From the Source podcast: Listen to voices of the Pittsburgh region amid the coronavirus outbreak

Hosted by Jourdan Hicks
Produced by Andy Kubis


In each episode, the podcast “From the Source” covers stories of places and people that bring Pittsburgh to life. Created in the spring of 2020, “From the Source” began as an experiment to help our listeners process the changes brought on by a global pandemic. In Season 2, we’re still learning what adapting to COVID-19 requires. Narrated by PublicSource community correspondent Jourdan Hicks, “From the Source” hopes to move, inspire and inform you about where you live, play, learn and breathe. PublicSource delivers stories for a better Pittsburgh, so if you care about our region's communities, schools and businesses, this is the podcast for you.

To support PublicSource, please donate here.


kimEpisode 2, Season 2: How Pittsburgh shapes and cages the experience of Black women. For real.

The quality of life for the Black woman in Pittsburgh has been the topic of many panels and studies in recent years. From opportunity to education, Pittsburgh has proven to be a challenging, and, at times, fatal place for Black Women to live. On this episode of From the Source I speak with two native Pittsburgers artists and entrepreneurs, Janel Young and Naomi Ritter, about what they feel gets left out of conversation and news coverage depicting the journey of becoming Black women in Pittsburgh.

kimEpisode 1, Season 2: To Vote or Not to Vote

2020 is set to see record-breaking participation from voters in the presidential election. But not everyone has plans to vote. In this episode, we talk to Veronica Coptis who runs Coalfield Justice in Washington County about the disillusionment of residents she works with and serves. We also connect with two Pittsburgh women Ayana Sade and Patrice Bolompe who are not going to vote. We explore the motivations behind voting abstention and voting as a notion of requirement vs. right.

Link to transcript


kimEpisode 14: Pandemics, plural: Season 1 recap

Season 1 of "From the Source" set out to hear about life in Pittsburgh during the coronavirus pandemic. We heard from business owners, students, parents and others. Then, we shifted attention to the crisis of racism and police brutality against Black people in America — a civil rights movement happening during a health pandemic. Now, we're ending season 1 and would like to hear from you as we plan for season 2. What do you want us to cover? Who should we feature? What stories should we report? Please take this survey today!

Link to transcript

kimEpisode 13: The student and her grandma, an intergenerational view on civil rights

Mekka Lloyd, a student at Obama Academy, grapples with how to make progress on the pandemic of racism and balance her views with what her beloved grandmother shares about her own experiences and the history of the Civil Rights Movement.

Link to transcript | Listen to Mekka interview her grandma

kimEpisode 12: A mom of boys navigates the pandemic and fight for justice

Pittsburgh resident Kim Neely was taking the pandemic in stride. It was a relief, to some degree. And it was because her family was home alongside her, and that makes a big difference for the Black mom of two Black boys and wife of a Black man. On this episode, she shares how she's been impacted by the movement against racism and police brutality and the experience of taking her son to his first protest.

Link to transcript

alexEpisode 11: A Pittsburgh punk rocker's case of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic had already shut down Piper's Pub manager and punk band member Alex Peightal on many fronts. Then, he was dealt another blow: He contracted COVID-19. On this episode, Alex discusses the illness, recovery and his outlook.

Link to transcript

teachersEpisode 10: The counselor and teacher finding hope and growth in kids

More than two months into quarantine, it remains unclear when or how children will return to classrooms. How will they be evaluated? Would they be prepared to pick it up and start working on math and spelling? How would they cope with 'time lost' and be able to reconnect with their classmates and teachers? On this episode, a Wesley Family Services school counselor and a Pittsburgh Montessori teacher give us a glimpse into their students' lives now and how the adults are feeling about it, too.

Link to transcript

Selena EisenbergEpisode 9: Turned off by tip-baiting, the Pittsburgh-area Instacart worker went solo

Many consumers are relying on delivery workers to shop for and deliver their groceries to protect themselves during the pandemic. With increased demand, some customers have been making their orders look more appealing by adding big tips and then reducing or zeroing it out after the job is done. On this episode, Selena Eisenberg, who is also a mom with ambitious career dreams of her own, shares the personal toll of being baited and how it prompted her to strike out as an independent personal shopper.

Link to transcript

third-grader Felix WodzakEpisode 8: The advocate whose social media followers are helping him help the homeless

Since the pandemic began to affect Allegheny County, Lorenzo Ruilli has been hiking under bridges and through urban brush to help the homeless. On this episode, learn how he is putting together bags of food and hygiene products and why he does it.

Link to transcript

third-grader Felix WodzakEpisode 7: The Lawrenceville 8-year-old with a podcast and lots of pandemic thoughts

What does a kid make of a historic event that is affecting people throughout the world? On this episode, third-grader Felix Wodzak shares what he understands about the effects of the coronavirus, the history of past pandemics and what's getting him through the days stuck at home.

Link to transcript

Episode 6: The postal worker with a calling to serve his East End customers

The U.S. Postal Service is in danger of bankruptcy at a time when their service is considered 'essential.' While postal workers are delivering important items, like prescriptions and mail-in ballot applications, they're also a source of some comforts — either by delivering less essential items for lifing up people's spirits or just a familiar face. In this episode, Thomas Jackson is that familiar face, a postal worker of nearly two decades with a route running through the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of East Liberty and Lincoln-Lemington.

Link to transcript

Episode 5: The new mom balancing her happiness with sadness over altered expectations

Bringing home a newborn is challenging, and that's why so many new parents lean on family and friends to help them adjust. But this support is near impossible during a pandemic, without taking risks. In this episode, Pittsburgh North Side resident Bethany McLaughlin shares about her time so far with newborn Cleo and the toll it's taking on Cleo’s grandparents.

Episode 4: The food bank employee helping to get food to people during a pandemic

You've seen the footage of the cars in lengthy lines for food bank distributions. Now, hear what it's like on the ground during a pandemic. On this episode, an employee of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank tells us how they are working to safely get food on the tables of those in need.

Link to transcript

Episode 3: The nurse worried for her peers on the front lines

In our lifetime, there has not been a more scary time to be a nurse. On this episode, we’re hearing from a Pittsburgh-based nurse who is not on the front lines but has a lot of insight into the experiences nurses face. Theresa Brown teaches nursing at the University of Pittsburgh and also authored two books about the profession that pull back the curtain on the experiences nurses face in their daily work.

Link to transcript

Episode 2: The high school senior singing the coronavirus blues

Final exams. Prom. Graduation. Right about this time of year, these would be the milestones for high school seniors in the United States. For Pittsburgh CAPA student Jordan McNeal and other seniors across Pittsburgh, and the nation, these highly anticipated events won't happen because of the coronavirus. On this episode, Jordan discusses how the school cancellation has affected him and his classmates and looks ahead to attending college at one of the most competitive music schools in the world.

Link to transcript

Episode 1: The hair salon owner shocked by which billers would and wouldn't help

The coronavirus has devastated Pittsburgh's small business owners. Dana Bannon, the owner of a Millvale hair salon, is one of them. On this episode, she talks about closing her doors and calling all the places she soon owed money to, money that she wouldn't have.

Link to transcript