90.5 WESA's Essential Pittsburgh

Essential Pittsburgh airs weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. and is repeated at 8 p.m.
Paul Guggenheimer

Essential Pittsburgh is a locally produced program from 90.5 WESA dedicated to developing a deep, ongoing exploration of critical issues affecting Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, as well as featuring community leaders and newsmakers in the arts, sciences, technology, business, healthcare, government and education.

  • Call (412) 246-2002 from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays to participate in the discussion.
  • Dial (412) 256-8783 to leave a question or comment before or after the show.
  • Follow #EPLive on Twitter or tweet your question to @esspgh.
  • Continue the conversation on our station Facebook page.
  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
  • What stories are we missing? Send your thoughts to esspgh@wesa.fm 
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Composer ID: 
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Essential Pittsburgh
5:24 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Where Does Halloween Come From?

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery on the Northside, Pittsburgh
Credit Matt Niemi / flickr

Halloween is the second biggest consumer holiday after Christmas. But what are its origins? Pop culture contributor Joe Wos joins us to provide a history of All Hallow’s Eve and how it’s been celebrated in the Steel City.

Essential Pittsburgh
5:22 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Chiller Theater Stories with "Chilly Billy" Bill Cardille and Lori Cardille

Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille and his daughter Lori Cardille
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

For over twenty years, Bill Cardille hosted Chiller Theater, a television institution for Pittsburghers. Running from 1963-1984 on Channel 11, Chiller Theater was a late-night movie program highlighting spooky films from throughout cinema history. 

Cardille also acted in the original 1968 “Night of the Living Dead,” as well as the 1990 remake of the film. He and his daughter Lori Cardille join us to discuss the show, their current projects and Bill's illustrious career on stage and screen. 

Essential Pittsburgh
4:17 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Bricolage Debuts the Musical Stage Adaptation "Scarrie"

SCarrie Musical creator Tami Dixon and actor Connor McCanlus stars as Carrie.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Bricolage Theatre's "Midnight Radio" has created its own stage adaptation of the horror film "Carrie," with a musical called SCarrie which casts Carrie as a senior at Alderdice High School. We'll talk with Tami Dixon, creator of this musical version, and SCarrie actor Connor McCanlus.

Essential Pittsburgh
1:09 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Friday Rundown: Pittsburgh Halloween History and Chilly Billy Cardille

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery on the Northside, Pittsburgh
Credit Matt Niemi / flickr

These topics air Friday October 31, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

The History of Halloween

Halloween is the second biggest consumer holiday after Christmas. But what are its origins? Pop culture contributor Joe Wos joins us to provide a history of All Hallow’s Eve and how it’s been celebrated in the Steel City.

Scarrie

Bricolage Theatre's "Midnight Radio" has created its' own stage adaptation of the horror film "Carrie," with a musical called "Scarrie"which casts Carrie as a senior at Alderdice High School. We'll talk with Tami Dixon, creator of this musical version that is true to Bricolage's Midnight Radio style.

Bill Cardille

For over twenty years, Bill Cardille hosted Chiller Theater, a television institution for Pittsburghers. Running from 1963-1984 on Channel 11, Chiller Theater was a late-night movie program highlighting spooky films from throughout cinema history. Cardille also acted in the original 1968 “Night of the Living Dead,” as well as the 1990 remake of the film. He joins us to discuss his illustrious career on stage and screen. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:36 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” at ReelAbilities Film Festival

Credit Stand Clear of the Closing Doors / Facebook

The second annual ReelAbilities Film Festival is taking place in Pittsburgh, focusing on movies telling the stories of people with disabilities.

We'll talk with director Sam Fleischer and Jesus Sanchez-Velez who stars in the film "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors." The movie won a Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and has played at film festivals around the world.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:28 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Traveling to Haunted Attractions

Cemetery scene in Salem, MA
Credit MacKensie Cornelius / Flickr

From Salem to Savannah, there are a number of sites across America that are home to things that go bump in the night. If you're in the mood for a little ghost hunting, travel contributor Elaine Labalme recommends some of her favorite haunts.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:37 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Thursday Rundown: A Rare Retirement for the Steelers

The Steelers rarely retire a player's jersey number, but this Sunday they will.
Credit The Steelers / NFL / wikipedia

These topics air Thursday October 30, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Retiring Mean Joe Greene's Jersey

Thirty-two years after retiring, Steelers legend Mean Joe Greene’s number 75 will be retired this coming Sunday. We’ll address the significance of this coming event and what it means for the Steelers organization with Gary Pomerantz, author of the book "Their Life’s Work: the Brotherhood of the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers."

ReelAbilities Film Festival

The second annual ReelAbilities Film Festival is taking place in Pittsburgh. It focuses on people with disabilities. We'll talk with director Sam Fleischer and Jesus Sanchez-Velez  who stars in the film "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors." The movie won a Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and has played at film festivals around the world.

Haunted Travel

From Salem to Savannah, there are a number of sights across America that are home to things that go bump in the night. If you're in the mood for a little ghost hunting, travel contributor Elaine Labalme will recommend some of her favorite haunts. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:34 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Why Do We Love to be Scared?

Why, oh why, do we like to be scared??? This visitor to Scarehouse Pittsburgh is about to have a bit of fun.
Credit Scarehouse / Facebook

Halloween is a great time of year to be a thrill-seeker. Many people search for an adrenaline kick of fear in haunted attractions, horror movies and pranks. But why? What makes a good scare so thrilling? And do other cultures enjoy recreational fear in the same ways?

If you’ve visited Scarehouse recently you may have been part of research which explores these questions. Greg Siegle, Director of the Program in Cognitive Affective Neuroscience (PICAN) at the University of Pittsburgh and Pitt Sociologist Margee Kerr talk about their Ecological Emotional Experience Protocol (EEEP!) experiments and Kerr’s forthcoming book, “Scream: Adventures in the Upside of Fear.”

Essential Pittsburgh
3:21 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Western Pennsylvania's Supernatural History

Given western Pennsylvania's industrial history and the dangers associated with 20th century steel making, is it any wonder that many local stories of hauntings have been related to steel work?
Credit The Pittsburgh Collection / The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

How haunted is Western PA? From the ghost of Slag Pile Annie to fog that engulfs Blue Mist Road, we’ll explore the region’s haunted history with Thomas White, author of the book "Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania."

Essential Pittsburgh
2:58 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

GamerGate Highlights Culture Changes and Clashes

A woman playtests Team Fortress 2 at Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany in 2007.
Credit wlodi / Flickr

Video games -- as well as the people who play them -- have changed a lot in the last 10 or 20 years. With improvements in gaming technology and a host of new video game platforms, more people are gaming than ever before. The old stereotype of video gamers as straight, young, white men has been challenged by a growing diversity of gamers, especially women. 

The recent Gamergate controversy, however, shows that some hardcore gamers are not happy with the diversification of the video game culture. Joining us to talk about Gamergate and what it shows about how video games -- and society -- are diversifying, is Max Parker, video game journalist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:43 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Adventures in the Upside of Fear

Why, oh why, do we like to be scared??? This visitor to Scarehouse Pittsburgh is about to have a bit of fun.
Credit Scarehouse / Facebook

These topics air Wednesday October 29, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Finding Fun in Fear

Halloween is a great time of year to be a thrill-seeker. Many people search for an adrenaline kick of fear in haunted attractions, horror movies and pranks. But why? What makes a good scare so thrilling? And do other cultures enjoy recreational fear in the same ways? If you’ve visited Scarehouse recently you may have been part of research which explores these questions. Greg Siegle, Director of the Program in Cognitive Affective Neuroscience (PICAN) at the University of Pittsburgh and Sociologist Margee Kerr talk about their Ecological Emotional Experience Protocol (EEEP!) experiments and Kerr’s forthcoming book, “Scream: Adventures in the Upside of Fear.”

Supernatural PA

How haunted is Western PA? From the ghost of Slag Pile Annie to fog that engulfs Blue Mist Road, we’ll explore the region’s haunted history with Thomas White, author of the book "Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania."

Gamergate and What Can Be Said About Cultural Change

Video games -- as well as the people who play them -- have changed a lot in the last 10 or 20 years. With improvements in gaming technology and a host of new video game platforms, more people are gaming than ever before. The old stereotype of video gamers as straight, young, white men has been challenged by a growing diversity of gamers, especially women. The recent Gamergate controversy, however, shows that some hardcore gamers are not happy with the diversification of the video game culture. Joining us to talk about Gamergate and what it shows about how video games -- and society -- are diversifying, are Max Parker, video game journalist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Susan Rohwer, a Providence, RI-based freelance journalist who has been following Gamergate.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:35 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Speaking with Democratic Candidate Erin McClelland About her Platform for Congress

Credit Erin McClelland / Campaign Website (http://erin14.com/)

 

With the election a week away, we'll look at the race for the seat in the 12th Congressional District. Democratic candidate Erin McClelland joins us. She'll share her views on several issues including health care, her views on Ebola in our country, and how she started a nonprofit business specializing in addiction treatment.

Essential Pittsburgh
2:29 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

The Young Preservationists Association Works to Save Historic Sites in Pittsburgh

Credit YPA

The Young Preservationists Association has announced their list of places to save in the Pittsburgh region. We’ll discover what sites are being saved, threatened by the wrecking ball or simply being neglected by from Ellen Kitzerow, Chair of the Young Preservationists.

Essential Pittsburgh
2:27 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

The Business of Artisanal Cheese

Credit Alex Proimos / Flickr

Artisanal cheese is becoming the latest food trend. Much like craft beers, people are using local ingredients to make their own cheeses. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of artisanal cheese.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: The Candidate and Saving Sites in Pittsburgh

Roxian Theater in McKees Rocks
Credit YPA

These topics air Tuesday, October 28, at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Erin McClelland

With the election a week away, we'll look at the race for the seat in the 12th Congressional District. Democratic candidate Erin McClelland joins us to share her views on several issues including health care and how she started a nonprofit business specializing in addiction treatment.

Sites to Save in Pittsburgh

The Young Preservationists Association has announced its list of places to save in the Pittsburgh region. We’ll discover what sites are being saved, threatened by the wrecking ball or simply being neglected by from Ellen Kitzerow, Chair of the Young Preservationists.

WESA Celebrates - Paul Abernathy

Four years ago, after graduating from the seminary, Paul Abernathy made it his mission to help people living in the Hill District. His efforts resulted in the opening of the thrift shop called FOCUS. It stands for the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve. It also stands for Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding and Shelter, which are needed in this community. Paul Abernathy is the profile subject of this week’s WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Artisanal Cheese

Artisanal cheese is becoming the latest food trend. Much like craft beers, people are using local ingredients to make their own cheeses. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of artisanal cheese.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:27 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Jonas Salk's Legacy Includes a Focus on Sustainability

Credit University of Pittsburgh

We'll join the Pitt School of Public Health in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jonas Salk, the man who discovered and developed the first successful polio vaccine. His son Peter Salk, scientific director of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, will join us to talk about the Jonas Salk Centenary Symposium on Sustainability: Survival of the Wisest.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:27 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Sasha King Offers Tips for Crafting a Riveting Resume

Credit Flazingo.com / Flickr

While there are new methods for job searching in today’s economy two things remain constant. You need a good cover letter and resume. This month independent career consultant Sasha King is here with tips for creating riveting resumes that will get you noticed.

Rezscore.com

Resunate.com

For more on resume building, read Sasha's article here

 

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:26 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Steelers Defensive End Brett Keisel On Playing Football at Age 36

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (99) sits with teammates on the bench during the NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Pittsburgh.
Credit AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

With his Grizzly Adams beard, Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is one of the most recognizable athletes in Pittsburgh. But now in his 13th season, and having reached the age of 36, Keisel knows the end of his playing career is near. He joins us to talk about football, hunting and raising money for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:08 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

Monday Rundown: Recognizing the Work of Jonas Salk

Jonas Salk in 1957 at the University of Pittsburgh, where he developed the first polio vaccine.
Credit The Pitt Owl Yearbook 1957 / Wikipedia

These topics air Monday October 27, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

100th Anniversary of Jonas Salk's Birth

We'll join the Pitt School of Public Health in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jonas Salk, the man who discovered and developed the first successful polio vaccine. His son Peter Salk, scientific director of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, will join us to talk about the Jonas Salk Centenary Symposium on Sustainability: Survival of the Wisest.

On the Job with Sasha King - Riveting Resumes

While there are new methods for job searching in today’s economy two things remain constant. You need a good cover letter and resume. This month independent career consultant Sasha King is here with tips for creating riveting resumes that will get you noticed.

Brett Keisel

With his Grizzly Adams beard, Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is one of the most recognizable athletes in Pittsburgh. But now in his 13th season, and having reached the age of 36, Keisel knows the end of his playing career is near. He joins us to talk about football, hunting and raising money for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:21 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

The 44th Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert Runs Next Week

Grammy-award winning bassist, cellist, and singer Esperanza Spalding will perform as part of the 44th Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert next week.
Credit Charlie Llewellin / Flickr

The 44th annual Jazz Seminar and Concert will take place next week. WESA Jazz host Bob Studebaker previews the event with Geri Allen, director of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Essential Pittsburgh
3:20 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Allentown Mayor Promotes 'Thinking Outside of the Box'

Downtown Allentown, PA at night
Credit Lehigh Valley PA / Flickr

Pittsburgh is often hailed as a success story of Rust Belt recovery. Despite the lyrics of a certain Billy Joel song, Allentown, PA is also gaining ground as a more broadly based, post-industrial economy.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is in Pittsburgh talking with local officials and sharing his experiences as Mayor of the 3rd largest city in the Commonwealth.

He joins us to discuss the moves that Rust Belt cities can make to rebuild their economies in the twenty-first century.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:05 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Friday Rundown: Mayor Ed Pawlowski on Building a Better Allentown

Downtown Allentown, PA at night.
Credit Lehigh Valley PA / Flickr

These topics air Friday October 24, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski

Pittsburgh is often hailed as a success story of Rust Belt recovery. Despite the lyrics of a certain Billy Joel song, Allentown, PA is also gaining ground as a more broadly based, post-industrial economy. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is in Pittsburgh talking with local officials and sharing his experiences as Mayor of the 3rd largest city in the Commonwealth. He joins us to discuss the moves that Rust Belt cities can make to rebuild their economies in the twenty-first century.

44th Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert

The 44th annual Jazz Seminar and Concert will take place next week. WESA Jazz host Bob Studebaker previews the event with Geri Allen, director of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:07 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

What's Hot in the Box Office This Fall

Credit Janne Moren / Flickr

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Film Editor Barbara Vancheri discusses the movies "Ouija," "Gone Girl," "The Judge," "Fury," "St. Vincent," and "Birdman." We also talk about Pittsburgh Native, Michael Keaton and how "Birdman" could be a life changing film for his career.

The horror movie “Ouija,” Vancheri says the film might make you even more afraid to use the classic board game referenced in the title. “Gone Girl,” which has been a major success at the cineplex, is full of twists and surprises and has a strong cast. “Fury” is an intense, historical film that takes place at the end of WWII. Also, lookout for "St.Vincent" that is coming out tomorrow the film “Birdman” that Vancheri would describe as brilliant, coming out next week.

Thoughts from Vancheri:

“If you're an adult and you’ve seen something like 'The Exorcist' I don’t think it will make you quake or shake but it seemed to entertain the teens and tweens who were in the audience.” - Vancheri on the movie “Ouija”

"We watched a screening a couple weeks ago and I think two of us used the same word, and that was 'brilliant'."- Vancheri on the movie 'Birdman.'"

Watch the official "Birdman" trailer 

Essential Pittsburgh
2:56 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

State Supreme Court Suspends McCaffery

Credit PA National Guard / Flickr

The state Supreme Court has suspended one of its own, Justice Seamus McCaffery, with pay. The suspension is a response to McCaffery's admitted exchange of sexually explicit emails with people in the state attorney general's office, among other things. 90.5 WESA's capitol correspondent Mary Wilson provides an update from Harrisburg.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:04 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Fall Getaways

Credit Willscrlt / Flickr

Are you feeling an overwhelming need to get away? Would a quick autumnal excursion sate your wanderlust? This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests five quick fall getaways.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:14 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Fall Films and Filming in the Steel City

Credit Work the Angles / Flickr

These topics air Thursday October 23, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

State Supreme Court Suspends McCaffery

The state Supreme Court has suspended one of its own, Justice Seamus McCaffery, with pay. The suspension is a response to McCaffery's admitted exchange of sexually explicit emails with people in the state attorney general's office, among other things. 90.5 WESA's capitol correspondent Mary Wilson will have the latest from Harrisburg.

Fall Movie Reviews

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Film Editor Barbara Vancheri discusses the movies "Ouija," "Gone Girl," "The Judge," "Fury," "St, Vincent," and "Birdman," as well as movies being filmed, or about to be filmed, in Pittsburgh. She says it's been a remarkable year for movies being shot in and around Pittsburgh.

Five Quick Fall Getaways

Are you feeling an overwhelming need to get away? Would a quick autumnal excursion sate your wanderlust? This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests five quick fall getaways. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:11 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Social Media and the Gubernatorial Election

Screen shots of the twitter profiles for Candidates Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf
Credit Tom Corbett/Tom Wolf Campaigns / Twitter

Do Governor Corbett and his challenger Tom Wolf have as many followers on Twitter and Facebook as their campaigns would lead you to believe? We’ll look at the role social media is playing in this year’s gubernatorial election with Pittsburgh Tribune Review reporter Andrew Conte.

Essential Pittsburgh
2:00 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

The Buhl Planetarium's 75th Anniversary Celebration

This is a 1939 photo of an audience watching a planetarium show with the Zeiss II Star Projector in Berlin, Germany. Zeiss II is the type of projector originally installed at the Buhl Planetarium.
Credit German Federal Archive

Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium opened to great fanfare in October of 1939. The Buhl's Zeiss II Planetarium Projector was the first such projector to be placed on an elevator, and the Theatre of the Stars was the first planetarium theatre to include a permanent theatrical stage and a special sound system for the hearing-impaired.

We talk with Glenn Walsh, Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss, and Former Astronomical Observatory Coordinator and Planetarium Lecturer for the Original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in Pittsburgh.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:49 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Celebrating the Birthday of the Original Buhl Projector

Zeiss Model II Star Projector
Credit Photojunkie / wikipedia

These topics air Wednesday October 22, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Social Media and the Gubernatorial Election

Do Governor Corbett and his challenger Tom Wolf have as many followers on Twitter and Facebook as their campaigns would lead you to believe? We’ll look at the role social media is playing in this year’s gubernatorial election with reporter Andrew Conte.

Buhl Planetarium 75th Anniversary

Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium opened to great fanfare in October of 1939. The Buhl's Zeiss II Planetarium Projector was the first such projector to be placed on an elevator, and the Theatre of the Stars was the first planetarium theatre to include a permanent theatrical stage and a special sound system for the hearing-impaired. We'll talk with Glenn Walsh, Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss, and Former Astronomical Observatory Coordinator and Planetarium Lecturer for the Original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in Pittsburgh. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:24 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Coping and Investing in a Volatile Market

Credit Perpetual Tourist / Flickr

The American economy has experienced gradual improvements in the 6 years since the 2008 market collapse. But for many investors, memories of those economic losses are still raw.

Throughout the last month, the volatility of global politics has affected the stock market with disconcerting spikes and dips.

Financial planners such as Paul Brahim, Chairman and CEO of BPU investment firm and a member of the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Financial Planning Association, are faced with concerned investors who want to know what they’re in for. He joins us to talk about the causes of the latest market volatility and how best to react.

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