Gumbands: A Pittsburgh Podcast with Rick Sebak

GUMBANDS is a brand new podcast about Pittsburgh, its people, its history, its neighborhoods, its small businesses, its food, its charms, its stories, and many of its surprises.

People around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, know the word “gumbands.” It’s a regionalism, a somewhat wacky word that some call an example of “Pittsburghese.” A gumband is simply a rubber band, and we all know those words too, but we also often have a bit of pride in our exclusive Pittsburgh vocabulary.

WQED’s longtime producer Rick Sebak is the host, and he works closely with podcast creator Rich Capaldi who has been producing at WQED since 2017.


Gumbands is made possible by the Buhl Foundation.

001: Sarah McAlee aka @brothmonger

Sarah McAlee makes soups. A wide variety of soups from chowders to bisques to gazpachos and noodle-y broths. She started by selling to friends from her home on Pittsburgh’s North Side in 2018, mostly through her Instagram account @brothmonger, but the number of her hungry fans have grown steadily since then.
You can now get quarts of her tasty creations at Thyme Machine on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield.

On this episode, GUMBANDS host Rick Sebak asks her about her soup business and her former work as a funeral director in the South Hills. Lots of good stories.

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002: Bill Tippins & The Ghost Warriors

Bill Tippins has written two novels set in the Stone Age in a territory that may seem familiar to readers from Western Pennsylvania. Intended for YA (Young Adult) readers, the books focus on a boy named Tioga and his best friend Kopi as they take on several difficult quests near where the Allegewi River and the Angry River meet to form the Great River.

Bill Tippins has worked in the Pittsburgh area as an electrical engineer, but he has also spent years working on these books that may remind readers of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling.

With great affection for both books, GUMBANDS host Rick Sebak asks Tippins about his writing process, his ongoing interest in pre-history and his creative inspirations.

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003: Jared Evans & Radical Trivia

Jared Evans asks interesting questions in various locations around the Pittsburgh area, primarily in bars on weeknight evenings, attracting a local and loyal audience as well as unexpected newcomers. Often with saucy language, he runs a business called Radical Trivia that allows him to perform a bit as well as captivate and challenge drinking patrons of all sorts.

Jared talks about the detailed process of preparing for Radical Trivia, his regular creation of unusual promotional posts on Instagram (and Facebook) and a few of his favorite movies.

Jared also loves the martial arts and studies and teaches Brazilian jiu jitsu and has a series of instructional videos on the Radical Trivia YouTube channel with Coach “Iron City” Mike Wilkins.

There are also some enthusiastic food recommendations involved, including Jared’s beloved fries at OTB on the South Side.

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Follow Rick on Social Media:

Instagram: @ricksebak

Facebook: Rick Sebak

Twitter: @rickaroundhere

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