Heather McClain

Assistant Producer, Essential Pittsburgh

Heather McClain is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, originally from the Main Line Philadelphia area. Her interests in the environment and sustainability have been reflected throughout her career, most recently as a news anchor and features reporter/producer at WBZH Community Radio in Pottstown, PA. At WBZH, Heather was host and producer of the weekly program Our Environment, and worked part-time as production assistant for the PBS TV program Growing a Greener World. Heather started her career at the CBS Early Show and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. She developed her public radio skills at WRTI public radio at Temple University.

Pages

Essential Pittsburgh
8:18 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Steelers Former Offensive Linemen Speaks Out About Stigma of Epilepsy

Alan Faneca was an All-Pro Guard for the Steelers
Credit Steel City Hobbies / Wikipedia


Former Steelers offensive lineman and all-pro guard, Alan Faneca returns to Pittsburgh this week, as honorary chairman of the Epilepsy Foundation of Central and Western Pennsylvania’s 25th Family Fun Run and Walk, taking place Saturday.

Faneca was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager in Texas. And despite the condition, he played 13 seasons in the NFL, 10 of which with the Steelers, including a victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XL.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:17 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Reporting Wage Violations at Pennsylvania Hotels

The Fairmont Hotel Pittsburgh
Credit Martha Rial / PublicSource


Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the country -- behind Texas, Alabama and Florida -- for the number of hotels with labor law violations, according to the Department of Labor and a recent PublicSource story. This includes wage and child labor violations.

PublicSource Reporter Leah Samuel says because many hotel workers are low skilled and in the hospitality industry, where tips may be given, they’re especially vulnerable to wage violations.

“In Pennsylvania, you can actually pay someone as low as $2.83 an hour if they receive tips,”  Samuel explains. So even if a hotel worker normally gets paid at or above the minimum wage, when it comes to overtime, the rate might be 1.5 times that $2.83, which is illegal.

“It’s supposed to be 1.5 times the regular wage they would receive, minus something called the ‘tip credit’.”

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
10:00 am
Thu July 4, 2013

4th of July Holiday Rundown

Credit Brian Siewiorek / Flickr

Essential Pittsburgh will be back on the air Monday July 8th

On Thursday July 4th, celebrate the birth of our nation by making fun of it, with The Capitol Steps' one hour radio special at noon and 8pm.

On Friday July 5th, a special science and technology program titled Burn, An Energy Journal airs at noon and 8pm

From the staff of Essential Pittsburgh, have a safe, happy and healthy holiday weekend.

Essential Pittsburgh
12:26 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

Monday July 1st, 2013 The State Budget and How to Treat Obesity, Conversation Continued

The budget was passed on time this weekend. How inclusive will it be?
Credit 90.5 WESA

These topics air Monday in the noon hour on 90.5 WESA

Where Do We Stand With The State Budget?
The $28.37 billion state budget plan passed this weekend, just hours before the deadline. We'll talk about what's in the plan, what still needs to be addressed and what it means for the Corbett administration. Harrisburg Patriot News Editor, John Micek has been tracking all of the details from the State Capitol.

Treating Obesity as a Disease
The American Medical Association officially re-classified obesity as a disease. Experts are now saying this recognition will enable doctors to better treat the 1 in 3 Americans who struggle with obesity. Health plans will be re-formulated to create more products to help patients manage their weight. Dr. Esa Davis, a practicing physician with UPMC, joins us to discuss the changes this re-classification will bring to the healthcare system.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
7:50 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Pittsburgh Home Renovation: A Labor of Love

CJ is well organized with departments for everything from toilets to door knobs
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

Earlier this month we took listeners on a tour of historic houses in the Observatory Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where residents have restored their homes to early 20th century splendor, with some modern conveniences. While the do-it-yourself home makeover isn’t as quick and easy as those on HGTV, what they have in common is the unexpected drama of renovation. In looking at the home restoration and renovation process there are some horror stories, but also some unique Pittsburgh resources.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
7:47 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

App Certain: Internet Security On Mobile Devices

App Certain is an app which monitors other apps
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Many parents find it’s important to monitor their child's screen time on the home computer.

But they may not consider the fact that mobile devices such as smart-phones and tablets are swiftly becoming our most prominently used computers.

Spencer Whitman, CEO of App Certain says most parents don’t realize what their kids are doing on mobile devices, especially when it comes to apps.

So App Certain gives parents a window into the behavior of the mobile apps their kids are downloading.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
6:53 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Friday June, 28th 2013 How Will Immigration Reform Change the Country?

The US Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill Thursday.
Credit wikipedia

These topics air Friday in the noon hour on 90.5 WESA

Immigration Reform
Thursday afternoon the Senate passed an extensive immigration reform bill. However, critics believe the bill could run into trouble in the Republican controlled House.  This is the first major immigration reform since 1986 when Congress passed a bill giving potential amnesty to more than three million undocumented immigrants. What’s different this time and how will immigration reform change the country? We’ll talk with immigration attorney and former U.S. diplomat Kamana Mathur.  Also taking part in the conversation will be immigration attorney Rohit Dharwadkar.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:17 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Thursday June, 27th 2013 Supreme Court Decision on the Defense of Marriage Act

A crowd gathered in Downtown Pittsburgh reacts to Wednesday's Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Thursday in the noon hour on 90.5 WESA

Supreme Court Decides on Same-Sex Marriage
Across the country people have been awaiting the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act. Yesterday, the court handed down a landmark decision striking down the 1996 California law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage. The court is also allowing gay marriage to resume in California by declining to decide a separate case. Joining us to discuss these landmark decisions is Anthony Infanti professor of law and associate dean for academic affairs in the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Gary Van Horn, President of the Delta Foundation.


Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:10 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

The Geopolitics of Energy With James Clad

Global energy changes may be slow moving but they're happening
Credit Indigo / Flickr

The connection between reliable sources of energy, global prosperity and security has profoundly impacted international relations since before the industrial revolution.

According to James Clad, consultant and distinguished research fellow at the National Defense University, "energy is inextricably part of a contemporary society."

As dependent as we are on oil in the United States, it's commonly known that a shift away from petroleum-based energy could dramatically impact our economy and way of life. Clad says petroleum based economies are very mobile and agile, private vehicles let us go from point A to point B without relying on large expensive infrastructure.  Which is why economies like ours find it hard to completely do away the use of hydrocarbons.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:02 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Public Opinion on Energy Issues

Canada is now the number one supplier of energy to the United States. Canadian researcher Nik Nanos, chairman of Nanos Research Group, says while we've relied on oil from the Middle East in the past, with shale gas and new discoveries of oil in North America, there's a new narrative for energy policy and Western PA is a big part of the picture.

A recent poll from Nanos revealed 3 out of 4 Americans feel there should be a continental energy strategy.

Pittsburgh, he says is part of an energy triangle that includes Houston and Calvary, Canada. As part of the triangle Pittsburgh and the rest of the U.S. must have a good relationship their neighbors to the north, and rethink energy in more broad terms than electric bills and gas prices.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:10 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

What's Next for Pennsylvania Transportation?

State Senator Jim Ferlo
Credit SenatorFerlo.com

A version of the Pennsylvania transportation funding bill passed last week is expected to be voted on in the State House of Representatives Tuesday.

But State Senator Jim Ferlo is concerned that the bill does not allocate enough money for infrastructure maintenance. He's also opposed to a provision that would allow partial privatization of select bus lines. State Senator Jim Ferlo talks about why he voted against the funding bill and legislation that would change the structure of the Port Authority of Allegheny County Transit board.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:08 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Remaking a Marvel of Pittsburgh Industry

An artist rendering of the 20-inch Rodman gun at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia
Credit Project Gutenberg

The Heinz History Center unveiled its newest exhibition last Saturday, Pennsylvania's Civil War. Among the exhibits is a replica of the most impressive cannon of its era: the 57 ton Rodman Columbiad, forged in Pittsburgh. The cannon was a technological breakthrough in its time, and the recreation of the enormous cannon — all the way down to the initials scrawled into the barrel — is a testament to how modern technology can improve the museum experience.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:06 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Steve Tuell

Steve Tuell is a professor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Steve Tuell studies Hebrew and the Old Testament at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. As a theologian and a scholar of ancient languages, he has a special appreciation for the fantasy fiction of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Steve Tuell shares his current reading interests with 90.5 WESA Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:51 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

The Business of Landscaping with Rebecca Harris

A recent national survey showed 81 percent of people with a yard say the upkeep is important to the look of their home. This week it’s all about the curb appeal and joining us to talk about the business of landscaping and what it can do for your home is business contributor Rebecca Harris.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:14 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Sole Power: Getting an Innovative Product to Market

Sole Power captures the energy in a step normally lost to the surrounding environment and converts it into electrical power.
Credit Sole Power

Like a power-packed Dr. Scholl's insert, Sole Power is a device that allows people to charge devices as they walk. It's currently in the prototype, fundraising phase, but is said to have the potential to fully charge small devices like a cell phone with 2 and a half miles of walking.

"We're hoping to serve military personnel, people stuck in emergency situations, hikers and people in developing nations who don’t have access to electricity on a regular basis."  Says Matthew Stanton, Founder of Sole Power.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:13 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Americans for the Arts

Art All Night in Lawrenceville
Credit Cory Cousins / Flickr

Over the next three days, arts and community leaders from around the country are gathering around town to strategize about how to better communicate the impact the arts make in U.S. cities. Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, joins us to talk about the convention and how Pittsburgh's strategy in this area has become the benchmark for others.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
11:21 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

The Cultural Impact of Pittsburgh Pride Fest

What kind of cultural impact do you think PrideFest makes in Pittsburgh?
Credit Ginny / Flickr

This weekend the Pittsburgh Pride Festival is expected to generate huge revenue for the city and bring thousands of individuals and families to Liberty Avenue. The parade and concerts at Pride Fest have become mainstream collaborations with city groups like Visit Pittsburgh and major sponsorship.

Pittsburgh Pride's website quotes Richard Florida in his best-selling book on economic growth, The Rise of the Creative Class, “the most successful regions welcome all kinds of people. The presence of an LGBT community in large numbers is an indicator of an underlying culture that is open-minded and diverse. People look for cities with lots of gay people when they are hunting for a place to live and work. The presence of gays signals an exciting place, where people can fit in and be themselves.“

But how representative of Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community is Pride Fest? And how do you go about organizing a large scale festival such as Pride, in a way that's inclusive for all aspects of the LGBTQ community and Pittsburgh as a whole?

We'll have a conversation about Pittsburgh PrideFest and its cultural impact with Gary Van Horn, President of the Delta Foundation, which organizes PrideFest and Sue Kerr, Editor of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondence, an LGBTQ Blog.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:49 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Kitchen Conversations with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Food Section and Joey Fatone

Special cooking guest, Joey Fatone does some grilling with Post Gazette food writer Gretchen McKay
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

We recently teamed up with food writer, Gretchen McKay, dining critic Melissa McCart and food editor Bob Batz Jr., the folks behind the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Food Section and PG Plate for a discussion on outdoor cooking trends.

And just in time for Father's Day, pop music singer, dancer, father and cooking show host, Joey Fatone was recently in town for the Pittsburgh CLO production of 42nd Street. So Gretchen made him a classic Pittsburgh dish with a twist in the Post-Gazette Outdoor Test Kitchen.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:29 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Getting Where You're Going with the New Girl in Town

Exploring modes of travel with Pop City writer and travel contributor Elaine Labalme
Credit Ryan Lane / Flickr

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme looks at various modes of transportation.

Essential Pittsburgh
6:30 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Public Housing Shortage

Nearly 23,000 people are on the wait list for public housing in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Including 51 year old Yvonne Smith, who waited 6 months for a low income apartment
Credit Halle Stockton / PublicSource

Pittsburgh's city housing authority recently closed the waitlist for the majority of public housing properties. This is the  first time in 17 years this has happened and reflects the critical shortage of public housing in the city and Allegheny County.

Reporter Halle Stockton has written about this issue for our content partner Public Source and joins us to look at this issue.

Essential Pittsburgh
6:20 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

The War at Home: Expansion Plans for the Mexican War Streets

The Mexican War Streets on Pittsburgh's Northside are named after battles from the Mexican War
Credit Via Tsuji / Flickr

Expansion plans to designate more of the North Side as a historic district are causing an uproar in the Mexican War Streets. It's an issue that has neighbors split and calls into question the issue of who has a say in the neighborhood's master plan.

Paul Johnson, president of the Mexican War Streets Society and Post-Gazette reporter Diana Nelson Jones who covers the city's neighborhoods talk about the controversy.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
6:35 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

The Life of Learning Initiative on 90.5 WESA

Kevin Gavin is the Executive Producer of 90.5 WESA's Life of Learning initiative
Credit WESA

This week 90.5 WESA is  launching a three-year learning initiative.

Life of Learning will focus on learning and education activities, opportunities and challenges in the Greater Pittsburgh area. A five part series begins airing this week during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Kevin Gavin, Executive Producer of 90.5 WESA’s Life of Learning talks about the scope of the initiative.

Essential Pittsburgh
6:26 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Cyber Security Basics: Assume That Private Communication Is Never Private

Mark Wuegler is senior security researcher at Immunity Inc. A cyber security firm
Credit Michael Sias / Immunity Inc.

Edward Snowden is the source of leaks of government surveillance programs within the United States. Which have raised questions about our privacy and how much information the government is gathering about us by phone and on the internet. 

Mark Wuergler, Senior Security Researcher for the cyber security firm Immunity, says the NSA has the means and motive to spy on anyone. We'll talk with him about the NSA and security.

The government has been watching ever since the NSA was created. They've been finding and trying new ways of watching and listening and recording. And they're really good at it.

 

Essential Pittsburgh
6:25 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Tim Sweterlitsch

Pittsburgh writer Tim Sweterlitsch talks with WESA Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson about his wide-ranging interests in fiction.

Essential Pittsburgh
6:24 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

The Business of Non-Profits

Rebecca Harris is the Executive Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris and Peggy Outon, the Executive Director, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University discuss the business of nonprofits, and how the nonprofit sector enhances the business environment in our region.

For statistics on earnings in the non-profit industry visit the United Way of Allegheny County  and Guidestar,  a resource for statistics on all things nonprofit

Pages