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 
Genre: 
Composer ID: 
5187f157e1c837e16b69e499|5187f152e1c837e16b69e482

Pages

Essential Pittsburgh
2:33 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

How Pittsburgh Organizations Are Bringing Hollywood To The Steel City

"The Dark Knight Rises" was filmed in downtown Pittsburgh during the summer of 2012.
Credit Kyle Huff / flickr

From film festivals, to movies and TV shows, Pittsburgh has become one of Hollywood's leading locations for motion picture and television production.

This week contributor Rebecca Harris looked at the business of filmmaking in the Steel City.

Pittsburgh has a variety of organizations that help bring Hollywood the the city, which are listed below. These organizations work with different groups and people in the community to make it possible for films and television shows to come to life in Pittsburgh.

Read more
Health
2:21 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Pittsburgher Takes on Diabetes Education as National Chair

Dr. Linda Siminerio is Professor of Medicine and Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute
Credit UPMC Website

When the National Diabetes Education Program gathers for its annual meeting this summer it will install a Pittsburgher in its top elected position.  University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute Executive Director Linda Siminerio was elected as chair earlier this year.

The federally-funded program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Siminerio refers to the nation’s struggle with type II diabetes as an epidemic but warns that it is already a pandemic in other parts of the world.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
1:13 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Targeting Diabetes and the Pittsburgh Film Biz

Exploring prevention and advances in treatment for diabetes.
Credit Victor Casale / flickr

These topics air Tuesday March 25,2014 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.

Read more
Life of Learning
8:55 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

Life of Learning Forum: Investment in Pre-K Critical to Future Educational Success

Linda Hippert, executive director for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, speaks during a recent Life of Learning forum on the future of education in Pittsburgh.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

Last week, a panel of experts gathered at the Community Broadcast Center to discuss what the future of the learning/education system should look like to be as effective as possible for the region’s children. The public forum tackled a range of questions from the audience, including the state of early childhood education.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
6:08 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

Monday Rundown: What Should Pittsburgh's Future Education System Look Like?

A Life of Learning forum on the evolution of learning in Pittsburgh
Credit Ryan Lowe / 90.5 WESA

A 90.5 WESA Life of Learning community forum on the evolution of learning in Pittsburgh was recently held at the Community Broadcast Center.

Listen to a special one hour broadcast of the forum on Monday March 24, 2014 at noon and 8pm, moderated by Essential Pittsburgh host Paul Guggenheimer and produced by Kevin Gavin, Executive Producer for Special News Projects.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
7:06 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

State Corrections Secretary Says When Sentencing, We Need to Consider the Offender

John Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

John Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, is responsible for the state prison system, from inmates, to employees, to a budget of nearly $2 billion. And he's trying to take a holistic approach to the corrections system.

With more than 20 years of experience in the corrections industry, he's part of a sentencing commission that's developing tools to help trial judges better assess the risks and needs of offenders.

He says the key to that assessment is looking at the root causes of crime.

"Based on the number of prior arrests, the age of the offender, based on a bunch of other factors, we can predict the likelihood that the individual will commit another crime."

By looking at these "criminogenic needs," or needs that lead to crime, and by using cognitive therapy and other programming, Wetzel says offenders can learn to make better decisions, think differently and reduce their likelihood to commit future crimes.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:51 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

A History of America in 101 Objects and Pittsburgh's Contributions

Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 Space Suit
Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution has been referred to as "America's attic." It is home to many iconic objects that have shaped the history of our nation, from industry to culture. In his book, History of America in 101 Objects, author and Smithsonian curator Dr. Richard Kurin chronicles and pinpoints these national treasures by focusing on key objects in the vast collection. 

Here are some of Kurin’s favorite objects related to the Pittsburgh region:

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:42 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo: Where Artists have Full Control

Pix, The Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo, will be held at 10 S.19th Street in the city's South Side neighborhood this weekend.
Credit The Copacetic Comics Company / Facebook

PIX, the Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo, takes place this weekend. The event is a way to nurture and encourage the city’s independent comic scene.

Jim Rugg, a local indy cartoonist, and Bill Boichel, owner of The Copacetic Comics Company in Polish Hill, expect this weekend will be a bigger success than ever.

Boichel says Pix is different Comicon for one simple reason.

Read more
Project Millennials
9:30 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Quinn Elliott of the Big Idea Bookstore on Finding Community in Pittsburgh

Quinn volunteers at The Big Idea Bookstore and Cafe in Lawrenceville.
Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

Quinn Elliott from East Liberty holds herself and the city to a high standard.

As a volunteer at The Big Idea Bookstore and Cafe in Bloomfield, she advocates for deep thought and strong, grassroots communities. The Big Idea is a worker-owned, community operated bookstore that advocates for alternative lifestyles and radical cultures.

Just like Quinn, the not-for-profit collaborative hopes to create a space to build open and empowering communities.

Read more
90.5 WESA Celebrates
3:30 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Al Mercer, Helping Vets Bridge The Gap To Civilian Life

Al Mercer
Credit Debbi Casini Klein / 90.5 WESA

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

As a veteran, the transition back to civilian life is wrought with challenges. Al understands that all too well and has made it his mission to help.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
7:34 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Friday Rundown: A More Just Approach to Prison and American History in 101 Objects

The Star-Spangled Banner
Credit Smithsonian Institution

These topics air Friday March 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.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:13 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Do Peduto's Appointments Reflect Diversity of the City?

Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto appointed 45 people to serve on 11 boards, authorities, and commissions in the City of Pittsburgh Monday. The appointments are said to represent the most diverse class in the history of the city.

Pittsburgh City Paper Editor Chris Potter says many of the new appointees are notable for the experience they bring to the city’s leadership.

He’s looked at previous mayors like Bob O’Connor, who also boasted a diverse administration, and says Mayor Peduto is matching up well.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:07 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Five Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Buildings Within Driving Distance of Pittsburgh

Graycliff Estate
Marcus Charleston 90.5 WESA

If asked to identify a giant in American architecture, the name Frank Lloyd Wright may be the first person who comes to mind. This region has the good fortune to be within driving distance to one of his most famous buildings, the iconic Falling Water.

This week, travel contributor Elaine Labalme offered suggestions for Wright designed buildings, not far from Pittsburgh. Wright has more than 500 completed structures across the United States, and these are just a few of his designs.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
1:57 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Bracketology and the Rise of March Madness

Credit Matthew D. Britt / flickr

Workforce production will fall this month as employees around the U.S.become distracted by NCAA basketball. From filling out brackets to entering office pools, March Madness draws an audience more than any other sports tournament.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak says the event appeals to people that would not normally pay attention to basketball, or even sports in general.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:32 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Breaking Down Mayoral Appointees, and Traveling with Frank Lloyd Wright

Graycliff Estate near Buffalo, NY was designed by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Thursday March 20, 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.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
5:34 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Police Review Board Still in Need of Members But Hopeful About New Administration

Beth Pittinger is the Executive Director of the Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB).
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) has recently been criticized for its lack of effectiveness, but despite having three empty board seats and a mayor and city council who are taking a long time to fill the posts, the board feels it is getting a lot of work done.

Many of the current board members were never officially appointed.

“On October 31st the terms expired. Nobody was succeeded by appointment as of December 31st, so 30 days had lapsed and they were automatically retained in their seats and then what happened was individuals moved. They relocated and were then disqualified from continuing with the board which created the two city council vacancies,” said Beth Pittinger, CPRB’s Executive Director.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:38 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

An Update on Recent Firearm Legislation from Harrisburg

New legislation is being pushed to the Pennsylvania House after a committee voted on and approved to move the bills to the floor.
Credit Michael Saechang / Flickr

The state House Judiciary Committee released an agenda on five firearms related bills this week, including an approved measure that would make municipalities that pass gun restrictions susceptible to law suits.

90.5 WESA State Capitol correspondent Mary Wilson says under the municipality bill, challengers of local gun restrictions would have the legal standing necessary to ask for court review of an ordinance.

Read more
New to the 'Burgh
12:40 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Why Doesn't Pittsburgh Have an NBA Team?

Pittsburgh has had major league basketball teams before, such as the Pittsburgh Pipers, but they didn't work out in the long run.
Photo courtesy of the Heinz History Center Library and Archives

Sports teams enjoy an intense amount of popularity in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers hold more Super Bowl victories than any other franchise, the Penguins enjoy the highest TV ratings for any NHL team since 2000 and the Pirates are experiencing a surge in popularity following their first winning season in 21 years.

Even college teams like the Pitt Panthers or the Duquesne Dukes hold strong followings.

So why doesn’t Pittsburgh, with its avid sports fans, have a major league basketball team? And will we ever get one?

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
12:13 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

What Does Dan Rather Think Of Journalism Today? Three Takeaways

Broadcast Journalist, Dan Rather, worked for CBS for 44 years, 24 of those years as the anchor for CBS Evening News.
Credit US Air Force / Wikipedia

Legendary broadcast journalist Dan Rather worked for CBS News for 44 years and anchored the CBS Evening News for 24 of those years.

He is now the managing editor and anchor of the cable television news magazine Dan Rather Reports. In 2012, he released a best-selling book on his life and the state of journalism today, Rather Outspoken.

Rather was particularly outspoken about the 3 ways he's seen standards drop in the craft of journalism:

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
9:17 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Dan Rather on Journalism Today & New Hope for Community-Police Relations

Credit Dan Rather Reports / Facebook

These topics air Wednesday March 19, 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.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:55 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Dem. Candidate Schwartz: Corbett's Affordable Care Act Response a Failure

Credit 13th Congressional District, Pennsylvania / flickr

Allyson Schwartz, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Pennsylvania is looking for someone with a proven track record to replace Gov. Tom Corbett and his “failed leadership.”

On Tuesday, she said one of his “failures” was his response to the Affordable Care Act, which she wrote provisions to as a U.S. Representative.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:31 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

The Business of French Products

Macarons come in a rainbow of colors and can be just about any flavor imaginable.
Credit http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Multi-coloured_macarons,_September_2010.jpg

This week, contributor Rebecca Harris looked at the connection French businesses and products have to our commercial sector.

France is the sixth largest foreign investor in the Pittsburgh region, with 27 French-owned companies that operate about 50 establishments in the area.

Here are some Pittsburgh businesses with a French connection:

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:02 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

The Hard Way on Purpose: Akron's Past Glories & Present Reinvention

Credit Marc Moss / flickr

Once home to the nation’s leading tire manufacturers, Akron, Ohio, was hit hard by post-industrial layoffs, factory closings and a steadily declining population.

Like other rust belt cities, the once-rubber giant has had to redefine itself and its industry.

In his book The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt, author David Giffels chronicles past glories and the present condition of his home state. 

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
9:10 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Allyson Schwartz and Chronicling the Rust Belt

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz is a Democratic candidate for Governor in Pennsylvania
Credit Online Guide to House Members and Senators / wikipedia

These topics air Tuesday March 18, 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. 

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
5:19 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Congressman Doyle is Optimistic About Renewal of Unemployment Benefits

How much longer will people who need an unemployment insurance extension have to wait?
Credit Bytemarks / Flickr

Senate negotiators have struck a bipartisan deal that could renew federal unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. But the question becomes, what will happen when this legislation makes its way to the House?

US Congressman Mike Doyle has been in the House of Representatives since 1995, he's witnessed the emergence of an increasingly partisan congress and explained why he's hopeful for this legislation.

Read more

Pages