Bob Studebaker

90.5 WESA Production Director; Host & Operations Manager for JazzWorks

Bob is Production Director for 90.5 WESA and a Host and the Operations Manager for JazzWorks. Bob has been working in different areas of the radio industry for 33 years. He thinks “public radio is a forum for ideas and entertainment unavailable on commercial radio and that makes it indispensable.” Bob is a lifelong Pittsburgher who married and raised both of his children in his home city. 

Ways to Connect

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Ballet is often praised for its precision, strong dancers and hypnotic music. But one thing that’s often overlooked is the costume department.

“Well, when you’re dancing, you have a certain structure about your dancing,” said Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Amanda Cochrane. “But when you put on those costumes, it really helps to bring out the artistry in your dancing. It makes you – puts your into character.”

Those costumes help bring the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s productions to life.

Bob Studebaker (L), Sidewall Project (R)

A Pittsburgh artist, who prefers to be known simply as “Brick,” has been displaying art on an exterior wall of her house in Bloomfield for more than two years.

She refers to it as “The Sidewall Project,” and it began as an opportunity for artists to have their work displayed in a public space.

The current exhibit was created by Richard Pell and is a familiar sight to many Pittsburghers.

Cafe Con Leche

For more than two years, Café Con Leche has promoted Latino artists and culture in Pittsburgh.

It also hosts an artist-in-residency program.

“Art is a language and I think that it doesn’t necessarily function in the same way that our spoken language does,” said multimedia artist Hoesy Corona. “Which means that it can really enter us in a different way.”

Eddie Palmieri

Pittsburgh Jazz Live International, the city’s annual summer jazz festival begins this Friday with international artists scheduled to perform. For members of the region's fast growing Hispanic community, the chance to see their musical culture represented can be a powerful experience.

Ron Alvarado, chairman of the Pittsburgh Metro Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said, “it galvanizes us as a community.”

Erica Dilcer /

When talking about working on the album “Chrysalis,” producer Jeff Berman sounds like he’s describing a painting.

“Sculpting out the motion of the piece,” Berman said. “The overtones of that piano. The way that interacted with the rhythm section and helped us sculpt the landscape, we created a musical environment for that tune. The guitars add another part that would add a certain internal motion.”

Kim McAninch

  A non-traditional business model is helping to bring together a local artist and a wide range of prospective clients.

Marie Silver lives in San Diego but was able to discover and connect with an artist from Pittsburgh through an app on her phone. Kim McAninch lives and works Downtown and loves the freedom and flexibility that her online presence affords her.

Ben Shannon / Burghsong

Call it an impromptu folk club, like a private party in someone's living room. Burghsong is a 50-minute concert series showcasing contemporary songwriters.

Co-founder Ben Shannon said it was artists' attention to detail and word craft that first drew his devotion back in 2014. What began as a single, successful mini-festival grew into a collaboration with the Sunburst School of Music in Squirrel Hill.


AppalAsia is one of those artistic ventures which, seemingly, could only happen in Pittsburgh. The musical blend of Appalachian and ancient Chinese folk music stems from three artists with very different musical backgrounds. 

Mimi Jong plays the erhu, a two-stringed, bowed instrument that has been a part of Chinese folk music for a millennium.

100.7 WXXP

Only on the air from 1986 until 1988, radio station WXXP fostered unexpected cultural changes in western Pennsylvania and left a lasting impact on thousands of fans. Stacy Zavala, who grew up in Mt. Pleasant, recalls FM 100.7 “was the start of everything.”

JazzWorks host Bob Studebaker revisits the rock and roll station that "Dared to be Different." Join its cast of characters for a “Double X” reunion show Saturday, Nov. 28 at Stage A.E.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

  Ceramic sculptor, printmaker and mosaic artist Laura Jean McLaughlin has welcomed patrons to her Penn Avenue studio for 14 years.

She was an early investor in Garfield, a newly re-imagined Pittsburgh neighborhood. But that wasn’t always the plan.

Tracksploitation / Instagram

An event Thursday at Boom Concepts on Penn Avenue in Garfield combines a contemporary approach to music with a style that has been performed, pretty much unchanged, for centuries.

Courtesy Alloy Pittsburgh

Alloy Pittsburgh was conceived as a biennial laboratory where emerging artists in the Pittsburgh region would create temporary, site-based artwork that explore the creative reuse of the Carrie Furnace national historic landmark. Chris McGinnis and Sean Derry are the co-founders.

Courtesy Arcade Comedy Theater

The art of making people laugh and teaching people how to make others laugh come together at downtown’s Arcade Comedy Theater. This is a venue for performance that also includes “comedy education.”

Jethro and Kristy Nolen are two of the organizations founders, and they explained that ”comedy is a set of tools, but you can always increase that.”

Courtesy Dorey Whealan

The Saints Tour is a fiction inspired by, and then layered on to real places, and sometimes real people. Playwright Molly Rice creates this fictional history of Braddock around characters she calls “saints.”

“What’s special about saints is they are not angels,” Rice said. "They’re people who just did more.”

Courtesy photo

On a recent Friday evening, acoustic music was presented at Biddle’s Escape, a coffee shop in Wilkinsburg. Singer and songwriter Barbara Klein appreciates that the venue is “intimate and welcoming.”

Owner Joe Davis says, "We’re always looking for creative ways to showcase artists.”

Alexis Gideon is a multimedia artist who has recently relocated to Pittsburgh. The New Hazlett Theater is a center for collaboration as well as an incubator for new ideas. Together they recently provided Pittsburgh with a unique world premiere event.

"The Crumbling" is a 21-minute stop-motion animation video opera set in a surreal dream-like town following the trials of a librarian as she tries to save her city from crumbling down around her. Much of the music is performed live by Gideon.

Bob Studebaker / 90.5 WESA

The organization Global Beats strives to bring together “new” Pittsburghers from all over the world by celebrating the music of Africa, Latin America, New York City, and Cuba.

It’s an idea that began in 1999 when Carla Leininger began her show “The Brazilian Radio Hour” on Carnegie Mellon University’s radio station WRCT.

In ancient times The Silk Road was a series of trade routes linking east and west. Sun Gate was one of two westernmost stops before leaving China. It is also the name of a CD recorded as part of a unique musical collaboration, which merges ancient Asian melodies with jazz.

The producers feel the collaboration is emblematic of Pittsburgh’s growing diversity.

Harish Saluja, who is the founder of the cultural organization known as Silk Screen, assembled musicians familiar with both traditions and oversaw the process of growth within the band Silk Sound.

Courtesy of Slow Danger

Anna Thompson and Taylor Knight, who create both dance and music as Slow Danger, were drawn to each other’s willingness to explore new ways to interact with their art form.

Beginning with dance, they soon began creating their own music for their performances. Knight said it was inevitable for their art to “merge and intersect in that way.”

"The movement and the music, for us, goes hand in hand,” Knight said.

Thompson and Knight said their intention is to present an ambiguous identity that isn’t Anna, isn’t Taylor, but rather “this otherness that we create through.”

Courtesy image

With help from artists, geologists, lawyers and others, the Living Waters of Larimer initiative encourages people and government agencies to think of rainwater not as something to be disposed of but as a community asset with aesthetic and economic benefits.

It began in 2013 when environmental artist Betsy Damon had an exhibit at The Mattress Factory Art Museum on Pittsburgh’s North Side. While here she became aware of the work of community activists in the city’s Larimer neighborhood.

Bob Studebaker / 90.5 WESA

Iron City Aerials has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Zoo, the National Aviary, the Science Center and the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. It all began when Kelsey Keller was earning her Ph.D. in biophysics.

Kelsey Keller is the artistic director for Iron City Aerials. They hang and perform from what are essentially silk scarves and amaze people at public and private events. You can even arrange for an aerial bartender. Kelsey describes what they do as a "combination of dance and acrobatics.”

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Before German immigrant Ottmar Mergenthaler invented the linotype machine in the late 19th century, type was assembled one letter at a time. But the linotype (dubbed the "eighth wonder of the world" by Thomas Edison) allowed printers to compose entire lines of text — hence the name "line-o-type."

Flash forward some 130 years, and we meet Brandon Boan, one of a growing number of artists and designers living and working in Wilkinsburg.

Bob Studebaker / 90.5 WESA

Poet Jessica Server likes the sense of freedom she gets from writing and appreciates opportunities to present her work to audiences. She considers it “an act of engagement that’s a step of the creative process.”

“What I’ve always loved about writing is that it’s sort of a vehicle that can take you anywhere,” she said.  

Server, who lives in Friendship, said the most important qualities for a writer, especially a poet, are curiosity and awareness.

Courtesy photo

After the murders of Sarah and Susan Wolfe earlier this year, a community of grieving artists and friends were faced with the question of how to move on from the tragic loss.

Matthew Bucholz, Sarah’s boyfriend, led the group to channel their grief into something productive. Inspired by the Wolfe sisters’ involvement in the Riot Grrl movement in the mid-90s, Wolfepack Goods sells the work of local makers to raise money for the charity Girls Rock! Pittsburgh. Girls Rock! stages empowerment-through-music camps for young girls.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

Speaking about her self-published “In The Garden: A Botanically Illustrated Gardening Book,” Sandra McPeake says, “I want it to become a very dirty book … take it to the garden … learn how to plant.”

McPeake’s love of gardening is a family tradition, and it’s based on the food she likes to eat.

"What are we really hungry for and what do I normally harvest to cook with” are questions she asks herself before each spring’s planting.

Courtesy photo

When Zak Kruszynski came across the phrase “bones and all,” he thought it got to the root of what he wanted to accomplish with a woodworking business.

That is, to reuse materials — often totally discarded — as often as possible, and to try to use every bit to reduce waste.

"Also, I thought it had a great ring to it,” he said.

Bob Studebaker / 90.5 WESA

NPR once referred to the Conflict Kitchen in Schenley Plaza as “an experimental public art project, and the medium is the sandwich wrap.”

It’s take-out food where you take away more than just something to eat. Conflict Kitchen only serves food from countries with which the U.S. is in conflict.

Co-directors Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski schedule events, performances and discussions that seek to expand public engagement with culture, politics and issues at stake within the focus country.

Music that is centuries old is being reborn as a new sound in Pittsburgh.

Silk Sound Asian American Jazz Orchestra is an amalgam of different cultures and musical traditions coming together under the direction of Harish Saluja.

Larry Rippel / Courtesy of the artist

Callán, a Pittsburgh-based traditional Celtic folk ensemble, is comprised of artists from a wide range of backgrounds.

Percussionist Kip Ruefle found his way to traditional music by following his interest in the bodhran, the traditional Irish drum. He brings decades of performing rock and jazz into the mix.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Kristy Dubinsky, from Irwin, recently walked through the RAW/Pittsburgh exhibition enjoying the diverse collection of emerging artists.

“There’s definitely a collaborative nature and aspect to this,” Dubinsky said.  “They bring together everything from fashion to music to fine art, photography, film.  It’s just a great way to bring everybody together.”