Sound Effect | KNKX

Sound Effect

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Sound Effect is stories inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme.

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Courtesy of Cheri Spitzer

Today on the show, we say goodbye to our host Gabriel Spitzer. This is the last show Gabriel will host, as he transitions to a new job in public health. He celebrates some of his favorite stories from past shows in this episode.

Almin Zrno

 

This story originally aired Oct. 13, 2018.  

In the early 1990s, Gino Jevdjevic was living the typical life of a Yugoslavian popstar.

He signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans. He wore his hair in a ponytail and crooned schmaltzy melodies.

These days, Gino has a shaved head, a multitude of tattoos and a long, grey-streaked beard. He lives in Seattle, and his music is closer to metal or “Gypsy Punk” than it is to pop.

Stephen Brashear / AP

This story originally aired April 2, 2016.  

Last December, St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams punter Johnny Hekker, an Edmonds resident who grew up in Bothell,  did not make many new friends in the Pacific Northwest. He punted the ball to the Seahawks, and after the play was over, he came up behind Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril and drilled him to the ground.

Credit Gabriel Spitzer

This story originally aired on December 9, 2017.   

Lois Langrebe has taught Lushootseed for over two decades, a dying language of the Tulalip tribes that she’s struggling to keep from going extinct.

It’s an important role that she never expected to fill while growing up.

A child of adoption, Lois was raised by a white family, knowing little about her origins or the culture of Native Americans. For years she struggled with her identity and finding a place that truly felt like home.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on April 28, 2018.  

If you close your eyes and picture Sasquatch, there’s a good chance you’ll conjure up a very specific image: a big, hairy humanoid, mid-stride, arms swinging, head turned to glance back over its right shoulder.

In that iconic picture, the thing Bigfoot was turning back to look at was Bob Gimlin.

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

This show originally aired on November 9, 2019. 

Courtesy of Grace Sullivan

 

This story originally aired on November 9, 2019.  

If you went back in time and told 14-year-old Grace Sullivan that she’d grow up to study biology, she probably wouldn’t know what you were talking about. 

 

That’s because 14-year-old Grace didn’t know about cells, or atoms, or what a negative number was. Instead, her schooling covered what her parents considered relevant: quilting, knitting, grinding wheat, canning — and most of all, bible study. 

 

Courtesy Seattle Band Map

This story originally aired on November 9, 2019.  

Rachel Ratner is in a band called Wimps. She’s also a software engineer and a brand new mother — and the creator of the Seattle Band Map

Susan Lieu performing "140 LBS: How Beauty Killed My Mother."  Her mother, Jennifer Ha, is on the screen behind her.
Joe Iano

 

This story originally aired on Nov. 9, 2019.  

Growing up in Santa Rosa, California, Susan Lieu’s mother, Jennifer Ha, was the glue that held her Vietnamese family together. 

 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story originally aired on November 9, 2019.  

Back in 1988, the Seattle school district had a problem on its hands. Black third graders were underperforming their white classmates in reading by 29 percentage points. It was a glaring disparity, and it was getting attention. 

That’s the year that Keisha Scarlett started at Garfield High School in Seattle. Today Keisha is still at Seattle Public Schools, and so is the disparity — in fact, the gap has gotten even bigger. 

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

This show originally aired on October 26, 2019.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX Public Radio

 

This story originally aired on October 26, 2019.   

The internet didn’t ruin Louis Collins's job, but it sure sucked the fun out of it. 

 

People no longer needed his help when it came to finding books — they could just look it up on their own computer. For a used book dealer like Collins, this was bad news, and he didn’t take it lightly.

 

Courtesy of Sam Blackman

This story originally aired on October 26, 2019.

When Sam Blackman first met his adopted baby daughter in 2007, the pediatrician and first-time father says he did the one thing he knew instinctively how to do: examine her from head to toe. 

 

“I put my ear up to her chest and listened to her heartbeat, listening for murmurs,” he says. “But in the end all I could find was a beautiful healthy child. Our child.”

 

Autumn Adams

 

This story originally aired on October 26, 2019.  

A good way to picture Autumn Adams is in her crimson cap and gown. This was last spring, as she graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg. 

 

 

By her side were two people: her 14-year-old brother John and her 10-year-old sister Kaya. Nothing unusual about family showing up for a big milestone like this.

 

But, Adams’ family is a little different from the other young grads there that day with their moms and uncles and grandmas. Autumn’s younger siblings have been there with her, on campus, for most of her college education.

 

courtesy of Suzan Mazor

This story originally aired on October 26, 2019.

Suzan Mazor was fully in mid-life when her mother made a surprising revelation. "You were conceived by sperm donation," she remembers her mother saying, "and I believe that the OB who delivered you was also the sperm donor."

While some people who learn this news are devastated, Suzan's response was, she says, characteristic for her. "I'm just a very open minded person, and I thought it was cool."

This show originally aired on October 19, 2019.

Walla Walla Community college students Eric McAlvey, front, and Kevin Bayna, rear, show their support for the scheduled hanging of child-killer Westley Allan Dodd, Jan 4, 1993.
Mason Marsh / The Associated Press

This story originally aired on October 19, 2019.

In the fall of 1989, in Vancouver, Washington, a short, 29-year-old man named Westley Allan Dodd raped and murdered three young boys. The boys were brothers Cole and William Neer, ages 10 and 11, and 4-year-old Lee Iseli.

A few weeks later, police arrested Westley at a movie theater after he tried and failed to abduct another boy. He quickly confessed to the three murders. The prosecution sought the death penalty, and Dodd pled guilty.

Alison Krupnick on an early trip to Ho Chi Minh City, circa 1989.
Courtesy of Alison Krupnick

 

This story originally aired on October 19, 2019. 

 

The Vietnam War officially ended in 1973, but people continued to flee the country well into the 1980s. Hundreds of thousands of people escaped the country on boats. Thousands died at sea. It was an international humanitarian crisis. The men, women and children fleeing were called boat people.

 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

This story originally aired on October 19, 2019.

Grace Jo was 6 years old when her mom scooped up her and her older sister, and set out to cross the Tumen River into China. 

 

“We walked three nights and four days,” Jo said, recalling the trek along rocky mountain trails. “A lot of tree branches were hurting our skin. A lot of wild animal sounds we could hear at night, and we had to hide from people.”

 

At the river’s edge, the water level went up to her mother’s hips. 

 

“My mom managed, and all three of us able to cross river and come to China.” 

 

But escaping North Korea and finding freedom are two different things. Five years later, Jo and her family were captured, and deported back to North Korea. 

 

  The fact that she’s alive, not imprisoned or executed, is kind of miraculous. She — and hundreds of other North Korean refugees — owe their lives to a Seattle-area man named John Yoon. 

 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This show originally aired on September 21, 2019. 

Collections come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever it is, a collection can take on a life of its own. And it says something about the person behind it. That’s our latest theme — The Collector: why we’re drawn to collect stuff, and what we’re willing to do in pursuit of it.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. And the Sound Effect team has been doing our best to cover it in a podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some more stories that have stood out to us from the series.

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS/LOOZRBOY

This show originally aired on March 30, 2019.

Rabbi turns 500-year-old love songs into rap

Jun 20, 2020
Sam Leeds

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019

Ladino is the language of Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition.

Now, 500 years later, it’s spoken in more than 30 countries – a language of the Diaspora. But, Ladino is mostly spoken by elders in the Sephardic community and it’s in danger of going extinct.  

One man is determined to save Ladino. His name is Rabbi Simon Benzaquen.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.

Xolie Morra Cogley is a musician in Seattle, and leader of the band Xolie Morra and the Strange Kind.

“I’ve always been into music since I was very little," Cogley says. "And so music, I think, really helped to move me in a more social direction, because I didn’t really do a lot of talking when I was little. But I developed a communication skill using music that helped me fit into certain groups. So I didn’t have to have conversations. I was just playing music.”

Courtesy of Ilan Speizer

 

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.

The American Blues is a genre born of suffering — of oppression, heartbreak and hard work. It originated in African-American communities of the Deep South, but it all sounds very familiar to Jewish Seattleite Ilan Speizer.

Tulalip Lushootseed Department

 

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.

 

About a decade ago, Juliet Shen took on dream project. Shen, a typeface designer and artist, was commissioned by the Tulalip Tribes to create a new font specifically for Lushootseed, the now endangered language used by most of the coast Salish tribes. Shen isn’t Native American, but she often thought about the disconnect between Western typeface design and indigenous cultures.

Southern resident orca whales, seen frolicking in 2008 less than 200 yards from shore near the light house at Lime Kiln Point State Park.   The one breaching is Canuck L-7, in the foreground is Faith L-57. Neither is still living.
Jeanne Hyde

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.

Author’s note: Sometimes the best stories are not planned out or deeply researched in advance, but rather the product of simply listening and letting a narrative take you where it wants to go. This one came about because I had always wanted to learn more about how orcas communicate: the extent to which we know they have some sort of language. I asked around and learned the person to contact is Jeanne Hyde, a wonderful character who has devoted more than a decade of her life to constantly listening to killer whales. Jeanne’s passion for telling the stories of these orcas is infectious. And her collection of sounds provides unique perspective, especially on the tragic grief ritual of mother orca Tahlequah, who caught the world’s attention in 2018. You’ve gotta listen! (This story originally aired March 29.)

Adrian Florez / KNKX

We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. And the Sound Effect team has been doing our best to cover it in a podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some more stories that have stood out to us from the series.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This show originally aired on June 29, 2019.

For this special edition of Sound Effect, the theme is “Small Miracles,” tales from our live storytelling event. Host Gabriel Spitzer recounts his brush with death after years of humiliation in swim class. Ty Reed recalls how a random encounter saved his life after he fell into homelessness and addiction. Cindy Healy is moved to tears seeing a special spacecraft in a Matt Damon movie. Queen Mae Butters remembers a powerful friendship formed at the end of her hospice patient’s life. And Paul Currington learns to breathe through the smoke of his past.

Cindy Healy (right) stands with friend and fellow engineer Becky Manning Mitties in the NASA clean room.
Courtesy of Cindy Healy

This story originally aired on June 29, 2019.

It may have not completely hit Cindy Healy, a former NASA engineer, until she was sitting in the theater watching the Matt Damon movie, "The Martian." 

"And I'm trying hard to suppress an audible sob because I know I am the only one crying at this part of the movie," she said. "And I'm just wiping away tears and my son looks at me like I'm crazy. And I lean over to him and I whisper 'that's my spacecraft.'"

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