer

Tim Sampson Communications Director for the Soulsville Foundation talks about the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the genesis of “Soulsville”, the astounding Stax Music Academy, and Soulsville Charter School. Tiffany Harmon shares the story of Rock & Roll birthplace at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. A visit with Boo Mitchell at legendary Royal Studios, followed by a visit at Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

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