​KNKX Take the Mic | KNKX

​KNKX Take the Mic


Are you a teen with a story to tell?

KNKX's Take the Mic youth voices series is a way to turn the "microphone" over to teens and kids. All you need is a smart phone and a voice recording app. Below are some suggested questions to answer, but maybe you have something else you want to talk about – that’s great, too. And bonus points if you also interview a family member or a friend!

Here are some suggested questions... or tell us about something else:

  • You're probably doing online school. Tell us about it! Do you help siblings with their work? 
  • We've lived through a lot this year - how do you think you've changed?
  • What are your worries right now? What brings you peace?
  • Have you taken part in protests over racism and police brutality? What was that experience like? Are you taking more action to push for change?
  • Do you have family members who are frontline workers? Maybe interview them about how their jobs have changed and what their worries are.
  • Describe a recent happy moment in detail! We all need a bit of joy!

EASY VERSION: Take out your phone. Hit record on the voice memo app and speak! Pick one or more of the questions to answer and tell us about your life, your thoughts, your feelings, your experiences. Email that audio (we’re looking for at least a few minutes’ worth) to ehennessey@knkx.org. Include your full name, age, school, grade and a phone number so we can call you back to get permission to broadcast it.

MORE ADVANCED VERSION:  Record your thoughts, feelings, stories into your voice memo app, answering one or more of the questions above. And then interview a family member to get their perspective! Send all of that audio to ehennessey@knkx.org. Include your full name, age, school, grade and a phone number so we can call you back to get permission to mix the audio together in a radio story and broadcast it.

How to produce an audio diary

We look forward to hearing from you! 



Take the Mic: Looking ahead to the end of the pandemic

Apr 15, 2021


The pandemic has forced us to change a lot of things in our lives. Now, as more and more people get vaccinated, it doesn’t feel crazy to think about when life can return to normal.

Take the Mic: What's bringing you joy now?

Mar 16, 2021

The past year has been tough, and we've all had to find ways to try to stay happy and sane.

courtesy of Carol Venable

The pandemic has been an isolating experience for many of us. It’s even harder if you’re trying to start out in a new place and build a social circle.

That’s what 13-year-old Nascha Martinez faced when she moved here from Breckenridge, Colo., and began attending a brand-new school, West Sound Academy in Poulsbo, during a time of remote learning. She shared her story for KNKX’s Take the Mic youth voices project.

courtesy of WA-BLOC

Most students around the Puget Sound region have been learning remotely since last March. But in addition to needing access to the internet and a computer, they’ve also had to figure out how to make a learning space at home.

The South Seattle community group WA-BLOC has been trying to help meet students’ needs. The group has been handing out portable desks to students who are working from home with limited space and a lot of online classes.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Roll out of bed, turn on your laptop, wander to the kitchen to get food during class – online school during a pandemic is pretty different from regular school.

And while some districts are in the process of bringing the youngest kids back to classrooms, the majority of older students will continue learning from home for the time being.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

How do you build school spirit when students are learning from home?

That’s been on the mind of 16-year-old Isaac Velazquez, a junior at Franklin Pierce High School in the Midland area of unincorporated Pierce County.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

For 14-year-old Sebastian Bush, time at home during the pandemic has had a certain smell: the scent of traditional Colombian cornmeal cakes known as arepas frying, and beef, rice and potato-filled, crescent-shaped pastries known as empanadas sizzling in oil.

It’s also had a certain sound: the sound of chatting with his grandmother, Elsa Forero, as they prepare the food of her childhood in Bogotá.

Alicia Ing graduated from Renton High School as part of the class of 2020 and is studying at the University of Washington. She's getting ready to vote in her first presidential election.
Adrian Florez / KNKX

“I went into high school the same year that Donald Trump was elected president, so it kind of bookended my high school experience.”

Alicia Ing graduated from Renton High School as part of the class of 2020 and is studying at the University of Washington. Now, four years after that election, Alicia is 18 years old and getting ready to vote in her first presidential election.

Barrett and Audrey Stowe with their parents, Courtney and James. Barrett interviewed Audrey and two friends about what advice they'd give themselves if they could travel back in time to before the pandemic.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Imagine you could step into a time machine and travel back to a year ago. What would you tell yourself now that you’ve experienced life in a pandemic? 

Seventeen-year-old Barrett Stowe, who attends Tacoma School of the Arts, asked two friends and his sister that question. It turns out the upheaval of the past six months has led to some realizations about what’s important to them in life.

Barrett produced his own radio story, with guidance from KNKX staff, as part of our Take the Mic youth voices project.

Caliya Bullock

As families adjust to distance learning, what’s the experience like for a parent? A teenager? A third grader?

Caliya Bullock, 16, decided to find out. She’s a junior at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines. As part of our Take the Mic youth voices project, Caliya reported and produced her own radio story. She interviewed her cousins, Kaiden, Kyle Jr., Nevaeh and Makiyah. Kaiden and Kyle attend Covington Elementary School and Nevaeh and Makiyah attend Kentwood High School.

Ukweli Bayard, an 18-year-old from Tacoma, interviewed his friends about how they're feeling heading to college when most of their classes will be online. His story is part of our Take the Mic youth voices project.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Canceled proms. Virtual graduations. Eighteen-year-olds have been through a lot this year.

Now many are starting what’s likely to be a pretty bizarre year of college.

courtesy of Alayshia Baggett

When Alayshia Baggett, an 18-year-old from Tacoma, saw the video of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, she said she felt a lot of anxiety.

“I was going back and forth through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, just refreshing, refreshing,” she said. “Because things were just popping off.”

courtesy of Lian Koeppel

The virus that has swept our country crushed the dreams of a lot of high school seniors.

Lian Koeppel, an 18-year-old from Richland, had been picturing since middle school the beautiful long red gown she’d wear to her senior prom. And she pushed herself through high school with her heart set on being valedictorian, standing up on stage to give her speech to all her classmates, family members and teachers.

Sumeya Block, left, and Anabel Lee, right, are friends who teamed up to create a podcast about life in Seattle during the pandemic.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Life has shifted in dramatic ways this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two teens in Seattle — aware that they’re experiencing history in the making — decided to document those changes and produced a podcast about COVID-19 life from the high school point of view.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

So many deaths of Black people at the hands of police in the U.S.

Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor — heartbreakingly, that's just a subset of names.

But now, the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, captured on video as he said repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe while a kneeling police officer pinned him to the ground, has sparked a new level of outrage that’s propelled people across the country to take to the streets.

For Black teens in Washington state, George Floyd’s death in police custody was sadly familiar.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

February was a high point for Olawumi Olaniyan. The 12-year-old seventh grader from Heatherwood Middle School in Mill Creek had traveled with her recreational cheerleading team, the Bruins Elite, to Anaheim, California, for nationals. The girls accomplished what they’d always dreamed of — winning first place.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic, bringing an abrupt close to her cheerleading’s parade season, just as it truncated seasons for so many other young athletes. But Olawumi has found a way to redirect her cheerleading energy.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

“My happiest quarantine memory is beating the crap out of a piñata.”

That vivid opening line comes from Barrett Stowe, a 16-year-old sophomore at Tacoma School of the Arts. He contributed a story about his moment of joy amid the pandemic for KNKX’s Take the Mic youth voices project.

courtesy of Karla Perrin

We've all had to give up parts of our lives as we stay home to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professional sports leagues, including the NBA and NHL, have suspended their seasons. And young athletes have had to put their dreams on hold, as well. That’s true for Whittaker Perrin, who is 13 years old and a seventh-grader at Heatherwood Middle School in Mill Creek.

courtesy of Aulona Hoxha

The coronavirus pandemic has turned all of our lives upside-down. But what is it like to live through this crisis as a kid or a teen?