Essential Pittsburgh

Pride In Players Key To CMU Football Coaching Success

Nov 6, 2015
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

With 193 victories over his 40 years with the Carnegie Mellon Tartans, head football coach Rich Lackner has more than demonstrated his ability to create and maintain winning teams.  His success earned him the title of 5th most winning coach in Division III football. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer caught up with the coach to talk about his long-standing career.

“The level of intensity that I display during a football game is incredible, and I love to win,” Lackner said.

Pitt To Celebrate Fifth Annual Audubon Day

Nov 5, 2015
John James Audubon / University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh celebrates its fifth annual Audubon Day this weekend, as 24 of the 435 prints in the John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” collection are displayed in the school’s library.  Assistant University Librarian Mike Dabrishus and President of Second Story Books Alan Stypeck joined Essential Pittsburgh to preview this event.

Joe Gratz / flickr

After the most expensive judicial election in US history, with nearly $16 million spent, the dust has finally settled on the Pennsylvanian Supreme Court election and the democrats have swept the bench. David Wecht, Christine Donohue and Kevin Dougherty, all Democrats, have won their elections and will be inducted as Supreme Court Justices. Wecht paid a visit to Essential Pittsburgh and spoke with Paul Guggenheimer about his victory.

Roll Out The Reel For Pittsburgh's Home Movie Day

Nov 4, 2015
popturf / flickr

Long before everyone had video capability on their smartphones there was the home movie camera. Home Movie Day is a worldwide celebration of amateur films and filmmaking. Joining us with a preview of Pittsburgh’s Home Movie Day is Emily Davis, senior research associate for the time –based media project at the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Identifying Economic Anxiety With Marketplace's Dave Shaw

Nov 4, 2015
401(K) 2012 / flickr

While the great recession has officially been over for since 2009 many remain skeptical. As the wealth gap increases and wages remain stagnant. Marketplace, in conjunction with Edison Research, is launching the Economic Anxiety Index a poll designed to identify how Americans are really experiencing the economy. We’ll talk about the index with Marketplace Washington Bureau Chief Dave Shaw.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As extensive surveillance by the government becomes more prevalent, citizens are starting to feel like Big Brother really is watching them. Bricolage Theater’s Midnight Radio series will present George Orwell’s classic 1984 in the form of a radio broadcast this Thursday.  Before the program, attendees are invited to participate in a free Foley sound effects workshop.

How The Nation's First Methane Rules Impact Pennsylvania

Nov 3, 2015
Emilian Robert Vicol / flickr

For the first time in its history, the Environmental Protection Agency has established a set of methane standards. These regulations come as part of the White House’s Climate Action plan, which aims to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 40-45% by 2025, and are open to public comment through Nov. 17. To analyze the impact of the standards, Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer spoke with Dr. Evelyn Talbott, professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Legacy Of Pittsburgh Magician Harry Albacker

Nov 2, 2015
Joe Wos

Magician Harry Albacker claimed to have been born a few minutes after famed illusionist Harry Houdini died in 1926, even suggesting that he was the reincarnation of the long-adored magician. But Albacker's greatest claim to fame was not through slight-of-hand; he is the credited inventor of polka-dot paint. Pop culture contributor Joe Wos joined us for a look at this little-known Pittsburgher.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

What happens when a neighborhood is gentrified? Who leaves the neighborhood and what cultural influence do they take with them? In neighborhoods like Lawrenceville and the South Side, many young, native Pittsburgh residents are having trouble finding an affordable place to live.  Michael Eichler, playwright and University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work graduate, reflects on these questions in his new play, Repulsing the Monkey.   A staged reading of the play premieres this week at the University of Pittsburgh.

Susanne Nilsson / flickr

Seemingly, the scariest thing that can happen to a road in Pennsylvania is closing for construction. But author and Duquesne University archivist Thomas White has made driving in Pittsburgh much more frightening with his new book “Haunted Roads of Western Pennsylvania.” White sat down with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to talk about the book and its ghastly contents.

Psychic Mediums Use Their Gifts To Help Police And Families

Oct 30, 2015
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

For over 25 years sisters Suzanne Vincent and Jean Mackenzie Vincent have used their psychic abilities to help others. We’ll learn how they’ve been helping law enforcement and families solve cold cases. And in time for Halloween they’ll tell us about their experiences as ghost hunters.

Associated Press

To this day it is hard to name a band bigger than the Beatles.  At the forefront of the British Invasion, the band gained international fame and millions of fans around the world, remaining popular to this day. But how well do you know them? Brooke Halpin, author of the quiz book “Do You Really Know the Beatles?” sat down with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to share some history and trivia about the British rock group.


NPR Morning Edition host David Greene is bringing NPR Presents Family Matters to Pittsburgh, a live event that examines various topics affecting American families. So what‘s the focus this time?  Personal finances.

Greene sat down with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to talk more about the event.

Integrating Technology In Classrooms Around The Region

Oct 29, 2015
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

One hundred seventy-five school leaders, education experts and other stakeholders from across the country recently convened in Pittsburgh at the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools national meeting to discuss the role technology partnerships can play in enhancing digital learning in schools. The league is comprised of just 73 school districts including three from the Pittsburgh area:  South Fayette, Avonworth and Elizabeth Forward.

Heroin Overdose Reversal Drug To Be Available Across PA

Oct 28, 2015
Matt Rourke / AP Images

Citing an ongoing heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania, Gov. Wolf issued a standing order to make the heroin overdose reversal drug naloxone available at all pharmacies in the state.

According to the state Department of Health, 2400 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses in 2014.

“We must do all that we can to support those Pennsylvania families suffering from the effects of addiction,” the governor said.  

Wold told Essential Pittsburgh that he previously issued measures to prevent heroin-related deaths, and said those measures were successful.

Returning To Erroll Garner's 'Concert By The Sea'

Oct 28, 2015
Erroll Garner Fans / Facebook

Erroll Garner’s Concert by the Sea is one of the biggest-selling jazz albums. Recorded 60 years ago a triple cd of the concert was released last month. Containing twice as much material as the original record it’s one of the leading sellers on Amazon and I Tunes. Geri Allen, director of Jazz Studies at Pitt, played an integral part in putting the cd. We’ll speak with her about the enduring popularity of Pittsburgher Erroll Garner’s Concert by the Sea.

Israel Pittsburgh / Facebook

The Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic region Yaron Sideman is in Pittsburgh to speak at the Jewish Community Center among other stops. What are his thoughts on the tenuous state of affairs in Israel? And now that the Iran Nuclear Deal is done, how will Israel conduct policy going forward?

Joseph / flickr

For over a decade, the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (YPA), with help from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, has been highlighting the top ten preservation sites in the region.  Tonight, they will reveal this year’s list at the Union Project in East Liberty.

Matthew Craig, executive director of the YPA, and Katy Sawyer, chairman of the board of directors, gave Essential Pittsburgh listeners a preview of tonight’s grand reveal.

What It Will Take To Remove Kathleen Kane

Oct 27, 2015
Matt Rourke / AP Images

The Senate planned to read on the chamber floor the resolution to create a special committee to make the first moves against embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. Where does the process go from here? We'll talk with John Micek, Opinions Editor for Penn Live/Patriot News in Harrisburg.

Michael Chen / flickr

Our content partner PublicSource did a special investigation into medications purchased for youth offenders at the state's six juvenile corrections facilities over seven years. What did they find? A higher of rate antipsychotics being prescribed than for the state's foster children. We'll delve into it with PublicSource reporter Halle Stockton.  

Eric Schmuttenmaer / flickr

The Penn Environment Research and Policy Center named Allegheny County's ten most toxic industrial pollutants on Monday. The list ranks power facilities by how much pollution they produce, emphasizing that even though the air looks clean in the region, it may not be.

Staging Fright At Chiller Theater: The Musical

Oct 23, 2015
Chiller Theater

Many a Pittsburgher grew up watching Chiller Theater the late-night horror and science fiction program that ran from 1963 to 1983. This weekend The Strand Theatre in Zelienople will present Chiller Theater: the Musical. Actor and storyteller Tim Hartman joined Essential Pittsburgh with a preview of the upcoming music and comedy show. 

Perfecting Communication In The Workplace

Oct 23, 2015
International Railway Summit / flickr

Whether you’re preparing for a job interview or a big presentation at your current workplace, communication is an essential key to success.  Career coach and workplace contributor Sasha M. King shares her advice on rhetoric to avoid, styles to try and professional communication standards.

Ryan Wick / flickr

The star “KIC 8462852” might not mean much to the average person. That is, it might not have until October 19, when the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute announced it would begin searching for signs of orbiting intelligent life around the star. The evidence? Fluctuations in the light coming off the star that might indicate a “megastructure” in orbit around it. Point Park University professor and astrophysicist Brendan Mullan sat down with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to explain what has the scientific community so interested.

The Politics Of Pennsylvania's Supreme Court Race

Oct 22, 2015
Beth Cortez-Neavel / flickr

The Pennsylvania judicial election is less than two weeks away, and tensions are high. With new attack ads airing regularly, many wonder what effect large monetary campaign donations are having on the race. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with Post-Gazette reporter Chris Potter, who has been covering the race.

Westmoreland Museum Of American Art Grand Reopening

Oct 22, 2015
Westmoreland Museum of American Art

This weekend marks the grand re-opening of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, a center of culture in Greensburg, PA. 

The museum was closed for two years while undergoing renovations.  It was temporarily relocated to a more centralized area along Route 30, which museum officials say was easier for patrons to find.

President and CEO of the museum Judith O’Toole, and museum curator Barbara Jones said that the temporary location brought different audiences to the exhibits and helped launch interest in the new facility.

Pitt Scientist Receives Grant To Mass-Produce Stem Cells

Oct 22, 2015
Lwp Kommunikáció / flickr

An associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh is working on a way to produce human stem cells on an industrial scale.

Ipsita Banerjee of the Swanson School of Engineering, with co-researcher Prashant Kumta, recently received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to research a method of mass-producing “pluripotent” stem cells.

Driving The Steel City Time Machine

Oct 21, 2015
LIVE With Michael and Kelly / ABC

Rick Neuman of Penn Hills has restored a DeLorean to look like the fabled car from the Back To The Future movies. He calls the car the Steel City Time Machine. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the movie (and Back to the Future Day), the car was featured on ABC's LIVE with Kelly & Michael. Neuman, who found his DeLorean on E-bay, says he was nine years old when the movie came out and thought the famous vehicle was the "greatest car in the world."

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

The loss of residents in Johnstown has had an impact on the city’s churches resulting in some having to close their doors. Finding a new use for these buildings has become the mission of the Steeple’s Project. Dave Hurst, project manager for the Steeples Project and Teresa Stoughton Marafino, president of 1901 Church, Inc. a nonprofit formed to save the churches joined us for conversation recorded in the Grand Halle of Johnstown’s Cambria City Cultural District. 

Analyzing Growth In Pennsylvania's Rural Counties

Oct 21, 2015
Nicholas A. Tonelli / flickr

An analysis of the commonwealth’s population by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania indicates new residents are choosing to settle in exurban areas over cities and suburbs.  The trend has caught the eye of community development groups in Western Pennsylvania, where counties like Butler and Washington are seeing rapid population growth.

“They see opportunity there and they’re taking advantage of it,” explains Rural Pennsylvania Senior Policy Analyst Jonathan Johnson.  He says Pennsylvania has 48 rural counties and 19 urban counties, which are based on whether they fall above or below a 284-persons per square mile population density line.