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Pittsburgh Hip Hop Artist Benji. Recounts The Album That Almost Wasn't

Randall Coleman
Redd Vision
Benji performs at the Pittsburgh Community Broadcast Center


Benji. holds little, if anything, back on his latest album, "Smile, You’re Alive!" The Pittsburgh native spoke with WYEP’s Joey Spehar for the Live & Direct series about the inspiration behind his music, his career trajectory and how he almost lost his entire album before its release. Benji. was recently named one of NPR's top artists to watch in 2019.

Elsewhere in the program:

Congressman Guy Reschenthaler speaks with 90.5 WESA’s Lucy Perkins on potential perjury charges against the newly named attorney general Matthew Whitaker. Reschenthaler, the freshman representative from Pennsylvania’s 14th district, also comments on gun control and bipartisan collaboration among other Pittsburgh-area representatives.

The Allegheny County public defender’s office has underspent its budget for six years running, but critics call such a surplus “profoundly disappointing and distressing.” 90.5 WESA's An-Li Herring reports that while the office defends its spending and says it doesn’t affect its practice, former public defenders say they left the office because they worked too many cases for too little pay.

90.5 WESA's Bill O'Driscoll reports on the local premiere of an opera that recounts the story of the longest-held American prisoner of war. "Glory Denied" was composed by Tom Cipullo and covers the effects nine years of captivity had on Floyd James Thompson and how his family and country changed when he returned home.

And Rachel Rakovan is a pageant winner and environmentalist. “Miss Allegheny County Pennsylvania for America,” is a new division of the Miss America contest, which expanded the competition to unmarried woman with children, widows and women who are divorced. The Allegheny Front reports she’s also the founder of a nonprofit, a professor and an energy consultant.


The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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