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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Simone Alicea / knkx

For our show this week, we wanted to talk to someone who hears lies all the time: Tow truck drivers. That’s what Sound Effect Executive Producer Erin Hennessey suggested. She sent 88.5’s Simone Alicea to a towing company in Bellevue to talk to someone who’s heard it all.

But it turns out Erin wasn’t being totally forthcoming, herself, about the role she had cast for these drivers. She and Simone sat down to compare notes about their impound experiences.

Michal Lebl

This week on Sound Effect, stories of time and how it rules our daily lives. 

Every Hour Injures, The Last One Kills

For centuries, sundials have inspired artists and scientists alike as a way to display the passing of time. Retired UW astrobiology professor Woody Sullivan shares how his 25-year love affair with sundials began and how he invented the first working sundial tattoo.

A Brewing War

Dennis Wise / University of Washington Photography

Retired University of Washington astrobiology professor Woody Sullivan is obsessed with the concept of time. It's apparent the instant you walk into what he call’s his “man lodge," the little study behind his North Seattle home.

It’s full of shelves of books with titles like “Empires of Time,” and “Time, The Familiar Stranger.” Plus, there are shelves of small, ornate sundials, some that can fit into the palm of your hand.

Courtesy of Port of Mokha coffee

28-year old Yemeni-American Mokhtar Alkhanshali loves coffee. In fact, he is the first Arab certified Q-grader, the coffee equivalent of a sommelier for wine.

Mokhtar grew up between the United States and Yemen. In his grandparents’ garden in Yemen, Mokhtar picked red coffee berries off the trees and laid them out on drying beds. His grandmother taught him when to harvest the berries, and later, how to brew coffee with spices like cardamom and cinnamon.

Courtesy of Marilyn Roberts

In the spring of 2014, Marilyn Roberts' son, Kevin, was 27 years old and struggling with bipolar disorder. One day, he called his mom to tell her that he was taking a bus to go to downtown Olympia, Wash., not too far from where he lived. 

"He was to a point where wasn't cognizant of what was going on, on a day to day basis," Roberts remembers.

A Kidney Dialysis Patient's Guide To Passing The Time

Apr 15, 2017
Scott Areman / Northwest Kidney Center

All of our lives are ruled by time, but some of us are more aware of it than others. 

At the Northwest Kidney Centers in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, dialysis patients are very aware of the passing hours. They're hooked up to machines that display the elapsing time prominently on a screen. These machines filter and clean their blood, a job normally handled by healthy kidneys. 

Finding The Time To Say 'I Love You' To Your Dad

Apr 15, 2017
Courtesy of Dominic Black

When I think back on it now, when I was growing up there’s two things that were really hard for me to tell my parents. The first was: ‘Hey Mum and Dad, so we’re getting sex education at school.’

And the second was, ‘I love you.’

Credit Liz West/Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we share stories of people, places and things that are right in front of us, that we may never notice. 

Courtesy of Carol Edward

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, there are more than 200,000 undocumented people living in Washington State. Seattle-based immigration attorney Carol Edward says these men, women and children come from all walks of life.

Over the course of her career, Edward has had undocumented engineers and nurses as clients. One undocumented man who hired her was a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Courtesy of Edwin Martinez

Edwin Martinez runs Onyx Coffee in Bellingham, Washington. The shop is a bit unusual. Martinez calls it "a mad scientist lab" for studying human behavior with coffee.

He sells just coffee and nothing else, not even cream.  The coffee comes straight from his family’s farm in the mountains of northwest Guatemala.

"So if you love coffee, you are just in seventh heaven." said Martinez. "But if you aren't here for the coffee, this is the most disappointing coffee house in America."

Michael Roberts

Hiding in plain sight can be a matter of course for people dealing with addictions; they tend to be really good at masking the need.

 

That was the case for Michael Roberts. He had beer for the first time when he was 15, and worked for years to keep attention away from his alcoholism. He was eventually able to get sober. His last drink was eight years ago.

 

And all those years Michael spent hiding made him an expert when it came to spotting his daughter Amber’s addiction.

 

Tiny Mazes Reveal Risk-Taking Behavior In Microworms

Apr 8, 2017
Courtesy of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

All around us, there are tiny creatures and simple organisms sharing planet Earth, including a type of worm that finds a home in rotting fruit. These microworms are about 1 millimeter long and transparent, barely visible to the human eye. 

Jihong Bai, a neurobiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, uses these microworms in his lab to study how neurons in the brain talk to each other. However, a chance observation of the worms led him to a new discovery about animal behavior.

Courtesy Jody Kuehner

Dancer Jody Kuehner didn't set out to become a female-bodied drag queen, sometimes called a "bio-queen." While collaborating with fellow dancer Ricki Mason in 2008, the two women created personas to push their work to new places and explore their own gender identities. In exploring her own femininity, Jody created her now beloved and award-winning drag persona, Cherdonna Shinatra.

Viewing 3D IMAX clips by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center IS LICENSED BY CC BY-NC 2.0 bit.ly/2mQpqo4 / Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we share stories from people under the influence of mentors, substances, music, and society. 

Parker Miles Blohm

Donovan Lewis is 4 years old and has been playing the drums since before he learned how to walk. His preschool teacher says that on rainy days, Donovan taps out the beat the raindrops make on the building's metal downspouts. This should come as no surprise. His parents say that music is in their son's DNA. 

D'Vonne Lewis is Donovan's father. D'Vonne is an accomplished Seattle-based drummer. He's performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, pianist Marian McPartland and guitarist Bucky Pizzarellie, to name just a few. 

Kevin Kniestedt

When Brian McDonald, a screenwriter, teacher and author was living in Seattle in the mid-90s, he says that, while talented, he had seen about 15 years of closed doors as far as his career was concerned.

Knowing that the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson also lived in Seattle, Wilson had dreams of one day meeting him and learning from him.

Credit Marianne Spellman/Popthomology

Seattle musician and artist Shannon Perry is known for her exquisite tattoo work and incredible musical presence. But six years ago, while in rehab for Adderall abuse, she felt very alone.

Perry picked up smoking again so she could socialize with the other people, but it didn't help.  Rather than go numb from the isolation and boredom, she started to make things.

Playing the drums on the floor with her hands and singing songs in a whisper, Perry used music to fill her time and she figured out a way to record these rehab writings and songs.

Courtesy of Tim Olsen

Adults are constantly influencing the kids around them, whether it's as parents, teachers or mentors. For better and for worse, key adults can shape the trajectory of children and inspire their path as those children grow up.

Tacoma native Tim Olsen found a mentor in local guitar maker and musician Harvey Thomas. Fifty years later, Olsen still reflects on his old role model with a wry smile.

"He was a true eccentric, through and through," says Olsen.

Courtesy of Bethany Morrow and Will Taylor

The world of children’s books is lily white. The vast majority of people writing kids’ books are white and their characters are usually white, too.

 

There are more animals and trucks that appear as characters in kids books than there are African-American characters.

 

COURTESY OF MICHAL LEBL

 

This week on Sound Effect, we tell stories of risks and rewards and why people make the decision to take the leap. 

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.

Amber Hageman

After graduating with a degree in computer science, most people with that valuable diploma in hand, would head out into the world hoping to land a well-paying job in the tech world.

 

Robb D. Cohen / Invision/AP

So when we get emotional about something, we often have to weigh the risks and rewards of acting on those emotions. If someone upsets us, we need to decide if there is enough of a reward in confronting that person, while potentially facing the risks of upsetting that person as well.

I found myself in one of those situations at small-town bar in the middle of Washington, upset at a very, very famous young man, and wrote this essay.

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

There has been a lot of attention paid in recent years to the risks of playing professional football. While head injuries are nothing new to football, the National Football League implemented nine years ago, and has since constantly tweaked a concussion protocol, and has adjusted other rules to assist in player safety.

Allie Ferguson

A lot of bands have a very particular sound that is very identifiably them, and that often makes it easier to be marketed and defined. But Sebastian and the Deep Blue, from one song to the next, can sound like a completely different band. In fact, in their “about” section on their website, this is how they define themselves:

100 by Ana is licensed by CC BY-NC 2.0 http://bit.ly/2ntoX81 / Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we celebrate our 100th episode by exploring the stories behind Northwest businesses with the address Suite 100. 

Josh Estey/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / HIV in Indonesia by DFAT IS LICENSED BY CC BY-NC 2.0 http://bit.ly/2neL1Wx

The most difficult part of recovery from addiction can be taking the first step to get help. For hundreds of heroin and prescription pain medication addicts, that first step is a walk through the door of a methadone clinic in the South Sound called Tacoma Treatment Solutions. Every day people arrive at the clinic as early as 5 a.m. to get their daily dose of methadone. 

Credit Kevin Kniestedt

More than 23,000 people lost their lives following the 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia. In response, the United States Geological Survey and the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance created the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, to help prevent other volcanic eruptions from becoming disasters.

Veteran luthier Rick Wickland works on part of a violin bow at his work bench inside Hammond Ashley Violins, in Issaquah. The horse hair used on the bow is hanging behind him.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

At one end of the long building that houses Hammond Ashley Violins in Issaquah, five students are getting ready for a violin class.

In the middle of the building, luthiers are repairing violins and cleaning string basses.

And up front, behind a door marked “Suite 100,” customers are coming in to buy or rent violins, and get them repaired.

Courtesy of Lydia Boss

For hundreds of years, really, for millennia, the world epicenter for working with glass as an art form has been Morano, Italy. It's an island just north of Venice.  The legend is that Venetians moved the studios and hot shops to Morano out of fear the process of blowing glass was so hot and volatile that it would set fire to Venice. 

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