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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Essential Pittsburgh
7:53 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Katie McGinty's Bid for Governor, A Local Olympian & Super Bowl Biz

PA Democratic candidate for Governor, Katie McGinty.
Credit Katie McGinty / facebook

These topics air Tuesday January 28, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:30 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Not My Life: A Documentary of Slavery in the Modern World

A scene from the documentary about slavery in the modern world titled, Not My Life.
Credit Not My Life / Facebook

Earlier Robert Bilheimer tackled the international spread of AIDS in a well-received documentary.  In his new film, Not My Life,  he takes on human trafficking.

Shot in a dozen countries on five continents, the film looks at a world where children are exploited daily through forced labor, domestic servitude, begging and sexual violence.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:17 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Love and Treasure, a Novel of the Hungarian Gold Train

Bestselling author Ayelet Waldman is the author of the new novel, Love and Treasure.
Credit Ayelet Waldman / Facebook

“I read about the Holocaust, I wrote about the Holocaust, I studied it in college, and I never had heard this story before,” admits writer Ayelet Waldman, who is in town for the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series this evening to discuss her new novel Love and Treasure.

The book weaves a tale around the true World War II story of a Hungarian Gold Train. One of the main characters is an American lieutenant described as a "tough, smart New York Jew" who is charged with guarding this treasure, a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets a beautiful Hungarian woman who has lost everything in the Holocaust.

Waldman has Jewish roots , attended Hebrew school as a child, has visited Israel,  but she says it was Google where she found the idea for this novel.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:36 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Remembering Wendell Freeland

A fighter plane, that was used by the Tuskegee Airmen during their efforts in World War II. Wendell Freeland was a bombardier for the Airmen.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh attorney and pioneering civil rights leader Wendell Freeland died Friday, January 24 at age 88. Mr. Freeland was one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.

Essential Pittsburgh spoke with him in 2012 about his experiences in the segregated services during World War II and whether he questioned why he was fighting for a country where he was treated like a second-class citizen.

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Behavioral Health
7:34 am
Mon January 27, 2014

In Seeking Health Care, Many Refugees Have Only A Small Window of Opportunity

Birkha Tamang, a Bhutanese refugee, hopes to find an affordable health care plan. Assisting him is health navigator Leslie Bachurski of the Consumer Health Coalition.
Credit Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

On a blustery January morning, Leslie Bachurski is at Northern Area Multi Service’s offices in Sharpsburg. Bachurski, a health care navigator, is at the resettlement agency to help non-English speaking refugees enroll in health insurance plans.

Her first client of the day is Birkha Tamang, a 42-year-old Bhutanese refugee who has been in the United States for 16 months with his wife and kids. He’s the only one in his family with a job — and the only one without health care coverage.

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:44 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Monday Rundown: A Cinematic Look at Human Trafficking & Author Ayelet Waldman

Bestselling author Ayelet Waldman
Credit Ayelet Waldman / Facebook

These topics air Monday January 27, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:33 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

American Legion Recommends Prevention Plan for Legionella Outbreaks

A sample of water that was examined after a Legionnaire's outbreak, similar to one that occurred in Pittsburgh.
Credit Megan Rosenbloom / Flickr

A new report issued by the American Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force has made recommendations to prevent future Legionella outbreaks at the city’s VA medical center. This is in response to the death of 5 patients in 2011-2012.

Jacob Gadd, deputy director for health care and manager of the System Worth Saving program for the American Legion, discusses what measures need to be taken in order to prevent future outbreaks.

He says the report finds the Veterans Administration needs to empower its 152 hospitals to better communicate during a crisis.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:18 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

The 100th Anniversary of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp

Hollywood Theatre is celebrating Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character's 100th anniversary Sunday by showing the Pawnshop.
Credit Hollywood Theatre

This Sunday the Hollywood Theater is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first film appearance of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character.  Kid Auto Races at Venice Beach will be featured, along with the premiere of a brand new score of The Pawnshop, written and performed by Pittsburgh pianist Tom Roberts.

Roberts says he tried to relate to Chaplin when composing music for The Pawnshop.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:50 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Penn State's Moon Shot Looks For Crowdsource Funding

Computer generated image of Penn State's Lunar Lion Lander in Space
Credit Penn State University Lunar Lion

A crew at Penn State is hoping to use crowd funding to help get a rocket to the moon. 

The team is working on grabbing the Google Lunar Xprize which is offering more than $40 million dollars in prizes to anyone who can safely land a craft on the moon, travel 500 meters above, below, or on the Lunar surface, and send two “Mooncasts” back to Earth. Half of the money will go to the first successful mission, but there are other milestone accomplishments that can free up some funding.

The team at Penn State, known as Lunar Lion, is looking to keep its effort on track by raising $406,536 through the crowd funding site rockethub.com.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:32 am
Fri January 24, 2014

How Close Are You To Finishing Our Pittsburgh Bucket List?

There's always lots to do in the Steel City, but there are certainly things you *need* to do as a Pittsburgher.
Flickr user jmd41280

Now that we’re three weeks into the new year, it might be a good time to evaluate your progress on your new year's resolution.

Or, if you’re in the market for a new goal, try ours: Here’s a list of 51 things that every Pittsburgher should do at least once. Try to cross all 51 off the list before you, ahem, before 2014 kicks the bucket.

(Have your own ideas for must-do Pittsburgh activities? Share your own Pittsburgh Bucket List with us on Twitter and Facebook: #PghBucketList.)

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90.5 WESA Celebrates
7:21 am
Fri January 24, 2014

How Emmai Alaquiva Is Giving Back Through Music

Emmai Alaquiva
Credit The Sprout Fund

Read and listen to a story about Emmai Alaquiva as part of a series honoring the individuals who make a difference in people’s lives: 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference.

Emmai is an award-winning  music producer and entrepreneur and has parlayed his accomplishments into mentoring kids, through hip hop music.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:34 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Friday Rundown: Moon Men and a Silent Movie Star

Computer generated image of the Penn State Lunar Lion Lander in space
Credit Penn State University Lunar Lion

These topics air Friday January 24, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:20 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Regional Museums: From Toothpick Ships to Grace Kelley Exhibits

The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore features works by self-taught artists.
Credit Jon / flickr

Combat the polar vortex and set your sights toward some fantastic regional museums.

Spend a day or a weekend and catch Elaine Labalme's fab five traveling and permanent exhibits, just a short drive away. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:09 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Hopes to Tour Iran in Time for Anniversary

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Credit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Symphony_Orchestra

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is partnering with the nonprofit American Middle East Institute to look into a possible tour of Iran.

Robert Moir is the PSO's senior vice president for artistic development and audience engagement, and Simin Curtis​ is from the American Middle East Institute.

Moir says the potential tour would  mark a significant cultural exchange for two countries that severed diplomatic ties over three decades ago, and it would mark the 50th anniversary of the symphony orchestra's 1964 visit to the country.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Residents Demand Transparency Following Train Derailments

Credit Robert Tucker / flickr

As crews continue clearing derailed train cars, including crude oil tankers, from a bridge over the Schuykill River in Philadelphia, the incident has amplified regional concerns about safety.

With shipments of crude oil continuing to roll through populous areas in Pennsylvania, environmental groups and lawmakers are calling for more information.

From Philly, StateImpact Pennsylvania's Katie Colaneri explains that lawmakers and residents want these large corporations to be more transparent, and give detailed accounts of the kinds of chemicals passing by their homes. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:18 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Stories of Travel - Safety, Diplomacy & Culture

A recent train derailment in Philadelphia raises concerns about how we transport hazardous materials.
Credit Robert Tucker / flickr

These topics air Thursday January 23, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:12 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Why Young People are Getting the Worst of the Flu

Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading.
Credit SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget / flickr

The H1N1 flu is back and it's striking mostly young adults. More than 90 percent of flu cases statewide have been identified as the H1N1 strain, commonly referred to as "Swine Flu" since it reemerged in 2009 after lying dormant since the 1960s and 1970s.

Marc Itskowitz, an internal medicine physician at Allegheny General Hospital has the answer for why the swine flu is hitting young people so hard.

“Many of the young adults and children have not been exposed to this virus and therefore do not have built up, innate immunity to this virus. And so without the vaccine this is the most vulnerable population to get sick when they’re exposed to this infection.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Allegheny Health Network Study Aims to Get a Clearer Picture of Asthma Rates

Reports indicate that the need for inhalers in Pittsburgh schools has increased over the past decade.
Credit @aerial_m / Flickr

Studies show the rate of childhood asthma in Allegheny County is around 13 percent, higher than the national rate of 9 percent.

An Allegheny General Hospital study is underway to more precisely determine childhood asthma rates in the region and exactly what triggers the respiratory disease.

Dr. David Skoner, Division Director in asthma, allergies and immunology for the Allegheny Health Network, is a co-director for the study.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:31 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

How a Local Poet Laureate Got His Start

This month, the Heinz History Center’s Italian American Collection will host Poet Laureate of North Carolina, Joseph Bathanti, as its first Scholar-in-Residence.
Credit Heinz History Center

This month the Heinz History Center’s Italian American Collection is hosting its inaugural Scholar-In-Residence program.

Receiving the honor is Pittsburgh native Joseph Bathanti. He is also the Poet Laureate of North Carolina and has written eight books of poetry and the award-winning novel East Liberty.

All of his works began with an unexpected move by the young University of Pittsburgh Alum. When he was 23 years old, Bathanti volunteered for the  Volunteers in Service to America program (VISTA) and the experience changed the course of his life.

Bathanti was sent to the North Carolina department of corrections to do his service.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:29 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Mini-Grant Awards Diversity in Pittsburgh

Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh, Paul Guggenheimer Essential Pittsburgh host and Gregg Roman, director of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is a melting pot of diverse individuals and groups.

Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh and Gregg Roman, director of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh coordinate the Mini-Grants Initiative: 2014 Civic Inclusion and Engagement Fund to support Pittsburgh's diversity and underrepresented groups.

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Arts & Culture
11:58 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Stream It! Music to Make You Move in 2014

Stick with it!
Credit yuki55 / flickr

The first month of 2014 is almost over, how's your fitness resolution going?

The New Years' season craziness at the gym should be thinning out, now's the time to really stick with that routine.

Cindy Howes, host of the Morning Mix at 91.3 WYEP and program director Kyle Smith have helped compile a playlist with some of their favorite songs from 2013 to keep you moving as the year progresses. Follow it and stream it anywhere.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:04 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Preventing & Tracking Illness and Civic Honorees

Credit SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget / flickr

These topics air Wednesday January 22, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:16 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Why Today is a Good Day to Buy a Convertible

Credit David Defoe / Flickr

One thing you couldn’t escape during the holiday season were year end close out deals enticing you to purchase a new car. But, when is the best time to buy a new car?

Should you buy American or foreign, new or used? This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of car buying. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:59 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Increasing African American Bone Marrow Donation & Continuing the Efforts of a Local Leader

Credit Canadian Blood Service / flickr

Following the deaths of three prominent black leaders in Western Pennsylvania, the need for bone marrow donors, especially in the African American community has come to light.

In an effort to increase awareness and register potential donors, Daria Crawley, an associate professor of management at Robert Morris University and Howard Russell of East Hills find that patients and families experience unique hurdles when searching for a donor.

Nadya Dutchin, National Account Executive for Be the Match, a global leader in bone marrow transplantation, says many potential donors are often uneasy about joining. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:46 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Spotlighting the Need for Bone Marrow Donation

Taking cheek swabs for the National Bone Marrow Registry
Credit mjecker / flickr

These topics air Tuesday January 21, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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