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DIY: Sound Effect, Episode 38

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week Sound Effect speaks with bold, independent, do-it-yourselfers. 

Do you ever feel like you’re being watched? Here’s one DIY project you won’t find on Pinterest - how to request your own FBI file. Sound Effect Host Gabriel Spitzer and Senior Producer Arwen Nicks open their own FBI letters and read them on air. Want to know how to get yours? Find out here.

On 41st Street in Seattle’s U-District, there is a cramped science lab with equipment shoved into nooks and crannies. Some of the lab benches are homemade. You might find bits of salmon or a sheep’s brain stored here. This is the HiveBio Community Lab, a DIY biology laboratory where subscribers to the maker movement pay a monthly fee to do their own science.

Credit Hive Bio
Bergen R. McMurray

Sound Effect Host Gabriel Spitzer speaks with HiveBio’s founder and CEO Bergan McMurray about her motivations for creating the space, where members pay a fraction of the market rate to rent a lab bench. When she founded the DIY biolab more than a decade ago, McMurray says her background in punk rock, a “make your own stuff community,” made her comfortable in the world of independent inventors and thinkers.

Next, Sound Effect welcomes back Jana Mohr Lone, who heads the University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children. In this segment, you’ll meet the elephant Gerald and his friend Piggie, characters in the “Elephant & Piggie” series by Mo Willems. Piggie is a pig, but she’s pretending to be a frog. Mohr Lone uses the book in classrooms as a springboard for philosophical questions about identity and the act of pretending. After all, what could be more  DIY than one’s own sense of self?

Credit Jessica Farren photography via

Bonnie Hammond has seen a lot of neglected horses. That’s why she founded the organization Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE), which rescues and rehabilitates starved, neglected, abused, or unwanted horses in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Speaking with KPLU’s Jennifer Wing, Hammond describes how she discovered a glaring need for horse rehabilitators and decided to do something about it herself.

Our last story for DIY comes from KPLU’s own Nick Morrison. He tells us a story from his pre-KPLU life, when he dumped his entire vacation fund on an idea for DIY. Did it work? You’ll have to listen to find out.