Essential Pittsburgh
11:01 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Monday Rundown: Alzheimer's and Support for Caregivers

Credit sparkle glowplug / flickr

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

Alzheimer's Awareness

In addition to National Breast Cancer Awareness, October is also Alzheimer’s Awareness Disease Month. Our guest, Hayley Jameson is founder and president of the Clear Thoughts Foundation which raises funds to discover drugs and treatments to stop dementia and eventually end Alzheimer’s. Also taking part in the conversation is Dr. Susan Catalano, chief science officer of Cognition Therapeutics which is focused on finding new medicines to stop Alzheimer’s.

Caring for Caregivers

Caring for a loved one with dementia can take an emotional, physical and financial toll on caregivers. We’ll address the services available and particular concerns of caregivers with Karen Schaeffer, founder of Age and Dignity which provides education and guidance for families. Also taking part in the conversation is Suzanne Weessies Family Services Coordinator Alzheimer’s Association Greater PA Chapter. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:13 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Friday Rundown: Iconic Pop Art, A Jazz Homecoming and Commuting Culture Change

Credit Peter Max / Facebook

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

A Conversation on Biking Infrastructure and Cultural Change

Recently Pittsburgh debuted a substantial amount of new bike lanes. Many cyclists are celebrating the changes, but those who don’t bike may be scratching their heads. Why is bike infrastructure beneficial for a community? Who benefits? What about the costs? We’ll speak with Ngani Ndimbie, Communication Manager of Bike Pittsburgh, and Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, about how bike infrastructure impacts communities -- regardless of whether you bike or not.

Alto Madness

After living abroad for a number of years, jazz saxophonist Roby Edwards has returned to Pittsburgh. This weekend he’ll be taking part in the Alto Madness concert at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. He speaks with WESA jazz host Bob Studebaker. Also taking part in the conversation is Mensa Walli, artistic director of the Kente Arts Alliance.

Peter Max - A Retrospective

The iconic pop culture artist Peter Max is in Pittsburgh this week for a gallery exhibition and retrospective. The German-born Jewish-American painter is known for creating vibrantly colored works based on Americana such as the Statue of Liberty, sports figures, American presidents and other symbols that have made him a commercial success. Before you go see his work at the Christine Fre’chard Gallery in Squirrel Hill, hear his stories of travel and what it’s been like creating art for some of the most well known public figures in recent history.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:58 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Cases to Watch on the Supreme Court Docket

Credit David / Flickr

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

The Supreme Court

The 2014-2015 session of the Supreme Court began on Monday. The court wasted no time in making news by refusing to rule on same-sex marriage. There are a number of other issues on the docket including first amendment rights in the digital age and whether to hear a challenge to the affordable care act. The current term also marks John Roberts’ 10th year as chief justice. Joining us for an overview of the cases the Supreme Court could be ruling on is University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Harris.

Don't Feed the Deer

While it might be tempting to feed the deer that may wander into your surroundings this fall, the Pennsylvania Game Commission advises against this. We’ll find out why from Dr. Justin Brown, a veterinarian with the state Game Commission.

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.

Cleveland Rocks

It seems Cleveland’s efforts to shed the image of “the mistake on the lake” are paying off. LeBron James has returned to the Cavaliers, the latest Captain America adventure was filmed in the city and the GOP has selected it for the next Republican convention. With the Steelers set to play the Browns, travel contributor Elaine Labalme takes another look at Cleveland. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:19 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Breaking Free of Prison and Poverty, Sustainably

What has led to a lower number of repeat offenders at Allegheny County Jail?
Credit Keith Allison / Flickr

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

Reducing Recidivism at Allegheny County Jail

Breaking the cycle of jail and prison re-entry is not an easy process, especially for repeat offenders. There are lifestyle choices that need to be considered and often times avoided. But that requires the right behavioral coaching and support. The Allegheny County Jail runs a collaborative program with Pittsburgh Mercy Health System which was recently evaluated by the Urban Institute in Washington D.C. and found to successfully reduce recidivism. We’ll talk about how the collaborative works with Karen Cordaro Team Leader Prevention/Intervention Services for PMHS. We’ll also talk with Darrell Robinson, from the Point Breeze area of Pittsburgh. He’s a repeat offender currently on work-release and going through the collaborative program. He’s also enrolled in the Mechatronics Program at CCAC.

Sustainable and Shareable Cities

When he lectures throughout the country, Dr. Antwi Akom focuses on two main questions: How do we create more just, sustainable and smarter cities? And how do we create more democratic models of civic and community engagement? If those don’t sound like typical talking points on sustainability, that’s because Akom, with an impressive list of environmental, educational and sociological credentials, has a very broad view of sustainability. As a guest of the Green Building Alliance’s Inspire Speakers Series, Akom will talk about how he sees too many communities today with limited access to resources and wonders what the cities of our future would look like if we designed them with everyone in mind. We’ll also talk about what this can all mean for our town, with Grant Ervin, the first Sustainability Manager for the City of Pittsburgh. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:03 am
Tue October 7, 2014

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

A sign at Occupy Wall Street in 2011.
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:33 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Monday Rundown: Stories and Films of American Veterans

Credit 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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:20 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Friday Rundown: The Forests of Pittsburgh

Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:51 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Thursday Rundown: The Corporate Cost of Domestic Violence

Credit 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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:18 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Air Quality and Shenango Coke Works

A view of Neville Island and Shenango Coke Works
Credit 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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:32 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

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

Credit 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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:41 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

Monday Rundown: The Impact of Independent Concussion Research

Tom Healy, CMU mechanical engineering student and founder of HeadSmart Labs.
Credit 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?

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Friday Rundown: Looking at America's Conversation on Race with Michele Norris

NPR journalist Michele Norris at the 2014 Peabody Awards
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:17 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Thursday Rundown: This Old House and These Old Pipes

Richard Trethewey, Plumbing and Heating Expert for Ask This Old House
Credit 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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:59 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: From Climate Change and the UN to Green Municipalities

More than 300,000 demonstrators marched in the streets of New York last weekend in an effort to spotlight climate change, before this week's UN Summit.
Credit 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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:56 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Searching for Life on Mars 2020

Artist's Concept of the SuperCam Instrument for Mars 2020 Rover
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:15 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Monday Rundown: The Manhunt for Eric Frein Continues

An honor guard carries the casket of Pennsylvania State Trooper Cpl. Bryon Dickson from his funeral service, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Scranton, Pa. Dickson was killed in an ambush shooting at the state police barracks in Blooming Grove Township. Authorities are looking for 31-year-old Eric Frein, of Canadensis, who has been charged with killing one trooper and wounding another outside the barracks.
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:15 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Friday Rundown: Permitting Firearms on School Grounds

Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:45 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Thursday Rundown: A New Generation of TED events

Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:55 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Community Health and Shale Drilling in Washington County

Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:05 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Technology and its Impact on Our Health

Dr. Brian Primack director of the new Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh
Credit UPMC

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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:23 pm
Sun September 14, 2014

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

Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:28 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Friday Rundown: Music and Milestones in Pittsburgh

The crowd at one of last year's Thrival Festival shows.
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:23 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Thursday Rundown: The Future of Arts Education

Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:04 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: How Well Does the Steel City Handle Constructive Criticism?

Can we really help it if Pittsburgh keeps showing up on the top lists?
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:08 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: The Politics of Fracking

Marcellus shale gas-drilling site.
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:15 pm
Sun September 7, 2014

Monday Rundown: The Legacy of President Ford's Pardon of Richard Nixon

President Gerald Ford appearing at the House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on pardoning former President Richard Nixon, Washington, D.C.
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:29 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Friday Rundown: Pittsburgh Filmmaking and a No-Hitter Dockumentary


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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:57 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Thursday Rundown: A New Plan for the August Wilson Center

The August Wilson Center
Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:07 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Discussing Pittsburgh's New Chief of Police

Credit 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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:00 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Governor's Race and Personal Safety

Credit 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. 

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