Smart Talk

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.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Ask WITF's CEO

Written by Radio Smart Talk | Jul 14, 2014 3:57 AM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, July 14, 2014:

If you had the opportunity to sit across from the President of WITF and ask a few questions, what would you ask? WITF wants to hear from you. Now's your chance to be heard! On the next Smart Talk--WITF President & CEO Kathleen Pavelko and Fred Vigeant, WITF’s Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio will take your questions, comments and ideas. Ask about how we select our programming, what the letters “WITF” really stand for, or find out about programs currently in production.  Have an interesting story you’d like us to cover? There are a lot of things that slip through the cracks in the daily news. So this is your chance to give WITF a heads up. Tell us what we're missing, alert us to something that's brewing, or tell us about an interesting person or place in your community that might captivate our listeners.  It could be anything, really. Silly or serious – now’s your chance to share!

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Kathleen Pavelko, WITF's President & CEO and Fred Vigeant, WITF's Director of Programming and Promotions for TV & Radio

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:06

    Thomas from Lancaster:

    why did you ever replace the music and shows that where once a staple of witf???? now i listen to witf in the morning for news (until 9 or 10 am) but switch to wrti for music, they have the shows that witf used to carry.
    also does mike greenwald ever appear on any of witf anymore?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:10

    Russell asks on Facebook:

    -Why don't you produce more local content?
    -When will you produce more local content?
    -Do you feel your mix of syndicated content is the best it can be?
    -Why does one of your main PSA announcers repeated say the word "library" as "lieberry"?
    -How will you maintain your relevance as publicly supported broadcaster in a world where nearly everything you broadcast can be listened to/streamed for free?
    -How can that acupuncture place actually afford to sponsor nearly every one of your programs?
    -Would you consider replacing "On Point" with something else?
    -If your award-winning news department is so good, why is that WITF doesn't spend more time actually broadcasting their work?
    -How do you justify a multi-million "public media center" that produces almost no content?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:14

    Jamie asks on Facebook:

    What happened to Craig Cohen? He was great!

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 16:03

      Craig now works at Houston Public Media -

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:16

    Peter writes on Facebook:

    I've noticed in other areas that public media organizations often offer additional broadcast streams on additional HD Radio and digital TV channels. For example, WVIA in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area has 3 streams each on radio and TV. We love public radio and TV so much that we'd love to be able to have more of it as folks in other areas can access. Streaming video and radio don't always have the same quality as antenna reception, and aren't as easily enjoyed in the car. Would it be possible here to have more broadcast streams?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:17

    Marty emails:

    You publicize yourselves as “All Things Regional.” However, you do not report local high school and college scores. Sure, there are many and you could not report all of them every time you report the professional scores. But you could figure out a way to split them up and report them at least once each morning.

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 10:17


      This would be a challenge. We cover 15 counties….with more than 100 school districts and colleges. We only have a certain amount of time allotted to our newscasts…so, it would be next to impossible to include all the scores, even if we broke them up. Questions that come up when considering this include: At what sport do you draw the line? Football and basketball only?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:20

    Angela emails:

    Pennsylvania’s Domestic Relations system are driving families into poverty. Women and children are being victimized by a system that suppose to protect families.
    PA Domestic Relations system is an epic failure, why does it seem that WITF and NPR are ignoring this? They are always presenting stories on poverty, women and children but no one seems to want to address what is the driving force behind poverty. Youth are turning to a life of crime because they’re lives have been torn apart!

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 10:13

      Keystone Crossroads plans to look at the issue of poverty in communities in the coming months.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:34

    Dave from Harrisburg emails:

    Good morning!

    Is rebroadcasting shows like Car Talk or the shows repeated at 2 p.m. on weekdays cheaper than broadcasting another show in that time slot?

    Ask Me Another is a comedy quiz show that would fit well in the weekend schedule, and it was briefly broadcast on WITF. It’s becoming very popular, and I would love to hear it at 10 a.m. on Sundays instead of a show I just heard the previous day.

    Living on Earth is a longstanding and very informative environmental news program that would fit well into the Idea Exchange on weekdays, but WITF seems intent on broadcasting only repeats in that timeslot.

    If it is affordable for the station to add these shows (or shows like them), I believe listeners would welcome the added variety and quality these programs would provide.

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 10:29


      Your suggestions are appreciated. Repeated programs occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the more prevalent reasons include: popularity, different audiences at different times, and getting the most bang for our buck out of some of our more expensive programs. With all that said, there are some opportunities to provide a wider range of programs. As conditions permit, changes and adjustments are made to our schedule.

  • Mark img 2014-07-14 08:37

    First of all, Scott, you do a FANTASTIC job. However, last week’s 9-10 am time slot was fascinating with the variety of unique voices and topics not normally covered. How about a time segment similar to Smart Talk, but with a rotating cast of moderators? Maybe in the 2-3 pm time slot, replacing the rehashed, available-as-podcast shows (“Idea Exchange”), with fresh, unique local content.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:42

    Bill from Mt. Gretna writes:

    While you're taking programming suggestions, here are a few recommendations to the WITF Radio weekend lineup:

    Drop: 1. Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me

    Add: 1. You Bet Your Garden (locally produced from Philly public radio)
    2. Living on Earth

    Revise: drop BBC on Saturday night/Sunday early morning, and bring back Echoes

  • Laura Stammberger img 2014-07-14 08:45

    The program I would most like to see WITF add is PRI's The World. I listened to it when I lived in Chicago and it was a highlight of my evenings. Travis Smiley might also be a good addition.

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 09:50

      Laura, Thanks for the suggestions of The World and Tavis Smiley.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-14 08:49

    Corinne emails:
    Why does the radio programming not include jazz or musical times ? It seems money could be saved if local personalities could host something like this?

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 09:40

      WITF focuses on a consistent sound with news and information programs. We do continue one legacy program focusing on music Sunday night at 8 with Centerstage. Otherwise, music is available via our webstream ( and a variety of other non-commercial and commercial stations broadcasting in our region.

  • Rory Kraft img 2014-07-14 08:57

    I'd love to have New Yankee Workshop back on TV locally...

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 09:34

      The New Yankee Workshop was last produced in 2009. It's unavailable for broadcast with rights expiring in 2011.

  • barrbarr img 2014-07-14 08:58

    Between most programs the volume goes up to an very annoying level. It is so loud that it drives me immediately to the 'mute' button. Can you explain why you do this and can you change your policy?

    Thank you,
    Marlene Barr

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 09:22

      I'll follow up with this. There is no policy that local content be louder than other content. Sometimes we're dealing with inconsistent levels from the network so the audio from a national program is set to one level, and then it changes without notice. We try our best to equalize it.

  • barrbarr img 2014-07-14 11:29

    Here's what I found on the internet regarding loud commercials.

    Loud Commercials and the CALM Act |

    Dec 13, 2012 ... Administrative Law Judges ... The FCC's new rules require TV stations, cable operators, satellite TV ... and report commercials that seem louder than the programming that they accompany. ... There is no fee for filing a consumer complaint. ... a more constant volume level across programs and commercials.

  • Dean Evans img 2014-07-14 12:16

    A caller mentioned difficulty in picking up WITF radio, which is due to FCC regulations on signal broadcast strengths.

    I was surprised that it was not mentioned that WITF radio is streamed on the internet. I use my smart phone to stream your programs all day so I never miss your programming when I leave the area.

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-07-14 16:02


      Great point! I'm glad you caught that.