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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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. 

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. 

Joel Mabel / Wikipedia Commons

Tilth, a non-profit that oversees community gardens all over Seattle, operates out of a Suite 100 in a historical landmark: The Good Shepherd Center. This enormous building spans the length of a city block and is surrounded by several acres of gardens, a playground and large expanses of green lawns.

Austin Jenkins / knkx

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you an investigative look into a spike in prison suicides here in Washington state. During 2014 and 2015, 11 inmate deaths were ruled suicide, giving Washington one of the highest prison suicide rates in the country. There didn’t seem to be a pattern, but the prison system knew it had a problem. 

This week on Sound Effect, stories of what happens when things get messy, for better and for worse.  

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.

Courtesy of Kevin Clark / Everett Herald

Sometimes a mess serves a very special purpose. For the Pyles family in Lake Stevens, Wash., words scrawled across their home help them communicate with their son, Jessie.

Courtesy EPA Gorst Creek Removal

Most abandoned landfills do not have a happy ending. Kitsap County alone has dozens of them, sitting around and festering in the ground.

But one place, called the Gorst Creek Landfill, is finally getting cleaned up, thanks to some very dedicated peninsula residents and $27 million from the Navy.

Courtesy Ruby Brown

Former 88.5 KNKX Jazz Sunday Side Up host Ruby Brown had known for a long time that her brother Andy had battled mental health issues. But it wasn’t until last summer when he took his own life that she and her family were able to understand the extent of it.

Courtesy Seattle Choruses

Last April, composer, arranger and conductor Paul Caldwell was weeks away from leaving Chicago for a new life and new job as the artistic director for the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus. But after leaving his best friend’s place, he became the victim of a terrible hit and run accident.

Caldwell was struck by a car, severely fracturing several bones in his body, including his legs and right arm. His head landed on a bag filled with sheet music, rather than the hard street, saving his life.

Tacoma, Wa by Atomic Taco/Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you some memorable stories we’ve shared about the people of Tacoma.

GI Newspapers

88.5’s Paula Wissel gives us a glimpse into the underground GI movement, a network of subversive publications and meeting places catering to the military which sprung out of the antiwar movement during the Vietnam era. We learn about one particular underground newspaper published near Ft. Lewis.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

In the late 1960s and early '70s, all sorts of underground newspapers had emerged from the counterculture and antiwar movements. Most of them weren’t actually all that underground, since there wasn’t much risk involved in publishing or distributing them.

But if you were in the military and you wanted to publish stories that strayed from the company line, you could get in serious trouble. That led in part to something called the GI underground movement.

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. 

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