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.
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  • What stories are we missing? Send your thoughts to esspgh@wesa.fm 
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Essential Pittsburgh
8:02 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Public Opinion on Energy Issues

Canada is now the number one supplier of energy to the United States. Canadian researcher Nik Nanos, chairman of Nanos Research Group, says while we've relied on oil from the Middle East in the past, with shale gas and new discoveries of oil in North America, there's a new narrative for energy policy and Western PA is a big part of the picture.

A recent poll from Nanos revealed 3 out of 4 Americans feel there should be a continental energy strategy.

Pittsburgh, he says is part of an energy triangle that includes Houston and Calvary, Canada. As part of the triangle Pittsburgh and the rest of the U.S. must have a good relationship their neighbors to the north, and rethink energy in more broad terms than electric bills and gas prices.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:04 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Summer 2013 Movies with Film Critic Barry Paris

Johnny Depp's decision to play "Tonto" sparks controversy for Disney film.
Credit http://disney.go.com/the-lone-ranger/

Summertime is perfect for beaches, barbeques and blockbuster movies.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette movie critic and author Barry Paris joins Essential Pittsburgh to give his suggestions and input on this summer's hottest releases.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:10 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

What's Next for Pennsylvania Transportation?

State Senator Jim Ferlo
Credit SenatorFerlo.com

A version of the Pennsylvania transportation funding bill passed last week is expected to be voted on in the State House of Representatives Tuesday.

But State Senator Jim Ferlo is concerned that the bill does not allocate enough money for infrastructure maintenance. He's also opposed to a provision that would allow partial privatization of select bus lines. State Senator Jim Ferlo talks about why he voted against the funding bill and legislation that would change the structure of the Port Authority of Allegheny County Transit board.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:08 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Remaking a Marvel of Pittsburgh Industry

An artist rendering of the 20-inch Rodman gun at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia
Credit Project Gutenberg

The Heinz History Center unveiled its newest exhibition last Saturday, Pennsylvania's Civil War. Among the exhibits is a replica of the most impressive cannon of its era: the 57 ton Rodman Columbiad, forged in Pittsburgh. The cannon was a technological breakthrough in its time, and the recreation of the enormous cannon — all the way down to the initials scrawled into the barrel — is a testament to how modern technology can improve the museum experience.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:06 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Steve Tuell

Steve Tuell is a professor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Steve Tuell studies Hebrew and the Old Testament at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. As a theologian and a scholar of ancient languages, he has a special appreciation for the fantasy fiction of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Steve Tuell shares his current reading interests with 90.5 WESA Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:51 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

The Business of Landscaping with Rebecca Harris

A recent national survey showed 81 percent of people with a yard say the upkeep is important to the look of their home. This week it’s all about the curb appeal and joining us to talk about the business of landscaping and what it can do for your home is business contributor Rebecca Harris.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:24 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Rapid Transit Tips from Cleveland

Local government officials recently traveled to Cleveland to observe the city’s HealthLine rapid bus service.
Credit Center for Neighborhood Technology / Flickr

Last Thursday, Pittsburgh government and business officials took a trip to Cleveland to tour the Healthline—Cleveland’s rapid transit system—with the hopes of bringing back ideas for Pittsburgh’s own Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:24 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Reclassification of Obesity as Disease Prompts Questions about Treatment

A report by the AMA says that 1 in 3 Americans will struggle with obesity. What is the best way to treat this newly classified disease?
Credit Jelly Mark / Fightobesity.com

On Tuesday, the American Medical Association officially re-classified obesity as a disease. Experts are now saying this recognition will enable doctors to better treat the 1 in 3 Americans who struggle with obesity. It is hoped health plans will create more products to help patients manage their weight and broaden the coverage for those in need. Dr. Esa Davis, a practicing physician with UPMC, joins us to discuss the changes this re-classification will bring to the healthcare system. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:46 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Reporting Cases of Infectious Diseases in VA Hospitals

Congressman Tim Murphy
Credit Office of Congressman Tim Murphy

Congressman Tim Murphy is working with the House Veterans Affairs Committee to pass legislation requiring veterans' hospitals to report cases of infectious diseases to state and local public health agencies.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:43 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Who's Paying Attention to Alonzo Bodden?

Photo courtesy of Integrated PR Agency

Public radio listeners may know Alonzo Bodden best from his stints as a panelist on NPR's Wait.. Wait,..Don't Tell Me. Described as a comedian who combines intimidation and intelligence, he is also a past winner of NBC's Last Comic Standing.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:38 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

The Men Behind the Creation of Superman

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, creators of Superman, were unable to share in the wealth their famed character garnered.

The latest Superman movie Man of Steel opened last weekend to record box-office. The character, created by two guys from Cleveland, has been recognized as one of the leading pop culture icons.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:03 am
Thu June 20, 2013

The Legality of DNA Swab Testing After Arrest

DNA swab testing may become the "gold standard" of reliable evidence gathering.
Credit Kendra Griffiths / flickr.com

In a 5-4 majority, the United States Supreme Court concluded suspects can be subjected to a police DNA test after arrest and before trial and conviction. DNA samples would go into a national database and could possible be used to solve "cold cases." However, it calls into question the issue of personal privacy vs. public safety.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:02 am
Thu June 20, 2013

My Market: An Essay by Bob Batz Jr.

Credit Keana / flickr.com

Pittsburgh has farmers markets in virtually every neighborhood, making it possible to visit a different market every day of the week. But being a city of neighborhoods, is it any wonder that many Pittsburghers prefer their local farmer's market? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette food editor, Bob Batz Jr. loves the atmosphere of his farmer's market in Mt. Lebanon and shares the sounds of opening day in an essay.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:01 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Enon Valley Farm's Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes at Enon Valley Farm
Rhonda Schuldt LocalGoodness.com

Rhonda Schuldt, food writer for LocalGoodness.com has a little known seasonal item from her local market. Garlic scapes. Find out about the family behind Enon Valley Farm's garlic scapes. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:00 am
Thu June 20, 2013

New Girl in Town Enjoys Sunshine State

Bahia Honda State Park
Credit tripadvisor.com

How many of us don’t pass some of our time dreaming of relaxing on a warm, sandy beach? Would you like to kick back with a cool, refreshing drink, a good book and listen to the waves with few people around? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme is back from a recent visit to the sunshine state with the lowdown on secluded beaches.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:50 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Fracking Reporter Tom Wilber Screens Gasland II

Credit http://tomwilber.blogspot.com/

Journalist Tom Wilber has been reporting on hydraulic fracturing since 2008. He’s been our guest in the past to discuss the issue and help us sort fact from fiction when documentaries on the topic come out. He recently attended a screening of Gasland II, in his hometown of Binghamton, New York.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:02 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Legionnaire's Disease in the VA Hospital system

Credit John C. Schisler / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In a series of articles in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reporter Adam Smeltz has investigated on the prevalence of the Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaire's disease, in Pittsburgh's VA hospital in Oakland.  His findings indicate that there may have been reason to fear an outbreak in the hospital prior to the one that occurred in 2011.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:01 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Gasland Director Previews Part II

Credit www.naturalgas.org

Filmmaker Josh Fox joins us to talk about his HBO documentary "Gasland II," a followup to 2010's "Gasland." Fox says his latest film demonstrates how the stakes have been raised in the controversial method of natural gas and oil extraction in the last three years.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Arts & Culture and Brian's "American Originals"

Credit The Andy Warhol Museum / pictify.com

The Andy Warhol museum's newest exhibits feature local and national artists with unique styles, perfect for the Warhol. Arts and Culture contributor Brian Siewiorek talks about what you can look forward to with this summer's artists.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:15 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Haynes to Debut Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration in Pittsburgh

Guitarist Warren Haynes will debut his symphonic celebration tour of Jerry Garcia with the Pittsburgh Pops tonight
Credit warrenhaynes.net

A symphonic hall is probably the last place you would expect to hear the music of The Grateful Dead. However, the Pittsburgh Pops, with special guest guitarist Warren Haynes, will present a symphonic celebration of Jerry Garcia.
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Essential Pittsburgh
8:14 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Steve Sokol

Steve Sokol shares his reading choices with Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

After stints in New York and Berlin Steve Sokol came to the Steel City to head the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. He talks with WESA Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson about his reading choices which, as you might expect from someone whose job addresses world affairs, includes books with an international focus.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:13 am
Tue June 18, 2013

The Business of Non-Profits: Part II

Peggy Outon shares the statistics about the number of women that work in non-profits in the Pittsburgh region
Credit Marcus Charleston / Essential Pittsburgh

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris, speaks with Peggy Outon, the Executive Director, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University  in part two of her series on the business of nonprofits.This week the focus is on women who comprise the majority of people working at nonprofits.

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Soundscapes & Postcards
8:12 am
Tue June 18, 2013

On the Trail: Travel Through Frick Park and Hot Dog Dam

Ed Razanauskas flickr

For hikers and bikers alike, Frick Park has been a favorite Pittsburgh destination for years.  Visitors can enjoy beautiful trails like Tranquil Trail and take their furry friends to cool off at “Hot Dog Dam.” Software engineer, Paul Heckbert has been riding Pittsburgh's bike trails for nearly 20 years.  He shares his love of the region's trails as a member of the Steel Valley Trail Council, and today tells us about this beautiful piece of nature in Pittsburgh.  Catch a moment on the trail with Paul Heckbert.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:41 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Training the Next Generation of African-American Leaders

Rex Crawley, is co-director of the 7th annual Black Male Leadership Development Institute being held at Robert Morris University.
Credit Robert Morris University

Pittsburgh is one of the few major cities in the northeast that has not had an African American mayor. At present there are only two African Americans on its city council. Where will the next generation of community leaders come from?

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:41 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Political Commentary on Essential Pittsburgh

Essential Pittsburgh has convened a political panel to disucss the  impact of recent state and regional political developments. Up for discussion this week: Governor Corbett asks for, and receives, the resignation of DCNR Chief Richard Allan, former Governor Ed Rendell jumps into the fray on the transportation plan before the House, and control of Allegheny County's Port Authority board could be at risk as a bill moves through the state Senate.    

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