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90.5 WESA Partners with StoryCorps to Foster Conversations Across American Ideological Divides

Two women smile direct to camera, image reads One Small Step, StoryCorps logo.

Nationwide One Small Step Initiative offers opportunity for people to talk about life experiences that formed their values and to listen with respect

Pittsburgh Selected as 2020 Participating Community

In 2020 when Americans face challenges unlike any other time in our history, 90.5 WESA in partnership with StoryCorps, the national nonprofit dedicated to recording and preserving personal stories, are teaming up to invite people to take part in meaningful conversations that are recorded for history. With support from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, Southwestern Pennsylvania is one of six locations across the country selected to take part in StoryCorps’ nationwide One Small Step initiative to facilitate and broadcast conversations with Americans of opposing viewpoints. With participant permission, these conversations are preserved for future generations at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

90.5 WESA plans to broadcast edited versions of select submissions from its local communities.

“We’re excited to be partnering with StoryCorps to encourage conversations across southwestern Pennsylvania and share them with our listeners and readers,” Patrick Doyle, WESA news director, said.

Dave Isay, Founder & President of StoryCorps said: “The pandemic has only exacerbated the divides in the United States. At a moment of distancing, One Small Step gives us a rare chance to get proximate with people we may disagree with, and in doing so be reminded of our shared humanity.”

Launched by StoryCorps in 2018 in response to growing division in the country, One Small Step is a nationwide project that provides people who hold different views with the opportunity to take part in facilitated and recorded conversations—specifically to counteract intensifying hostility and to enable those who disagree to listen to each other with respect. Rather than spark additional political debates, One Small Step encourages answers to questions like, “Was there a moment, event, or person in your life that shaped your political views?” and “What scares you most when you think about the future?”

90.5 WESA encourages residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania to take part in this limited-time opportunity:

  • Information about how to participate is at
  • In locations where COVID social distancing requirements remain in place, stations will use StoryCorps’ remote recording platform, which pairs two people for a conversation over video and hosted by a trained Facilitator.

StoryCorps and 90.5 WESA’s partnership is a separately funded component of StoryCorps’ One Small Step program. One Small Step is supported by a broad coalition of government and philanthropic institutions, including the Fetzer Institute, The Wunderkinder Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute. Additional support is provided by the Newman-Tanner Foundation.