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
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.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:44 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Pondering a Life with Robots

Robot Parts at Fraley's Robot Repair Shop/Art Instillation
Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

Through recent artistic conceptions, we explore a world of advanced robotics and consider the philosophical questions one might ponder if robots were a part of everyday life. Essential Pittsburgh Production Assistant Rebekah Zook  and WESA reporter Margaret Krauss visited Fraley's Robot Repair Shop in its final week Downtown and we spoke with Japanese contemporary theater Director Oriza Hirata at the Andy Warhol Museum.

Essential
7:58 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Toaster Wars: Calling All High School Hackers

David Brumley is the project leader of the competition
Credit CMU

  Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is hosting a first-of-its-kind computer security competition. The goal is to find the next generation of great computer minds. 90.5 WESA's Morning Edition host, Josh Raulerson, talks with CMU professor David Brumley, who helped to organize the event.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:50 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

The Big Brain Theory: A Search for the Next Great Innovator

The Big Brain Theory is a new reality TV show on the Discovery Channel, hosted by Kal Penn
Credit The Big Brain Theory

  The Big Brain Theory premiered this week on the Discovery Channel. The reality TV series seeks to find the next big innovators through extreme engineering challenges. All of the contestants must work on teams but the threat of elimination means individual creativity is also necessary. Contestants Eric Whitman and Joel Ifill come from Carnegie Mellon University, and live in Pittsburgh. They talk about the pressures they encountered on the Big Brain Theory.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:37 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Bob Casy on the Sequester and Fixing Air Traffic Delays

Senator Bob Casey on sequestration
Credit Senator Bob Casey

  If you've been doing any air travel lately, you're probably well aware of the frustrating delays Americans have been experiencing at airports across the country. A week ago the U.S. Senate approved a plan to end furloughs of air traffic controllers in order to decrease the intensifying flight delays. The day after that the house voted to provide more flexibility over where to make cuts required by the government sequester. Senator Bob Casey talks about where we stand with sequestration.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:03 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Coming Out in the NBA

Washington Wizards player Jason Collins came out earlier this week.
Credit Washington Wizards / NBA.com

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman shares his thoughts on NBA player Jason Collins becoming the first active athlete in any of America's four major professional sports leagues to acknowledge his homosexuality. He'll discuss what it means for the LGBT community as well as the African American community.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:40 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Negative Ads in the Mayoral Primary

Image consultant Bob Oltmanns
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Negative ads, like shaking hands and kissing babies, have become a staple of political campaigns. The recent news of Mayor Ravenstahl's link to attack ads has turned our attention to the impact of negative ads in this year's mayoral primary. Joining us for this discussion is public relations advisor Bob Oltmanns, president of the OPR Group.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:29 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Images From the Silk Road

Spices sold in a market along the Silk Road
Christopher Rolinson Point Park University

In 1972, Alban and Virginia Curtze of Erie, PA traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India in an area known as the Silk Road. Little did they know their vacation photos would become artifacts of world history. Thirty nine of the Curtze's images have been transferred from slides to 11-by-14-inch prints and are on display at an exhibition on the Point Park University campus. The exhibition curator and associate professor of photojournalism and photography, Christopher Rolinson gives us a tour of the Silk Road images.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:09 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Girlfriend Getaways with the New Girl in Town

Enjoy a weekend away with the girls at he Waldorf Astoria in NYC
Credit Chris Breeze / Flickr

Bachelorette weekends, reunions spa retreats or the need to simply get out of town. Those are some of the reasons you and your best girlfriends may want to plan a weekend away. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers up some suggestions for girlfriend getaways.

Start planning your own getaway with these recommendations from Elaine Labalme:

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:01 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Finding Pittsburgh's Light Rail

Light Rail stops in the Free Zone, such as the sleekly designed Gateway Station Downtown, are highly visible
Emily DeMarco PublicSource

  Roughly 28,000 people ride the Pittsburgh area’s light-rail system every day. But many more could be using and funding the system if the stops were easier to access. Inspired by a study from the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, PublicSource reporter, Emily DeMarco embarked on a tour of the Port Authority's 52 T-stops. She took photos, gathered audio and asked commuters what they think of the light-rail system.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:56 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me Hits the Big Screen

Peter Sagal is the host of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, the NPR news quiz show
Credit Kyle Cassidy / Wikipedia

  NPR's weekly news quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me has been entertaining public radio listeners for more than 15 years. Now the show hits the big screen with a nationwide cinecast. We'll talk with host Peter Sagal about the radio show, it's failed TV pilot and his experience at the recent Boston Marathon.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:55 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Tightening Security for the Pittsburgh Marathon

City officials pledge to tighten security for the Pittsburgh Marathon
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

  Less than three weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing, Pittsburgh will stage its own annual 26.2 mile event. While Pittsburgh Marathon officials say security has been beefed up since a bomb scare during the 2010 race, Public Safety Director Michael Huss joins us to discuss other plans in the works to secure the event and what racers and spectators can expect on May 5th.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:50 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

TALKPGH Pittsburgh's First Mobile Talk Show

The TALKPGH mobile talk show set parked outside a restaurant in the neighborhood of Beechview
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

  Throughout the month of April, an odd looking truck serving as a mobile talk show set drove to each of the Pittsburgh's 90 neighborhoods to interview residents.  TALKPGH is a collection of stories and opinions structured like a show. It's part of PLANPGH, Pittsburgh's comprehensive game plan for growth. Assistant Producer Nina Sarnelle and Pittsburgh Public Art Manager Morton Brown talk about the common threads they found, and the challenges of recording a mobile talk show on the streets of Pittsburgh.

Essential Pittsburgh
12:29 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

John Dean on How Watergate Revolutionized Legal Ethics

John Dean speaks about legal ethics and the legacy of Watergate
Credit Watergate CLE

Forty years ago, John Dean was a young attorney with the the job of a lifetime, White House counsel to the President of the United States Richard Nixon. But that year he was called to testify before the Senate Watergate Committee and it was his testimony that ultimately linked President Nixon to the scandal that would bring down his presidency. John Dean and his business partner Jim Robenalt recently gave a talk at the Allegheny County Bar Association on How Watergate Revolutionized Legal Ethics.

View an interactive timeline of the Watergate Scandal, courtesy of TimeToast:

Essential Pittsburgh
12:27 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Watergate's Legacy and Legal Ethics (Web-Extra)

David Harris is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Research at the University of Pittsburgh Law School
Credit University of Pittsburgh Law School

Our legal contributor, University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris talks about the lessons attorneys learned from the Watergate era and why lawyers must now consider more than just attorney client privilege.

"Before John Dean, a lawyer had two choices, keep his or her mouth shut or quit. And that was it."

Speaking Volumes
8:00 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Mary Calland

Mary Frailey Calland is author of the historical novel Consecrated Dust
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Writer and Mt. Lebanon resident Mary Frailey Calland does intensive research for her Civil War era novels. In between deep dives in the archives she reads contemporary fiction. She talks with  WESA Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson about her reading selections.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:48 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

The Business of Running Shoes

The world of running shoes is a fast-paced industry Rebecca Harris talks about how to stay ahead of the curve
Credit Timothy Takemoto / Flickr

Whether you’re a marathoner or recreational runner it goes without saying, the most essential piece of running equipment is a good pair of running shoes. This week, our contributor Rebecca Harris discusses the business of running shoes.

Interested in the running shoe business? Find out more about the athletic footwear industry and pick up some tips for training for a marathon:

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:18 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System to Become Allegheny Health Network

A partnership between Highmark and other major health systems has been approved
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Highmark Inc. has finalized its partnership with a long list of healthcare providers including the West Penn Allegheny Health System. Now that the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has approved the deal, what happens on Dec. 31, 2014 when the UPMC-Highmark contract expires? Diane Denis, Katz Alumni Chair in Finance and Pitt Professor of Business Administration, dissects the deal.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:06 am
Mon April 29, 2013

City Council News with Noah Brode

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

WESA City Council reporter Noah Brode joins us for a weekly update on Pittsburgh City Council. The battle continues between the City of Pittsburgh and UPMC regarding its nonprofit status. The lawsuit was moved to federal court on April 19th. And last Friday UPMC motioned to have the lawsuit dismissed.  Also, we'll talk about the status of a proposed gunshot detection system in neighborhoods prone to violence.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

The Missing Semester: Making Good Financial Decisions At An Early Age

College and High School students from across the region talk about the good and bad financial advice they've received through the years.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

  As a college student, what was your approach to financial planning? Did you even have one? High school seniors preparing to move on to college and college seniors starting careers or graduate work often find that there's something missing from their education, personal financial management. The Missing Semester is a financial planning book by Gene Natali Jr., Senior Vice President at C.S. McKee a Pittsburgh investment firm. He and Katz School of business professor Jay Sukits recently held a student roundtable on financial literacy where college and high school students from around the region shared their financial planning stories. Hear how Western PA students are making financial choices and consider your own as we discuss the challenges of money management and school.

"The choices we make every day have financial consequences--in some cases, BIG financial consequences. "

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Sports N' @: Discrimination Within the NFL?

Bob Dvorchak is sports writer emeritus for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Every major business in the U.S. has an anti-distrimination policy when it comes to hiring. That includes the National Football League. But what about reports of loaded personal questions for players trying out for the draft? Sports Contributor Bob Dvorchak talks about how athletes are tested at the NFL scouting combine and where the league stands on the discrimination claims.

Essential Pittsburgh
4:15 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

A Conversation with Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane
Credit The Office of the Attorney General

  Kathleen Kane is the first woman and Democrat elected to the position of Pennsylvania Attorney General. When she was sworn in earlier this year, she faced a host of challenges from the Corbett Administration and scandals within the PA Turnpike Commission.

"We're watching.  And if anybody decides that it is in their best interest to get involved in public corruption, we will teach them otherwise. "

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