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00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f7718b0001From time to time we will offer special coverage from NPR, holiday shows, themed blocks, Essential Pittsburgh specials or extra local coverage in place of regular programming. Check here to see what's changed in the schedule.

90.5 WESA Holiday Programs


Tune in to 90.5 WESA for special programs throughout the holiday season.

Thursday 11/26

9 AM:  Giving Thanks: A Celebration of Fall, Food & Gratitude

Christopher Kimball, founder, editor, and publisher of Cook's Illustrated Magazine, and host of public television's most-watched cooking show, America's Test Kitchen. He'll take us to his Vermont farm for a New England Thanksgiving, and talk about the experiences for which he's most grateful. Also, Patrick Stewart reads autumn poems...

10 AM-12 Noon (repeated 8-10PM):  Best of the Best: Third Coast Audio Festival (PRX)

Best of the Best presents the winners of  the 15th annual Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. Innovative and insightful, the stories will engage, provoke, entertain, and transport listeners, proving that all you need to discover new worlds is . . . a little box and an antenna.

Noon-2PM: The Splendid Table: Turkey Confidential (APM). Turkey Confidential is a live 2-hour call-in on the biggest cooking day of the year, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Casper 

Friday 11/27, 12 Noon: The Science of Gratitude (PRI). What are you grateful for? It's a more important question than you might think. This one hour program explores how feeling grateful may be the true key to health and happiness. Narrated by Susan Sarandon.

11/27, 8PM: The Dinner Party Download Holiday Special

You'll hear a Yuletide playlist from chart-toppers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring crazy relatives and David Bowie's "Labyrinth"; etiquette tips to save you from work-party snafus; a little-known nugget of holiday history; conversations with special guests both nice and (delightfully) naughty; and lots more! 

Sunday, 12/6, 4 PM: Hanukkah Lights 2015

A perennial NPR favorite featuring all new Hanukkah stories, hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

Saturday 12/19, 6-8PM  Rhythm Sweet & Hot annual Holiday Program  

Join Mike and Dale to hear vintage versions of your holiday favorites plus seasonal songs you’ve never heard before, all played with the musical charm of the 1920s, '30s and '40s.  It’s swing, it’s jazz, it’s fireplace sentiment….The Rhythm Sweet & Hot Holiday Program is like no other!

Thursday, 12/24, 9AM-1PM: Tune in for 90.5 WESA's own annual holiday celebration, Kevin Gavin's  all-request holiday music extravaganza! Call in your requests to 412-697-2955.

1pm    An Afro Blue Christmas (NPR)

Join us for a very special holiday concert with Howard University's premiere vocal ensemble Afro Blue and special guest pianist Cyrus Chestnut.  Hear the a cappela group perform a variety of holiday songs including African-American spirituals, jazz and pop tunes, and classical repertoire.  The joyous celebration includes one of a kind arrangements on traditional holiday songs plus new compositions…music perfect for the holidays and the spirit of Christmas.  Hosted by Michele Norris.

2pm    New! Festivo Alt.Latino New York Style (NPR)

NPR Music’s Alt.Latino presents the 4th edition of Festivo Alt.Latino - a special holiday concert taped in front of a live audience in New York City. Hear Latin Soul, Mariachi like you’ve never heard before plus some of the best Latin alternative singer songwriters playing today. Hosted by Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd.

3pm    New! Joy To The World – A Holiday in Pink  (NPR)

The internationally acclaimed “little orchestra" Pink Martini bedecks the airwaves with festive holiday songs from across the globe. From timeless classics to rarely heard gems, hear a multi-denominational, multi-cultural jubilee, overflowing with enough holiday spirit to warm your entire family. Hosted by All Things Considered’s Ari Shapiro, and co-produced by OPB and Murray Street Productions.

8pm    Jonathan Winters’ A Christmas Carol

An updated version of a public radio tradition hosted by NPR's Susan Stamberg. Master comedian Jonathan Winters presents a distinctive reading of Dickens' holiday classic, with a special performing edition prepared by Dickens for his own presentations. Also featuring Mimi Kennedy. From NPR and KCRW.

9pm    New! Jazz Piano Christmas XXXI

NPR Music brings you another classic concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Hear a variety of virtuoso pianists play unique renditions of holiday favorites. Stay tuned, this year’s lineup is almost confirmed. Hosted by Felix Contreras.

10pm  -  4am   Christmas Jazz from JazzWorks with host Bob Studebaker from 10p – 2am & David Jaye from 2-4am

Friday 12/25/15 

10am --   New! Joy To The World – A Holiday in Pink  (NPR)

Pink Martini bedecks the airwaves with festive holiday songs from across the globe. From timeless classics to rarely heard gems, hear a multi-denominational, multi-cultural jubilee, overflowing with enough holiday spirit to warm your entire family. Hosted by All Things Considered’s Ari Shapiro, and co-produced by OPB and Murray Street Productions.

11am   Christmas with Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs

One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, two of the most prestigious historically-black institutions in the nation, get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. This encore presentation features the best works of the last several years. It's a joyous celebration of the schools' tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of spirituals and carols. Korva Coleman hosts.

Noon    Hollywood Holiday (PRI)

Join Lynne Warfel for an hour of holiday movie music that ranges from the sentimental to the completely cranky. From "White Christmas" and cozy homes for the holidays, to Grinches and Scrooges, Hollywood Holiday takes in your favorite holiday movies from a musical point of view.

1pm  Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites

This program features stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk -- these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

2pm  Tinsel Tales 2: More NPR Christmas Favorites

NPR fills millions of homes each holiday with humor, warmth, and a host of festive voices. Continuing with the tradition of the first Tinsel Tales program, this is another collection of the best and most requested holiday stories. Joy, hope, and childhood memories overflow as NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

3pm  Tinsel Tales 3: Even More NPR Christmas Favorites

In keeping with a well-loved NPR holiday tradition, hear the third collection of extraordinary Christmas stories that will transport you to unexpected places.

Audie Cornish, Ken Harbaugh, Nina Totenberg and other voices from NPR's past and present tell stories of the season in this hour-long special. Some tales are funny; some are touching; some are insightful or irreverent or nostalgic or surprising. You might recognize them from our broadcast archives — or you might fall in love with them for the first time. Hosted by Lynn .

8pm – Repeat of one of the Tinsel Tales specials

SUNDAY December 27  4pm A Season's Griot 2015

This one-hour celebration in story and song is public radio's only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted for nearly 20 years by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual special captures the tales and traditions of African American and African peoples.

Thursday  December 31, 2015

Noon and 8pm    Capitol Steps Year End Special

Faster than Joe Biden deciding whether to run for President!  More powerful than the wind it takes to finally blow off Donald Trump’s hair!  It’s the Capitol Steps annual year in review special, “Politics Takes a Holiday!”  All your favorite candidates will be there, and some will be emailing about it for years afterwards on their private server.  Join Hillary, Bernie, the Donald, Jeb, Marco, Carly, and more Republican candidates than you can shake a stick at! 

9pm  (12/31/15) -  5am  (1/1/16)   New! Toast of the Nation

An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the perfect audio complement for the occasion. It's jazz that you can party to, all night long with countdowns to midnight in all four continental time zones. Spirited, improvised, grooving and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations, contributing something new to the musical feast. 8 hours of music will start at 9pm EST and continue throughout the night until 5am.  It will sound live and in the moment but will actually be all on tape. Listeners won’t know the difference when they hear the energy infused live concert recordings of Wynton Marsalis, Snarky Puppy, Wycliffe Gordon, and more.  More bands TBA soon.  Hosted by Rhonda Hamilton.