Sound Effect

Saturdays at 10 AM

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by knkx's Jennifer Wing. Each week's show explores a different theme.

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This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories of TMI, as in too much information. 

The Jeopardy Champ

Seattle resident Ken Jennings won 74 times in a row on the popular trivia show "Jeopardy!" and is the the second highest earner in game show history with a total of more than $3.1 million. He explains how he keeps all that information in his brain.

The Home of The Cloud

Credit Allie Ferguson

Ken Jennings says knowing a lot of random facts can really come in handy when it comes to bringing people together — connecting with total strangers. He says having random knowledge about someone’s job or alma mater is a little bit like knowing about a person before you even get to meet them.

Jennings says that the trick to being able to consume and retain so much knowledge is largely due to a wide interest in everything, because people are more likely to retain things that they are interested in.

Will James / KNKX

The electronic data we use isn't as ephemeral as it seems. Our photos, videos, and email take up physical space in the world.

Patty Martin knows this. Some of it ends up outside her kitchen window. 

Martin lives in Quincy, a rural Washington town that happens to house vast chunks of the internet in gigantic data centers. 

Quincy, a town of about 7,000 people in a bowl of gentle hills, was known for food processing plants that turned potatoes into French fries.

SUE OGROCKI / AP PHOTO

Editor's Note: This post, which contains accounts of sexual assault, may not be suitable for younger listeners.

The phrase 'rape kit' is often used in the media and on television shows like "Law and Order: SVU" to refer to the process of collecting evidence of sexual assault. The term makes it sound like this neat and tidy little exam. However, the actual process is long and difficult. Your body is a crime scene; the nurse scraping every part for evidence of assault: DNA, bruises, fingerprints, hair, dirt.

Courtesy Scott Losse

For comedians like Seattle’s Scott Losse, sharing lots of information about their flaws and their family members is just a given. He goes on stage in front of a live audiences telling jokes about things like his lifelong issues with anxiety and his deep love for his 16-year-old cat named Kitty.

But comedy often comes from pain, and that's true for Scott. When he was younger, Scott lost his two older brothers — one from suicide, the other, in a car accident.

Scott Losse talks with 88.5’s Ariel Van Cleave how seeing a therapist led to him performing on stage.  

3 Generations Of Diaphragm Defeat

Feb 18, 2017
Courtesy of Sarah Anne Lloyd

After years of bad experiences with hormonal birth control, at 19, I thought I had found a holy grail: The diaphragm. It was 2006, and nobody used diaphragms anymore, but I knew all about them — because since I was about 10 years old, I knew that my very existence depended on my mother leaving hers in the dresser drawer one cold winter day in January of 1986. I was conceived under the dining room table, on the shag carpet of their Fremont apartment.

“Be careful,” she said. “You were a diaphragm baby.”

Courtesy of Alex Ashley

Alex Ashley, a journalist and musician from Bellingham, Washington, has known his friend, Kit Knowles, for almost five years now.  The connected after the loss of a mutual friend. 

When it comes to their friendship, they trust each other, they communicate — all the boxes are checked. 

Except one.

“There’s an old proverb — you’ve probably heard it — that says ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder,’” Ashley says.  “But what if that’s all you have: absence? What then?”

 

Pain Of A Broken Heart by Dennis Skley via Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we’re sharing stories of heartbreak, and the different ways people respond to it.

Credit Alex Gao

Marcus Haney has caught several big named musicians on camera, including the likes of Coldplay and Elton John.

In 2014, he was asked to produce a music video for the British band Bear's Den. He came up with the idea of coming to Seattle to film his younger brother, Turner Haney, and Turner's friends, who all attended Seattle Pacific University, capturing youth on the brink of adulthood. 

Michelle Penaloza

Hearts are usually broken in a moment, at a specific place. Michelle Penaloza, a poet who lives in Seattle, understands that memories, good, bad and everything in between, are tied to things. Maybe it was a song that was playing in the background. Or perhaps it’s a certain park bench where someone delivered bad news.

 

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

A trinket, unintentionally loosed from a handful of change KNKX producer Nick Morrison used to pay for his morning coffee created a connection between him and his morning barista.

“I just said, ‘My sister,’ and she said, ‘My son,” he remembers.

Shauna, the team leader of the coffee cart had the same glass heart.  The two locked eyes, clasped hands, and created a connection recalled every time Morrison picks up his split-shot latte.

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.

Credit Sarah Cass

Broken hearts are what inspires a lot of the music we listen to, whether it’s pop, soul, country or the blues. But what if that song of love gone wrong is about you, and you’re relationship with that musician? And what happens when you and that artist get back together, but those songs, they’re still out there. This is the experience of Seattle musician Jenn Champion and her partner, Sound Effect contributor Arwen Nicks. 

Courtesy of "Hella Black Hella Seattle"

This week on Sound Effect, we've teamed up with the women behind the "Hella Black Hella Seattle" podcast to tell stories of black history in the Northwest. 

Black History Month

We meet the women behind the "Hella Black Hella Seattle" podcast and talk about what black history means to them. 

Seattle's 'Queen of Gospel'

Meet Seattle's 'Queen Of Gospel'

Feb 4, 2017
Courtesy of Eula Scott Bynoe

Pastor Pat Wright can't read music, but she made a hit single as a solo R&B singer, performed for three U.S. presidents including Barack Obama, and sang at Jimi Hendrix's funeral.  

Wright began and continues to direct Seattle's renowned Total Experience Choir. Founded in 1973, the choir has performed for presidents, and toured in 28 countries and 33 states.

She attributes its success to the type of music they perform.

"You can't make old folks out of young people ... your music director has to find music they can identify with," says Wright.

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."

Seattle Black History Through The Lens Of A Beauty Salon

Feb 4, 2017
Jennifer Wing / knkx

To enter De Charlene William's Beauty and Boutique hair salon at 21st and Madison, where First Hill meets the Central Area in Seattle, you have to get past an iron gate.  The extra security is a reminder that doing business here for 48 years has not always been easy.

"I've been through a lot here on this corner," Williams says.

Editor's Note: This post, which contains recollections of the civil rights movement, contains a racial slur that some might find upsetting. Just a heads up.

We’ve all experienced the uncomfortable feeling of being told to move on. Maybe it was a school bully, or perhaps it was a job you really wanted but didn’t get. For Marion West and her husband, Ray West, it was when they bought a house.

Courtesy of Natasha Marin

Natasha Marin would like white people to know that because of the color of their skin, they have an inherent advantage, or privilege.

 

“Privilege is complicated," says Marin. "A lot of people hear the word 'privilege' and they think about luxury. Privilege is not about luxury. Especially in terms of white privilege, it’s about benefits and boosts that society affords to you because of your appearance.”

 

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.

Jennifer Wing/KNKX

 

This week on Sound Effect, we learn to make amends. We bring you stories of people making amends after a life of crime, siblings making amends before death, and public officials making amends to an entire city.

The Apology Bell

Anthony Curcio and his wife Emily met in sixth grade in Monroe, Washington. Emily remembers a young Anthony as good and kind. But in college, after a sports injury, Anthony became addicted to opiates and everything changed.

As Anthony’s addiction intensified, so did his criminal ambitions. He did shady realty deals, stole from foreclosed homes, anything to make an easy buck. All the time, Anthony was living a double life with Emily. For nearly a decade, he lied to her. Meanwhile, they got married and had two daughters.

Steve Kaiser / Wikimedia

  Sometimes it can take a long time to come around to an apology or to even realize you did something wrong in the first place. In this next story, it took years.

It began on one fateful night in Seattle in the fall of 1999. As protesters squared off against the police during the controversial WTO conference, law enforcement chose to deploy tear gas and aggressive policing tactics.

Curious Photo - George Eastman House Collection, ca. 1880

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories that flip the script. We'll hear stories of reversing the typical expectations in a situation.

Jennifer Wing / knkx

The last time Grays Harbor County voted for a Republican was in 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected — that is, until last year when it went for Donald J. Trump. 

At one time, Grays Harbor was an economic powerhouse. Tim Quigg grew up there.  He says back then just about anyone could get a job that paid well.

Courtesy Stephanie Coontz

 

Stephanie Coontz is a marriage and family history expert at the Evergreen State College. She’s the author of many books on relationships and marriage, including “The Way We Never Were”. Coontz has spent decades studying the history of marriage and says most of the ideas we have about that institution are completely backwards.

In this conversation with Sound Effect producer Kevin Kniestedt, she started with one of the biggest myths of all: that traditional marriages rely on a man to support the family.

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?

 

Transgender Traveler Builds A Brotherhood

Jan 21, 2017
Malcolm Rene Ribot

Malcolm Rene Ribot has been busy exploring America for the past year and a half. He’s hiked mountains, swam in hidden lakes, touched the waters of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and slept under the stars. He’s done this in 48 states and plans on visiting the last two — Hawaii and Alaska — in the next few months.

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.”

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