If you missed MEAT PITTSBURGH this past Thursday evening…

…or if you’d like to see it again, you can tune in to WQED this coming Monday night at 7:30pm or later that night (actually early early the next morning) at 12:30am.

Or you can watch it on YouTube at this address: https://youtu.be/4QOwAUp2rhI
Or you can watch at wqed.org/nebby

Reactions to the show have been overwhelmingly positive. Which is very nice.


We usually put the 30-second promo together very early in the editing process. Here’s our first stab at MEAT PITTSBURGH. It premieres February 1 at 8 PM.

The program will be rebroadcast on Monday February 5 at 7:30 PM and on Tuesday February 6 at half past midnight (12:30 AM.)


I haven’t been especially diligent about reporting on our escapades while shooting our second NEBBY program that will be titled MEAT PITTSBURGH.

Working again with director/cameraman Frank Caloiero, I have been learning a lot about various aspects of how we get our meat, who processes it, who cooks it and what are some interesting places to get it in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

We spent a day at Ricci Sausage in Kennedy Township, watching them make Italian sausage in their small but mighty shop. Meatballs too. A family affair!

At the Ace Hotel, we watched while a side of beef was delivered and the kitchen staff cut it up to be ready for serving at the restaurant there called Whitfield.

We spent two half-days at Salem’s Market in the Strip where the butcher shop may be the most old-fashioned one around (with butchers who compete to make the most beautiful crown roast!)

Just before Thanksgiving, we made two stops at Pounds Turkey Farm in Armstrong County, and Frank and I both ended up buying our turkeys there for the big day. Fresh local turkey!

We also spent a beautiful foggy morning at Jamison Farm near Latrobe where the ewes were moving into a new fresh field of grass, and where we learned lots about the lamb business.

Following a recommendation from the meat buyer at Wholey’s in the Strip, we ventured out to Taylorstown in Washington County to see how they do things at Green Valley Packing, the home of Albert’s Meats.

We went specifically to see how they make kielbasa, but returned to see how they make hot dogs too.

Finally, we stopped for a glorious lunch at Shorty’s in Washington, PA, where we ate some of the fine wieners they make at Green Valley.

Now we just have to see if and where we might need more material and get this thing edited!

MEAT PITTSBURGH premieres February 1, 2018, at 8 pm on WQED. It will be rebroadcast on February 5 at 7:30 pm.

The music for Route 88 had to be piano music. 88 keys. Get it? Get Tom Roberts!

The coincidental connection between Route 88 and 88 keys on a piano came to me one morning in the editing room. Then I knew I wanted piano music for the whole program. I guess I was ranting about it somewhat loudly because WQED’s popular TV cook Chris Fennimore happened to be walking by the editing room, overheard me, and he said, “Call Tom Roberts. He’s a great piano player, and I think he’d like to do this. I’ll send you his info. He’d be perfect.”

So I called Tom Roberts. He sounded just right on the phone: enthusiastic, slightly nutty and willing to help! He came by for a get-acquainted visit, met Frank Caloiero and me, and we talked about where to record the music. Here? At his house? Then Frank mentioned that Johnny Costa’s piano, the Steinway that was used on so many episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was upstairs in Studio B, and Tom’s eyes lit up. “It is? Can we go and see it?” We pulled off its quilter cover, Tom sat down and placed a bit, and he said, “Let’s record here on this piano.”

We waited till we had most of the show in shape and to time before we brought Tom back to Studio B. We had the piano tuned (for the first time in a long time?) and Frank borrowed some piano-friendly microphones so we’d get a really good recording.

It took about 4 hours total on Tuesday October 3, 2017, starting about 11:00 in the morning. There was a food truck here in the WQED upper parking lot so we went there for a lunch break, and then back to the piano.

Tom gave us a wonderful score.


An extra drone shot of Route 88 at Route 51

We obviously don’t use all the shots we gather when making one of our programs, but sometimes there are very cool and unusual images that end up on what used to be called “the editing room floor.” Now they end up on a hard drive somewhere.

This silent video is from our very first shoot with Matt Conrad and his drone. It’s an overhead shot of the intersection of Route 88 and 51, but the perspective offers few familiar elements, so it’s not apparent immediately where we are. It might be Los Angeles! Matt makes a few adjustments, but the whole shot is pretty elegant.

Sometimes you can see my blue Honda Element parked all by itself beside an empty lot on the left side of the screen. We are standing near there, but we are smaller than ants in the video.

You also get a pretty good shot of what  cameraman Frank Caloiero calls the “Lost Island Of The Rite Aid” about 55 seconds into the shot. When PennDOT reconfigured this intersection a few years back, they surrounded the Rite Aid with roads, making a sort of island for the drug store and its parking lots.


You can watch A SHORT HISTORY OF ROUTE 88 right now.

We have the complete half-hour on-line now at wqed.org/nebby. Or you can just click here. Or click on this title: A SHORT HISTORY OF ROUTE 88.

We are saying it will be there “for a limited time” but we haven’t determined yet how long that will be. And people still seem to be enjoying having access to the program.

Reaction to the show has been very positive, and we hope to get started very soon on #2, which I think may be the promised half-hour on MEAT PITTSBURGH. As always, we will be learning as we go.



Two Sundays in the skies over Route 88: 9/10/17 and 9/17/17

I think I’ve never used a drone shot in one of my shows till now. Doing a program about a highway like Route 88 however seems to be a perfect opportunity to make use of a drone and its high flying abilities.

And my friend Matt “Superman” Conrad has a drone. He’s worked on all of my local and national programs since around the year 2000. He’s been an assistant editor, a production assistant, a technical wizard, and he’s wiggled his way up to being a sound mixer, a video colorist, an editor (on many shows since SOMETHING ABOUT OAKLAND) and an associate producer (on both A FEW GOOD PIE PLACES and A FEW GREAT BAKERIES.) He is truly part of our team. He works full-time now with a group called PictureThisMedia, but he still occasionally finds time to help us out, and I asked if he could convince me to start using drone technology in my shows. Continue reading “Two Sundays in the skies over Route 88: 9/10/17 and 9/17/17”

Welcome NEBBY Neighbors!

We sent out a lot of NEBBY buttons last week and cards that invited folks to come and see this blog. So I hope that’s why you’re here. We hope if you find any of these entries interesting or unusual that you’ll share a link on social media. We’re offering this blog exclusively to Rickstarter Backers, but we hope you will help get the word out about upcoming shows.

Our first NEBBY program is scheduled for October 5 at 8 pm on WQED: A SHORT HISTORY OF ROUTE 88. Tune in! It’s scheduled already for several repeats, and we may stream it live for a while around the premiere for people outside the WQED viewing area. We’ll keep you posted. Continue reading “Welcome NEBBY Neighbors!”