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
9:41 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Digital Freedom and Freedom of Choice in Food

What does the future hold for our global communication?
Credit Johan Larsson / Flickr

These topics air Thursday February 27, 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
3:59 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Reporter Debrief on the Sentencing of Nate Harper

Former Police Chief Nate Harper
Credit File Photo / 90.5 WESA

Former Pittsburgh Police Chief, Nate Harper, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiring to create an unauthorized slush fund.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon also ordered the 61-year-old Harper to repay $31,986 from the fund that he spent on himself.

90.5 WESA’s reporter Deanna Garcia says the sentencing was not surprising for most people, but Harper’s family and legal team were disappointed.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:46 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

In the Case of Nate Harper, Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?

David Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, believes that the sentencing was right for Nate Harper.
Credit University of Pittsburgh Law School

Roughly one year ago Nate Harper resigned from his post as Pittsburgh Police Chief. Soon after his resignation, Harper was indicted with conspiracy charges and failing to file tax returns.

Yesterday US District Judge Cathy Bissoon sentenced Harper to 18 months in prison as well as repayment of the $31,986 for the slush fund that he spent on himself.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:28 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Getting Rid of Makeshift Dump Sites in Pittsburgh

Credit Drewzhrodague / flickr

Parts of the city have been turned into makeshift dump sites and add to the problem of blight.

Allegheny CleanWays Project Coordinator Leah Thill and Jake Baechle, Volunteer Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy represent organizations working with volunteers to safely and effectively clean up these areas.

Thill says that people really do not understand how serious this problem is.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:23 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Police Chief Harper Sentenced & Deterring Corruption

Credit Dickelbers / Wikipedia

These topics air Wednesday February 26, 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
5:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Is There a Rational Middle When it Comes to Energy Policy?

Paul Guggenheimer and Gregory Kallenberg
Credit Rebecca Harris

How do you create compromise when it comes to the divisive issue of energy and sustainability? We discussed that question with Gregory Kallenberg, creator of the Rational Middle Energy Series, which is making a stop in Pittsburgh this week.

The series is made up of 22 films, so viewers can start at whatever level they want, learning about the basics of energy or something deeper like transportation or conservation.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
5:24 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Pittsburgh's Pothole Problem May Have a Solution

Credit roadmixer.com

A Pennsylvania company may have invented the machine we’ve been dreaming of, to repair our potholed roadways. Road Mixer is an asphalt plant mounted on a truck and it could be a quick solution to fixing our streets.

So why isn’t the city of Pittsburgh using it? We posed that question to Darren Geesamen, project manager for the Road Mixer company.

The idea for mobile mixer trucks started many years ago. They use hot asphalt to ensure that potholes will be permanently fixed.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
5:16 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

The Business of Gluten Free

Rebecca Harris and Paul Guggenheimer
Credit Gregory Kallenberg

One of the newest food trends in recent years is an increase in gluten-free products. From grocers' shelves to bakeries, you're finding them everywhere. Contributor Rebecca Harris looks at gluten free products in this week's business segment.

The market for gluten-free is growing, and it took second place in Time Magazine’s top ten food trends in 2012.

The Girl Scouts have introduced a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie, and many people are just avoiding gluten in general.

Read more
Project Millennials
1:55 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

A New Intern's Guide to Professional Wear

Tanger Outlet Mall, Washington, Pa.
Credit www.tangeroutlet.com/pittsburgh/

With the spring semester underway, many Pittsburgh college students are involved with internships. The transition from a closet full of T-shirts and yoga pants can be a hard one, so here are a few tips to start putting together a professional wardrobe.

1. Professional clothes can be expensive, so shop around.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
11:15 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Energy Policy for the Rational Middle & Asphalt on Demand

Asphalt mixture from a Road Mixer truck
Credit Roadmixer / website

These topics air Tuesday February 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
Essential Pittsburgh
4:17 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Why You Should Keep a Career Journal

Sasha King, an independent career consultant, believes that using a career journal will help people become more efficient and organized with their work.
Credit Jacob Bøtter / Flickr

Many people keep personal journals to document important moments or help organize their thoughts. However, many people do not keep a career journal.

Sasha King, an independent career consultant, believes that career journals are useful tools.

“Career journaling is looking at your work life and looking at what you’re doing everyday on the job, what your goals are, or if you need to take some kind of a career transition,” she said.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:12 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Jason Collins Gets a Chance and Makes History

NBA center, Jason Collins walked onto the court Sunday after signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets. As he checked into the game in the second quarter, Collins became the first openly gay man to play one of the nation's four major professional sports.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak says on the part of the Brooklyn Nets, the signing was not made just to make history.

Read more
Public Safety
3:28 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Peduto Seeks Quality Over Speed in Filling Public Safety Positions

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto said he is not rushing to fill two of the most high profile vacant positions in the city: public safety director and police chief.

In a Monday interview with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer, Peduto said it is more important to find the right person for those positions than it is to get them filled right away.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
6:24 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Monday Rundown: Mayor Peduto's Administration & Vision for Pittsburgh

Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Monday February 24, 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
4:35 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Pittsburgh City Paper Writer Al Hoff Weighs in on the Oscar Buzz

The Academy Awards are right around the corner, Sunday March 2nd to be exact. There’s plenty of speculation about who’s likely to win, along with conversation about who's worthy of the awards.

Al Hoff is our movie contributor and a film critic for the Pittsburgh City Paper. She's parsed through the top Oscar contenders and says based on critic responses, the two favorites in many categories are American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:23 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Opera Based on Willa Cather Story Highlights Struggle of Early 1900s Pittsburgh 'Dandy'

Teachers assess Paul, portrayed by Daniel Curran, in the Pittsburgh Opera production of Paul's Case.
Credit David Bachman / Pittsburgh Opera

The Pittsburgh Opera this weekend will travel back in time starting this weekend to bring you the story of Paul in the English-language opera “Paul’s Case.”

It’s based on the story of the same name by Willa Cather, who wrote it while living in Pittsburgh. The story starts out in Pittsburgh where young Paul, described as a “dandy,” yearns for a more exciting life away from dark and industrial Pittsburgh.  

“It really gets at how difficult it is to be a teenager whether it’s 1905 or today,” said composer Gregory Spears. “It’s a difficult time for all of us whether we’re teachers or teenagers ourselves or parents.”

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:03 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Reducing Mandatory Prison Sentences

Credit Martin / flickr

In an effort to mitigate overcrowding in American prisons, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has proposed the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

Critics of the bill say these sentences are necessary because they provide prosecutors the leverage to seek cooperation from criminals.

Angus Love of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project explains this overpopulation is due in part to the residual effects of the government’s “war on drugs” as well as a shift in case management and the way sentences are given. 

Read more
Millennials in Pittsburgh
8:45 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Councilman Dan Gilman on Being a Millennial in Pittsburgh

Dan Gilman
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Councilman Dan Gilman is no stranger to Pittsburgh City Council.

From his college days as an intern, to his 10-year stint as chief of staff for now-Mayor Bill Peduto, Gilman is familiar with the city’s political atmosphere.

Now serving the residents of District 8, he is one of the council's youngest members.

Dan Gilman on Pittsburgh's Millennial Generation:

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
7:36 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Friday Rundown: Reducing the Prison Population in PA, The Oscars, & The Opera

What's being done to reduce the prison population in PA?
Credit Emily Allen / Flickr

These topics air Friday February 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
5:52 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Getting Over the Winter Doldrums

Falling Water in winter
Credit katie bodner / flickr

To say it’s been a tough winter would be an understatement.

Despite the cold many people have been able to combat cabin fever, including travel contributor Elaine Labalme. She offers suggestions to help you overcome the winter blahs.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
5:00 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Straight Talk with Gubernatorial Candidate Rob McCord

Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

While there is no clear cut favorite in the Pennsylvania Democratic race for governor, polls indicate that State Treasurer Rob McCord has emerged as the “de facto” front runner.

The Ardmore, PA native says he is fortunate to have a useful blend of knowledge when it comes to running the Commonwealth.

He says his financial cognizance along with his desire and ability to communicate with constituents statewide will set him apart from the other candidates.

“I intend to be the governor that loves Pittsburgh back,” says McCord. Here are some of his views on energy, green jobs, public schools, and working with Pittsburgh's politicians.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:47 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Credit Pittsburgh Playhouse / Point Park University

“Sex, democracy and rock ‘n’ roll” take the stage at the Pittsburgh Playhouse this weekend when the colorful life of our nation’s seventh president is performed in the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

The show’s director, Michael McKelvey, says the show portrays the leader in a time where the “true” roots of democracy dominated the political sphere.

McKelvey relates that power and democracy became a sort of drug for Jackson and he became obsessed with relating to his constituents and trying to appease every voice.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:48 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Gubernatorial Candidate Rob McCord, and Overcoming Winter Doldrums

Rob McCord is PA State Treasurer and running for Governor
Credit Rob McCord website

These topics air Thursday February 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
Government & Politics
3:17 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

City to Implement Nighttime Transportation Solutions Along Carson Street

City Council President Bruce Kraus has been working to find ways to mitigate the negative effects of a bustling nightlife economy on the South Side and other neighborhoods.
Credit Flickr user michaelgoodin

According to City Council President Bruce Kraus, between 15,000 and 20,000 people stream out of South Side bars, venues and pubs around 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night.

That creates public safety problems and significant transportation issues, Kraus said, which is why for the last two years he’s been working with the Responsible Hospitality Institute, or RHI, to find ways to manage the nightlife economy in the city.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:34 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

The Historic Fort Pitt Block House Celebrates its 250th Anniversary

The Fort Pitt Block House is celebrating its 250th Anniversary this year.
Credit Kevin Myers / wikipedia

Throughout 2013, the Fort Pitt Society conducted a 10-month preservation and restoration project at the Fort Pitt Block House. This undertaking came just in time, as 2014 marks the 250th anniversary of the structure.

The Fort Pitt Block House curator Emily Weaver is very involved in discovering the history of the block house and sharing it with the public, as she did in her book, The Fort Pitt Block House.

“The Fort Pitt Block House is the oldest building in the city of Pittsburgh, so that obviously makes it very special to us. It’s been standing in its same location for 250 years, never moved, and its the only original structure that we have left of Fort Pitt, one of the largest British forts in North America during the 18th century....A symbol of our earliest beginnings here in the Pittsburgh region."

Read more

Pages