Allie Ferguson

Sound Effect Producer

Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson has been making radio for nearly 5 years. She got her start at KUOW and has since traveled the country working for national news shows including WNYC's The Takeaway and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Allie won a 2016 Gracie Award, which celebrates women in media, for her work at KUOW. She enjoys telling surprising stories about passionate people. 
 

Allie got a degree in international relations at the University of Washington, where she had the opportunity to study in Senegal and Sierra Leone. She claims both Montana and California as her home states, but enjoys anywhere with easy access to mountains and water.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of Lizzie Nielson

Seated in a bucket, ears plugged, grinning through the cascade of green, oozy chaos, fourth-grade Lizzie Nielson lived a Nickelodeon fan’s dream.

“I have all the paperwork in order to suggest that I was slimed,” says Nielson.

 

She does, in both photographic and certificate form, lest anyone doubt this point of pride.

 

The children's television network Nickelodeon is famous for sliming everyone, from kids to celebrities, with a waterfall of thick, green, plastic-smelling goo.

Patrick Rodriguez via Wikimedia Commons

Often times our sense of responsibility is to a place, a community. For writer Jack Cameron, that place is Tacoma; he just loves his hometown.
“There’s not a lot of pompousness around Tacoma. [It] almost doesn’t care about image and that’s what I like about it,” says Cameron. 

Wikipedia Commons

In 1950s Tacoma, Harold Moss and his wife Willibelle faced racism in the search for a home.

“You learned that when you called a white realtor, you had to use your white voice, and if you sounded black, you weren’t going to get anywhere,” said Moss.

The couple owned a plot of land on which they intended to build a house, but banks refused to give him a mortgage and contractors refused to build. They decided to keep the land and buy a house instead.

Soul Food: Seattle Chef Kristi Brown Talks Culinary Power

Feb 4, 2017
Courtesy of Kristi Brown

At age 13, Kristi Brown knew she would be a chef, but she remembers planning multi-course meals by the time she was 5.

"I'm a big believer in working on your purpose," she says, "That really is the only answer that you have if you want to be happy."

Courtesy of Rose Bosacker

At hospice centers throughout the Northwest, there’s a simple message written on posters and plaques and displayed throughout the halls. It says “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you” It’s the four things you’re supposed to express at the end of your life to find peace of mind before you die.

Courtesy of Taylor Shellfish Farms

Almost every night in the winter, there are hundreds of farmers at work along the Washington coast. The lights of their head lamps are just barely visible on the shoreline. They are shellfish farmers out harvesting clams, oysters, and geoducks. They are up at such late hours because of the tide. That’s when it’s lowest during the winter months.

Courtesy of Polly Story-Lebl

 

One big way to flip the script is to mess with the traditional parent-child dynamic. For many, it can seem like parents are these older beings with no life before their children were born. In modern parenting especially, parents don't appear to even have a life when you're a kid.

 

But what if you could meet your mom or dad at a younger age? Maybe even the same age you are now? What would it be like? What would that person be like?

 

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

The 2016 presidential election transformed the political narrative across America, including Washington state. Many artists have been emboldened to create in response to this reshuffling of power and ideas. One Seattle musician was uniquely inspired by the perspective of Trump voters.

Seattle musician John Roderick is the front man for local indie rock band The Long Winters. He’s a liberal guy; you might remember his failed bid for Seattle City Council in 2015. In 2016, however, Roderick wrote an anthem for the Trump campaign called “Make America Great Again.”

Robert Hood / Fred Hutch

Maxine Linial is a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and one of the world's leading researchers on an obscure group of microorganisms called simian foamy viruses.

She’s been at the Hutch for 40 years looking through microscopes in the lab and studying swirling cells in petri dishes. However, that changed very suddenly five years ago.

Allie Ferguson / knkx

Tacoma arborist Mik Miazio loves trees. He has loved them since he was a kid growing up in New Jersey.

"I remember climbing my first tree when I was a kid. As soon as I was able to, I would jump right in there and disappear. I’m in my own world right there," Miazio said.

It was this love that led Miazio to discover the tallest tree in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park. He noticed the giant Douglas Fir poking out of the canopy when he moved to Tacoma three years ago.

Courtesy of Diane Whalen

As a young girl in Catholic school, Diane Whalen always wanted to be close to God. She set her sights on becoming a nun, until puberty hit and her interest in boys forced her to make a course correction.

It wasn't until Whalen was in her 20s that she started hearing people advocate for women’s ordination into priesthood. The Church never did come around to this idea, but an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests began ordaining women outside of the Church institutions. In 2010, Whalen became the first female ordained priest in Washington.

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Knkx general manager Joey Cohn has a special place in his heart for one knkx employee: Winston. Despite Winston's surly attitude and manipulative behavior, Cohn is desperate for a relationship with him.

Winston is, of course, a dog. He is specifically a French bull dog owned by Justin Steyer, knkx's director of digital media and technology. Listen to Cohn explain why he loves this dog even though Winston does not return his affection. 

Courtesy of Vic Vogler

Editor’s Note: The following essay contains adult language that may not be suitable for all audiences.

 

Many odd couples start off innocently enough — the regular boy meets girl scenario. But what happens when the girl reveals a much darker side? And the boy in question is left wondering just why fate brought them together?

 

Vic Vogler, a writer in Seattle, brings us this essay:
 

Michael J. Chen

For Tracy Rector, the water was always a scary place. She never learned to swim as a kid. At summer camp she would sit on the dock and enviously watch the other kids pass their swim tests. 

However, as Rector grew up and became a filmmaker, her relationship to water changed. Rector is a mixed race Indigenous woman, a descendant of the Seminole and Choctaw Nations, and she decided to use her films to explore the connection between native peoples in the Northwest and the environment. Here in the Northwest an essential part of that is water.

Courtesy of Colin McDaniel

Colin McDaniel grew up on the water. He was raised on Bainbridge Island. In the summer, Colin and his best friend Adam loved exploring the island’s coast. Adam’s father had a fleet of unloved dinghies.

“They all had those drain holes under the water line and no drain hole plugs to be found anywhere," says McDaniel. "But that didn't stop us from shoving green fir cones into the drain holes and pushing our boats into the gray water and going out for adventures anyway.”

Rick Bowmer / AP Photo

What happens when the thing you’re called to do goes against everything you believe in? And what if a life hangs in the balance?

Frank Thompson is no stranger to fighting for his beliefs. He grew up in Arkansas at the height of the civil rights movement, living just blocks away from the Little Rock Nine, who helped integrate Little Rock Central High School. Thompson, himself, fought as a student to integrate the University of Arkansas. These experiences shaped him to his very core.

Courtesy of Fred Shiosaki

In America, the phrase "call of duty" is most often associated with our men and women in uniform. Signing up for the military often requires a very strong sense of loyalty to your country.

What happens when that loyalty is questioned?

That was the case for many Japanese-Americans during World War II, when the U.S. was at war with Japan. Over 100,000 Japanese-Americans were interned in camps along the West Coast. The government classified them as "enemy aliens." However many young Americans born to Japanese parents still felt the need to defend their country in wartime.

Courtesy of Hsaio-Ching Chou

For many immigrant families, food is a way to both stay connected to their culture, and a way to survive. For the Chou family, opening a restaurant seemed like the only way to make ends meet in small town Columbia, Missouri.

When they opened Chinese Delicacies in 1980, Hsiao-Ching Chou was only 8 years old. The restaurant defined her childhood, even inspiring her career later as a food writer in Seattle.

For the family, it defined their American experience. They developed a menu that appealed to American tastes and later bowed to customer demand and installed a buffet. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Everyone’s got a favorite food. But how about a favorite crop? 

Dr. Stephen Jones, director of Washington State University's Bread Lab in Mt. Vernon, loves wheat. A lot.

"The sheer beauty of the crop in a field like this ... you can almost hear the voices in it — the voices of the tradition, the voices of the people that came before us into this crop," said Jones. "I don't get that when I walk into a lettuce field, but I do in wheat."

Courtesy of the Washington State Archives

 

At the turn of the 20th century, trolleys were just beginning to transform cities across the country. At the same, one Oregon woman figured out a way to defraud the companies that operated these interurban railroads.

 

Maud  Wagnon, who went under many aliases but was known by most as Maud Myrtle Johnson, was dubbed the "Queen of Fakers" by newspapers across the Western United States for her history of swindling the trolleys. How did Maud become one of the most infamous liars of the Northwest?

 

Courtesy of Benjamin Kantner

There are lots occasions when bending the truth is something we want to happen. This is what more than 60,000 people do every summer in the Nevada desert for Burning Man, the iconic week-long festival with art, music and lots of partying. It’s an event that attracts the likes of hippies, Hollywood celebrities and tech billionaires. However, Burning Man is also sometimes described as one, giant, utopian lie.

Before going to Burning Man, where he is known as Konifer, 31-year-old Benjamin Kantner’s life in Seattle looked good on paper. But it felt like he was lying to himself.   

AP Photo/NASA TV

Getting people into space involves a lot of risks. From the explosive fuel needed to launch a rocket to the flecks of space dust that could poke a hole in an orbiting shuttle, astronauts are always prepared for the worst.

Wendy Lawrence, a retired astronaut and naval aviator living in Washington state, understood the risks of her job even when seven of her colleagues were killed reentering the Earth's atmosphere in 2003.

Allie Ferguson / KPLU

Anacortes, Washington is home to a tight-knit and lively local music scene and prolific indie musician Karl Blau has long been at the center of it. He released over 30 albums in the his nearly 20-year career.

Blau's latest project was an all-ages music venue and online radio station called the Anacortes Music Channel. He created it to highlight and support local music. The space, housed in a beautiful old brick building in downtown Anacortes, became a hub for the small town’s artists.

Amy van Cise

Deep down on the sea floor off the coast of Alaska, about a dozen underwater microphones sit, anchored down by big heavy wheels from old trains. They sit and listen to the world of sounds around them.

Holly Andres / New York Times

If you’re a parent in the Seattle area, chances are you’ve been to, heard about, or will soon learn about the puberty classes that Julie Metzger created almost three decades ago.

Metzger makes what is often a painful conversation actually kind of enjoyable. Strutting around the class with pads stuck to her shirt, she happily says out loud all of the awkward things kids and parents are thinking about puberty.

Allie Ferguson / knkx

Even as adults, there are moments when we realize we are no longer kids. Oftentimes it hits us when the tables turn and we find ourselves looking after our aging parents.

For Chris Spengler, it was when her father Henry was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Ushering him from doctors' appointments to group homes around Seattle, she was certainly not a kid anymore. At the same time, her father’s disease gave her a much needed sense of closure about her childhood in Brooklyn.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

A warning that this interview deals with some very difficult subject matter: the exploitation of children. It is not suitable for children and some adults may find it difficult to hear. 

It's heroic to dedicate your life to chasing bad guys and putting them behind bars. However, that pursuit of criminal activity can come with a lot of traumatic experiences and deep psychological wounds.

CBS

Eric Andeen first encountered the Klingon language like most people, while watching the film "Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock" as the crew of the Enterprise contended with the Klingons, a fictional alien race. However, when he spotted a Klingon dictionary in a bookstore a few months later, Andeen took it a step further. He decided to learn Klingon. 

For many people, community ties come from keeping up to date with the goings-on of your neighbors — someone’s graduation, a new restaurant opening up, or a long-time resident passing away. These days we mostly turn to Facebook for that sort of information.   

 

Margaret Bullitt

This is what Margaret Bullitt did when she was in her 20s, living in New York and trying to launch an acting career. The Bullitts are an influential Seattle family. Coming from a family filled with people driven to do good and bring about positive change was intimidating.

“And this idea that you have to do for others and be good in the community and if you aren’t always doing for others, and doing good for the community, then somehow there’s something suspect,” says Bullitt.

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