Tuesday Rundown: Bob Herbert's Portrait of a Troubled America

Oct 7, 2014
May S. Young / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday October 7, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Lungs Too)  

They are invisible to the naked eye but atmospheric particles are a critical factor in the climate equation and are responsible for many of the leading causes of death. We’ll talk with Samuel Taylor, an expert on the impact of atmospheric particles and Director of Science & Engineering Ambassadors at the National Academy of Sciences. And Dr. Neil Donahue, professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Losing Our Way

For nearly 20 years Bob Herbert was an award-winning columnist for the New York Times. His book titled "Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America", chronicles ordinary Americans struggling for survival in a nation that has lost its way. We’ll talk with Bob Herbert prior to his upcoming appearance and discover the Pittsburgh ties to the book.

WESA Celebrates - Deidre Kane and Dora Walmsley

A shared frustration of living in a food desert resulted in Deirdre Kane and Dora Walmsley opening up a neighborhood market in Lawrenceville that provides fresh, healthy food. The ladies and their effort are profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Pink

Former Good Morning America co-host Joan Lunden is the latest celebrity to go public with her diagnosis of breast cancer. This comes at the start of National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In this week’s business segment contributor Rebecca Harris turns her attention to the business of pink. 

Monday Rundown: Stories and Films of American Veterans

Oct 5, 2014
Lisa Jacobs / Flickr

These topics air Monday October 6, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Veterans’ Stories: Project 4-1-2

This week, in partnership with the Community Leadership Course for Veterans (CLCV), WESA begins airing Veterans’ Stories: Project 4-1-2. This is part of a community impact project created by Leadership Pittsburgh to expose post 9/11 veterans to networks and opportunities for service and enhancement of their leadership skills. Joining us to discuss their role in this initiative are former U.S.Army Sergeant James Yauger, who works with VetAdvisor to help veterans transition to civilian life; and Lieutenant Ariana Pourmonir Mohnke, U.S. Coast Guard.

Project 22

According to Veteran’s Administration it is estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day. This sobering fact served as the impetus for the documentary Project 22. The film chronicles the journey of two combat-wounded veterans across America. They traveled the country to speak with veterans who had contemplated, or attempted suicide, as well as researchers and healthcare providers. Joining us to discuss the film is Theo Collins, a law student at Duquesne University, a Marine Corps veteran and an associate producer of the film.

Home Range

Inspired by 1978’s “The Deer Hunter,” writer/director Natalia Kaniasty shot the short film “Home Range” in her hometown of Indiana, PA. The narrative follows Bobby Novak, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who returns home to Western Pennsylvania while his best friend from childhood does not. Bobby must struggle to adjust to civilian life and re-assimilate into his community. Kaniasty joins us to discuss the process of crafting an emotional narrative in her own backyard.

Friday Rundown: The Forests of Pittsburgh

Oct 2, 2014
Devon Christopher Adams / Flickr

These topics air Friday October 3, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Pittsburgh's Urban Forest

As the colors of autumn entice us to do some foliage watching, many people in Pittsburgh need look no further than their nearby neighborhoods. According to the US Forest Service and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, 42% of Pittsburgh is covered by tree canopy, that’s more than green cities like Portland, Washington D.C., Austin and Philadelphia. Despite our reputation as an industrial town, Pittsburgh has one of the largest urban forests in the country. So how did these forests form? What is an urban forest and where can they be found?

Urban forester Brian Wolyniak joins us along with Heather Mikulas, the Agricultural Marketing & Economic Development Educator for the Penn State Cooperative Extension of Allegheny County, a land grant institution that provides teaching, research, and service to local residents, businesses and organizations.

Jimmy Stewart

The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA is holding its annual fundraising event Friday. Among the special guests is Carol Burnett, who is receiving the 2014 Harvey Award. Ms. Burnett idolized Mr. Stewart growing up and they later became friends. We'll speak with the museum's Executive Director Tim Harley about the event and the museum's history.

The End of Saturday Morning Cartoons

For years Saturday morning network television was the domain of the younger set. However, like penny candy, pay phones and Life Magazine, Saturday morning cartoons are a thing of the past. Pop culture contributor Joe Wos joins us for a history of these weekend staples and why the broadcast networks are no longer carrying them. 

Thursday Rundown: The Corporate Cost of Domestic Violence

Oct 2, 2014
Phil Whitehouse / flickr

These topics air Thursday October 2, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Standing Firm

October is domestic violence awareness month. NFL players, domestic violence and how the league is addressing the issue has been garnering a lot of headlines. These stories also exemplify how domestic violence can spill over into the workplace. We’ll look at the impact this deadly issue has on places of employment with Patricia Cluss a psychologist and the director of Standing Firm which educates employers about the cost of partner violence in the workplace.

Future Fair

The once traditional path of graduating from high school, going to college or work and getting on with your life is no longer the standard way of doing things. Students today face a number of challenges when it comes to determining a life-path. How to make better informed decisions in a changing educational and economic marketplace is the goal behind the Future Fair. We’ll learn about this upcoming event from State Representative Dan Miller and Gene Natali Jr., author of the financial planning book The Missing Semester. 

Pre-holiday Travel Tips

While you may not want to think about it – the holidays will soon be upon us. If you’re thinking of getting away now is the time to book your holiday travel plans. Contributor Elaine Labalme who tweets about food and travel under the twitter handle New Girl in Town, joins us this week with pre- Thanksgiving and Christmas travel tips.

Wednesday Rundown: Air Quality and Shenango Coke Works

Sep 30, 2014
Jon Dawson / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday October 1, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Shenango Coke Works

The Shenango Coke works on Neville Island has consistently violated local clean air regulations leading some citizens to ask why the Allegheny County Health Department doesn't shut the plant down. We'll pose that question to Jim Thompson, Air Quality Program Manager for the Allegheny County Health Department. And hear from Bellvue resident Ken Holmes.

Tuesday Rundown: A Second Chance for the August Wilson Center?

Sep 29, 2014
Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Tuesday September 30, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

August Wilson Center Deal

With an August Wilson Center deal all but done, we'll look at the surprise agreement to sell the embattled downtown cultural center to a coalition of foundations for $8.85 million. A New York-based developer with plans of turning the building into a hotel has offered $9.5 million for the structure, but community outcry asking for the center to remain a locally held cultural institute apparently tipped the scales toward the foundations' bid. Tribune-Review reporter Natasha Lindstrom joins us for an update.

The Future of Google in Pittsburgh

Google has been growing in Pittsburgh since 2006, fueled by our local talent, the universities and collaborations with the startup community. With the opening of their new office space in Bakery Square 2.0 earlier this year, we wanted to talk with Kamal Nigam, co-director of Google Pittsburgh about the future of Google in the Steel City. Along with Terri Glueck Director of Communications and Community Development at Innovation Works, they talk about how Pittsburgh startups factor into that vision.

WESA Celebrates-Ella Horvat

Eleven-year old Ella Horvat is a sixth grader at Dorseyville Middle School. She was born in Guatemala and was adopted by her American parents, Jill and Michael, at the age of two. In the past year Ella has collected about 200 pairs of shoes from family and friends to send to orphanages in Guatemala. Hear Ella's story

Business Segment - Residential Real Estate

According to the Real Estate Firm Zillow, Pittsburgh is one of the nation’s top 10 buyer’s markets. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of residential real estate.

Monday Rundown: The Impact of Independent Concussion Research

Sep 28, 2014
HeadSmart Labs

These topics air Monday September 29, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Unpacking An Eventful Week in Harrisburg

It's been a busy week in Harrisburg, PennLive and Patriot-News editorial and opinions Editor John Micek joins us to lay it all out. Topics include: the eight former and current state officials alleged to be involved in an exchange of hundreds of racy emails using state computers, calls for protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians and the Senate passing legislation to legalize certain kinds of marijuana.

Keystone Crossroads Holds Statewide Town Hall Meetings

On Tuesday evening, the third Keystone Crossroads community forum will be held at the Community Broadcast center on the South Side. Titled, “Rust or Revival: Which Way is Our Town Heading?" these evenings are all about community engagement. Similar forums have been held in Philadelphia and Harrisburg with the goal of parsing out our community problems and potential solutions. Keystone Crossroads reporter Irina Zhorov and editor Naomi Starobin talk about the statewide project and the issues people in other Pennsylvania cities face, both large and small.

HeadSmart Labs

Carnegie Mellon mechanical engineering student Tom Healy has been a punter for the Tartans throughout his college career. He’s seen many of his teammates sustain concussions while playing. With the help of some of the top names in concussion research Healy founded HeadSmart Labs, an independent research company that develops testing devices, products and procedures for reducing concussions. Tom Healy talks about the discoveries HeadSmart has made so far and the impact they’re making in the sports equipment industries.

Sports with Bob

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to talk about the controversy over the return of James Harrison to the Steelers. And now that the Pirates have returned to the post-season for the second consecutive year, what are their chances of reaching the World Series?

Peabody Awards / Wikipedia

These topics air Friday September 26, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Eavesdropping on America's Conversation on Race

When award-winning NPR journalist and former All Things Considered host Michele Norris released her first book "The Grace of Silence: A Memoir" in 2010, it was the beginning of a unique national conversation on race. On October 1st, Norris comes to Pittsburgh to give a talk entitled "Eavesdropping on America's Conversation on Race," a part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History exhibition, "Race: Are We So Different?" She'll talk about how far we've come with that conversation on race.

University of Pittsburgh Voice Center

The UPMC Voice Center is a unique place in Pittsburgh for more than just vocalists. They often work with those who, knowingly or not, use their voice on a regular basis; teachers, clergy, even people in customer service. The center's mission is to prevent injury and rehabilitate patients who have voice problems, through therapy and cutting edge research. Dr. Jackie Gartner-Schmidt, Director of Speech Language Pathology, and patient Karl Bailey of the Homestead Waterfront Dueling Piano Bar, Sing Sing join us to talk about what it takes to conserve one's voice into old age.

Holder Resigns

On the heels of the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Duquesne University Law School Dean Ken Gormley joins us for an assessment of Holder's tenure as AG. Gormley moderated a Q & A session with Holder during his 2011 visit to Duquesne to deliver the School of Law's Centennial Address. 

Thursday Rundown: This Old House and These Old Pipes

Sep 24, 2014
Ask This Old House

These topics air Thursday September 25, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

The Invisible Danger Posed by Our Aging Natural Gaslines

In the last 10 years, accidents involving gas distribution lines killed more than 120 people and injured more than 500. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Mike Wereschagin discusses his recent series on the complications, dangers and costs of managing gas lines that are, in some cases 100 years old.

Ask This Old House

Long before HGTV there was This Old House. The long-running PBS show has branched out to include a magazine and the companion series Ask This Old House which is in Pittsburgh this week. Joining us in studio is the program’s plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey.

Johnny Appleseed

You may not recognize the name John Chapman from your history books. The pioneering American nurseryman is better known as Johnny Appleseed who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and the Midwest. We’ll mark the 240th anniversary of Johnny Appleseed’s birth and his connection to Pittsburgh with culture contributor Joe Wos.

Climate Action Network / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday September 24, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Climate Summit

The United Nations Climate Summit took place in New York City this week. While more than 100 world leaders took part, and thousands demonstrated in the streets of NYC for the People's Climate March, it's not certain how much, if any, tangible action will be taken on a global scale. We'll talk with John Radzilowicz, Director of Professional Development, ASSET STEM Education, about ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And hear from some PA residents who participated in the NYC march.

Etna's Green Masterplan

The borough of Etna recently debuted its green infrastructure plan. Like many other communities along the Allegheny river, Etna has had a history of problems with flooding, and the community of some 3,400 people was hit especially hard as a result of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Etna’s recent green master plan was designed to handle large amounts of storm water without flooding the sewage systems. What can their experience in Etna tell us about how other communities in our region can institute green projects of this kind? We'll talk with Etna borough manager Mary Ellen Ramage and Janel Everly, programming director for the Green Building Alliance.

Tuesday Rundown: Searching for Life on Mars 2020

Sep 23, 2014
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

These topics air Tuesday September 23, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

1st Gubernatorial Debate

The first of three Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate debates were held last night. Republican Governor Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf had their face off at a Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and Industry dinner in Hershey. We'll talk with journalist John Baer of who covered round one.

Pitt Professor Helps NASA Probe Mars

Technology using ultraviolet light to analyze and examine pieces of matter invented by University of Pittsburgh chemistry professor Sandy Asher is expected to be part of NASA's Mars 2020 Rover mission. The goal is to determine whether life exists on the Red Planet. Sandy Asher joins us to talk about the UV technology he's developed.

Salary Negotiation

Conversations about money are never easy. They’re especially difficult in the workplace when it comes to negotiating your salary. This month independent career consultant Sasha King guides us through the dos and don’ts of salary negotiation.

WESA Celebrates – Todd DePastino

Todd DePastino and his friend Dan Cavanaugh both had fathers who were veterans. They decided to bring together other former servicemen on a weekly basis. The result was the Veterans Breakfast Club. This week WESA Celebrates profiles Todd DePastino.

The Business of Robotics

In a November 1999 article the Wall Street Journal dubbed Pittsburgh “Robo-burgh.” The city is one of a handful of locations in the U.S. leading in the development of robotics technology. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of robotics. 

Monday Rundown: The Manhunt for Eric Frein Continues

Sep 21, 2014
Matt Slocum / The Associated Press

These topics air Monday September 22, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

The Manhunt Continues

As the search continues for the man accused of ambushing two state troopers more than a week ago, killing one and wounding another, we'll get an update on the manhunt from AP reporter Michael Rubinkam. He is reporting that, according to authorities, the man they're looking for is a heavily armed survivalist. 

An Assassin's Mindset

Former FBI profiler and expert on terrorism Larry Likar teaches criminology at La Roche College. He describes suspected cop killer Eric Frein as an assassin type of shooter. Likar joins us to examine the complexities involved in the search for the man who ambushed two state troopers.

The Troubled National Football League

Former NFL quarterback Don McPherson joins us to discuss domestic violence issues involving NFL players including Baltimore's Ray Rice and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league will get its house in order, the question is how. McPherson regularly speaks on college campuses as a critic of gender roles, saying they contribute to incidents of domestic violence, stalking, and rape. 

Friday Rundown: Permitting Firearms on School Grounds

Sep 18, 2014
Ken / Flickr

These topics air Friday September 19, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Firearms in Schools?

State Senator Don White wants Pennsylvania school districts to be able to permit their staff to carry firearms in school buildings and on the grounds. Supporters say his proposal would make schools safer but critics are arguing for more police. We'll talk with Senator White and Shira Goodman, Executive Director of Cease Fire Pennsylvania.

Range Resources Receives Record Fine

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced it has signed a consent order and agreement with Range Resources for violations at six of its impoundments in Washington County. The $4.15 million fine is the largest ever brought against a company in the Marcellus Shale era. We'll be joined by DEP spokesman John Poister.

MacArthur Grant Recipient

The MacArthur Genius Grants were announced this week. University of Pittsburgh Writing Professor and Poet Terrance Hayes was among the twenty-one recipients. He speaks with WESA Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson. 

Thursday Rundown: A New Generation of TED events

Sep 18, 2014
TEDxYouthHMB / Facebook

These topics air Thursday September 18, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.


At age 15, Sophia Sterling-Angus attended her first TED talk, the first TEDx Grandview. She was so motivated by the event that she began to plan her own TEDx. Now as a 17 year old high school senior at the Ellis School for Girls, Sophia organized a group of volunteers to create TEDxYouth Hot Metal Bridge at the Carnegie Museum of Art on September 7th. One thing that made this event unique was the fact that it was developed with a younger demographic in mind and by teenagers. Find out how Sophia Sterling-Angus developed the TED talk and what she thinks about the future of TED.

Justin Currie

When Justin Currie was the lead singer for the band Del Amitri, he scored a top ten single in the U.S. and was heard regularly on top 40 radio. But earlier this month he had sold only nine tickets to his upcoming solo show at the Club Cafe. That's when he posted a desperate message on facebook saying that he was going ahead with the show and that the people of Western Pennsylvania ought to show up. He joins us along with WYEP Program Director Mike Sauter to discuss the business model for the modern musician.

Fall Festivals

In case the football games, cooler weather and heralding of all things pumpkin flavored escaped your attention, the celebration of the autumn season has begun. This week our woman for all seasons, travel contributor Elaine Labalme, joins us with a lineup of fall fairs and festivals you might enjoy. 

Ari Moore / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday September 17, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Drilling Study

A new study has found that residents in Western Pennsylvania living close to natural gas drilling sites were twice as likely to report health problems than those living farther away. We'll talk with the study's lead author Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, who says public health researchers surveyed nearly 500 adults and children in Washington County, southwest of Pittsburgh.

Scottish Independence?

Tomorrow, Scots will vote on possible independence from England, one of the most important issues facing the Scottish people and their heritage. We'll talk with Ron Linden, director of the European Studies Center and professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh. Along with John Kelman, one of the many natives of Scotland living in the Pittsburgh area, about which way he'd like to see the vote go. 

Ligonier Highland Festival

A gathering of the clans will take place this weekend at the Ligonier Highland Festival. From bagpipes to kilts, and don’t forget the haggis we’ll get a preview of this weekend’s festival from Richard Wonderly, executive director of the Ligonier Highland Games. 

Tuesday Rundown: Technology and its Impact on Our Health

Sep 15, 2014

These topics air Tuesday September 16, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Pitt Announces New Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health 

We’re living in age of rapidly advancing technology. With so much of our everyday tasks being done online is it taking a toll on our health? We’ll pose that question to Dr. Brian Primack, director of the new Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

WESA Celebrates - Rev. Harold Hicks

The Miracle Field of Murrysville is a special baseball field constructed for anyone age 10 and older with physical or mental challenges. While the idea for the field came from George O’Donnell his friend Rev. Harold Hicks, former president of the Murrysville Rotary Club helped to make it a reality. Rev. Hicks is profiled in this week’s celebrates.

Women in Bio Sciences

Next week Pittsburgh’s Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs Rally (P.O.W.E.R.) will host a conference promoting leadership for women in life sciences. We’ll address how much economic breakthrough is being driven by women in this field with Susan Catalano, chapter chair if Women in Bio Pittsburgh and Rebecca Harris, director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University. 

Monday Rundown: Could a Cancer Diagnosis Give an Employer Cause?

Sep 14, 2014
Dennis Matheson / Flickr

These topics air Monday September 15, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Employment Law

The revelation of her cancer diagnosis has resulted in a Hopewell woman being laid off by her employer, a Beaver County oral surgeon. She was informed of her layoff via a letter which has been posted online and gone viral. We’ll address the employment issues this situation raises with attorney Allison Feldstein.

VFW Centennial

In September of 1914 a gathering of 250 delegates from across the United States and its territories took place in Pittsburgh. It was the beginning of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) We’ll mark the centennial of the event with Matthew Hannan, a Marine veteran, graduate student and president of Pitt vets.

Of Rice and Men

In her latest column our guest, Nafari Vanaski of the Tribune Review, takes the NFL to task for its handling of the Ray Rice assault case. She also poses the question of why athletic organizations don’t hold players to higher standards of conduct when they’re involved in wrongdoing. 

Friday Rundown: Music and Milestones in Pittsburgh

Sep 11, 2014
Thrival Festival Facebook page

These topics air Friday September 12, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Lawrenceville Turns 200

The neighborhood of Lawrenceville was established 200 years ago, by the father of Stephen Foster. In that time the riverside area has seen an interesting range of people, events and industries which helped shape American history and culture. On Friday the 200th anniversary will be commemorated with movies and lectures presented by the Lawrenceville Historic Society, at the Row House Cinema. Community Historians Carol Peterson and James Wudarczyk join us to chat about Lawrenceville history and share a few lesser known stories.

Thrival Innovation + Music Festival

The now two-day Thrival Innovation + Music Festival is being held this weekend in Bakery Square. While the music is the big draw, the organizers say the goal of the festival is to provide an outlet for entrepreneurs to get the word out on their projects as well as the opportunity to bring major national music acts to the city. We'll talk with festival organizers Bobby Zappala and Dan Law in studio and Justin Pierre, lead singer of Motion City Soundtrack.

50th Anniversary of the Beatles' Pittsburgh Concert

It was fifty years ago Sunday that the Beatles performed at the Civic Arena, their one and only appearance in Pittsburgh. We'll talk with legendary concert promoter Pat DiCesare, who brought the band to town and is producing this weekend's 50th anniversary events. Also joining us in studio is Chuck Brinkman, a former KQV disc jockey who introduced the Beatles on stage on that memorable night in 1964. 

Thursday Rundown: The Future of Arts Education

Sep 11, 2014
Navy Hale Keiki School / Flickr

These topics air Thursday September 11, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. 

This week the Arts Education National Forum is being held in Pittsburgh. The theme of this year’s program is Preparing Students for the Next America in and through the arts. As part of WESA’s Life of Learning initiative, Essential Pittsburgh is devoting this hour to arts education.

State of the Arts

Is arts education being cut at national and local levels? If so, is it being done equitably? We’ll begin our look at arts education by posing this question to Sandra Ruppert, director of the Arts Education Partnership and Sarah Tambucci, director of the Arts Education Collaborative.

Arts Education and the Community

What role do community arts organizations play in arts education? We’ll get a national and local perspective on this issue with Doug Herbert, special assistant at the U.S Department of Education and Carol Wolfe, director of Education and regional director of Western PA Wolf Trap Gateway to the Arts.

The Future of Arts Education

Can arts education be saved by incorporating it into other disciplines? We’ll address this issue with Ayanna Hudson, director of Arts Education, National Endowment for the Arts and Sarah Tambucci, director of the Arts Education Collaborative. 

Flickr user jmd41280

These topics air Wednesday September 10, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Decision Making and the Mayor

Like any new city mayor, Bill Peduto has a whole lot on his plate, and room for creative decisions. This month we’ll talk with him about some of his most recent plans for the city, from selecting a new police chief, to improving pre-k education and developing bike lanes on some of the city bridges. Share your thoughts with us on these topics.

Exit Interview

There’s no doubting Pittsburghers take pride in their city. However, can that civic pride result in turning a blind eye to ongoing issues such as race, transportation and poverty? We’ll pose that question to Joe Wos, executive director of the Toonseum and Chris Potter, editor of the Pittsburgh City Paper. 

Tuesday Rundown: The Politics of Fracking

Sep 8, 2014
Nicholas Tonelli / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday September 9, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Engaging Iran: A New Way Forward?

It has been months since President Obama announced an interim deal had been struck between the group known as P5+1 and Iranian leadership over Iran's nuclear program. Many open questions remain as the deliberations move forward and the details of the agreement emerge. How will this play out? We'll talk with Dr. Jessica Tuchman Matthews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a global think tank.

Zone of Influence

This week WESA and the Allegheny Front are airing a special series on hydraulic fracturing and state politics – specifically the money spent on lobbying. We’ll speak with Allegheny Front reporter Reid Frazier and WESA Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson whose investigation looks at the influence this money is having on Pennsylvania’s oversight of the natural gas boom.

WESA Celebrates - Erika Strasburg

Erika Strasburg, a singer/actress and graduate from CMU drama school, has used her talent to comfort the young patients at Children’s Hospital, where she volunteers every week to go room to room dressed as a princess. Erika is profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Physical Therapy

Whether it’s an athlete, injured soldier or senior citizen people needing physical therapy cover a broad spectrum. In addition, as the population ages the need for people trained health professions, such as physical therapy increases. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of physical therapy. 

Library of Congress / wikipedia

These topics air Monday September 8, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

40th Anniversary of the Ford-Nixon Pardon

The Duquesne University School of Law will commemorate one of the most controversial presidential decisions of the 20th Century when it presents President Ford's Pardon of Richard Nixon: A 40-year Retrospective Monday on the Duquesne campus. We'll talk with Benton Becker, former special counsel to President Ford, whom Ford sent to California to negotiate the pardon with the embattled ex-president. Also joining the conversation is Duquesne Law Dean Ken Gormley.

American Afterlife

American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning is a provocative book looking at the way Americans mourn, with particular emphasis on the ongoing evolution of how we pay tribute to our deceased loved ones, i.e. roadside shrines, memorial tattoos, green burials, etc. The book's author Kate Sweeney joins us in studio.

Shattered Image

Bulimia is often thought of as a woman’s disorder. However, men can suffer from it as well. In his memoir Shattered Image, our guest Brian Cuban chronicles his battles with bulimia as well as his addictions to alcohol, cocaine and steroids. He joins us in Studio A to discuss his struggles and recovery.

These topics air Friday September 5, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

The State of Movie Production in Pittsburgh

Film production in Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburgh area in particular is an important economic driver. The Pittsburgh Film Office has reported more than $100 million brought in to the region each year, for the past 4 years. 10 years ago, Pennsylvania was at the forefront of the film industry tax incentive program, which has made the commonwealth a more enticing place to shoot movies and TV shows. But with annual limits to the tax credits available, how competitive does the region remain? Dawn Keezer, Director of the Pittsburgh Film Office joins us to talk about the state of movie production in the region.

No No: A Dockumentary

No No: A Dockumentary is opening in Pittsburgh, Saturday night at the Regent Square Theater. The film tells the story of former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, who pitched a no-hitter on June 12, 1970 - while under the influence of LSD. After retiring he became a counselor, helping other addicts in their recoveries. We'll talk with director Jeffrey Radice.

Sports with Bob Pittsburgh

Post-Gazette Sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to discuss the Steelers' regular season opener as well as the possible outcome for two Steelers players who were stopped for marijuana possession. Also, the NFL takes a stronger stance on domestic violence. 

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Thursday September 4, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Future of the AWC

The August Wilson Center's future remains uncertain, but a group of community volunteers and activists have been holding community meetings to formulate a plan for a new August Wilson Center. The August Wilson Center Recovery Committee laid out the plans yesterday. We'll talk with Group leader Janera Solomon and committee member E.J. Strassburger.

Combating Anti-Semitism

Ira Forman joins us to talk about his work as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Throughout his career Forman has spoken and written extensively on Jewish history and public policy. He will discuss the reported global rise in anti-Semitic sentiment and activity. He is speaking in Pittsburgh tonight at the Katz Auditorium in Squirrel Hill.

Fall Sports Travel

Before the boys of summer give way to the athletes of autumn, travel contributor Elaine Labalme has some sporting travel ideas. From following the Pirates to destinations within driving distance to college football and pre-season hockey, she stops by Studio A with some fall sports travel suggestions. 

Andrew Bardwell / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday September 3, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

New Police Chief

Now that Mayor Bill Peduto and Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar have named Cameron McLay the city's new police chief we'll sample reaction from the community with Tim Stevens, chairman and CEO of the Black Political Empowerment Project and take your calls. We'll also talk with University of Pittsburgh Law School Professor David Harris, who was on the Police Chief Screening Committee.

PA Job Growth

One of the major issues of this year’s gubernatorial race is sure to be job growth. The good news for the commonwealth is that is has seen an increase in job growth and a decrease in the unemployment rate. However, a recent report by the Keystone Research Center indicates Pennsylvania falls below other states when it comes to job growth. We’ll discuss the report findings with Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Keystone Research Center. 

Tuesday Rundown: Governor's Race and Personal Safety

Sep 1, 2014
Pennsylvania National Guard, Tom Wolf via Flickr

These topics air Tuesday September 2, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Governor's Race

In two months Pennsylvanians will head to the polls. As the gubernatorial heads into its final phase, will Tom Corbett break the streak of PA governors serving a second term? And, what would a win by Democratic challenger Tom Wolf mean for the commonwealth? We’ll pose those questions to our guest John Micek, opinion editor for the Penn Live website.

Just Whistl

The past year has seen a number of news stories about safety on college campuses. From Time magazine’s cover story on sexual assaults to a Forbes Magazine article on the Clery Act which requires colleges and universities to compile and publish data on campus crimes. Campus safety was one of the motivating forces behind the development of the personal safety device Whistl. Here to tell us more about its creation and use is one of its developers, Jayon Wang, CEO and Co-founder of LifeShel, a device company creating smartphone cases.

WESA Celebrates - Lyndsey Sickler

Every week we profile someone in our region who is making a difference in people’s lives as part of 90.5’s WESA Celebrates. Lindsey Sickler who has made an incredible impact in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community is the subject of this week’s profile.

Business of Bad Driving

In a report issued by Allstate Insurance company ranking the nation’s 200 largest cities for driver safety Pittsburgh came in at 187. Is there money to made from this ranking and if so by whom? Contributor Rebecca Harris will answer those questions in this week’s business segment. 

Friday Rundown: Meet the Woman Who Married Pittsburgh

Aug 28, 2014
Tom Jefferson /

These topics air Friday August 29, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA, with Weekend Host Liz Reid filling in for Paul Guggenheimer

Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Positive Change for Port Authority Transit

When we hear news of Port Authority of Allegheny County service changes, it usually means we’ll have to brace ourselves for cuts in service. But with transportation funding legislation approved by the legislature and Governor Tom Corbett last fall, the authority plans to add more frequent service to some of the busiest routes. Pittsburgh Port Authority Communications Officer Jim Ritchie explains what went into the route expansions.

Campaign Messaging

As campaign season shifts into high gear, Pennsylvania voters are being inundated with political messaging. From television commercials to social media to live debates... it can be hard to find the truth behind messages so carefully crafted to win hearts and minds... and ultimately votes. Jerry Shuster teaches Political Communication at the University of Pittsburgh. He talks about the strategy and the psychology behind political messaging.

The Woman Who Married Pittsburgh

When 90.5 WESA Weekend Host Liz Reid found out she'd be filling in as host of Essential Pittsburgh, she took to her Facebook page and asked followers who they'd like to hear interviewed on the show. Overwhelmingly, people wanted to hear a conversation with Etta Cetera, a prison justice activist and performance artist who married the city of Pittsburgh earlier this summer. Etta joins us to talk about why she married the city and how it ties in with her advocacy work. 

Thursday Rundown: Cracking Down on Cyber Crime

Aug 27, 2014
US Department of Justice

These topics air Thursday August 28, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. 

Featuring guest host Andy Conte of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. 

Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Under Investigation

U. S. Attorney David Hickton’s interest in cyber crimes is getting noticed by the Justice Department. Hickton and his team have investigated the Pitt bombing threats and the PNC denial of service attacks. Their recent work has resulted in the indictment of Chinese military hackers. David Hickton joins us to explain why the Western PA Attorney’s office could be a model for cyber crime units across the country.

Under Observation

Some of the nicest views of Pittsburgh and the night sky can be found at the Allegheny Observatory. Electronic technician and administrator Lou Coban takes guest host Andy Conte on a behind the scenes tour of the building from the rooftop to the telescopes to something you might not expect to find in the basement.

European Vacation

While a Roman holiday wasn’t part of her trip, contributor Elaine Labalme did venture to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid. She’s back in Studio A this week with a recap of European cities fall travelers may want to visit. 

David Brossard / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday August 27, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Kevin Gavin guest hosts for Paul Guggenheimer. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Increasing Qualified STEM Educators in Western PA

Westminster College has been awarded a grant through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the National Science Foundation to increase qualifications of secondary educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We'll speak with Dr. Amy Camardese, Professor/Chair in Education at Westminster College. We'll also talk with Science Department Chair for the North Allegheny School District Chris Omasits.

Workforce Development

In an increasingly global job market how do you attract and maintain the best talent? What if that talent isn't local but global? Those were some of the questions posed at the Governor's Jobs 1st Summit held here in Pittsburgh. Immigration attorney and former U.S. diplomat Kamana Mathur joins us to discuss the challenges employers face in attaining and keeping talent from around the world.


When his wedding plans fell through our guest Phil Laboon, CEO of Eyeflow Internet Marketing decided to make the best of the situation. We'll discover how his breakup is going to benefit others especially the charity Surgicorps founded by Dr. Jack Demos who also joins us in Studio A. 

Tuesday Rundown: Italian Heritage Passed on Through the Garden

Aug 25, 2014
Chris Squire / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Tuesday August 26, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Local Miners' Black Lung Benefits Delayed

U.S. Senator Bob Casey is laying out a plan to reduce a claims backlog that has impacted residents throughout the region. He recently chaired a hearing to explore the challenges that former coal miners are dealing with. Dr. Kevin Gibson of the UPMC Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine department talks about the illness and Senator Casey joins us to discuss his plan and what should be done to protect the health and safety of coal miners and prevent black lung disease.

The Italian Garden Project

When Fenice and Nicola Mercurio moved to the United States from Italy decades ago, they brought their cooking traditions as well as a knowledge of Mediterranean gardening. As members of Pittsburgh's Italian Garden Project, the Mercurios and project founder Mary Menniti hold events and demonstrations in order to pass along their Italian heritage. Join us for a visit to the Mercurio garden, and hear about late summer cocktail pairings from contributor Hal B. Klein.

WESA Celebrates - Carolyn Hare

Carolyn Hare has been an advocate for those with autism for more than 20 years, but she never realized how providing a creative outlet could have such an impact on their lives. Five years ago she visited the Joey Travolta Film Camp in Bakersfield, CA, a two-week camp for anyone ages 10 and older with autism. The visit resulted in her starting the Arts for Autism Foundation of Pittsburgh. Carolyn Hare and her work are profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

Business of School Lunches

Whether they brown bag it or purchase the cafeteria offering, lunch can be one of the most important parts of a student’s day. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of school lunches.