An ardent walker of his regal American bulldog, Tom Wilmer is best known in his hometown of Morro Bay as Tug’s dad. However, around the country and overseas, Wilmer is “top dog” and in demand as an award-winning travel journalist. During the past year, Wilmer’s assignments have included visits to Palau, Guam, Hawaii, Ireland, Wisconsin, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona and elsewhere.
This year marks Wilmer’s 22nd anniversary as producer and host of Audiolog, his travel show for Central Coast NPR affiliate, KCBX — and he has reason to celebrate. Wilmer received First Place Best Radio Show Series for “Birth of the Titanic” at the 2012 Spring Conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of California at the Inn at Morro Bay.
“I was honored as a finalist for Writer of the Year and humbled to win this award,” Wilmer said. “The show was a multipart audio podcast series I produced for Belfast, Northern Ireland’s official Titanic website (www.the-titanic.com) as well as the KCBX Titanic radio series.”
“The Irish Government requested I cover the 100th anniversary celebration of Titanic’s launch at Belfast’s Harland & Wolffe shipyards. I worked directly with Northern Ireland tourism officials and Titanic historians,” he said.
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When Wilmer isn’t on retainer to exotic places, he’s a Central Coast licensed general contractor and designer of artistic chairs. “I am definitely one of the richest, poor guys you will ever meet. The travel is truly priceless. I would not trade the blessings of my world travels for 10 million bucks.”
Over the past 25 years, Wilmer has written three books, including the award-winning “Wine Seeker’s Guide to Livermore Valley” and more than 900 travel stories. The world was his office for five years as travel editor/columnist for Central Coast Magazine. His reports covered far-flung places such as Fez, Morocco, the Australian Outback on horseback, and aboard Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior.
“One of my favorite assignments was traveling north of the Arctic Circle to interview Santa Claus at his headquarters in Finnish Lappland.” This Christmas Day radio special also won a Best Radio Show award from the Outdoor Writers Association in 1996.
Wilmer’s next adventures take him to New Mexico’s Spaceport America, Harry Truman’s home in Missouri and a blues festival in Arkansas. In September, he will familiarize his longtime friends and travel journalists, Judith Fein and Paul Ross, with San Luis Obispo during Cuesta College’s Central Coast Writers’ Conference Travel Writing Boot Camp. He’s also producing a social-media podcast series for the San Luis Obispo County Conference & Visitors Bureau’s “Sunset Savor the Central Coast.”
Wilmer and Tug love meeting new friends, especially at Morro Bay’s Art Effects Gallery, which features his unique chair designs.
ReachJudySalamacha@gmail.com or 805 801-1422.