Sound Effect | KNKX

Sound Effect

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

Author’s note: “It was really moving to hear how Porter Ray overcame adversity on multiple occasions and was able to heal through his music. And to see in person the joy his son brings him was truly inspiring.” (This story originally aired on March 7, 2020.)

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

 

Author’s note: Valentine’s Day, first-graders, typewriters and an enchanting teacher, Kelye Kneeland, deftly orchestrating it all. This is one of my favorite stories from 2020. I remember driving to Bellevue that day in February to gather the interviews, listening in the car to news headlines about COVID-19. At that point, there were 15 confirmed cases in the United States. We knew the dark clouds were gathering on the horizon but had no idea of what was to come. In normal times, this typewriter story is a charming piece about how one teacher uses old technology to engage students. But listening to this story well into a global pandemic is an incredibly vivid reminder of all of the magic and connection that happens when students and teachers are in the same room, and of all that is lost when school is carried out in little boxes on computer screens. I am hopeful that in the not-too-distant future, small fingers will once again be straining to press down on the typewriter keys in Kneeland’s classroom and that appreciation for teachers like Kneeland will be openly expressed. (This story originally aired March 7, 2020.)  

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Saying goodbye is hard. But sometimes, it’s an opportunity to celebrate. Today, we celebrate nearly six years and 214 episodes of Sound Effect with one final episode.

For our finale, we’ll spend two hours looking back at some of the most memorable stories from the show, which has showcased hundreds of stories that the people from our region have shared with us — and with you.  

We’ll meet a gay man defiantly carving out space for himself in the country music world, when — to his shock — a record label called.

We’ll hear how an unlikely friendship drew a Seattle man to leap out of his comfort zone.

And we’ll hear the tale of a family cat who wanted nothing to do with her family, and many other stories today.

There will be some laughs and some tears. But most importantly, this episode will be a celebration of this place we live — and all the hard work that went into sharing what makes the Pacific Northwest unique.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

If you've ever lost a pet and were lucky enough to find it, you know the sharp pain of expecting the worst and then the huge wave of relief when you are reunited with animal. I experienced this roller coaster so many times I lost count.

These searches and reunions involved the same animal; a cat named Snowdrift.  This clever little cat was technically lost, a lot, and I’m not so certain he ever really wanted to be found, by me.

Wikimedia Commons

 

This story originally aired on February 13, 2016.

In mid-December of 2006, a vicious wind storm hit Western Washington. Gale-force winds knocked out power, knocked down trees and knocked Charlene Strong onto a different life path.

When Strong arrived home she found her wife, Kate, trapped inside the basement of their home.  Water was rushing in, and as each moment passed, it seemed less and less likely that Kate would survive. 

Robb D. Cohen / Invision/AP

This story originally aired on November 5, 2016.

So when we get emotional about something, we often have to weigh the risks and rewards of acting on those emotions. If someone upsets us, we need to decide if there is enough of a reward in confronting that person, while potentially facing the risks of upsetting that person as well.

I found myself in one of those situations at small-town bar in the middle of Washington, upset at a very, very famous young man, and wrote this essay.

The music of Prince brings two people together in an unlikely way

Oct 31, 2020
Courtesy Leah Tousignant

This story originally aired on September 2, 2017.

Robbie Luna is a man of many hats, a Seattle area carpenter by day, and by night he fronts two bands, one of which is a Prince cover band called "Purple Mane." With Prince's 2016 death the band suddenly found 

How a homeless man helped this writer overcome his fear of the woods

Oct 31, 2020
Bryant Carlin

This story originally aired Dec. 22, 2018.  

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 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.

This story originally aired on June 22, 2019.

I was born into the Love Family, a culty commune that existed in Seattle in the 1970s and '80s. The family had a leader, a patriarch named Love, and 300 to 400 brothers and sisters. Their first names represented the virtues that Love saw in them — Purity, Solidity, Imagination, Devotion — and their last names were all Israel.

I call it a culty commune because "commune" explains why people joined it, and everything positive they left with. "Cult" explains all the things that went wrong, and why it eventually ended.

Sound Effect producer Jennifer Wing conducts an interview atop the Space Needle in Seattle.
KNKX

Nearly six years ago, before the show that eventually became Sound Effect first aired, the team cycled through a lot of rejected names: Northwest Corner, Public Market, Face for Radio, to name a few.

Now, 214 episodes later, the household name that has brought you hundreds of stories from people and places across the Pacific Northwest signs off for good.

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

Monica Martinez

 

This story originally aired on November 16, 2019.  

 

The sheer physicality of aging and dying are things we try not to think about, so it’s especially striking when these subjects turn up in unexpected places — say, your indie rock playlist. 

This story originally aired on November 22, 2019. 

At first glance, “hidden” is not the word you’d use for Chance McKinney’s talents. As an athlete in high school and college, he got plenty of recognition. 

“I got a track scholarship to throw (javelin), and went to a Pac-12 school...I mean I kept qualifying for the Olympic trials,” said McKinney.

But this very capable guy has a whole other set of gifts that weren’t so obvious. They emerged years later, when he was teaching high school math in Mukilteo. 

This story originally aired on January 17, 2o20.

Former Mariners infielder Lenny Randle is best remembered in Seattle for a single play. On May 27, 1981, he got on his hands and knees and blew a slow rolling ground ball out of bounds. 

It was one of the few notable things that happened to the Mariners in their early years. That year was a mediocre season, in a series of other mediocre seasons by a mediocre baseball team, but Randle was involved in another notable off-field incident in 1981 — the recording of a funk song about the Kingdome. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This show originally aired on February 14, 2020.

Ron Peltier and Betsey Wittick at Bainbridge Vinyards.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story originally aired on February 14, 2020.

It started over a few glasses of wine, with friends passing around a smartphone and sharing views of a sketch by late-night comedian Bill Maher.

David Ryder

This story originally aired on February 14, 2020.

Seattle author Paula Becker has a specific audience in mind for her latest book, "A House on Stilts, Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction."

“I really want people who have kids of about 11 and 12 to read this book, because I think that the trick is and the challenge is to try not to let the kid tumble over into addiction," Becker said. "So, when they're experimenting is the time to try every possible way to get them back.”

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on February 14, 2020.

Ivanonva Smith spent the first chunk of her life in an institutional orphanage in Soviet-controlled Latvia. She doesn’t remember having any friends or toys, or anything to do. 

“I would just stare at a light and watch the little floaters, those little floaters you get in your eyes, and that was my entertainment,” she said. 

Bonnie and Gerry Gibson named their nonprofit after their son, Greg "Gibby" Gibson.
Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on February 14, 2020.

Bonnie Gibson says her son Greg’s musical talent emerged very early on. 

“I could just see from a young age that he had unusual rhythm. Which, now, I go, did I really want those drums in my basement?” she said. “But it was cute and fun to see a little kid kind of find himself.”

Greg did find himself in music. By high school, he was already involved in the business side, booking bands.  

Gina Corpuz on the land in Bainbridge Island that's been in her family for two generations.
Posey Gruener / KNKX

This story originally aired on February 14, 2020.

Gina Corpuz stands off New Brooklyn road on Bainbridge Island, on land that has been in her family for two generations. She looks in every direction, and sees the history of the Indipino community.

“The Romeros, who lived down the road, there were 12 children,” Gina says. “And then up the hill is where the Rapada children grew up, and there were 13 children in their family.”

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

This show originally aired on February 8, 2020.

This story originally aried on February 8, 2020. 

Leila Marie Ali

 

This story originally aried on February 8, 2020. 

Leila Marie Ali was always the thriftiest one in her family. 

Her dad is generous to a fault, always quick to dispense bills to a person on the street or send a chunk of his taxi driver earnings to relatives back in Somalia and Yemen. 

“I remember thinking, this man is taking care of what felt to me like an entire village in two countries, and not taking care of us as well as he could be,” Leila says.  

Posey Gruener / KNKX

This story originally aried on February 8, 2020. 

In December 1931, the only bank in Tenino, Washington, failed. It ran out of money and closed its doors. Suddenly, the residents of the small logging town had a big problem on their hands. They had no currency, no means to do business.

This story originally aried on February 8, 2020. 

Four guys walk into a bar, and what happens next is definitely not a joke.

It started when my partner David and I went out with another couple. We saw a show and, afterward, went for a nightcap at a nearby establishment. We're not naming it here because it's not important where this happened, just that it happened.

This story originally aried on February 8, 2020. 

Silvana Clark is an author and a corporate trainer, but back in 1977, she had a different idea of how she was going to make money.

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

This show originally aired on January 25, 2020. 

Matthew "Griff" Griffin on a recent trip to Afghanistan. Some proceeds from the sale of flip-flops and other goods made by the company support schools in the country.
Courtesy of Matthew "Griff" Griffin

This story originally aired on January 25, 2020.

Matthew "Griff" Griffin did four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as an elite fighter with the Army Rangers. While there, he observed a kind of vicious cycle. Extreme poverty creates a breeding ground for extremism. War happens. War provides a kind of economic stimulus. War ends; the economic stimulus does, too. Things fall apart.

This story originally aired on January 25, 2020.  

Back in the late 80s Melissa Reaves was all smiles. She was getting ready to move from Michigan to San Diego, where she could enjoy the sunshine and palm trees, and she had what she thought was a really wonderful boyfriend named Bill. But when it was time to move, Bill was a no-show. 

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