Smart Talk

Radio Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Radio Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Hosted by: Scott LaMar



TV Smart Talk: From politics to economy, from health care to the environment, WITF's TV Smart Talk covers the issues and ideas that matter to you. It's never been easier to discover and share the news and information of your world and ours.

Hosted by: Nell McCormack Abom

  • Is the Susquehanna River impaired?

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    Is the Susquehanna River impaired?

    Radio Smart Talk for Monday, July 2:

    The Susquehanna River is the geographical feature that defines South Central Pennsylvania.  The river is a drinking water source for hundreds of thousands and a favorite recreational destination as well.

    Everyone in this region has a stake in the Suquehanna's well-being.

    That's why it's alarming when smallmouth bass being pulled from the river have black spots and lesions on their scales.  No one seems to know what's causing the the spots but the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission says their research indicates the fish are otherwise healthy and can be eaten by humans.

    The spotted bass are one of several reasons Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway has asked that the Susquehanna be declared an impaired waterway.  So far, Arway's request has been denied by the Department of Environmental Protection.

    Arway will appear on Monday's Radio Smart Talk to discuss his concerns about the Susquehanna River.

     Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_July022012.mp3{/mp3remote}

    Photo: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Environment, Radio

    Friday, 29 Jun 2012 17:45

  • How will Pennsylvanians be affected by Affordable Care Act?

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    How will Pennsylvanians be affected by Affordable Care Act?

    Radio Smart Talk for Friday, June 29:

    Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act is being called one of the most important rulings in 80 years.

    Anyone following the coverage has probably heard that the law will impact all Americans.  Much of the analysis since the ruling was made public has been devoted to how healthcare, individuals, and groups of people will be affected.

    Friday's Radio Smart Talk looks to bring the examination closer to home.  We'll focus on Pennsylvania and what the law means or will mean for us.

    We'll hear from an insurer, organizations representing doctors and hospitals, and small businesses.

    What is your opinion of the Supreme Court ruling and the Affordable Care Act?  Please comment below.

    Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_June292012.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Corbett, Economy, Health, MoneyWorks, Radio

    Thursday, 28 Jun 2012 18:54

  • Focus on healthcare, immigration, juvenile life sentence Supreme Court rulings

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    Focus on healthcare, immigration, juvenile life sentence Supreme Court rulings

    Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, June 28:

    The U.S. Supreme Court has released several significant decisions this week, but the one that could have the most impact may become public Thursday morning.

    On Thursday's program, we'll look deeper into the court's decision to strike down three of the four provisions in Arizona's border control law.  The justices decided it was unconstitutional to require immigrants to carry immigration documents, to make it a state crime if an illegal immigrant seeks or holds a job and to allow police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant. 

    The law's supporters hailed the court's decision to uphold a portion of the law that gives police the power to ask a person they suspect of being in the country illegally to show proof of residency.

    Widener School of Law Associate Professor Jill E. Family will appear on the program to sort out the case.

    Also, the Supreme Court ruled this week that juveniles can't be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  What will that mean for the more than 400 inmates in Pennsylvania who were convicted for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18? 

    Mark Bergstrom, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and Jennifer Storm, the Executive Director of the Dauphin County Victim/Witness Assistance Program will explain.

    Finally, if the court releases its decision on the Affordable Care Act or healthcare overhaul as many refer to it, before we leave the air at 10 a.m. we will provide analysis.

    Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_June282012.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

     

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Health, Radio

    Wednesday, 27 Jun 2012 18:47

  • Why are gas prices falling?; How will PA be affected by Supreme Court ruling on juvenile lifers?

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    Why are gas prices falling?; How will PA be affected by Supreme Court ruling on juvenile lifers?

    Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, June 27:

    There are only a few topics that the great majority of adult Americans have an opinion on, but the price of gasoline is one of them.  Usually, we hear an outcry when prices rise by even a nickel or a dime per gallon.  Price increases of more than that generate calls to elected officials, letters to the editor, and oh yes, telephone calls to talk shows.

    Gas is a commodity that almost everyone needs once or twice a week, so motorists quickly notice any price fluctuations.  A consumer who spends more money than they're used to on gasoline will often cut back in other areas to stay within their budget.  That's when the overall economy is impacted.

    But what about when gas prices go down?  After peaking at nearly $4 a gallon in Pennsylvania two months ago, the average price of unleaded regular has fallen to $3.34.  The lowest gas prices are in the midstate where several retailers are selling gas for under $3.10 a gallon.

    On Wednesday's Radio Smart Talk, we'll ask Greg Laskoski, the Senior Petroleum Analyst with gasbuddy.com why prices are on their way down, how far they'll go before bottoming out, and how long the price drop will continue.

    Also, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that juveniles can't be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  What will that mean for the more than 400 inmates in Pennsylvania who were convicted for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18?

    Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_June272012.mp3{/mp3remote}

       

     

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Economy, Energy, MoneyWorks, Radio

    Tuesday, 26 Jun 2012 19:50

  • Is the world working toward sustainability?; Auditor General is critical of how PA funds charter schools; witf's Arts and Culture Desk

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    Is the world working toward sustainability?; Auditor General is critical of how PA funds charter schools; witf's Arts and Culture Desk

    Radio Smart Talk for Tuesday, June 26:

    Many people believe the world can not sustain itself unless people from rich and poor nations come together to face the challenges of climate change, a growing population, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and disease.  Last week, the United Nations held it's 20th Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.

    Tuesday's Radio Smart Talk guest was there.  He is John C. Dernbach, a Distinguished Professor of Law at the Widener School of Law in Harrisburg and co-director of Widener's Environmental Law Center.  Professor Dernbach is also the principal author of the new book, Acting as if Tomorrow Matters -- Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability.

    Also, Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, who will be on Tuesday's program,  says the state could save $315 million if payments to charter and cyber charter schools were limited to the national average.  Currently, charter schools are funded by local schools based on a formula of what it cost to educate a student in their home school district.

    Finally, we'll learn about witf's new Arts and Culture Desk in the station's one day old News and Information format.

    Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_June262012.mp3{/mp3remote}

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Corbett, Education, Energy, Environment, Radio

    Monday, 25 Jun 2012 20:08

  • Sandusky verdict shines a spotlight on child sex abuse

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    Sandusky verdict shines a spotlight on child sex abuse

    Radio Smart Talk for Monday, June 25:

    Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly may have said it best last Friday night after a Centre County jury found former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 charges of sexually assaulting young boys when she said, "One of the recurring themes in this case was: Who would believe a kid? The answer is: We here in Bellefonte, Pa., would believe a kid.’’

    It's hard to call anyone a winner in the Sandusky case, but one of its legacies may be that children who are the victims of sexual predators might be more willing to come forward and tell someone and adults may be more willing to believe them and be more vigilant.

    It's been estimated that up to 90% of sexual assaults against children go unreported. The Sandusky case may help change that number.

    Joining us on Monday's Radio Smart Talk to discuss child sex abuse after the Sandusky verdict are Kristen Houser, Vice President of Communications for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and Jennifer Storm, Executive Director of the Dauphin County Victim/Witness program.

    Learn more about Pennsylvania's Statute of Limitations in child abuse cases here.

    Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_June252012.mp3{/mp3remote}

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, Radio

    Sunday, 24 Jun 2012 16:25

  • Tell us your story

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    Tell us your story

    Radio Smart Talk for Friday, June 22:

    Story telling is a big part of what we do on Radio Smart Talk and Friday's program will feature a lot of story telling with the listeners telling those stories.  We plan a little different show on Friday.

    We'll have three questions we'd like you to think about and call in or comment below with your stories.  You don't have to address all three -- maybe one or two.

    The questions to think about: What was your first job?  What did you learn?  What would you do differently today than you did then?  Tell us about your first car.  Was it a good-looking vehicle or closer to a junker?  Finally, what do you do best in your life?  Everyone has that one skill or characteristic that they enjoy the most or do better than anything else.  What's yours?

    Think about those questions and let us know.

    Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_June222012.mp3{/mp3remote}

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Radio

    Friday, 22 Jun 2012 12:45

  • What books are you reading this summer?

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    What books are you reading this summer?

    Earlier this week on Radio Smart Talk, book blogger Jon Walker www.jonosbookreviews.com described several books that he thought many of our listeners would enjoy this summer. 

    Since then, we've received a number of suggestions and we would like to hear more.

    In the comments area below, please tell us what books you're reading, provide a brief description of the story, and tell us what you like about it.

    Let's compile as many as we can.

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Radio

    Thursday, 21 Jun 2012 14:56

  • Al Anon -- support for friends and family of problem drinkers

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    Al Anon -- support for friends and family of problem drinkers

    Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, June 21:

    Here are the numbers:

    • There are more than 12 million alcoholics in the United States
    • That's about 4% of the entire population
    • Another 30-40 million are affected by an alcoholic in their family or who is a friend

    Those faceless statistics don't tell the story about how real people are impacted by a loved one's problem drinking.  Their drinking can contribute to arguments about any number of topics, violence, or maybe even the break up of a family.

    There are several treatments and programs available to alcoholics to help them stop drinking.  Fortunately, there is a nationwide support group for friends and family of problems drinkers as well.

    Two anonymous guests who sought support from Al Anon will tell their stories on Thursday's Radio Smart Talk.

    Learn more about Al Anon or get help here.

    Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_June212012.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tagged under Health, Radio

    Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012 18:18

  • Technology industry in PA; books for summer reading

    Written by Scott LaMar, Director of Radio Smart Talk

    Technology industry in PA; books for summer reading

    Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, June 20:

    The technology industry is growing all the time in Pennsylvania.  In fact, new high-tech products and businesses are being developed seemingly every week.

    It is one of the few industries in a sluggish economy that features business start ups and high-paying job creation.  Statistics indicate there are more than 205,000 Pennsylvanians working in the tech industry, making an average of $81,000 annually.

    That's not to say the technology industry went unscathed by the Great Recession.  Capital investment money was harder to come by and many would-be entrepreneurs just had to survive.  

    HI-tech today appears to be driven by consumers, who just can't enough data-streaming and communications devices and the medical field that is looking for better ways to exchange health information.

    Appearing on Wednesday's Radio Smart Talk will be David Bonsick, the new president and CEO of TechQuestPA, an organization that works with and lobbies for tech companies at the state capitol.

    Also, Jon Walker, who blogs book reviews at www.jonosbookreviews.com joins us to highlight several books for great summer reading. 

    Listen to the program: {mp3remote}http://witf.vo.llnwd.net/o35/smarttalk/radiosmarttalk/RST_June202012.mp3{/mp3remote}

    Published in Smart Talk

    Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012 18:47