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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Canonsburg: Home of America's Pop Music Hall of Fame

Canonsburg native Perry Como is one of the first inductees to America's Pop Music Hall of Fame.
Credit Wikipedia

    

Canonsburg, PA, is the home of singer Perry Como, and more recently, Wiz Khalifa. And the town is proud of its connection to American popular music. The borough is now capitalizing on its musical heritage with the establishment of America's Pop Music Hall of Fame. We'll talk with borough manager Terry Hazlett about plans for the museum and the first inductees.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The New Girl in Town Travels to the Brandywine Valley

Longwood Gardens is just one of the horticultural and historical gems that can be found in the Brandywine Valley
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

There’s so much to do and see in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Region you may run out of time before you run out of things to do. The area has been immortalized on canvas by artist N.C. Wyeth and  is home to museums, public gardens and more. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme ventures to this area just below Philadelphia.

Find out more about some of the places mentioned in this segment:

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo: An Activist and Artist Blogging from Havana

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo lives in Havana Cuba and is a columnist for the Pittsburgh-based magazine Sampsonia Way.
Credit Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

For the first time in nearly 50 years, Cubans no longer need a special permit to travel outside the country. With the new potential for travel freedom, how does one's view of the world change? Because of the relaxed restrictions, Cuban writer and photographer, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo is now visiting Pittsburgh and the United States for the first time. He joins us to talk about his work for City of Asylum's Sampsonia Way Magazine, publishing Voces, Cuba's first independent e-zine,  and what it took to travel to the U.S.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Keeping Saturday Postal Service

Saturday postal service remains for the time being.
Credit Alexander Marks / Wikipedia

Earlier this year the Postal Service announced plans to cancel Saturday mail delivery. Now comes word the Postal Service has canceled its cancelation plans. Joining us to talk about the continual struggles of the U.S. Postal Service is Rich Geddes an associate professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Steelers Quarterback Charlie Batch Promoting Neighborhood Peace

Steelers Quarterback Charlie Batch talks about being an activist and a community peacekeeper
Credit CharlieBatch.com

Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch talks about winning the Byron "Whizzer" White Award, an honor given by the NFL Players Association for his work in the community and lending more than just his name to the foundations he works with. Batch started his Best of the Batch Foundation 12 years ago, fulfilling a promise he made after his younger sister, Danyl Settles was shot and killed in the crossfire between rival gangs in their Homewood neighborhood.  

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Ira Glass Reinventing Radio

Ira Glass speaking at CMU in 2006
Credit Wikipedia

The public radio program This American Life has been entertaining audiences for two decades. The program was recently awarded its fourth Peabody Award. Host Ira Glass talks with us about the program, reinventing radio and his status as a celebrity. He comes to the Hillman Center for performing arts this weekend.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Three Rivers Venture Fair: Financing Your Entreprenuerial Ideas

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

When it comes to getting a business off the ground people go in search of angels or venture capitalists to help make their dreams a reality. But what's the difference? And how do you attract their attention to your project? Business contributor Rebecca Harris reports this week on the Three Rivers Venture Fair where prospective business owners could find possible financial backing. 

Find out more about Angel Investing and Venture Capitalism:

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Speaking Volumes
9:00 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Katie Bates

Katie Bates is Speaking Volumes with Josh Raulerson
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

As a civil engineer, and as a reader of fiction, Katie Bates is interested in "why people act the way they do." She talks with 90.5 WESA Morning Edition host, Josh Raulerson about her reading choices, from Anne Applebaum to Tom Vanderbilt.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Protection From Abuse: Recognizing Child Abuse and Reporting It

A 2012 meeting of the state task force for child protection. The panel was created by the PA General Assembly to review state laws and procedures governing child protection and the reporting of child abuse.
Credit State Child Protection Website

This audio is pending

Last summer, our content partner Public Source investigated allegations of sexual abuse against a former high school English teacher and coach, David Scott Zimmerman. The story brought up questions of how abusive behavior goes unreported in schools. Now, with a package of 16 bills on child abuse in the legislature and the results of a statewide task force on child protection, we take a look at the latest with the Zimmerman case and talk about ways to recognize the warning signs of potential sexual abuse. How do you teach your kids to speak up on questionable behaviors? And what questions should parents be asking before they let another adult spend time with their child? Joining us for the discussion, Public Source investigative reporter Bill Heltzel  and Dr. Rachel Berger, a Pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and member of the statewide task force on child abuse.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:44 am
Mon April 8, 2013

City Council Update with Noah Brode

City and County Council reporter Noah Brode
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  Happy Monday! 90.5 WESA reporter, Noah Brode gives us our weekly update on Pittsburgh City Council.  More in the ongoing discussions of police fees for secondary detail work, funding for new police vehicles, and healthcare eligibility for dependents of city employees have all been major topics of discussion.  Noah also gives us reaction to County Council's decision last week to allow only lawyers to represent citizens in property reassessment appeals cases.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:02 am
Mon April 8, 2013

A New Historical Marker with a Cherry on Top

A banana split in the traditional "banana boat" style
Credit Wikipedia

  We all scream for ice cream, especially when it’s a banana split. You may not know it but the fruity ice cream concoction known as the banana split has a tie to the Pittsburgh region. And it's being recognized by the state. Latrobe City Manager Alex Graziani tells us what it's all about.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:06 am
Mon April 8, 2013

What about Bob? Sports Talk with Bob Dvorchak

Bob Dvorchak is our weekly sports contributor.
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Our sports guy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to talk about the dismissals and controversy surrounding Rutgers men's basketball, the recent defections of prominent Pitt athletes, and a couple of national championships coming to Pittsburgh.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Financial Literacy Month: Jumping Back into the Stock Market

Ready to invest again? Find out which approach to stock market investing could work best for your situation.
Credit Terence Wright / Flickr

  In the first week of April, mortgage financier Fannie Mae reported record earnings for the fourth quarter, 2012 was their first profitable year since 2006. Yet the March jobs report was poor. So with a recovering housing market and fluctuating employment numbers, what does this say about the stability of our financial system? Are we really on a road to recovery? Is it safe to jump back into the stock market? And what are the best ways to do it? Roselyn Wilkinson, Vice President of MD&A Financial Management Co. and Registered Representative of Berthel Fisher continues our series of financial literacy month discussions with advice on smart ways to invest.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Restoration & Renewal: A Tale of Two Theatres

The interior of the Palace Theatre in Greensburg after renovation
Westmoreland Cultural Trust

  Officials in McKees Rocks hope restoration of the Roxian Theatre will have the economic impact the Palace Theatre has had on Greensburg. We’ll discuss the importance of these theaters to their communities with Taris Vrcek, executive director of the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation and Michael Langer, president of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Fame High: The Discipline Behind the Glamour

Fame High shows the real life dramas of being a talented teenager at a performing arts school in LA
Credit CMU International Film Festival

  Oscar-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy joins us to talk about his latest feature length documentary Fame High which screens Saturday at the CMU International Film Festival. The film looks at the in-class and at-home drama involving students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. We'll talk about the pressures of being a talented young performer in a school full of talented young performers. Dennis Childers, a digital media instructor at CAPA High School in Pittsburgh joins us to talk about the benefits and pressures of attending an arts school.

See a trailer for the documentary Fame High

Economy & Business
9:00 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Remembering Billy Mays Jr. with Billy Mays Sr.

Famous Pitchman, Billy Mays Jr. used his boisterous persona to popularized brands such as OxyClean
Credit Sharese Ann Frederick / Wikipedia

  Considered America's greatest pitchman, Billy Mays Jr. could be found, day and night, selling products on TV commercials. Billy Mays Sr., author of the book My Son, Billy: A Father Remembers the Greatest Pitchman Ever talks about raising his son  in McKees Rocks.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

George Mitchell on Brokering Peace in Northern Ireland

U.S. Special Envoy and former Senator George Mitchell in Tel Aviv, Israel
Credit Matty Stern / Wikipedia--U.S. State Department

Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell has spent his career facilitating peace in conflict-ridden areas of the world, especially Northern Ireland. Mitchell's work with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 brought new stability between Ireland, the UK and Northern Ireland's political parties. Mitchell will be honored this week by La Roche College for his dedication to peace and justice.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Bringing Belfast Northern Ireland to Pittsburgh

Dan Rooney meeting with teens from Pittsburgh and Northern Ireland in the Press Room of Heinz Field
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Earlier this week a group of Amizade and Youth Work exchange students from the Belfast, Northern Ireland Parish of Holy Cross gathered with Pittsburgh area students for a special talk with Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney. Mr. Rooney is back running the Steelers after spending the past four years serving as the United States Ambassador to Ireland. He sat down and talked with us about how his experiences as a team owner informed his approach to diplomacy, and why it’s important to bring together differing groups. We also spoke with the students from Ireland and Pittsburgh about how they were inspired by their day-long interaction with a different culture.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

The New Girl in Town Discovers Columbus, OH

The night skyline of Columbus, Ohio
Credit John Mueller / Wikipedia

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme paraphrases the title of a Philip Roth novella and says, "Hello, Columbus." Just a short drive away, she'll tell us what the intrepid traveler can discover in Columbus, Ohio, the capital city of the Buckeye State.

Find out more about the places Elaine has visited in Columbus:

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:57 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

The Black Middle Class Experience in Pittsburgh: A Public Dialogue

Representives from The Urban League, Pittsburgh City Council and UPMC weigh in on Pittsburgh's African American Middle Class
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

On Wednesday, March 20th 90.5 WESA’s daily public affairs program Essential Pittsburgh hosted a Public Forum on the Black Middle Class in Pittsburgh. Inspired by a Pittsburgh Quarterly article by journalist Ben Schmitt, the forum addressed the history and current experiences of the Black middle class in Pittsburgh. Listen to our broadcast of the forum and leave a message at 412-256-8783 letting us know what you think!

Taking part in the discussion: journalist Ben Schmitt, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Esther Bush, Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle and Candi Castleberry-Singleton, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer (CIDO) at UPMC

Speaking Volumes
9:00 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Betsy O'Neill

Betsy O'Neill gives us her take on Melville
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

North Sider Betsy O'Neill admits, "In a previous life, I probably lived in the 19th century."

90.5 WESA Morning Edition host, Josh Raulerson interviews Betsy in her present incarnation about the summer she spent immersed in Melvilliana.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Taking Care of Business with Rebecca Harris

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

Last week our business contributor Rebecca Harris gave us a look at some of the fastest growing occupations. This week she talks about job opportunities for women and growth areas for entrepreneurs. Did you know 2013 is expected to be the Year of the Woman Entrepreneur?

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Michael Lamb Dropping Out of the Race: What Happens to the Dem's Endorsement?

City Controller Michael Lamb withdraws from the Pittsburgh mayoral race and endorses Jack Wagner.
Credit Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb withdrew from the city's mayoral race Monday and endorsed former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner.

So what does that mean for Lamb's Democratic Party endorsement? Does it fall by the way-side?  Does this mean committee-people are free to publicly back anyone they wish? Pittsburgh City Paper Editor, Chris Potter gives us the details of Lamb's announcement.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Focus Brasil Focusing on Pittsburgh

With Brazil's growing economy, should Portuguese be offered as a second language course in Middle and High School?
Credit Giselle Varga / Flickr

Focus Brasil takes place all over the world, promoting Brazilian music, movies, culture and the Portuguese language. It's become an annual forum for the most distinguished Brazilian leaders to address issues of interest to Brazilians abroad. This year Pittsburgh joins the ranks of cities like Ft. Lauderdale, London and Tokyo in hosting Focus Brasil Seminars. But with a focus on Pittsburgh's Universities called U-Circuit.

We’ll talk with Karen Goldman, Assistant Director of Outreach at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Latin American Studies, Ron Alvarado Chairman of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Brazilian Jazz vocalist, Kenia Ashby a local coordinator of Focus Brasil, about the importance of Portuguese in the global economy and why Pittsburgh has what's considered one of the best centers for Latin American Studies, yet Latin Americans are underrepresented in the Steel City.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:59 am
Mon April 1, 2013

City Council News with Noah Brode

Noah Brode is the Pittsburgh City Council reporter for 90.5 WESA
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  90.5 WESA City Council reporter, Noah Brode talks about some interesting bills regarding police that will be up for discussion this Wednesday. A continuation of the discussion of bank accounts for secondary officer detail, policies for off duty officers and restarting discussion of a new domestic violence policy for Pittsburgh police. 

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