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
8:10 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Psychology & Context Deeply Influence Employee Choices

Credit Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Behind every tough problem lie human behaviors. Understanding why we do the things we do can be a key to solving tough social problems.

It’s a focus of the work done by Ideas 42, which played a significant role in devising Propel Schools’ innovative 2013 savings initiative.

As the executive director of Ideas 42, Josh Wright explores the juxtaposition of human thought and business enterprise. He is in Pittsburgh as part of the Pitt Philanthropy Forum, where he'll speak Thursday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:03 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Dedicated to Children & Family Welfare, Cherna Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Credit Allegheny County DHS

For the past 17 years, Pittsburgh’s Marc Cherna has served needy children and families throughout the region as the director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

He recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest foster child foundation. The honor is granted to individuals who improve the welfare of children and provide dedicated service to the public. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:23 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

How to Set and Achieve Goals in the Workplace

Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/1264424156/

We’re in the first month of a new year and chances are you’ve made resolutions to improve aspects of your life.

Whether it’s finding a new job or making the most of your current position, having a strategy is a good starting point.

Sasha King, an independent career consultant, offers up some tips on how to set goals at work.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:16 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Escape the Cold and Visit These Florida Beaches

Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/iwaswired/4320569453/in/photostream/

Cole Porter’s lyric said it best when he advised listeners to, “Get out of Town.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if people heeded that advice in light of the recent cold snap. Where better to escape than a nice warm beach?

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers up some of her favorite low-key escapes.

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Art From the Ground Up
3:30 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Silk Sound Asian American Jazz Orchestra Gives New Life to Musical Traditions

Harish Saluja
Credit silkscreenfestival.org

Music that is centuries old is being reborn as a new sound in Pittsburgh.

Silk Sound Asian American Jazz Orchestra is an amalgam of different cultures and musical traditions coming together under the direction of Harish Saluja.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:43 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Honoring a Local Humanitarian and Self Improvement in Work & Life

Marc Cherna of Allegheny County DHS, honored with a lifetime achievement award
Credit Allegheny County DHS

These topics air Thursday January 30, 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
5:32 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Presidential Rhetoric in the State of the Union Address


President Obama spoke Wednesday afternoon at US Steel’s Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, PA. The visit is part of a 4-stop tour in which he’s emphasizing efforts to help the long-term unemployed and close the gap in economic disparity. Those efforts were initially highlighted Tuesday night in the president’s state of the union address.

University of Pittsburgh Political Communications Professor Gerald Shuster talked with us about the effectiveness of the president’s messaging during the address. Especially when he put it to congress to raise the minimum wage by saying “So join the rest of the country, say yes, give America a raise.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:25 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Neighborhood Resurgence Should Not Eliminate Affordable Housing

Credit Joseph A / flickr

Many Pittsburgh neighborhoods are experiencing a resurgence in new development. As new homes and businesses take shape, affordability for the working class.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Diana Nelson Jones and Richard Swartz, Executive Director of Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation discuss ways to motivate developers to build low-cost housing.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:43 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Former RMU Ice Hockey Goalie Travels to Winter Olympics

Brianne and Team USA hope to bring home a gold from the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Credit Brianne McLaughlin Twitter / Twitter

Former Robert Morris University women's ice hockey goalie Brianne McLaughlin has made the U.S. Women's Olympic ice hockey team for the second time and is headed to the winter games in Sochi, Russia.

She is the first Olympian to come out of the Colonials’ program and was part of the U.S. team that won a silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver games. McLaughlin, who says she “grew up on skates,” is currently in Boston gearing up for the winter games. She says she's proud to attend another match where she and her team have the chance to earn a gold medal.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:23 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: #SOTU, Building Affordable Housing & Olympic Women's Hockey

Credit Michael / Armchairbuilder.com

These topics air Wednesday January 29, 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
2:35 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

McGinty Brings Environmental Experience to the Gubernatorial Race

Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Today Katie McGinty is scheduled to be the first of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates to go on air with a statewide advertisement.

As a former State Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, she has a unique insight of the environmental issues facing Pennsylvania as well as a plan for approaching a number of other topics in the Commonwealth including education, tax credits and manufacturing.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:29 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Super Bowl Viewers to Order 1.23 Billion Chicken Wings

MetLife Stadium prepares for Super Bowl XLVIII
Credit Anthony Quintano / flickr

While the beloved Steelers won’t be playing in this year’s Super Bowl, residents of the City of Champions still enjoy watching the annual football game.

As one of the largest watched TV broadcasts each year, the economic impact of the football game reaches all facets of the tradition.

Super Bowl revenue includes everything from commercial payments to transportation and restaurant packages. This year the game will be played on February 2nd at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Rebecca Harris, business contributor and Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University explains that this game will be a first for shared hosting by New Jersey and New York, as well as the first time the game will be played outdoors in cold weather conditions.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:19 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Western Pennsylvania Native is Headed to the Winter Olympics

USA Olympic Bobsledders
Credit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobsleigh

A Beaver County native is heading to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Lauryn Williams of Rochester, a borough about 25 miles from Pittsburgh, has made the U.S. women's bobsled team as one of the push athletes.

Although she is a first-time Winter Olympian, Ms. Williams is a 3-time Summer Olympian, having helped the U.S. win a gold medal in the 400-meter relay at the London games in 2012. She joined us from Germany to discuss her preparations for Sochi.

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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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