Sound Effect

A Government, News and Society podcast
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This week on Sound Effect, our theme is "the beat goes on." We open with Karen Sakata, who has been running karaoke at Bush Garden for decades. Hip-hop artist Draze talks about about how his Seattle and Zimbabwean roots influence his music. Jennifer Wing heads to Bellingham to hear a band made up of musicians with developmental disabilities . We learn about a publicity stunt that involved dropping a piano from a helicopter. Ariel Van Cleave heads to Central Washington University to experience what it sounds like in an anechoic chamber . And finally, we meet a musician who continues to perform with his hardcore punk band, following a double lung transplant. Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer .
It's our annual Thanksgiving week tradition, when we share our favorite music stories from the past year. We open with Karen Sakata, who has been running karaoke at Bush Garden for decades. We also meet Robbie Luna, who is a carpenter in Seattle, but by night he portrays the role of Prince in the Prince cover band Purple Mane. But Robbie would soon find that his Prince act had an even deeper impact than he’d imagined. Also, we meet a musician who continues to perform with his hardcore punk band, following a double lung transplant. Finally, musician Naomi Wachira performs in our studios, and talks about how her songs of hope are often inspired by tragic events in the world. Sound Effect showcases stories inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer . The full broadcast version of this week's show, available below, also includes a story of how a chance discovery in a dumpster led to an inside look at a woman’s life , and eventually a musical tribute.
We start with a deeper look at Frog and Toad , and why Frog wanted to be alone . Next, a bus driver thaws the “Seattle Freeze” for a passenger. Then, a woman battles a voice that encourages her to do destructive things. Finally, a marriage is strengthened, even though the couple is separated by iron bars .
We start with a woman talking about the value of her father lending a gentle ear and a gentle voice when she was growing up. Next, a son joins his father to take part in a journey that his dad started 43 years earlier. Then, a look inside a book made by prison inmates on McNeil Island for their children, to share what life was like for them. Finally, a man finds his way into the medical profession, but on his own rather than from the pressure of his father.
Where does gelatin meet feminism, in a wrestling ring? Jello Underground, an all-female run jello wrestling tournament. It's part performance, part competition, part declaration of female power and sex positivity. Jello Underground began as a Seattle-based burlesque troupe. According to the show’s producer, Gracie Garnet (that’s her stage name), the hustle it took to choreograph, produce, and run a burlesque show became too strenuous. So the troupe, still wanting to perform, took a step back. “We wanted to do something else, but we thought, what’s that going to look like?” Gracie says. One performer by the name of Baberaham Lincoln had the idea to try jello wrestling, something they hadn’t seen in Seattle before. One thing led to another and Jello Underground was born. They have been performing monthly-ish since 2009. Sound Effect producer Bethany Denton gets invited backstage to interview a few of the jello wrestlers, and there she finds women of all shapes, sizes, and body types.
Host Gabriel Spitzer celebrates some of his favorite stories from past shows on today’s episode. We’ll meet a punter who thought he was a linebacker for a minute, a composer working in an empty 2 million gallon water tank , a cowboy who “met” Bigfoot and a Balkan rock star who staged an antiwar musical in a war zone.
This week, stories of sacred spaces. We hear from a couple who moved their church from Capitol Hill to Skyway, only to be joined by a long string of churches priced out of Seattle. Then, a musician who started recording in the room where his wife died. We meet an artist who considers her garden her sacred space. We head to the small town of Oysterville, where a church hasn’t locked their doors in 125 years. Finally, we learn about a mosque that has been struck by arson twice . "Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by 88.5's Gabriel Spitzer.
This episode of Sound Effect, “Bouncing Back,” features stories about people who take the hits and come right back for more. We meet a Walla Walla man who became a rodeo clown to scratch his cowboy itch. Then, we meet a legally blind Seattleite who experienced Tokyo with his other senses. An East Side Tacoma woman shares how her experience hitting rock bottom informs how she gives back today. Hear how two rival, “real-life superheroes” fell in love . And, in the full broadcast of the show, meet a woman who helps fellow women of color heal through writing .
Sarah Berns grew up on the East Coast of the United States in a family that valued academics and literature, and her parents expected that she would pursue some kind of cerebral, upper-middle-class career, just like her brothers. Instead, Berns chose to move west and become a wildland firefighter. In this story, Berns talks about what it’s like to be the lone woman on a fire crew, how she earned the respect of her peers, and how she balanced breastfeeding and firefighting. Plus, she talks about the surprising similarities between her first career as a smokejumper fighting wildfires and her second career as a doula assisting in childbirth.
This week on Sound Effect, we hear stories of people who refused to give up. Billy Idolator Michael Henreichsen developed a fascination with a particular musician: Billy Idol. Michael saw him live a few times, including a show at Tulalip Casino just north of Everett. And something about that show left kind of a sour taste in his mouth . That launched a quixotic two-year quest to get Billy Idol to come to Seattle, and play a live show at his birthday party. Blind Sailor Mohamed Farid took a class at a local sailing club to learn how to operate a type of boat called a keelboat. He passed all of the tests, but the sailing club still will not let Mohamed captain a boat alone. They’re concerned about his safety, given that Mohamed is legally blind. But that hasn't stopped him from wanted to captain his own ship. A "Dreamer’s" Fight After the presidential election, Ana Ramirez decided to run for office herself . She campaigned for Vice President for Governmental Affairs at Western Washington
Sara Jamshidi grew up in Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. She remembers when her mother could wear sunglasses and mini-skirts on hot summer days, before the new fundamentalist government made laws about what women could and could not wear. As an adult Sara became a journalist and wrote often about being a woman in a conservative Muslim society. She worked for newspapers that were shut down by the police, and worked for editors who were arrested and sometimes tortured for publishing things the government did not want in the open. Eventually Sara’s name was blacklisted as an enemy of the state, and she knew that it was time to leave the country. In this midweek episode of Sound Effect's podcast, we hear Sara's story, and talk with producer Janae Janik about the impression it made on her. Note: This is part of an experiment with Sound Effect’s podcast : We will feed a condensed version of the full show on Saturdays, withholding an especially memorable story. Then we’ll hear that
This show originally aired on September 8, 2018. This week, stories of career paths and their unexpected twists. First, a man finds himself lucky enough to never have to work again, and decides he’ll pivot to being a LEGO artist . Next, a career dishwasher becomes an internationally renowned artist . Finally, how a man with a PhD in theoretical mathematics becomes homeless, an activist, and an occasional taxi driver. The full broadcast version of this week's show, available below, also includes: An Iranian journalist is forced to leave her country and career behind, only to discover a new kind of journalism in Seattle . Also, a man who used to be in the rock ‘n roll business ends up helping musicians recover from some of the vices that can come with the industry. "Sound Effect" presents stories inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer .
The theme of this week’s Sound Effect is “Gatekeepers” — stories about people with power over who comes and goes. First, we hear what it’s like for a prison guard to be locked in with the inmates. Next, a story of escape and betrayal in one of the world’s most repressive countries. Then, the chilling words of a man ready to confront his fate — and his complicated journey to execution. Finally, we hear from a woman who once was tasked with helping determine who was approved to resettle from Vietnam to the U.S.
This week on Sound Effect, it’s our annual tradition of sharing our favorite music stories from the past year. We open the show by sitting down with the Lewis family, and look back on how each generation has influenced the next to get behind a drum set. We then hear how tragedy and music intersect as the result of a shooting on the campus of Seattle Pacific University. Next, a performance and interview from John Roderick, who decided on a satirical take on a post-election song that ended up coming from a more empathetic place than he originally planned. We also sit down with Paul Caldwell, artistic director for the Seattle Men's and Women's Choruses, who shares how he recovered after his body and life were upended by a near-death experience. We wrap up the show with a conversation with Pastor Pat Wright, who tells us how her career evolved and why the choir she directs is so influential. Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by
This show originally aired on November 18, 2017. This week on Sound Effect, our theme is "Can’t Let Go." KNKX newsies Ariel Van Cleave and Ed Ronco reminisce about their obscure instruments. Then we talk to Jillian Venters, who gives advice to people of the gothic subculture , including those who are aging within it. Next, we head to Tacoma where a man is making an effort to celebrate author Frank Herbert. Then we take a ride in one of the oddest vehicles you’ll ever see: a hearse, decked out in pink , and available for parties. We get out of the hearse and back into the studio to talk to a man about why he’s convinced the earth is flat . The show wraps up with us meeting a woman who made a trek into the woods to say goodbye one last time to her dog …but couldn’t completely let go. Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer . To hear the full broadcast version of the show, which includes a story about one of
This week on Sound Effect, we share stories about our parents, and about being parents. Trick Riders The McMillan family in Soap Lake, Wash. has taken in seven foster children. Most of the kids are now accomplished horseback riders, often performing tricks at rodeos. Lynette McMillan explains why she felt drawn to adopt these kids and how the rodeo lifestyle helps them adjust to a new life. My Mom Back Then What if you could meet your mom or dad at the same age you are now. What would it be like? Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson got that chance in a strange way. Crawling To Achieve Mike Long was not a good student in grade school. And after several attempts to try and correct the problem, his parents found a doctor who felt that in order for Mike to be a better student, he needed to get on all fours and crawl around the house. The Happiest Six Year Old At The Bar Some of writer Nancy Leson’s earliest food memories come not from the family dinner table or from holiday feasts, but
First, we learn about a map that shows the vast web of connections among Seattle bands. Then, we meet the chief of equity for Seattle Public Schools, whose work is informed by her own past experience as a black student in the district. We meet a performance artist who explores how expectations of beauty killed her mother . We travel to a ridgetop observatory where young adults are working out who they’re going to be. And we learn how a Tacoma woman went from “cult” to college .
First, two KNKX moms share their experiences in the neonatal intensive care unit after the birth of their children. Then, a trip to a NICU, where we learn how to write lullabies . Also, we head to a business that bills itself as "everyone's barbershop." Next, a story of a young attorney who wanted to represent Cuban detainees in 1980 , only to realize she may have been out of her element. We learn about a locally made film featuring a retired police officer from Tamil Nadu, who vacations in Seattle to spend time with his son as people start disappearing. Finally, we meet a doctor who started a nonprofit to spread hospice and palliative care around the world , beginning in Rwanda. Sound Effect showcases stories inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer .
This week we share some of our favorite stories from out of town. The Hoh Rain Forest We take a trip to the Hoh Rain Forest and, while two young boys frolic in mud, we learn about the riches of the rainiest part of the lower 48. Connecting Transgender Men Telling the world its perception of you is wrong — and to say the way you see yourself is right — that can be a tough and lonely thing to do. A Spokane-based man noticed how hard this was for fellow transgender men, so he decided to help them connect with one another by going on an epic road trip. Volcano Watchers Just outside Mount St. Helens, the United States Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory monitors volcanic activity around the globe from a Suite 100 address. KNKX environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp went to the observatory to understand how volcanologists across the world communicate to respond to eruptions. Identity Theft Russell Jim of Yakima recounts the attempted theft of his tribal identity. In the 1940s, the
Our latest Sound Effect theme is “Friend or Foe.” First, we hear how artists took over a business group and changed Camano Island. Then, we meet an ex-Army Ranger whose flip-flop business is an olive branch for peace . We dive into the epic life of Sidney Rittenberg , a "towering historical figure" who settled near Tacoma. We learn about the ups and downs of having someone else’s DNA . And one woman shares how a bad fortune telling session led to a new outlook on life — and some payback.
We meet a woman who combines tap dancing with social justice . A pediatric oncologist shares his story of being pulled out of his comfort zone . And a woman talks about how she chose to shout her diagnosis from the rooftops , only to find out later that she was misdiagnosed.
This show originally aired on September 2, 2017. This week on Sound Effect, we hear stories of royalty in all different forms. The Princess Bride You may have seen the pictures online, or on the Today Show or wherever. The headline is usually something like, “ Little Girl Mistakes Bride for Princess from her Favorite Storybook.” And we joined the bride, the mother and the daughter for a little reunion, in front of the Hotel Ballard. Purple Mane Robbie Luna is a carpenter in Seattle, but by night he portrays the role of Prince in the Prince cover band Purple Mane. But Robbie would soon find that his Prince act had an even deeper impact than he’d imagined. Royal Brougham But legendary Seattle sportswriter Royal Brougham certainly did. He started at the Post-Intelligencer in 1910, and wrote there until his death in 1978. That’s pre-World-War One through Jimmy Carter. And he also played an important supporting role in the story of the 1936 University of Washington crew team , which is
This show originally aired on June 3, 2017. This week on Sound Effect , we tell stories from amongst the trees. Theater In The Woods The Kitsap Forest Theater is one of the oldest outdoor theaters in the country. Tucked in the woods outside of Bremerton, performances have been held here every single year for 93 years, except for a couple of years during World War II.
This week on Sound Effect, we share stories of the opioid crisis in the Northwest – the people who are affected, and those who are confronting it. We start by learning some of the brain science behind addiction , and why it can be so hard to kick the habit. We meet a woman who battled heroin addiction, got clean for 17 years, and then relapsed again. We head to Everett where librarians are learning to become first responders. Also in Everett, we learn about a scholarship program created to help people get into rehabilitation. We end the show by heading to Vancouver, British Columbia where drug users have taken it upon themselves to stem the tide of overdose deaths. "Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by 88.5's Gabriel Spitzer.
Krystal Marx is a City Council member in Burien. Her husband James is an Iraq War veteran. They’ve both experienced hardships that never fully left them: in her case, it was poverty and homelessness as a kid; for him, it was combat-related PTSD. Their relationship, and their healing, began on rival superhero teams. Across the country, there are real people, often in full costume, who walk the streets fighting crime, helping the helpless and generally doing hero stuff. In Seattle, there were two main teams in the mid-2010s. The Rain City Superhero Movement, led by Ben Fodor AKA “Phoenix Jones,” wore the full get-ups and spent evenings breaking up bar fights and monitoring suspicious activity. The other team, the Washington Initiative, focussed more on homeless outreach and generally didn’t wear costumes (besides kevlar vests and other protective gear). Those two teams shared bad blood — to the point when, James says, the Rain City Superheroes were outright forbidden from consorting with
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Podcast Details

Started
Jun 24th, 2017
Latest Episode
Aug 8th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
166
Avg. Episode Length
39 minutes
Explicit
No

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