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
8:03 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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Essential Pittsburgh
7:24 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer and the Miracle at Oakmont

The book Chasing Greatness recounts the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open
Credit Adam Lazarus

Forty years ago, in 1973, a week after Secretariat won the third leg in racing’s Triple Crown, another great sporting event took place. The finish of the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club is considered by some to be one of the greatest golf rounds ever played.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:33 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Breakthrough in Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Allegheny General Hospital researcher find genetic markers predict response to treatment.
Credit Tips Times / Flickr

 

A New York Times op-ed by Angelina Jolie disclosed her decision to have a double mastectomy after learning she carries a mutation of a gene that increases her risk of breast cancer.

Last week, researchers at Allegheny General Hospital, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic published important findings regarding breast cancer.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:01 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

A Conversation with NPR President Gary Knell

NPR President and CEO Gary Knell
Credit Sesame Workshop

Gary Knell is the President and CEO of NPR which remains unique among news organizations. While a number of large media outfits have shuttered their foreign bureaus NPR has reporters throughout the world. However, public radio is also at a crossroads as some of its long time shows like Talk of the Nation comes to an end and Car Talk no longer produces new shows.

What will the future of NPR look like and can it stay relevant in the changing media landscape? Also, how is NPR cultivating new talent to reflect and appeal to a new generation of public radio listeners? Mr. Knell is in Pittsburgh to speak at the Americans for the Arts convention.

Soundscapes & Postcards
6:46 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

On The Trail: A Moment on the Great Allegheny Passage

A group of cyclists on the GAP trail
Credit Great Allegheny Passage / Facebook

This weekend, Pittsburgh celebrates the completion of the last section of the Great Allegheny Passage, a bike trail that runs from Pittsburgh to the nation's capital. 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 he's already taken the GAP to Washington DC. Catch a moment on the trail with Paul Heckbert.

Essential Pittsburgh
4:39 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

My Father's Shoes

Raymond Vennare reads from his book My Father's Shoes in the WESA studio.
Credit Cally Jamis Vennare

Raymond Vennare has had a successful career as an businessman and entrepreneur. His latest accomplishment is that of author with the publication of his book of essays My Father's Shoes: Life Stories and Other Memories.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:14 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Sole Power: Getting an Innovative Product to Market

Sole Power captures the energy in a step normally lost to the surrounding environment and converts it into electrical power.
Credit Sole Power

Like a power-packed Dr. Scholl's insert, Sole Power is a device that allows people to charge devices as they walk. It's currently in the prototype, fundraising phase, but is said to have the potential to fully charge small devices like a cell phone with 2 and a half miles of walking.

"We're hoping to serve military personnel, people stuck in emergency situations, hikers and people in developing nations who don’t have access to electricity on a regular basis."  Says Matthew Stanton, Founder of Sole Power.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:13 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Americans for the Arts

Art All Night in Lawrenceville
Credit Cory Cousins / Flickr

Over the next three days, arts and community leaders from around the country are gathering around town to strategize about how to better communicate the impact the arts make in U.S. cities. Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, joins us to talk about the convention and how Pittsburgh's strategy in this area has become the benchmark for others.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:22 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Will Congress Vote on Immigration Reform?

Dr. Patricia Documet, UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Credit UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

The White House released a video on  immigration reform  featuring staffers in an attempt to push their support for the issue.  It's hoped Congress will vote on the issue before before the July 4th holiday? Six years ago President Bush urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass his proposed immigration reform. Instead the bill passed away.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:21 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

The Cultural Impact of Pittsburgh Pride Fest

What kind of cultural impact do you think PrideFest makes in Pittsburgh?
Credit Ginny / Flickr

This weekend the Pittsburgh Pride Festival is expected to generate huge revenue for the city and bring thousands of individuals and families to Liberty Avenue. The parade and concerts at Pride Fest have become mainstream collaborations with city groups like Visit Pittsburgh and major sponsorship.

Pittsburgh Pride's website quotes Richard Florida in his best-selling book on economic growth, The Rise of the Creative Class, “the most successful regions welcome all kinds of people. The presence of an LGBT community in large numbers is an indicator of an underlying culture that is open-minded and diverse. People look for cities with lots of gay people when they are hunting for a place to live and work. The presence of gays signals an exciting place, where people can fit in and be themselves.“

But how representative of Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community is Pride Fest? And how do you go about organizing a large scale festival such as Pride, in a way that's inclusive for all aspects of the LGBTQ community and Pittsburgh as a whole?

We'll have a conversation about Pittsburgh PrideFest and its cultural impact with Gary Van Horn, President of the Delta Foundation, which organizes PrideFest and Sue Kerr, Editor of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondence, an LGBTQ Blog.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:49 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Kitchen Conversations with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Food Section and Joey Fatone

Special cooking guest, Joey Fatone does some grilling with Post Gazette food writer Gretchen McKay
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

We recently teamed up with food writer, Gretchen McKay, dining critic Melissa McCart and food editor Bob Batz Jr., the folks behind the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Food Section and PG Plate for a discussion on outdoor cooking trends.

And just in time for Father's Day, pop music singer, dancer, father and cooking show host, Joey Fatone was recently in town for the Pittsburgh CLO production of 42nd Street. So Gretchen made him a classic Pittsburgh dish with a twist in the Post-Gazette Outdoor Test Kitchen.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:29 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Getting Where You're Going with the New Girl in Town

Exploring modes of travel with Pop City writer and travel contributor Elaine Labalme
Credit Ryan Lane / Flickr

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme looks at various modes of transportation.

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