Josh Raulerson

Host, Morning Edition & Speaking Volumes

Josh Raulerson is the local host for Morning Edition weekdays from 5:00-10:00 a.m. on 90.5 WESA. He also produces "Speaking Volumes," an occasional interview segment on books.

Josh comes to Pittsburgh by way of Aspen, Colorado, where he was News Director and morning news anchor at Aspen Public Radio (KAJX-FM). An Iowa native, he previously hosted All Things Considered and Weekend Edition on Iowa Public Radio (WSUI-AM), and worked as a weekend host and fill-in host for Morning Edition on WOI-AM in Ames, Iowa. 

He holds a B.A. in Journalism and English from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa. Josh lives in Greenfield with his wife, Amy, and daughters Greta and Annalyse. His book, Singularities: Technoculture, Transhumanism, and Science Fiction in the 21st Century, was published in 2013 by Liverpool University Press.


Tax Season
3:30 am
Mon January 26, 2015

United Way Expands Free Tax Prep Program

Free tax preparation services are now available for income-eligible taxpayers in eight southwestern Pennsylvania counties this tax season, thanks to the United Way of Allegheny County’s Money In Your Pocket Coalition.

Households earning up to $53,000 a year can get free, in-person assistance with 2014 tax returns from one of more than 300 IRS-certified volunteers. Taxpayers with $63,000 or less in annual income can take advantage of a free online tax preparation service.

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Pittsburgh Ranks in Middle of Nationwide Sprawl Survey

A recent report by the nonprofit advocacy group Smart Growth America offers a mixed assessment of suburban sprawl in the Pittsburgh area.

Within a sample of 221 metropolitan areas across the U.S., Pittsburgh ranks 132nd for the compactness and connectivity of its suburban communities – well behind the largest cities, but better than many of its comparably sized peers.

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7:53 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Resolved to Quit Smoking in the New Year? Better Plan Ahead

If you’re planning to quit smoking in 2015, you’re not alone. After losing weight, it’s perhaps the most commonly made New Year’s resolution.

If you’re still smoke-free by June, you’re in much more select company.

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10:09 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of Dec. 19

Don't be a hero! Heed our sanity-saving holiday tips: intercept and re-gift your kids' presents, keep your sippy cup topped up at all times and phone it in whenever possible.

If you insist on making an effort, here's a taste of the finest last-minute holiday cheer Pittsburgh has to offer:

Market Square Holiday Market

Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops

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Arts & Culture
7:11 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of Dec. 5

Is there more to life than beer and cookies? Sure! There's also haggis, alligator tail, and other deep-fried curiosities.

Your weekend agenda in Pittsburgh:

Handmade Arcade

Brew Gentlemen's Food Truck Roundup

The Joy of Cookies

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Arts & Culture
6:30 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of Nov. 28

What to do with yourself after a full day of binge eating and all-around excess? We suggest three more days of exactly the same thing. Let the Hunger Games begin!

Meanwhile, we begin a three-week-long harangue urging you to shop local this holiday season. A few options to get you started this weekend:

I Made It! Holiday Market

Sample the Market

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Arts & Culture
10:38 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of Nov. 21

Rachel may be at death's door, but it will take more than debilitating illness to stop the Social Club.

Light Up Night

CMNH After Dark


Arts & Culture
12:04 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of Nov. 14

Fair warning: our normal ratio of dumb-jokes-to-thoughtful-content is slightly off this week.

As our friends at Wigle Whiskey get ready to celebrate Beer Week, we present an uncharacteristically informative discussion on everything from Pittsburgh history to the business of craft distilling to tasty seasonal cocktails.

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Religion & Faith
12:52 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Buddhist Relics On Display In Pittsburgh

Statue of Shakyamuni Buddha
Credit courtesy Maitreya Loving Kindness Tour

This week Chatham University is hosting a traveling exhibition of thousands of Buddhist relics, including one that organizers of the Maitreya Loving Kindness Tour believe belonged to the religion's founder.

Most of the relics are of the type known in the Tibetan tradition as "ringsel," according to tour manager Amanda Karg.

"They look like pearl-like crystals or jewels," Karg said. "We only find these relics in the cremation remains of people who are highly realized and great saints."

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Moratorium Discussions at DCNR Raise Questions

Pipeline clearing for Marcellus Shale development in Tiadaghton State Forest in 2011.
Credit Reid R. Frazier / The Allegheny Front

In February, Governor Tom Corbett announced his intention to balance the state budget, in part, using millions of dollars in projected revenues from new oil-and-gas drilling leases in state parks and forests. It was the first public acknowledgment of Corbett’s plans to lift a 2010 moratorium on leasing.

But records uncovered in an investigation by 90.5 WESA and the Allegheny Front suggest the issue may have been under active discussion much earlier.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Tue September 9, 2014

DCNR Ex-Chief's Calendar Shows Gaps

Fracking operations in Tiadaghton State Forest in 2011.
Credit Martha Rial / Special to 90.5 WESA / The Allegheny Front

As the agency that oversees 2.5-million acres of public land in Pennsylvania formed policy on drilling in state forests, the agency's head met frequently with oil and gas lobbyists in the capitol, including stops at upscale restaurants.

That's according to the calendar of Richard Allan, former Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Thu August 7, 2014

This CMU App Watches Boring Video So You Don't Have To

Skip to the good part: algorithm scours hours of dull video to find the most interesting bits.
Credit courtesy LiveLight

Say you have a large volume of digital video — hours of nanny-cam footage, perhaps, or a wedding reception.

And it’s boring, deadly boring. 

But suppose that, somewhere on that tape, something interesting does happen. Maybe it's just five seconds’ worth of attention-worthy images, buried under a mountain of redundant and predictable ones.

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Higher Education
3:30 am
Tue June 10, 2014

In Pittsburgh's New Economy, Organized Labor Reorganizes

Organizers Robin Sowards and Clint Benjamin at USW headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh, two blocks away from the campus of Point Park University. PPU adjunct faculty are voting this month on whether to join the Steelworkers.
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

  Like any English professor, Clint Benjamin spends a lot of his time grading papers.

“There’s a mountain – a teetering Matterhorn of papers at the end of the weekend, or during the week,” Benjamin said. “You’ve just gotta get through them.”

By his own estimate, Benjamin spends 30 to 40 hours a week on grading alone. He also has to attend meetings, answer emails, keep office hours, and commute between the Community College of Allegheny County and Duquesne University campuses, where in a typical week he prepares and teaches five sections’ of English and writing classes.

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Arts & Culture
7:06 am
Fri April 18, 2014

A 17th Century Emoticon? CMU Professor Who Originated The 'Smiley' Responds

Credit Edward Everett Hale, 1904 (via Wikimedia Commons)

An online debate broke out earlier this week over two otherwise unremarkable lines in a 1648 poem by the English poet Robert Herrick:

Tumble me down, and I will sit / Upon my ruins, (smiling yet :)

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Arts & Culture
6:23 am
Wed March 5, 2014

ACLA Now Boarding for TransAtlantic Flight

Colum McCann
Credit Brendan Bourke

National Book Award winner Colum McCann will speak to Pittsburgh-area high school students Monday as featured author for the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA)'s 2014 "One Book, One Community" program.

McCann will appear at Woodland Hills High School to discuss his 2013 novel TransAtlantic, which combines historical research with fictional elements in a story that spans centuries, continents, and multiple generations of characters.

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3:30 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

New Curator to Oversee Restored Civil War Veterans Post in Carnegie

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pa. has hired a part time curator to oversee its collection of rare artifacts from the U.S. Civil War.

Diane Klinefelter is a historian who served as the library’s director until 2012. She will return in January to take up the new position, which is being funded through a grant from the Massey Charitable Trust.

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Speaking Volumes
11:03 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Closing the Book on Speaking Volumes (For Now)

Josh Raulerson

For more than a year and a half, the Speaking Volumes project has brought 90.5 WESA listeners weekly conversations about books and reading with Pittsburghers from all walks of life.

As Speaking Volumes moves from a weekly series to a more occasional segment, host and producer Josh Raulerson shares his recent reads with 90.5 WESA's Larkin Page Jacobs.

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Sustainability and the Question of 'Should' with John Inserra

Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Business and technology teacher John Inserra of City Charter High School gives a reading list that advocates for broader thinking and sustainable living. 

David Orr, “The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture, and Human Intention

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7:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

New GED Exam Puts Students and Educators to the Test

Pennsylvania and other states are implementing universal high-school graduation requirements under the Common Core standards. As a result, the GED test is being updated as of Jan. 1. But for students who have already begun the battery of tests but have not yet passed all five sections, that's created a difficult situation.
Credit Flickr user albertogp123

The stereotypes about adults seeking GED certification can be ugly and simplistic. But the reality is that many lack a high school diploma for reasons largely outside their control: health problems, family issues and immigration status, just to name a few.

Some, like Rebekah Petrakovits, were home-schooled without proper oversight from school officials who were supposed to monitor their progress.

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon December 16, 2013

The Power of Being Magnanimous with Kevin Acklin

Kevin Acklin
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Kevin Acklin is the chief of staff for Pittsburgh’s Mayor-elect Bill Peduto. To get ready for his new position, Acklin has been brushing up on some political non-fiction.

Michael Weber, “Don’t Call Me Boss: David L. Lawrence, Pittsburgh’s Renaissance Mayor

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Revisiting the Classics with Audrey Russo

Credit Courtesy photo

President of the Pittsburgh Technology Council Audrey Russo talks about the books she keeps piled on her nightstand and drawing inspiration from strong female role models.

Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

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Speaking Volumes
12:06 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

At Work in America With Dave Newman

Pittsburgh-area novelist and poet Dave Newman
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Dave Newman worked as a house painter, a truck driver, a bookstore manager and a college teacher before taking on his latest job as an award-winning novelist. As in his own fiction, Newman's reading interests reflect both his working-class background and an interest in life at the margins of the Rust Belt.

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Speaking Volumes
7:31 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Reflections on Billy Strayhorn with janera solomon

Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

In celebration of what would have been jazz legend Billy Strayhorn's 98th birthday, janera solomon, executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, talks about her insights from his biography and legacy.

Sheryl Sandberg, “Lean In”

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon November 11, 2013

The Density of Short Fiction with Mason Radkoff

Credit Courtesy Braddock Avenue Books

Author and Pittsburgh native Mason Radkoff  talks down and out characters, fatherhood, day-to-day reality in writing, and the comeback of the short story.

Richard Russo, “The Risk Pool

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Government & Politics
3:26 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

City Property Tax Collections Come Up Short

Fall property tax collections for the city of Pittsburgh are $3.7 million below projections, according to the second-quarter report published this week by the mayor's finance office.

The millage rate may now need to be raised in order to correct the shortfall, though budget officials say it's too soon to say whether that will be necessary.

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3:17 am
Wed October 30, 2013

A Bridge To Pittsburgh's Industrial Past

A bicyclist crosses the Hot Metal Bridge on a late fall day.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

City of Bridges: The following report is the last is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

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4:13 am
Tue October 29, 2013

With Fixing The Greenfield Bridge, Funding's Not The Biggest Problem

The Greenfield Bridge over the Parkway East is due for demolition and reconstruction late next year. The project is expected to close the Parkway for about a week and cut off a conduit linking Oakland with Greenfield and Squirrel Hill for at least a year.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

City of Bridges: The following report is the second is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

Hundreds of bridges in Allegheny County alone are overdue for repairs or upgrades, and whatever happens in the final weeks of the legislative session, it’s unlikely lawmakers will approve funding for all of them.

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4:12 am
Mon October 28, 2013

In Transportation Funding Debate, Iconic Liberty Bridge a Political Football

The Liberty Bridge carries an estimated 54,000 (corrected from the 1,600 posted earlier) vehicles a day between downtown and the South Hills. And, of some 4,500 Pennsylvania bridges rated structurally deficient, it’s among the most visible.
Credit joseph a / Flickr


City of Bridges: The following report is the first is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

The Pittsburgh area is home to hundreds of bridges — by some counts, more than any city in the world.

It also has a higher percentage of structurally deficient bridges than any other U.S. city. If your goal is to highlight the problem, one in particular makes a pretty good backdrop.

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Speaking Volumes
3:27 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Leaving an Imprint on History with Rep. Dan Frankel

When he's not busy representing Pittsburgh's East End in the state House of Representatives, Rep. Dan Frankel enjoys pleasure-reads about the political process. To him, it never feels like work.

Robert A. Caro, “The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 4

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Speaking Volumes
3:19 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Reconciling Theory and Practice with Tim Cook

Tim Cook, founding director of the nonprofit The Saxifrage School, speaks about grounded ideas, finding the fantastic wherever we are, reserving winter for fiction and "gift-like" value.

William Carlos Williams, “A Sort of Song

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