When Radio Went Bump in The Night

October 30, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

On Oct. 31, 2015, our Internet radio station, WMCK.FM, will present the famous Oct. 30, 1938, broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" as part of a special evening of old-time radio programs beginning at 5 p.m.

. . .

In the days before television, people listened to the radio in the evenings. In fact, as crazy as it seems, many of them even listened to a ventriloquist.

Edgar Bergen -- maybe best-known today as the father of actress Candice Bergen --- was one of America's most popular comedians in the 1930s and '40s. His "dummies," including mischievous, wisecracking Charlie McCarthy, were as famous and beloved as The Muppets today.

In 1938, Bergen and McCarthy were featured on a weekly, Sunday night hour-long variety show sponsored by Chase and Sanborn Coffee, and heard over NBC. The program was so popular that CBS, the major competing network, couldn't even find a sponsor for its show.

So, CBS countered with a series of hour-long plays produced by Orson Welles under the title, "The Mercury Theater of the Air."

At 8 p.m. Oct. 30, 1938, Edgar Bergen presented a Halloween-themed program called "The Haunted House," featuring singer Nelson Eddy and a short play called "There's Always Juliet" with Madeleine Carroll and Don Ameche.

In Pittsburgh, it was carried on WCAE (which later became WTAE), which was then at 1220 kHz AM.

WJAS, then at 1290 kHz AM in Pittsburgh, was the local CBS network affiliate. At 8 o'clock, Welles and his actors presented a play based on the 1898 novel by H.G. Wells (no relation) called "The War of the Worlds."

To spice things up, Welles and his actors moved the setting of Wells' novel up to their present day (1938) and made it sound like a 1938-style news broadcast.

. . .

All was well, apparently, until listeners of the Edgar Bergen "Chase and Sanborn Hour" tuned out when that show took a musical break.

In Pittsburgh, they turned their dials just a few spaces, from 1220 to 1290, and found Welles and his presentation of "The War of the Worlds." They were just in time to hear the actors, playing news broadcasters and eyewitnesses, giving the details of an invasion of Earth by Martians.

It should have been hard to mistake for a real news bulletin --- in fact, four times during the show, the CBS announcers explained it was fictional --- but thousands of people did reportedly make that mistake.

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Career Fair Tomorrow for Penn State Students, Alumni

October 28, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Current students and alumni who are looking for an internship or part-time, seasonal or full-time employment are invited to attend the 2015 Career and Internship Fair at Penn State's Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 29) in the Wunderley Gymnasium. Attendees must wear business dress and bring a resume.

"This is a great opportunity for our students and alumni to network and market themselves," said Erica Clarke, career services coordinator/instructor in communications at Penn State Greater Allegheny. "They will have access to employees they otherwise may not get the chance to meet."

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Temporary Outage Knocks Out Westmoreland 911

October 27, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

An outage knocked out 9-1-1 service for some Westmoreland County residents this morning, said spokesmen for local emergency management agencies.

Service was restored by 11 a.m., though a spokesman for Sewickley Twp. emergency management said the lines may be "unstable."

In the event of a 9-1-1 outage in Westmoreland County, residents of North Huntingdon Twp. may call 724-863-8800 for assistance.

Other Westmoreland County residents who are having an emergency, but can't get through on 9-1-1, may call the backup number, 724-600-7358.


In Braddock, New Tenant at Free Press Building

October 27, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Studebaker Metals, a metal accessory and jewelry manufacturer, is the first commercial tenant in the recently renovated Free Press Buildings in Braddock, developed by the Mon Valley Initiative.

The business owners and community leaders will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. this Friday at the buildings, located at 534-538 Braddock Ave.

In attendance will be HUD Pittsburgh Field Office Director Jane Miller, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Braddock Council President Tina Doose, and Laura Zinski, chief executive officer of Mon Valley Initiative.

Business owners Michael Studebaker and Alyssa Catalano launched the company out of Studebaker's father's basement in nearby East Pittsburgh. They use traditional metalsmithing techniques, manipulating metals directly with hammers and anvils. The two had previously focused on selling their product wholesale, but had not considered having a retail element. This space made that possible.

But after receiving a large order, they realized they needed more space.

They moved into a warehouse space in Wilkinsburg but were still searching for another location for the business. The two recently bought a house in North Braddock, which is when they heard about the renovation of the Free Press Buildings and contacted Patrick Shattuck, MVI's real estate director.

While taking a tour of the space with Shattuck, Studebaker says he immediately fell in love. "The space, physically, is perfect," Studebaker said.

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Local Communities Post Halloween Schedules

October 26, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

McKeesport's "Trick or Treat" hours are 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, said a spokesperson for the city Recreation Committee.

"Please drive extra carefully on that evening and let's do everything we can to insure the children enjoy a safe trick or treat evening," the spokesperson said.

Elizabeth Twp., Liberty Borough, North Versailles Twp., White Oak and Wilmerding also will hold trick or treat from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31.

In Dravosburg, Port Vue and West Mifflin, trick or treat hours are 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Dravosburg also will have a costume parade and contest for kids, beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 31 at the borough building, 226 Maple Ave., near the Mansfield Bridge. Age groups are 0-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Duquesne will hold a Halloween party and parade at 4 p.m. Oct. 31 on Grant Avenue, near the parking lot of Duquesne Education Center, with trick or treating, prizes for the best costumes, and free safety light-sticks donated by McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service.

Port Vue's Halloween Parade is from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 31 at Romine Ave. Ballfield. Liberty's parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at the corner of Scene Ridge and River Ridge roads.

In North Versailles, Rossi's Pop-Up Marketplace will host a Halloween parade at 11 a.m. Oct. 31 with free treats from some vendors.


Local Prof's Work Featured in Wired Magazine

October 21, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Above: Lori Hepner's photographs are produced by programming spinning LEDs to flash based on the binary code of each character in a tweet. This photo used a tweet from pop star Miley Cyrus. (Courtesy Lori Hepner)

A professor at Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport has had her work profiled recently in Wired magazine ... and it may soon be sent to the moon.

The article describes how Lori Hepner, associate professor of integrative arts, photographs images produced by programming "eight spinning LEDs [to] flash based on the binary code of each character in a tweet."

These ‘Twitter portraits’ are part of a series Hepner calls "Status Symbols."

According to the article, one of Hepner's photographs will be included in an art collection to be sent to the moon as part of Carnegie Mellon University's entry in the Google Lunar X competition.

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Clairton, School District Join County's 'Live Well' Project

October 10, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Clairton is the latest Allegheny County community that's taking active steps to improve the health of residents.

City and Clairton School District officials this afternoon announced that they are joining the "Live Well Allegheny" project overseen by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the county's health department.

The announcement was made during the 10th annual Clairton CommUNITY Day at the Clairton Education Center on Waddell Avenue. The event included a multi-activity children's area, food and drink, live entertainment, a bake sale and ethnic foods.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 as a comprehensive strategy to encourage physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more.

The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Clairton City School District has begun several healthy living initiatives including Breathe Pittsburgh and Grow Pittsburgh, a spokesperson said. The district is also hosting an asthma camp, participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Adagio Power Up!, and Safe Routes to Schools Program. Future plans include the implementation of a Live Well Allegheny Field Day and a "drink more water" initiative.

The City of Clairton actively promotes a voluntary wellness campaign, wellness activities, an Annual 5K Run/Walk, bike and walking trails, healthy food options at community events and shares information on activities in the broader community. The city also plans to continue to work with Jefferson Hospital to improve the quality of life for all of its residents --- not only physical health, but financial empowerment and food security as well.

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Dead Man's Hollow Open House Slated Tomorrow

October 09, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Some trails open while other ones are closing. Dead Man's Hollow Conservation Area, located off Scene Ridge Road in Liberty Borough, will hold a trail open house and volunteer event from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 10).

Visitors are invited to hike the first completed stretch of the Cool Spirit Trail, which features sweeping switchbacks, a new bridge at a waterfall crossing and a great opportunity to enjoy fall foliage, a spokesman said.

Participants will learn why some trails are more sustainable than others as they help close off some older, steep sections of the trail and spruce up the Catfish Pond and the surrounding area before winter comes.

Visitors should wear long pants and sturdy work shoes. Pizza will be provided for lunch.

The event is sponsored by the Allegheny Land Trust and the Dead Man's Hollow Conservation Area.

Coming up on Oct. 23 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., visitors are invited to take a Halloween season "night hike" through the supposedly haunted industrial ruins of Dead Man's Hollow.

(Photo courtesy Allegheny Land Trust)


WMCK.FM Becomes McKeesport's Home for SLB Radio

October 09, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

SLB Radio Productions photo

Starting Oct. 10, WMCK.FM Internet Radio is proud to become McKeesport's home for The Saturday Light Brigade, one of America's most unique, and longest-running, public radio shows, broadcast live from the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.

The affliation is especially appropriate because SLB is also a partner with the McKeesport-based Consortium for Public Education as well as Propel School McKeesport. WMCK.FM will provide the first locally based outlet for content recorded by K-12 students in Mon Valley area schools.

Launched in 1978, The Saturday Light Brigade is a Saturday morning public radio program that blends acoustic music, live performances by youth and adults, participatory puzzles, on-air telephone calls, and interviews with other community-based nonprofits serving youth and families.

Larry Berger serves as host and executive director.

More details here.


Port Vue-Liberty High School Sets Class Reunion

October 09, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The Port Vue-Liberty High School classes of 1965 and 1966 will be holding a reunion at South Hills Country Club at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 24, a spokeswoman announced.

These are the only two graduating classes of Port Vue-Liberty High School. Prior to that, most students from Port Vue and Liberty attended McKeesport, and after 1966 Glassport entered the district and it became South Allegheny.

Anyone graduating from these classes who has not been contacted, and who would like to attend, call Naomi Neilson Vichich at (727) 866-0761.


Listen to the New Sound of the Mon Valley

October 06, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

Well, we did it. The Mon Valley has a new radio station. WMCK.FM went live at 12:01 a.m. today.

It's Internet-only --- not AM or FM --- but if you're listening on your smartphone or wi-fi, the signal is traveling over radio waves, right?

First things first: This is costing us a lot of money. Music licensing alone will run us about $2,000 per year, which is three times what we budgeted. Please consider a tax-deductible donation, or, if you have a business or group, consider advertising on the station.

Now, the particulars ...

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26 New Restaurants in Allegheny County

October 05, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The Allegheny County Health Department announced today that 26 food establishments have opened in the county over the last two months, including two in the McKeesport area.

"The key to a healthy diet is choosing foods that have more good fats than bad fats, or trans fats," said Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the health department. "As part of our county-wide commitment to promoting individual and community wellness, we also look at and highlight those facilities that use trans fat-free cooking oils.  We see more restaurants taking that step toward living well.  These past two months, nine of the seventeen eateries that opened cook with these healthier oils."

The two new restaurants in the McKeesport area are Pizza Palermo, 406 Lysle Blvd. in the city, and Jazton 2 Jazton Smokehouse, 1955 Lincoln Way in White Oak.

Others are in Carnegie, Oakmont, Brentwood, Dormont, Ohio Twp., Upper St. Clair Twp., McCandless Twp., Ross Twp., Findlay Twp.., Castle Shannon, Pittsburgh.

In all, 17 restaurants, two retailers, two bakeries, a convenience store, two coffee houses and two mobile vendors opened in the county in August and September.


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