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
8:27 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

City Spree: Adults Running Amuck in the Steel City

The more you explore the more points you gain. City Spree encourages adults to get out and play
Credit Amanda Westmont / Flickr

   

The City Spree is a citywide race with no course and no boundaries. Find your own path, explore, and check in, the further you are from the starting point the better. The unique event encourages Pittsburghers to race beyond their comfort zone and explore new neighborhoods. Remember the carefree days of youth and playing outdoors with kids in your neighborhood? Now you have an excuse to run amuck again.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:26 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

The New Girl in Town Talks Travel, With A Pet

Don't we all love fresh hotel linens?
Credit Matt DeTurck / Flickr

If you own a pet chances are you consider them a member of the family. So why wouldn’t you take them on the family vacation? This week contributor Elaine Labalme offers tips on traveling with your pet.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:20 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Pittsburgh's Second Bicycling Boom

BikePGH

At the turn of the 20th century, bicycling enthusiast and Pittsburgh native, Frank Lenz was an American celebrity. His two wheeled global journey, and eventual disappearance in Turkey, are chronicled in David V. Herlihy's book The Lost Cyclist. Last year Herlihy came to Pittsburgh and Essential Pittsburgh to celebrate Frank Lenz Day. This year, in observation of Lenz's world tour departure, we look at Pittsburgh's place in cycling history with WESA reporter Margaret Krauss.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:47 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Pittsburgh's Mayoral Candidates Weigh In One Week Before the Primary

Three of the four Pittsburgh mayoral candidates weighed in on a range of topics Tuesday night
Credit Haldan Kirsch / 90.5 WESA

Former state Auditor General Jack Wagner, City Councilman Bill Peduto, and State Representative Jake Wheatley recorded a public radio mayoral forum Tuesday night in front of a live audience at the WESA/WYEP Community Broadcast Center.

With the help of listener submissions, WESA's Kevin Gavin asked the candidates a range of questions: How would you address large tax exempt nonprofits? What would you look for in a new police chief? How do we improve public transit for Oakland and Downtown? The candidates weighed in at one of the last  public forums before the May 21st primary.

GUESTS: City Paper Editor Chris Potter and Pittsburgh Comet blogger Bram Reichbaum offer post forum analysis and reaction on Essential Pittsburgh.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:17 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption

The Price of Justice chronicles Bruce Stanley and Dave Fawcett's efforts to expose a culture of corruption
Credit Laurence Leamer / Leamer.com

In April of 2010,  29 coal miners were killed in an explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big branch Mine in West Virginia. It was the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1970.

In March of this year a former Massey Energy official accused Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, of conspiring and plotting to hide safety violations from federal safety inspectors. And that was just the tip

of the iceberg.

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Speaking Volumes
6:31 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Jayne Adair

Jayne Adair is the Executive Director of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures, which features acclaimed writers of literary fiction and non-fiction
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Executive Director Jayne Adair's reading list is as rich and varied as her schedule of speakers. She shares some powerful book ideas this week with WESA host Josh Raulerson.

RZA's talking about how sometimes you just really do need to raise a ruckus!

-Jayne Adair on The Tao Wu

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:31 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Business Basics 101 Part 2

Rebecca Harris is director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Many people dream of running their own business but don't know how to get started. Business contributor Rebecca Harris continues a two-part series on the basics of starting a business. She talks with business mentor and attorney Beth Slagle about choosing the best business entity, from partnerships to sole proprietorships.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:11 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Notes From Paul: Jack Butler Will Be Missed

Jack Butler at the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame Ring Ceremony
Credit Jack Butler Pro Football Hall Of Fame / Facebook

Listen to the Essential Pittsburgh interview with Jack Butler from July 2012

The voice on the other end of the telephone was husky and polite. It belonged to an octogenarian and one of the greatest defensive backs ever to play pro football, Jack Butler. It was the middle of last summer and Mr. Butler was getting a lot of attention because at the age of 84, he was finally going to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I was hoping he would be able to come in to our studios to be a guest on Essential Pittsburgh. Mine was but the latest in a long line of requests.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:55 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Pittsburgh City Council This Week

Noah Brode is the City Council reporter for 90.5 WESA
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

    

Last week, Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval to Councilman Ricky Burgess's bills to reform the police bureau's domestic violence response policies.  One bill pays for training under the "Maryland Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program," and the second bill changes the city code to reflect the new policies. A final vote comes Tuesday.

When receiving a 911 call regarding domestic violence, responders must ask the callers a series of questions to determine the risk of imminent harm to the victim. Afterward, the officers must offer to call a women's shelter to help the victim.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:37 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

Sports Talk with Bob Dvorchak

Sidney Crosby on the current cover of Sports Illustrated
Credit Sports Illustrated

According to urban legend, athletes and teams that appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated have been known to experience a streak of bad luck. So what's in the stars for Penguins Center, Sidney Crosby now that he's on the cover of SI

And the lasting legacy of late Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer Jack Butler is definitely felt by Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports Writer emeritus, Bob Dvorchak.

"He played in an era when the Steelers did not have a great team. But he helped define that team."

Butler passed away last weekend and was a guest on Essential Pittsburgh before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:28 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Green Stormwater Solutions from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh

George Hawkins is General Manager of DC Water, the water and sewer authority for Washington DC
Credit DC Water

    

Washington DC and Pittsburgh have a common trait of being build right by the water, with low lying areas and old infrastructure. When it became necessary for DC to improve its water and sewage systems - like Pittsburgh - the nation’s capital opted for a focus on traditional "gray" options. Tunnels and pipes were the main solution for Washington's sewage and storm water problems.

But George Hawkins, General Manager of DC Water has worked to convince the district and the EPA to embrace green infrastructure ideas. By reopening the EPA consent decree, DC is on track to becoming a model of sustainable infrastructure.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:48 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

A Rare Painting Highlights the Value of Art in Public Schools

The painting, Interieur, Lumiere De La Fenetre was hanging in a Pittsburgh Public School building for years, unpreserved.
Credit Sotheby's

For the Pittsburgh public school district, the value of art can not be over stated. Earlier this week a rare painting called "Interior, Light from the Window" by Henri Le Sidaner, donated to the district by a group called Friends of Art, was sold in auction for more than $750,000. The money will benefit the financially strapped Pittsburgh Public Schools.

For nearly a century, Friends of Art has donated more than 300 works of art to the district. Most were created by local artists and like the Sidaner painting, many are displayed in school offices and other buildings throughout the district.

Guest Louise Lippincott, head of the department of fine arts at the Carnegie Museum of Art, has followed the history of the Sidaner painting

Essential Pittsburgh
8:19 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Lights, Camera But Where's the Action?

31st Street Studios is said to have the biggest sound stage east of the Mississippi River
Credit 31 Street Studios / Facebook

In recent years the number of movies shot in Pittsburgh has some people calling us "Hollywood East."  However, it appears the city and state have become victims of their own success.

Filmmakers have gravitated to Pittsburgh over the years for a number of reasons, including affordability. But Pennsylvania's current tax credit allotment is capped at $60 million a year.  That money dries up quickly in the film industry. So how can Pennsylvania keep up with states like Louisiana, and Georgia, which have no tax credit limit? And what more can be done to lure film and television production to the state?

Guest

Chris Breakwell CEO of 31st Street Studios.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:00 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Black Filmmakers Changing the Game

Cheo Tyehimba Taylor is the founder of the Game Changers Project
Credit Game Changers Project

 

"Black Men on a Hero's Journey."

Armed with cameras as weapons, 10 black men are chosen each year for the Game Changers Project, a fellowship which highlights positive black male images in the media by promoting some of America's emerging documentary film leaders.  And many of those leaders come from Pittsburgh.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:43 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Maya Angelou on Mom & Me & Mom

Maya Angelou talks about her mother Vivian, known affectionately as "Lady."
Credit MayaAngelou.com

My Mother asked me, “Do you know who the Father is?”

I said “Of course, I only had sex with him once”

She said “And do you love him?”

I said “No”

She asked “Does he love you?”

I said “No.”

So she said “Then we’re not going to ruin three lives. We’re going to have a fine baby. That’s all there is to it.”

And she never once made me feel I had brought shame on the family.

Dr. Maya Angelou, has an impressive body of work. From singing in the opera Porgy and Bess, and dancing with the Alvin Ailey dance troupe, to the iconic 1993 Inauguration Day poem On the Pulse of Morning, and her years of activism, Angelou typifies a renaissance woman.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:42 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Out There with Paul McCartney's Rare Performances

Paul McCartney on tour in 2009
Credit Anna's Farm / Wikipedia

Paul McCartney has just started a world tour called Out There!, which features songs never performed live, including "All Together Now," "Lovely Rita," and "Your Mother Should Know." The songs came out years before the band broke up, but by 1966 the Beatles had already stopped touring.

In talking about Paul McCartney's current selection of unperformed songs, WYEP Midday host Mike Sauter says "There are certain live songs McCartney is expected to perform at every show, songs he can't not perform...this is a chance for him to add depth to his performances."

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:40 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

The New Girl in Town on Planning a Boys Night Out

Local white water rafting with the guys, in the Laurel Highlands
Credit Nick Knouse / Flickr

Travel writer and contributor Elaine Labalme has many bits of advice for traveling alone, and for the ladies, "traveling with the girls." Now she's got some advice for the gents. 

For even the most laid back guys, planning the perfect weekend bachelor party or reunion of college buddies can be both fun and daunting. Consider some different angles when plotting out your next trip with the guys.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:32 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

How Do You Teach Young Kids About September 11th?

A wall of names at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County
Credit Wikipedia

Most adults remember what they were doing and how they felt on September 11, 2001. But many children today weren't even born when Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County.

"Normally, we're telling the story to people who lived it," Flight 93 Memorial superintendent, Jeff Reinbold told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. "What happens is the parents come to one of our rangers and say, 'You tell them.' It became apparent to us no one is talking to the youngest kids."

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:53 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Cleveland Abduction Case: Returning to Normalcy

This image comes from the Find Amanda Facebook Page, devoted to Amanda Berry, one of three women abducted and held hostage for 10 years in Cleveland.
Credit Find Amanda Berry Facebook Page / Facebook

Three Ohio women who went missing ten years ago were found Monday, after one of them broke away from their captor and a neighbor spotted her. Police say Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23 and Michelle Knight, 32 were held inside the home of Ariel Castro since they were in their teens and early 20's.

Castro and two of his brothers are in police custody. The three women were taken to a local hospital and have been reunited with their families.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:40 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Ka'Sandra Wade Legislation: How Should Police Respond to Calls for Help?

Can domestic violence legislation be enough to stop domestic violence? Should there be uniformity in the way police respond to 911 calls?
Credit Via Tsuji / Flickr

This Wednesday, Pittsburgh City Council votes on legislation written in reaction to the tragic death of Ka’Sandra Wade. Police responded to Ka'Sandra's 911 call on the night of December 31st, 2012. But they left her home when her boyfriend came to the window and told them that everything was alright. That night Ka'Sandra's boyfriend killed her and later killed himself. The legislation up for a vote this week would impact the way police respond to domestic violence calls.

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Speaking Volumes
5:59 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh:Matthias Sundberg

Matthias Sundberg is Speaking Volumes on 90.5 WESA and Essential Pittsburgh
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Matthias Sundberg of Point Breeze say he enjoys action and adventure stories tinged with social realism. WESA Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson talks with Sundberg about hurricanes, swashbuckling and a Street Angel.

Essential Pittsburgh
5:48 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Business Basics 101

Rebecca Harris is Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Many people dream of having their own business but how do you get started? Business contributor Rebecca Harris begins a two-part series on the basics of starting a business. She talks with attorney Beth Slagle about what you need to know from writing a business plan to hiring employees. Also take a look at some of the State websites for proper business licensing and fees:

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:40 am
Mon May 6, 2013

City Council News with Noah Brode

WESA City Council Reporter Noah Brode
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA


Last week, Pittsburgh City Council passed a vote for a $1.15 million gunshot detection system for the neighborhood of Homewood, despite some opposition. WESA City Council Reporter Noah Brode gives us the details on the opposing votes.  Also, we'll discuss legislation to overhaul the police bureau's policies when responding to domestic violence. The bill from Councilman Ricky Burgess has been in the works for months. After a  controversial amendment was introduced last week by Burgess, Councilman Bill Peduto walked out, angry at the proposed elimination of the city's "no tolerance" policy for police officers who are found guilty of domestic violence.  City Controller Michael Lamb also released Pittsburgh's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report on Thursday. The document shows how Pittsburgh is improving financially.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:15 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Sports Talk with Bob Dvorchak

Bob Dvorchak writes for the blog Sports n'at
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak looks at how the running of the Pittsburgh Marathon came off, Sidney Crosby's return to the ice and whether the NHL should look at making face shields mandatory. Also, the impact of Jason Collins coming out.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:01 am
Mon May 6, 2013

A Sportswriter's Inspiration

Sportswriter Tony Jovenitti reads his essay about what Jason Collins coming out means to him.
Credit Susan Quigley-Jovenitti / Outsports

The news of NBA player Jason Collins has garnered a lot of attention. As the first player in one of the four major sports to come out, he's being seen as a trailblazer. His story inspired sportswriter,  Pitt graduate and our guest, Tony Jovenitti, to come out in an essay for the website Outsports.

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