Sound Effect | KNKX

Sound Effect

Saturdays at 10 AM and Mondays ay 7PM

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.

Got a story idea? Email us!

Courtesy of J.J. Harrison

This show originally aired on June 1, 2019.

This story originally aired on June 1, 2019.  

In 2018, Seattleite Chris Jeckel decided it was time to visit Tokyo. He had just ended a four-year relationship, and he was struggling to find his footing again. Tokyo seemed like the perfect place, he said, to "shake things up."

Jennifer Wing

 

This story originally aired on June 1, 2019.

Sheree Cooks is a 37-year-old working mom of three. She’s been a leader of parent teacher groups in Tacoma. She gives talks to school administrators about race and equity, and she co-founded the nonprofit Eastside Community Action Network.

 

Parker Blohm / KNKX

 

This story originally aired on June 1, 2019. 

Emotional intelligence and good self care are important for a lot of us, but they can be a little illusive as well. And if you’re a teenager, it can be even more of challenge to understand what and why you’re feeling something. That was the case for Christy Abram. Though, her work now is focused on helping her fellow women of color get through the harder parts of life by sharing their stories with others through the written word. 

James and Krystal Marx on patrol together during May Day 2016
Courtesy of James Marx

 

This story originally aired on June 1, 2019.  

Krystal Marx is a City Council member in Burien. Her husband James is an Iraq War veteran. They’ve both experienced hardships that never fully left them: in her case, it was poverty and homelessness as a kid; for him, it was combat-related PTSD.

Their relationship, and their healing, began on rival superhero teams.

This photo was taken at a rodeo in Hobbs, New Mexico, where rodeo clown J.J. Harrison fell down in front of a 2,000-pound, charging bull. "I remember thinking this could be the end," he said.
Courtesy of J.J. Harrison

This story originally aired on June 1, 2019. 

When J.J. Harrison fell down in front of a charging, 2,000-pound bull in Hobbs, New Mexico, everything seemed to slow down.  

"I just remember thinking this could be the end," he said.

It wasn't. And even though Harrison was pretty beat up that day, he was back at it almost immediately. "I got my check and I drove five hours to get to the airport," he said, "because I've got to keep going."

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.

Posey Gruener / KNKX

This story originally aired on May 25, 2020.

Rainbow Bingo players blot out the numbers as they're called.
Posey Gruener / KNKX

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019. 

For almost five years, Seattle drag queen Sylvia O'Stayformore has been hosting Rainbow Bingo at Ballard Northwest Senior Center. There are colorful decorations, themed prizes, and a bar for beer and wine. And, of course, O'Stayformore performs a number or two.

Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer and climate scientist Judy Twedt, outside the KNKX studios in Belltown.
Jennifer Wing / KNKX

 

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

When most of us see scientific data presented on graphs and spreadsheets, the meaning behind the numbers can get lost pretty fast — even when they are explained by an expert.

 

Jennifer Wing

 

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

Seattle writer Paulette Perhach likes to spend her food money at a typical boutique grocery store in Seattle. You know, the kind with hardwood floors, shelves that are curated with an ethical conscience — and really good cheese. Perhach is 36 years old. She’s a freelance writer who fully admits to liking fancier things she can’t afford. One of her favorite things to buy in this store is feelings.

 

Vietnam war and draft protest
Courtesy of Fred Lonidier

 

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

In the mid-1960s, there was a number that loomed large for many American men: 26. That was the cutoff age for the draft. If you were antiwar, or just didn’t fancy going off to combat, it could be a race to stall the process long enough to hit that birthday, before being hauled in front of the draft board.

Thomas Kyle-Milward (center) with his Milk and Scotch teammates at the Columbia County Fair in Oregon in 2014. He was "very insulted" when competitors talked trash about his overalls. But they weren't laughing after he beat them to the finish line.
Courtesy of Thomas Kyle-Milward

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.
 

Thomas Kyle-Milward wears a tie to work, but deep down he’s still a farm boy.

Kyle-Milward grew up on a small family farm outside Portland, Oregon. The farm had its own rhythm: morning and evening chores, planting, harvest. And every year — the Columbia County Fair.

Kyle-Milward is building a life in urban Tacoma now, but he still makes it out for the fair each summer. And, as he’ll proudly share, he brings along bragging rights as the 2014 wild cow milking champion.

Laura Michalek passing the previous winner in the 1979 Chicago Marathon.
Courtesy of Laura Michalek

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.
 

Laura Michalek is an auctioneer. She lives in Tacoma and does mostly fundraising work, and she’s been at it for a couple of decades.

But this story is about one of the first times Laura was in the spotlight, and it actually comes way before her auctioneer career.

This all starts in the year 1979. Laura’s in high school in Berwyn, Illinois — just outside Chicago. And she’s running on the cross-country team.

Raphael Satter / The Associated Press

This show originally aired on April 2, 2019.

Amir Afrasiabi works in computer vision and artificial intelligence.
Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX


This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

 

Amir Afrasiabi had glasses as a kid. No big deal. But he found he had to constantly get new and more powerful ones, and he still seemed to struggle to see.

Amir would later discover that he had a degenerative eye condition called keratoconus. It would eventually reroute the course of his career and his life.

Hunter Hoffman

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

Being treated for a severe burn is one of the most physically painful things a human can experience. Dead skin has to be scrubbed away. The skin has to be stretched so that as it heals, it doesn’t get tight. If this is not done, a patient can be maimed permanently. It’s during these treatments, or wound care sessions, that the pain is often the worst.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

 

 

By the time Stuart Olsen was 7 years old, he had endured more surgeries than most people experience in a lifetime. The focus of all of this medical attention and effort was on his legs.

 

“I must have had 11 or 12 surgeries to try and fix my legs,” Olsen said.

 

Doctoral student David Caldwell
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX


This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

 

The science of prosthetics has come a long way from the crude wood-and-metal devices of earlier generations. Bioengineers have even developed artificial limbs that can be operated by the user’s mind.

Now, a team at the University of Washington’s Center for Neurotechnology is working to take that one step further: engineering a device — say, a prosthetic arm — that can actually deliver the sensation of touch.

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

I’ve been on and off drugs for decades — the pharmaceutical kind, for my brain. When I was 13 or 14 years old, and before my doctors looked too closely, the diagnosis was garden-variety depression and generalized anxiety disorder, aka “you have a lot of panic attacks and we’re not entirely sure why.”

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

How does a research study get funded? The most common way is to apply for a grant from the government. But what if what you’re studying is so controversial that government funders won't touch it? That’s where people like Cody Swift come in.

Credit Hanna Brooks Olsen

This show originally aired on April 20, 2019.

When you revise history, it can go either way: You can nudge the story a little further away from the truth, or you can correct the mistakes in and omissions from the historical record. On today's show, we have a bit of both. 

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

 

This story originally aired on April 20, 2019.

 

What if history cast someone you admire as the villain?

If you’re Edward Nixon, longtime resident of Lynnwood, Washington, you spend your life telling the parts of the story that don’t wind up in the textbooks.

Sup Pop CEO Megan Jasper having fun in the 1990s.
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records

 

This story originally aired on April 20, 2019. 

 

Back in the early 1990s, all eyes were on Seattle. The local music scene was exploding. The young, flannel-wearing creatives of the Northwest had given birth to a new genre of music called grunge.

Michael Stravato / Associated Press

This story originally aired on April 20, 2019. 

Back in the early 1980s, many people in El Salvador wanted an escape from poverty. They were trying to get the government to adopt policies that would redistribute that country’s wealth.

To the United States, these policies looked like communism.

Grave No. 2695 gets a new headstone, with a name: Ruby Violet Knight.
Posey Gruener / KNKX

This story originally aired on April 20, 2019.

At most cemeteries, the graves tell a little story. The name of the person buried there, the day they were born, and the day they died.

But at a historic cemetery outside Western State Hospital, an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Lakewood, Washington, the graves only have numbers.  

Public Domain

 

 

This story originally aired on April 20, 2019. 

In spite of the cranes on the skyline, there are still a few visible markers of Seattle as it was — old houses, old alleyways, a pergola that’s been knocked down but always gets put back up. The people who live here or visit always seem to be reaching out to grasp it, that oldness. I felt like that too, when I moved to Seattle a decade ago. I wanted to know what it was like then. Whenever then was.

I began gobbling up materials, skulking through digital archives. But I found that there are not enough books or stories or grainy photos of Seattle to really scratch that itch. A person who wants to know how Seattle used to be will always be left wanting more. When I asked around about how I could get my hit of history, I heard the same advice, over and over: the Underground Tour.

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 new podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some of the stories that have stood out to us from the podcast so far.

TED S. WARREN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (FILE)

 

This show originally aired on March 23, 2019.

Alaskero Foundation/John Stamets / courtesy of Cindy Domingo

This story originally aired on March 23, 2019.

Author’s note: I used to cover business and labor for KNKX and had a tiny bit of knowledge about the brutal murders of two young Filipino-American labor activists in 1981. Then, in 2018 while covering another story, I met the brother of one of the men who had been killed. He mentioned how the family and friends of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes had always suspected that the murders had been ordered by none other than the former dictator of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos. I put a lot of time into producing this story to weave in archival news footage and the memories of two key people responsible for doggedly pursuing justice for the slain men. (This story originally aired March 23.)  

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