“Essential Public Radio” changes name in The ‘Burgh


The Pittsburgh station formerly known as Essential Public Radio (WESA-FM 90.5, formerly Duquesne University’s heritage Jazz WDUQ-FM) has made changes to its programming lineup and its name. As 8/10, the newly rebranded 90.5 WESA adds six programs to its lineup, shifts some time slots and eliminates other programs, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Essential Public Media (which also owns AAA/Variety WYEP-FM in that market) purchased WDUQ in 2011.

Ironically, the WESA calls were formerly calls for a Top-40 station Charleroi, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. It’s now part of the Froggy FM Country quadcast in the metro area, which also extends into Wheeling, WV and Steubenville, OH.

“We decided this was as good a time as ever to move forward with a more simplified identity,” said Suzanne Meyer, director of marketing. “There were people who did not realize we were the NPR station in Pittsburgh, so we decided to push that strength forward.”

The new lineup reflects what she called a fresh approach:

Weekdays, the station will replace “On Point” and “Tell Me More” at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively, with two hours of “The Diane Rehm Show.”

It also will expand “Morning Edition” to a fifth hour between 9 and 10 a.m., replacing “The Takeaway.”

Friday evening’s programming will be completely revamped, with “The Dinner Party” at 9 p.m., “Live Wire!” at 10 p.m. and “WTF” at 11 p.m. “The Dinner Party” is a humorous show about culture, “Live Wire!” is a variety show recorded in front of a live audience in Portland, Ore., and “WTF” is a show from comedian Marc Maron exploring “the dark side of comedy.”

The station also will replace the Friday edition of “Fresh Air” with “TOTN Sci Fri” and will repeat Saturday’s popular 10 a.m. “Car Talk” and 11 a.m. “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” episodes at the same times on Sunday.

It also will add new shows: “Radiolab,” which focuses on scientific and philosophical topics, on Saturday at 1 p.m. and “Only a Game,” a sports magazine hosted by NPR’s Bill Littlefield, Sunday at 7 a.m.

See the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette story here

RBR-TVBR observation: As we said before (and maybe it’s now coming to fruition?): WDUQ’s jazz recipe had quite a following in that city and they may find big problems at the next fund-raising.