Sound Effect | KNKX

Sound Effect

Saturdays at 10 AM

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 John Michael Kohler Museum 2010

 

Some people report to work purely for the paycheck. For others, the job itself plays a big part in their identity. Gregory Blackstock is a man who knows both sides of this coin.

Blackstock is autistic and for decades, he eked out a living as a dishwasher at The Washington Athletic Club. It was a place that treated Gregory very well, but he found the work difficult to get through.

 

"I just wanted to get away from drudgery," said Gregory.

 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Sara Jamshidi grew up in Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. She remembers when her mother could wear sunglasses and mini-skirts on hot summer days, before the new fundamentalist government made laws about what women could and could not wear.

 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

Iain Heath had just caught a break. As an early employee of the data visualization at Tableau, he stood to make a bundle when the company went public in 2013.

And for the first time, Heath realized he could quit his day job to pursue his passions.

He says he asked his boss whether he was planning on leaving, too. His answer: No.

“[He said] ‘I don’t know what I would do with myself.’ I realized that a lot of people, their job defines who they are,” says Heath. “I had a list of things to do.”

TONY WEBSTER/FLICKR

This show originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

If your primary mode of transportation is riding the bus, it's likely you've seen some nice bus stops, some OK ones, probably a couple of bad ones. The website Streetsblog USA holds an annual contest where readers from around the country nominate terrible bus stops, and then vote on them. The bus stop with the most votes gets crowned The Sorriest Bus Stop In America. 

And congratulations, Seattle: The 2017 title is yours. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Todd Stabelfeldt drives a pretty dope ride.

Those are his words -- describing his super-high-tech, “murdered-out … completely black-on-black” vehicle.

It’s no ordinary ride: Stabelfeldt has quadriplegia, and his “whip” is a tricked-out wheelchair, an F5 Permobil equipped with a tongue-operated interface for navigating and controlling devices.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

If you think your daliy commute is bad, please meet Daniel Bone. He maneuvers a large cement truck to the many different construction sites in the Seattle area.

A few years ago, Bone's commute from an idyllic five-acre farm in Yelm, Washington, was daunting, but doable. 

"I'm 62 miles out from our home in Yelm, to where I work in Seattle. In the mornings I could drive it, an hour and ten minutes, comfortably. Coffee in hand. Well rested," Bone said.

Ben Amstutz / Flickr

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Elk meat, eagle feathers, bear gallbladder. These are just a few of the items sold by wildlife traffickers in the Pacific Northwest.

 

How bad is this black market? Washington state Fish & Wildlife detective Todd Vandivert wanted to find out.

He and partner Sergeant Jennifer Maurstad went undercover as small business owners, risking their lives to bring in some of the largest animal traffickers in the region.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Chief Marshal Elisa Sansalone says she finds calm in the chaos of the Municipal Court of Seattle.

That’s important for someone who leads a team tasked with transporting defendants to and from court about 15,000 times a year.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

When it comes to scientific arguments nowadays, there’s a good chance sooner or later someone will be compared to people who believe the earth is flat.

Most would consider that an insult, but not Mark Sargent. The Whidbey Island resident spends much of his time promoting the belief that the earth is not round or spherical but actually, definitely flat.

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

This show originally aired on November 18, 2017.

Credit Gabriel Spitzer

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

All Things Considered host Ed Ronco and Morning Edition producer Ariel Van Cleave came to learn their respective instruments after things didn't work out with their first choice.

Ed started with the trumpet, but the combination of the smaller mouthpiece and a mouth full of braced turned out to be a painful experience. So he moved to the baritone horn, which had a larger mouthpiece, and never looked back.

Will James / KNKX

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

If you go to the base of Point Defiance in Tacoma and look east, you'll see a finger of earth jutting into Puget Sound. 

It formed as toxic slag spilled from a copper smelter during the city's industrial heyday. 

For years, it was a foreboding sliver of black, glassy material. Today, workers and machines roam the peninsula as they transform it into a grassy park with Puget Sound views.

Meet a leader of the Flat Earth movement

Aug 25, 2018
Credit Gabriel Spitzer

 

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

When it comes to scientific arguments nowadays, there’s a good chance sooner or later someone will be compared to people who believe the earth is flat.

Most would consider that an insult, but not Mark Sargent. The Whidbey Island resident spends much of his time promoting the belief that the earth is not round or spherical but actually, definitely flat.

Joel Shupack

 

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

Anyone who has ever loved a dog, and who has been on the receiving end of a dog’s unconditional affection, would agree that the grief you experience when that animal dies is deep and painful.

 

In this story, which originally aired on the podcast SquareMile, producer Joel Shupack introduces us to his friend Lela who recently said goodby to her beloved Catahoula, Coltrane.

 

Greg Beckelhymer

In the Fall of 2016, Greg Beckelhymer died after a year-long struggle with metastatic kidney cancer. He was 47 years old.

In this story, his widow, Seattle-based writer Michelle Goodman and her sister, Naomi Goodman, talk about how acute grief is often accompanied by strong denial.

CREDIT MATT CALLOW/FLICKR

This show originally aired on October 28, 2017.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

Near the coast of Washington state, on the banks of the Copalis River, lies a ghost forest -- a stand of gray, dead trees in the middle of a healthy forest.

How did it get there?

Could the key lie in another mystery, a mysterious tsunami recorded by samurai in 18th-century Japan? 

Linking these seemingly unconnected phenomena became a goal for ambitious scientists using everything at their disposal, from computer models to chainsaws.

Greg Beckelhymer

 

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

In the Fall of 2016, Greg Beckelhymer died after a year-long struggle with metastatic kidney cancer. He was 47 years old.

 

In this story, his widow, Seattle-based writer Michelle Goodman and her sister, Naomi Goodman, talk about how acute grief is often accompanied by strong denial.

 

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

What if something was thought to be gone forever? Would you still go looking for it? There is a man named David Benscoter, who does just this.

Benscoter spends a lot if his time exploring an area of Eastern Washington known as the Palouse. He searches abandoned homesteads, looking for varieties of apples that are believed to be extinct.  

“These trees, they’re just going to go away someday. And if I don’t do it there’s no one who’s going to search for them,” says Benscoter.

Lydia Ramsey in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

To say that Seattle musician Lydia Ramsey was raised in a musical family would be kind of an understatement.

“Me and my brothers joke that, like, in order to sit down in our living room, you had to pick up an instrument because it was taking up the chair. And then you’d be like oh, well I’m holding this so I might as well play something on it,” said Ramsey.

Courtesy of Rachel Kessler

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

Seattle Writer Rachel Kessler started this discussion by reading a passage from an essay she wrote  that was recently anthologized in a book Ghosts of Seattle Past.

Ed Ronco / KNKX

Washington State is, of course, named after founding father George Washington. But there’s another George Washington, also a founding father, who settled in a little corner of the territory with his wife Mary Jane nearly 150 years ago. There he founded a town called Centerville, later changed to Centralia.

What makes Washington an unusual pioneer-type is that he was African-American, born in Virginia to a white woman and a black slave.

Ashley Gross

This show originally aired on October 7, 2017.

Courtesy Marin Landis

 

This story originally aired on October 7, 2017.

They say that age is nothing but a number. But for women looking to conceive, age is one of the primary factors to determines that chance at success.

That is why women hoping to have children later in life are looking at an increasingly popular method -- freezing their eggs.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

This story originally aired on October 7, 2017.

Dr. Kim Holland emerged from the locker room at a pool in West Seattle on a recent Friday morning, suited up and ready to go. But she scanned the pool with a bit of dismay – no empty lanes.  

“It’s kind of hard because I don’t like it when there’s more than one person in a lap lane because then you’ve got to pay attention,” she said. “The lanes are too narrow.”

Nevertheless, she pulled on her bathing cap and goggles, staked out a lane and climbed in.

Jackson Main

 

This story originally aired on October 7, 2017.

There is that saying that pops up in fortune cookies and is spoken often by parents of antsy kids: Good things come to those who wait.

 

Michael Jacobson of Seattle waited for something. In fact, he waited for nearly three decades to get ahold of two unusual boats that were being used as light fixtures at Ivar’s Salmon House on North Lake Union. When this eventually happened, a new door opened up in his world that he did not expect.

 

Courtesy Caprice Hollins

This story originally aired on October 7, 2017.

So, there’s this online test. The faces of people of different races flash up on your screen along with words, like good, bad, sweet and bitter. And you have to immediately click on one of the words when you see the face. It tests our implicit racial biases in a way that’s really hard to fool.

The results can be enlightening. Or horrifying, because it turns out almost all of us have implicit bias.

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia

This story originally aired on October 7, 2017.

Washington State is, of course, named after founding father George Washington. But there’s another George Washington, also a founding father, who settled in a little corner of the territory with his wife Mary Jane nearly 150 years ago. There he founded a town called Centerville, later changed to Centralia.

What makes Washington an unusual pioneer-type is that he was African-American, born in Virginia to a white woman and a black slave.

NIAID / Flickr

This story originally aired on September 30, 2017.

Seattle Attorney Bill Marler is often thought of as a bug. An agitator. An annoyance to the beef and poultry industries, and even the companies that grow leafy greens. He’s the guy you call if you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to E. coli, salmonella, listeria or any other bacteria that somehow works their way into mass food production and into your stomach.

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