Essential Pittsburgh
3:27 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Monday Rundown: Where Military Meets Community

Connecting the military world with other vital worlds of education, psychosocial support, housing, and employment.
Credit Georgia National Guard / Flickr

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


Southwest Pennsylvania is home to 220,000 veterans, 97,000 alone living in Allegheny County. After returning from active duty, all veterans, whether injured or uninjured, are in need of resources such as employment, physical and mental healthcare, job training, and housing. Until recently, Pittsburgh-area veterans did not have a centralized, dedicated place to find these kinds of resources. We’ll meet Pittsburgher and Iraq War veteran Jared Souder, founder of Checkpoint a company dedicated to helping Veterans find the resources they need to help resume their lives as civilians.

WESA Celebrates - Miss Bertie, Miss Mary and Miss Dee

For over 10 years, Miss Bertie, Miss Mary and Miss Dee have been volunteering at the North Side Ministry Food Pantry. The ladies, all in their 80’s, are the profiled in this week’s edition of WESA celebrates.

Chuck Noll

Over the weekend, former Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Chuck Noll died of natural causes at the age of 82. Noll coached the team for 23 seasons and transformed the Steelers from a long-standing joke to a championship dynasty, becoming the only coach to win four Super Bowls. Former Steelers linebacker Andy Russell joins us to remember Chuck Noll.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:44 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Friday Rundown: Savage Love and Pittsburgh Jazz

Dan Savage is host and curator of the Hump Festival Tour, a syndicated columnist featured in the Pittsburgh City Paper, and LGBTQ media leader.
Credit Dan Savage / Wikipedia

These topics air Friday June 13, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Savage Love

A festival of independently made adult films will be shown this weekend in Lawrenceville. Known as the Hump Tour, the festival is curated by sex columnist, author, and lecturer Dan Savage. He joins us to discuss the festival and his It Gets Better Project created to inspire and give hope to LGBT teens.

Black Jazz Musicians Union

A group of local musicians meets every Saturday in the auditorium of the Homewood Library to play music and carry on the rich tradition of local jazz. They came into being with the dissolution of the Black Musician's Union in the 1960s. We'll talk about the group and a showing of the film "Local 471" about the union with Jackie Young, whose father Harold founded the group and historian Charlie McCollester.

Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival

The 4th Annual Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival gets underway in one week. The free festival consists of three days of jazz and jazz-influenced musical performances on outdoor stages and attracts more than 20,000 attendees from around the country. WESA jazz host Bob Studebaker joins us for a preview. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:24 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Thursday Rundown: US-Russia Relations and the Limits of Partnership

Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin shake hands at the G8 Summit in 2013.
Credit Pete Souza / Whitehouse Photography

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

"The Limits of Partnership"

What does President Obama's refusal to meet with President Putin during his recent European trip say about U.S.-Russian relations? We'll pose that question to Angela Stent, a former adviser on Russia under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, whose new book "The Limits of Partnership" explores the evolution of U.S. - Russian relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Smithereens

Pat DiNizio, the lead singer of the rock group The Smithereens joins us to talk about the group's performance in Pittsburgh as part of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. In the 80s and 90s, the group was churning out hit songs like "Only a Memory," "Blood and Roses" and a "Girl Like You." We'll learn about the history of the group and what Pat's been up to since the group's heyday.

Regional Beaches

Grab the sunscreen, your favorite book and anything else you might need for fun in the sun. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests regional beaches to visit from the Jersey Shore to Virginia. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:04 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Mayor Peduto on Act 47 Oversight

Mayor Bill Peduto in January, asking Governor Tom Corbett to keep Pittsburgh under Act 47 oversight until at least 2018.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Wednesday June 11, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Mayor Peduto and the Path Out of Act 47  

For 10 years Pittsburgh has been under Act 47 oversight for distressed municipalities. While the city has seen some remarkable improvements in that time, we’ve yet to implement a comprehensive financial management system to address legacy costs of debt, pensions, post retirement benefits, workers compensation along with a financially viable long-term capital plan. Mayor Bill Peduto joins us this month to talk about plans for transitioning out of Act 47 oversight.

When Opposites No Longer Attract

Coming out is a difficult process for anyone. What are the challenges for men and women who have been married, raised families and realize they’re homosexual? That’s the focus of the book When Opposites No Longer Attract by our guest Michael Testa whose experience inspired the book. Also taking part in the conversation is Apryl Loughlin, whose ex-husband came out as gay. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:14 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Immigration and Innovation in Pittsburgh

Attracting more immigrant interest to Pittsburgh
Credit Phil Quinn / wikipedia

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

Attracting Immigrants to Pittsburgh

A recent report by the Institute for Policy Innovation concludes that wages rise fastest in U.S. cities with the greatest influx of highly skilled immigrants. This could be one reason why a number of cities are looking to attract more immigrants to their municipalities. Attracting and retaining immigrant populations will be the focus of the Global Great Lakes Conference taking place this week in Pittsburgh. Joining us in to Studio A to provide an overview of the conference is Betty Cruz, Non-Profit and Faith Based Mgr for Mayor Peduto’s Office and Tom Buell, Director, Marketing & Study Pittsburgh Initiative at Global Pittsburgh. We’ll also talk with Gabriel Berumen, a native of Mexico and owner of Las Palmas, a Latino grocery with stores in Oakland, Beechview, Brookline and Washington, PA.

Sharp Dressed Man

They say clothes make the man. While mens' wear doesn’t go through many changes local entrepreneur George Howard’s tie accessory is poised to take the fashion world by storm. We’ll meet him and find out how necessity was the mother of his invention.

The Business of Invention

An invention and new product exposition is taking place in Pittsburgh this week. What does it take to get a product from idea to store shelves? Contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of invention. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:49 pm
Sun June 8, 2014

Monday Rundown: Making Single Payer Health Care Work

Sir David Nicholson delivers a keynote speech for the NHS Confederation in 2012
Credit NHS Confederation / Flickr

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

Single Payer Health Care

What does Single Payer Health Care look like? One need look no further than England, home to the world's largest single-payer health system? How does it work? And would it work in the United States? We'll pose these questions and more to Sir David Nicholson, former CEO of England's National Health Service.

Three Rivers Arts Festival

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival got underway over the weekend. This year, the annual celebration made up of concerts, art exhibits and food has a decidedly green component. Joining us to provide an overview of this year’s festival is Three River Arts Festival director Veronica Corpuz.

100 Things for Pirates Fans

100 Things Pirates Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die is a new book written by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sunday sports editor Steve Ziants who has assembled various facts, traditions and achievements to educate and entertain true fans. Mr. Ziants joins us to discuss the "ultimate resource guide for true Pirates fans."

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:32 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Friday Rundown: Local Veterans' Stories of the Allied Invasion

Chief Photographer's Mate Robert F. Sargent took this photograph just as a group of soldiers stepped off a Coast Guard landing craft and headed for the Normandy beaches June 6, 1944.
Credit Chief Photographer's Mate (CPHOM) Robert F. Sargent, U.S. Coast Guard / Wikipedia/official U.S. Coast Guard photograph

These topics air Friday June 6, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

D-Day Plus 70

We'll mark the 70th anniversary of one of the most historic battles of World War II by talking with three Pittsburgh area veterans who took part in the Allied Invasion of Normandy, known as D-Day, on June 6, 1944. First, we'll speak with Army Veteran Warren Goss who was part of the first wave of the invasion. Then we'll hear from two veterans who were part of the second wave, Michael Vernillo and Ralph Russo.

Ira Flatow

The popular public radio show, "Science Friday" has been heard for nearly 25 years. Its founder and host, Ira Flatow, joins us in studio to talk about how the program got its start and how he became interested in science. And we'll discuss matters of science including the future of space exploration in the U.S. among other topics. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:30 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Thursday Rundown: US Steel and Foreign Competitors

Credit Stefanos Kofopoulos / Flickr

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

U.S. Steel Announces Layoffs

Are illegal imports costing steelworkers jobs in Pittsburgh? If this week's developments are any indication, the answer is yes. U.S. Steel announced it is laying off 260 employees at tubular products plants in McKeesport and Belleville, Texas. We'll talk with USW Union President Leo Gerard who says unfair trade by foreign competitors is having a detrimental impact.

Chaka Khan

Ten-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan is coming to Pittsburgh to perform as the headliner for "Pride in the Street" on Saturday, June 14. This year marks the 30th anniversary of her groundbreaking mega-hit "I Feel for You." She talks about her reaction when she first heard the song as well as other aspects of her versatile career.

PA State Parks

If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors this summer you can’t go wrong visiting one of the Commonwealth's many state parks. From Erie to Scranton and all points in between our guide to some of Pennsylvania’s state parks is travel contributor Elaine Labalme.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:31 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: How Local Veterans Can Be Better Served By the VA

Pittsburgh VA Ambulatory Care Center
Credit VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System / Facebook

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

VA Problems in Pittsburgh

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, is calling for an independent audit of the Pittsburgh VA because he believes that more than 700 veterans have been waiting for medical appointments, some since 2012. Congressman Murphy joins us to discuss how he thinks the VA should operate.

U.S. Auto Recalls

Automakers have recalled more than 24 million cars in the U.S. this year, more in the first five months of 2014 than the 22 million for all of last year. GM is the leader with 13 million. What is the lasting impact on the auto industry and safety? We'll discuss this with Jerry Hirsch, staff writer of the Los Angeles Times Business Section.

The Golden Legacy of Little Golden Books

Since 1942 Little Golden Books have entertained and educated generations of children. For many, the brightly illustrated tomes were one of their earliest reading experiences. The artwork from such famous titles as The Poky Little Puppy, The Color Kittens and more are on display in the exhibit Golden Legacy: Original Art From 65 Years of Golden Books currently on display at the Toonseum. We’ll tour the exhibit with Joe Wos, executive director of the Toonseum. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:15 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Community Design for Changing Demographics

Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

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

New Tools for the Fight Against Blight

Like many other older industrial cities, the Pittsburgh region has its share of blight. According to the most recent data from the 2010 census, there are more than 50 thousand vacant houses in Allegheny County. For more than a century, federal, state and city governments have tried to address the issue. As 90.5 WESA’s Larkin Paige-Jacobs reports on a new generation of tools is being used to try and clean up blighted neighborhoods.

Community Design For A Changing Demographic

In our quest to battle blight, how can neighborhood improvements accommodate the current residents and the next generation? How can we revitalize in a way that's adaptive to changing demographics? The Design Center helps local neighborhoods create community driven development plans. We'll talk about this with Chris Koch, interim CEO of the Design Center, along with project consultants Rob Pfaffmann, an architect and designer, and Todd Poole Managing principal and president of 4Ward Planning.

WESA Celebrates - Ruth Ann Dailey

The subject of this week’s WESA Celebrates profile is Ruth Ann Dailey. Ms. Dailey’s can-do attitude is helping to transform a run-down north side town into a desirable place to live.

The Business of Golf

Golf has been described as a good walk spoiled. Interest in the sport increased with the rise of Tiger Woods who brought a new generation of fan’s to the sport. However, recent news stories on CNN and Bloomberg news report a declining interest in the game. This week, contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of golf.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:58 am
Sun June 1, 2014

Monday Rundown: Profiling Pittsburgh's Transgender Communities

Looking at the challenges and discrimination faced by transgender people in Pittsburgh
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

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

Mike Fleck

State Rep. Mike Fleck, Pennsylvania's first openly gay legislator, says he still will appear on the ballot in November's general election, even though he lost the Republican nomination in the primary. John Micek, long time capitol reporter and now editor of the editorial and opinion pages for the Patriot-News and PennLive joins us to discuss the latest developments related to this story.

Transgender in Pittsburgh

This year's Pittsburgh Pride Week will have the most extensive spotlight on the transgender population so far. We'll talk with Jessica McGuinness, a former EMT who transitioned over the last ten years from male to female. Joining the conversation is Post-Gazette reporter Mike Fuoco who profiles six local transgender people for a series on the transgender population.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:21 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Friday Rundown: Is An August Wilson Center Hotel On The Horizon?

How well suited are a NY developer's plans for the August Wilson Center?
Credit AWC / Facebook

These topics air Friday May 30, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

August Wilson Center Update

A New York developer has been given the go-ahead to draw-up plans for a hotel on top of the August Wilson Center. Sale of the building to the developer was authorized this week by Allegheny County Common Pleas Orphans' Court Judge Lawrence O'Toole. We discuss this latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the financially struggling building with Post Gazette reporter Mark Belko.

Summer Movies

As the 2014 summer movies come out, Pittsburgh City Paper film critic Al Hoff comes in to give her two cents on the many anticipated flicks of the season.

A Whiskey Apocalypse?!?!?

According to publications such as Esquire and Smithsonian magazine, the nation's largest whiskey distilleries are experiencing a shortage because they can't keep up with demand. How big of a problem could this really be for cocktail connoisseurs? Meredith Grelli, co-owner of Wigle Whiskey in the Strip District shares some interesting insights on the problem from a local perspective.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:27 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Preventing False Confessions

A screen capture showing Ariel Castro during his interrogation with the FBI.
Credit FBI

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

Preventing False Confessions

The U.S. Department of Justice has decided law enforcement agencies including the FBI, DEA and ATF will electronically record interrogations of people in custody. What could this mean for the future of law enforcement since some of these agencies have been resistant to this change in the past? We’ll address the issue with University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Harris.

Eleanor Schano

"Riding the Waves, The Life and Televised Times of Eleanor Schano" is an autobiography by Ms. Schano which discusses her life as a pioneering broadcaster in Pittsburgh. She is the first woman to solo anchor a prime time TV newscast here and relates a compelling story about surviving sexism and sexual harassment through her determination, guts and style. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:39 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Rededicating Mellon Square

A vintage photo of Mellon Square in Downtown Pittsburgh
Credit U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

These topics air Wednesday May 28, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

Rededication of Mellon Square

Mellon Square will reopen on Thursday, looking much as it did when it opened in 1955. Allegheny County’s first public green space has undergone a three year restoration project. We’ll get the history and tour the square with Phil Gruszka, Parks Manager for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy which developed the final design plan for Mellon Square.

On the Job - The Confidence Code

We often hear people say fake it until you make it. What they’re faking is confidence. Evidence shows confidence is an important factor for succeeding in business, especially for women. Sasha King, independent career consultant, tells us why, in this month’s “On the Job” segment.

Remembering Maya Angelou

Writer, performer, teacher, director and political activist Maya Angelou has died at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86 years old. Dr. Angelou is known for her award-winning book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs. And her reading of the poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration made her a household name. We spoke with her last year just before Mother's Day, about her autobiographical book, Mom & Me & Mom. Hear an excerpt from the interview and view the original post here.

2nd Annual City Spree

The second annual City Spree takes place this Sunday. This year’s event will also support Community Lawns, a joint project between City of Play and GTECH. We’ll preview the event with Adam Nelson, Director City of Play and Sarah Innamorato, communications specialist for Growth Technology Energy and Community Health (GTECH).

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: A Roadmap to Enhanced Teacher Effectiveness?

Credit Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday May 27, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

Improving Teacher Effectiveness

Last week the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a roadmap to enhance teacher effectiveness in Pittsburgh Public Schools. The report was commissioned by the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and A+ schools. Joining us to address how teachers in Pittsburgh and the commonwealth can improve is Kate Walsh, CEO of the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Pittsburgh Teachers Respond

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane calls Pittsburgh teacher absenteeism "startling," but how do the teachers respond? What do teachers think will help make them more effective? We'll pose those questions to Nina Esposito-Visgitis President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.

WESA Celebrates - Alan and Diana Williams

Alan and Diana Williams have opened their hearts and home to children in need for more than four decades. Their work as foster parents is profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Festivals

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer season. No matter where you go there will be festivals a plenty, celebrating everything from ice cream to the arts. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of festivals. 

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Special Programming
12:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

America Abroad: Shrinking America’s Military

US military truck in Afghanistan 2011
Credit Cpl. Timothy P. Chesnavage, U.S. Marine Corps / wikipedia

This special Memorial Day program airs May 26, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

The Pentagon has announced plans to shrink the U.S. military to pre-World War II levels following the end of the war in Iraq, and the continued withdrawal from Afghanistan. On this edition of America Abroad, hosted by Madeline Brand, hear reactions to a smaller U.S. military from allies in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and whether America's ability to advance its interests is compromised. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:18 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Friday Rundown: New Ways For People With Disabilities To Live Independently

Credit tdmalone / wikipedia

These topics air Friday May 23, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

The ABLE Act

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, also known as the ABLE Act has the potential to help people with disabilities live independently and work without fear of losing important benefits. US Senator Bob Casey is sponsoring the legislation and joins us along with Jillian Zacks, an estate attorney specializing in special needs planning, and a mother of 2 children on the autism spectrum.

Life with ALS

Larry Jacknin is a Pittsburgh man living with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease as it is commonly known. He joins us to discuss what it is like to live with ALS and his hopes for the future. Merritt Spier, Executive Director of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the ALS Association, joins the conversation to discuss the latest ALS research.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:46 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Overturning Pennsylvania's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The Whitewood family of Bridgeville, PA were plaintiffs in the legal case which overturned PA's same-sex marriage ban.
Credit ACLU-PA

These topics air Thursday May 22, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

The Tuesday decision by U.S. District Judge John Jones III in the Whitewood v. Wolf case makes same-sex marriage legal in Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Corbett has said the state will not appeal the decision.

Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania joins us to discuss the ruling along with Michael Geer, President of the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

In looking at the local ramifications, Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus has been a vocal supporter of LGBT rights and is the city's first openly gay council person, he and Deborah Whitewood, a plaintiff in the legal case, talk about what the ruling means for them and their families.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:43 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Having Your Say on Public Transit

Credit Piotrus / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday May 21, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

Primary Wrap-Up

Pennsylvania Democrats have chosen York County businessman Tom Wolf to take on Republican Governor Tom Corbett in the fall. We'll get a wrap up of Tuesday's political races from WESA Senior News Editor Mark Nootbaar.

Port Authority Improving Transit

What type of improvements need to be made to improve the region’s transit? That’s the question Port Authority posed to the public and the results are in. Port Authority CEO Ellen McLean joins us to discuss the recommendations made to a panel of transit oriented development experts.

Gene Kelly's Legacy

The life of legendary dancer, director, choreographer and Pittsburgh native Gene Kelly is celebrated Wednesday in a show at the Byham Theater called Gene Kelly: The Legacy, An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly. Ms. Kelly is his widow and biographer. She joins us in studio to discuss aspects of Mr. Kelly's career and personal life. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:35 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Could Pittsburgh Establish a New Form of Cyber Crime Indictment?

Credit Gflores / wikipedia

These topics air Tuesday May 20, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

International Cyber Crimes Against Pittsburgh Organizations

Five Chinese military officers have been charged with cyber-crimes aimed at stealing information from Pittsburgh based organizations including U.S. Steel, Westinghouse and Alcoa. But will they ever stand trial in a U.S. courtroom? U.S. Attorney David Hickton joins us for a discussion of where the case goes from here.

Do the Major Television Networks Still Matter?

Cable television shows and binge watching have become the new must see TV. With the quality and popularity of shows on cable such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men we’re asking the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s television writer Rob Owen if the major networks still matter. We’ll also get his thoughts on the changes to late night TV and the major networks fall schedules.

WESA Celebrates - Noah Hertzman

This 12-year-old humanitarian is turning dough into donations to feed the hungry. His work to help others is profiled in this week's WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Alternate Transportation

According to a Census report released last week, Pittsburgh ranks third among large cities with commuters walking to work. Residents of cities are looking for alternative transportation for a number of reasons. Among the reasons cited are convenience, saving money and environmental awareness. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of alternate transportation.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:13 pm
Sun May 18, 2014

Monday Rundown: Conversations with Pennsylvania's Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates

Hear from the Democratic gubernatorial candidates before you hit the polls Tuesday
Credit Lettawren / Flickr

These topics air Monday May 19, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

Throughout the past year Allyson Schwartz, Tom Wolf, Rob McCord and Katie McGinty have all made their way to the 90.5 WESA Community Broadcast Center to talk about why Southwestern PA should choose them to be the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Hear portions of those Essential Pittsburgh conversations again before the Democratic primary election on Tuesday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:47 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Special Programming: A Statewide Look at the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

Credit Tim Lambert / WITF

As the four Democrats running for Pennsylvania Governor make one last push for votes ahead of Tuesday's primary, we bring you special campaign coverage from NPR member stations across the state. Join us Friday May 16, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:45 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

How Likely is Governor Corbett to be Unseated?

Will the negativity between democratic gubernatorial campaigns help or hurt Gov. Corbett?

Republican governor Tom Corbett is considered to be the nation’s most vulnerable governor facing reelection. His chances are clouded by low approval ratings and a recent unsteady relationship with the press.

In the run up to Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Gubernatorial democratic primary election, Philadelphia Daily News Political Columnist John Baer has written about Corbett’s chances of reelection. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:49 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Gov. Corbett, And The Democrats Hoping To Unseat Him

Credit Timothy M. Stepanski / wikipedia

These topics air Thursday May 15, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

Governor Corbett's Chances of Reelection

Tom Corbett is considered the nation’s most vulnerable governor facing reelection. Low approval ratings and an uneasy relationship with the press have been recent hallmarks of his tenure. We’ll look at the governor’s chances for a second term, as well as the Democrats hoping to unseat him, with Philadelphia Daily News Political Columnist John Baer.

Out of State Amusement Parks

People chase their endless summer in different ways. Some visit ballparks, others beaches. A dedicated group of fun seekers visit amusement parks in search of the perfect roller coaster thrill ride. This week, travel contributor Elaine Labalme, suggests some out of state coasters to visit. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:55 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Mayor Peduto on How Pittsburgh Can Be A Model By Modeling Others

Photo of a solar settlement in Germany, tweeted by Bill Peduto
Credit Bill Peduto / Twitter

These topics air Wednesday May 14, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

Making Model City Ideas Work for Pittsburgh

Since Bill Peduto was sworn in as mayor he’s done some pretty extensive traveling in order to gather and share ideas for a new Pittsburgh vision. From Chicago, to Washington D.C., to Ludwigsburg Germany, we’ll talk with him about what he’s learning from other cities, and how he’s working with local communities to apply those ideas in Pittsburgh.

Set to Music

Carnegie Mellon Ph. D candidate Ben Tengelsen put his songwriting on hold indefinitely. However, the birth of his son, and motivation from his wife, provided inspiration. The result is the song Allegheny which is featured on a new cd by the a cappella group Vocal Point. One of the members of the group is Jake Tengelsen, Ben’s brother. We’ll meet the Tengelsen brothers and hear their musical collaboration. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:40 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Breaking Down the Gubernatorial Debate

The PA capitol building in Harrisburg
Credit 90.5 WESA

These topics air Tuesday May 13, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Highway Construction

Negotiating the roads around Pittsburgh isn’t easy but, PennDot is asking for citizen input regarding the Parkway East (I-376). Joining us to address the results of an online survey and traffic evaluations, about the future of this stretch of the parkway is PennDOT Dist. 11 Executive, Dan Cessna. He’ll also fill us in on upcoming road construction projects that could cause delays.

Gubernatorial Debate

The remaining Democratic candidates for governor; state treasurer Rob McCord, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Katie McGinty and front-runner Tom Wolf are taking part in their final debate. The primary election is a week from Tuesday. We'll talk with capitol correspondent Mary Wilson who covered the debate.

WESA Celebrates - University of Pittsburgh's Keep It Real Program 

Many of the students at the University of Pittsburgh’s “Keep It Real” program manage to make time volunteering to help Somali Bantu refugees. This week WESA Celebrates profiles the program in which students tutor and mentor Somali Bantu refugees throughout the Pittsburgh area.

National Small Business Week

According to the Small Business Association more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, which creates two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the impact of small businesses. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:18 pm
Sun May 11, 2014

Monday Rundown: A Vision for the August Wilson Center and Remembering Bill Nunn Jr.

Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Monday May 12, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

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

August Wilson Center Recovery Committee

Our guest, Executive Director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Janera Solomon, acknowledges there were missteps that led to the current state of affairs at the August Wilson Center. However, she is leading a group committed to achieving a vision for the center that will celebrate August Wilson, African American culture and the city. She joins us in studio to share her vision for the center’s future.

Remembering Bill Nunn, Jr.

Last week saw the passing of a Pittsburgh legend. Bill Nunn, Jr. was more than a sports reporter for The New Pittsburgh Courier. He was a pioneering journalist who, according to our guest, Pittsburgh Tribune reporter Andrew Conte, was instrumental in "breaking down racial barriers across sports and in American Life." 

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:04 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Friday Rundown: The Next Generation of Wildlife, in the Face of Climate Change

A NASA satellite image of Hurricane Sandy as it rolled up the Eastern seaboard in 2012 and wreaked havoc on the Mid-Atlantic states.
Credit NASA / Fotopedia

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

Climate Change and the Commonwealth

A national climate change study warns of drastic climates in the future for the state of Pennsylvania. The commonwealth is among states in the Northeast expected to experience heat waves and extreme precipitation. We'll talk with John Radzilowicz, Director of Professional Development ASSET STEM education at CMU.

Climate Change's Impact on Wildlife

From tornadoes to floods, weather events are intensifying and wreaking havoc on the country. What toll have these events taken on wildlife? We’ll pose that question to Ed Perry, Pennsylvania outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. We’ll get his reaction to the National Wildlife Federation's new report entitled, Wildlife Legacy: Climate Change and the Next Generation of Wildlife.

The Devil's Arithmetic

Jane Yolen's best-selling young adult novel, The Devil's Arithmetic is a work of historic fiction about time travel and the Holocaust. It's been adapted for the stage by Lancaster resident Barry Kornhauser. The play premieres this weekend with Prime Stage Theater at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side. Kornhauser and Director Lisa Ann Goldsmith talk about how this show is meant to help young people better understand what happened during the Holocaust. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:28 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Admitting Undergraduate Men at Chatham and the Coed Transition

Chatham University has a very long history in Pittsburgh, the school was women only for much of that history. But Chatham's board of trustees has voted to admit undergraduate men starting in 2015. We'll talk about the transition plans.
Credit Daderot / wikipedia

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

Going Coed, Seton Hill Shares Their Story

In the United States, single-sex colleges and universities have seen a steady decline in enrollment over the past few decades. With fewer students, these institutions are struggling to finance their schools and many have had to change the makeup of the student population.  Due to enrollment difficulties, Seton Hill University officially became coeducational in 2002, opening all academic programs to male students. We’ll talk with Mary Ann Gawelek, Provost and dean of the faculty at Seton Hill University, about what it was like becoming coeducational and the takeaways they have from the experience. 

Transitioning to Coed at Chatham

Last Thursday the Chatham University Board of Trustees approved a three-part resolution which would include the admission of men to the undergraduate community in the Fall of 2015. This would make Chatham completely co-ed for the first time in nearly 145 years. The controversial decision comes as a result of a steady decline in the university’s enrollment and subsequent financial woes. We’ll talk with Bill Campbell, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Chatham University, about how the resolution will affect the school, and the campus community.

Out of State Amusement Parks

People chase their endless summer in different ways. Some visit ballparks, others beaches. A dedicated group of fun seekers visit amusement parks in search of the perfect roller coaster thrill ride. This week, travel contributor Elaine Labalme, suggests some out of state coasters to visit.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:36 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: The Future of Cell Phone Privacy

What are your rights when it comes to the police searching your phone data?
Credit Highways Agency / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday May 6, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. 

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

Cell Phone Searches

How private is the data on your cell phone? Most smartphones hold a large amount of personal data, and last week the US Supreme Court heard two cases with outcomes which could have a big impact on the future of information privacy. University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Harris explains the issues these cases raise with regards to privacy.

Fringe Festival Comes to Pittsburgh

Across America cities and towns are recognizing the value of the arts in boosting the economy. Fringe Festivals, which began in Edinburgh, Scotland are showing up in more in U.S. cities. This year marks the first Pittsburgh Fringe Festival. Joining us with details about this cultural event is Dan Stiker, founder & executive artistic director of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival.

To leave a voicemail before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here