Gabriel Spitzer | KNKX

Gabriel Spitzer

Sound Effect Host and Senior Producer

Gabriel Spitzer is the Host and Senior Producer of Sound Effect, KNKX's "weekly tour of ideas inspired by the place we live." Gabriel was previously KNKX's Science and Health Reporter. He joined KNKX after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.

Gabriel received his Master's of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and his degree in English at Cornell University. He’s been honored with the Kavli Science Journalism Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and won awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Ashley and their two sons, Ezra and Oliver.

Gabriel’s most memorable KNKX moment was: “In just my second week here, I found myself covering the unfolding story of a mass shooting and citywide manhunt. It was a tragic and chaotic day, when the public badly needed someone to sort the facts from the rumors. It made me proud of our profession.”

Ways to Connect

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

Jack Gunter’s airplane paintings are on the second floor of his studio gallery on Camano Island.

“Here’s one where there’s a 747 going straight down and going to crash into Helen’s Kitchen,” Jack says, gesturing at a large canvas. Nearby, a jumbo jet is menacing a group of senior citizens. Another shows a plane looming over grazing cows.

Christian Sidor, a paleontologist, works with 220-million-year-old bones at the Burke Museum in Seattle.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Christian Sidor is a paleontologist at the Burke Museum in Seattle. In front of him are some 220-million-year-old bones.

They belong to an animal called a Shuvosaurus. This is probably the most complete skeletons of one of these things in the entire world. But it’s still missing a bunch of stuff. Which, in paleontology, is pretty much par for the course.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

Nathalie Bajinya grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo with her twin sister, her younger sister and brother, and her parents, a teacher and a school principal. In the early 2000s, the long-raging civil war in Congo was officially winding down, but all over the country, pockets of fighting continued.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

Eating an egg and a banana at the same time can kill you. Some lady found a fried rat in her bucket of chicken. That scone contains the anal secretions of beavers.

Wait — did you “Snopes” that?

Jack Gunter

 

Northwest artist Jack Gunter uses an ancient painting technique called egg tempera — a mixture of dry pigment and egg yolk. The paint can last for centuries, but it does have one downside. “Six or seven different species of animals will eat my paintings,” he says.

Courtesy Kacie Rahm

When someone eats something that gives them food poisoning, they probably know it when it hits them. It usually comes with stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. The lingering effects can result in a short-term lack of appetite, and perhaps the desire to avoid eating the type of food that made them sick in the first place.

Typically, everything returns to normal after a while. But for Kacie Rahm, her bout with food poisoning had some long-term consequences. In fact, for the better part of a year when she was 11 and 12, she ate hardly anything at all.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on May 19, 2018.  

The rising cost of Seattle real estate isn’t just affecting housing: it’s also bearing down on houses of worship.

The tide of rising rents and gentrification has pushed a string of churches out of Seattle neighborhoods such as the Central District and West Seattle. And that’s had an interesting side effect in nearby Skyway, wedged between Seattle and Renton.

Courtesy of Patrick Haggerty

This story originally aired on March 31, 2018.   

In 1973, in the midst of the Stonewall era, a Seattle band called Lavender Country released an eponymous album. The album delivered radical politics with a country twang, and became known as the world's first openly gay country album.

In this interview, Patrick Haggerty tells Gabriel Spitzer  how the album lived, and died, and lived again. He also explains why the album might never have existed if it weren't for his father--a "hayseed" of a dairy farmer who gave his son permission to be exactly who he was.

How a Homeless Man Helped this Writer Overcome His Fear of the Woods

Dec 22, 2018
Bryant Carlin

Olympic National Park, with its temperate rainforests and stunning views, exerts a natural pull on many Pacific Northwesterners. But it repelled Seattle writer Rosette Royale. To Royale, the park seemed like a damp, mucky, inhospitable place. "I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to haul a 50-pound pack into the wilderness and camp there for days," he said. "It didn't make sense."

Then he met Bryant Carlin.

Courtesy of Christina Hayes

 

This story originally aired on January 20, 2018.   

Thanksgiving dinner at the house where Christina Hayes grew up, in the Tri Cities in Eastern Washington, has all the normal things.

Her parents, who met in bible college, are there, along with extended family. There’s turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie: By all appearances they are a completely typical American family holiday.

“We’re playing, we’re laughing, we’re joking, we’re prepping food. We are like the Hallmark family,” Hayes said.

Schuyler Bogue

 

This story originally aired on January 6, 2018.  

It wasn’t so long ago that, in order to buy groceries, most people would walk into a market, hand their list over to a man behind a counter, who would then go back into the store room and get everything for them. There were generally no prices listed -- it cost what it cost. You rarely got much say over what brand you got. That was the way it was, and it was hard to imagine it working any differently.

This story originally aired on January 6, 2018.  

Everybody loves a good mystery ... some of us more than others. So when Tom DesLongchamp discovered an unusual looking cassette tape in a bargain bin, and discovered a collection of unidentifiable disco songs on one side of it, his curiosity was aroused. That curiosity soon transformed into a fixation, or maybe even an obsession. 

Craig Gass does an uncanny Tracy Morgan. He can do Adam Sandler and Christopher Walken with the best of them, and there’s a good chance his breathless Mark Wahlberg would fool the actor’s own mother. Listen to them now above.

Courtesy Mary McIntyre

Mary McIntyre was rasied in Bellevue in a conservative Christian home, and attended a conservative Christian school. There was no shortage of rules and expectations. While Mary loved her family, something was always telling her when she was growing up that this wasn't exactly the life for her.

Matthias Roberts

 


Matthias Roberts came out to his parents at age 15, and at the time both he and they hoped this would be a temporary challenge. Matthias and his family were conservative, Evangelical Christians, and they believed that homosexuality was a sin to be overcome.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Matt Lynch is showing off a few of the more obscure titles in Scarecrow Video’s collection.

“We have European horror, Italian horror, Japanese horror, Chinese horror, Thai horror, Korean horror, Mexican horror, Turkish horror, Indonesian and Malaysian horror …”

Scarecrow, located in Seattle’s University District, has accumulated more than 130,000 titles over its three decades of existence -- that’s DVDs, Blu-Ray, laser discs and, yes, VHS tapes.

Steve Albertson

 

Meet the two teams:  

Seattle NABA is the local branch of the National Adult Baseball Association. When they’re not suited up, they’re tech workers and bartenders and consultants. At least one is a retiree.

The San Quentin A’s, in their green-and-gold uniforms, are all inmates at San Quentin prison in California. And it was on their turf that the two teams met for a recent four-game series.

By Thomas R. Conlon - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

So, just in case you haven’t spent a lot of time in the Seattle of the late 1800s, I can tell you it was a very different city.

Credit Melissa Bird

 

This story originally aired on October 21, 2017.

Andre Sanabria discovered at 21 he had a deadly disease, and the only cure was a double-lung transplant.

But that did not stop him from making music. In fact, he says music is what was keeping him alive.

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

 

 This story originally aired on October 21, 2017

It’s hard to imagine a time when karaoke did not exist in the Northwest. Today, any night of the week, you can go out with friends and find some place where you can belt out your favorite tunes in front of a crowd.

 

But, everything has a beginning. Things have to start somewhere, right? For American style karaoke in the Northwest, it was at Bush Garden in Seattle’s International District.

 

Gabriel Spitzer

 


Melba Ayco is the Artistic and Program Director for Northwest Tap Connection. The studio, located on Rainier Avenue in South Seattle, teaches children how to dance. Most of the students are African American. Along with learning how to shuffle and do a time step, Northwest Tap students get a lot of exposure to social justice issues, thanks in large part to Melba. 

Courtesy of Sam Blackman

 


Sam Blackman was about a year into his career as a pediatric oncologist, when he got a page on Friday afternoon. It was from a doctor at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital across the street.

 

In her early 20s, Ginny McClure got some bad news. It was the kind of news people tend to be embarrassed to share. Ginny resolved to not be ashamed — to shout it from the rooftops, even.

Still, there are certain subjects you don’t really want to talk about with certain people, like your parents. For Ginny, that subject was sex.

Will James / KNKX

 


The Merkle Hotel is a vestige — one of the last residential hotels in Western Washington geared toward housing low-income people. These hotels were once commonplace in this region, particularly in Seattle and Tacoma, but also in many other towns with sizable populations of transient and/or immigrant workers.

 

Courtesy Marie Wong

Residential hotels once filled a crucial niche for low-income workers and immigrants, a bridge between affordable housing and a shelter.

These Single Room Occupancy hotels, or SROs, used to dominate the streetscape in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Now they’re nearly extinct.

It’s a story that caught the attention of Marie Wong, an Associate Professor at Seattle University. It appealed to her background in urban planning, but also to her background as a Chinese American growing up in the Midwest.

courtesy of Krystal Marx

Krystal Marx is a City Councilmember in Burien, a suburb south of Seattle. Earlier this year, she posted to Facebook with an unusual confession.

"I'm an Elected Official," Marx wrote, "and I Go To the Food Bank. "

Bethany Denton / KNKX

 


“A volunteer-run, bicycle-based, 365-night-a-year street outreach program with basic emergency supplies and syringe exchange and naloxone distribution…. In Olympia, Washington.” That’s how volunteer Cassie Burke describes the Emma Goldman Youth and Homeless Outreach Project, or EGYHOP.

WIkipedia Commons

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

To say that Washington State University Cougars have school spirit is a wild understatement, and if you have any in your life, you know they don't hesitate to remind you.

Now, Cameron McCoy and many other members of Coug nation have reached a significant milestone in letting their flags fly. 

Actual flags. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

At first glance it may seem like the students at St. Francis of Assisi school in Burien are dressed pretty much alike: white collar shirts, red plaid skirts for the girls, navy blue pants or shorts for the boys.

But look closer, and you’ll see that many of them have brought a little something special to their outfits.

“I wear a gold watch,” says Gino Morella.

“I have white Adidas superstars that I’ve worn all year,” says Gabriel Hamilton.

“I tend to wear a leather jacket,” says Rachel Fry.

Creative Commons

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

Christopher Poulos is the head of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council, dedicated to helping those who have been through the criminal justice system.

It’s the kind of job that he is uniquely qualified for.

As a teenager, Poulos struggled with severe substance abuse, leading him into homelessness and then incarceration. He saw the problems of the justice system firsthand, especially how it disenfranchised the poor and people of color.

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