Sound Effect Podcast | KNKX

Sound Effect Podcast

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We start with a deeper look at Frog and Toad, and why Frog wanted to be alone. Next, a bus driver thaws the “Seattle Freeze” for a passenger. Then, a woman battles a voice that encourages her to do destructive things.


This show originally aired on January 19, 2019.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is “The Past Is Still With Us.” First, we hear about how a man who died in Missouri in 1855 crossed the Oregon Trail in a whiskey barrel to be buried in Southwest Washington. Then, we hear how a Seattle rapper uses music to process his pain of the past. We travel to a Concrete to learn what happens when Hollywood takes over your small hometown. We meet a Bellevue teacher who uses typewriters to make art — and unlock students’ inner authors. Finally, we learn about an implicit bias test, and what it can teach us about how our environment shapes our attitudes.


This show originally aired on December 8, 2018.

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 8, 2018.  

Lauren Davis and Ricky Garcia met when they were teenagers working together at a preschool in Issaquah. They formed a strong and close bond, as young people often do. That bond was destined to change the course of their lives. It also changed the possibilities for other Washington state residents who are struggling with addiction.

Tents sit under a bridge in an unsanctioned homeless camp in Olympia.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Homelessness on the West Coast is rising to crisis levels at a time of historic economic growth and prosperity. In fact, Washington, Oregon and California are home to two-thirds of the nation’s unsheltered population.

KNKX Public Radio and The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless spent one year in a city that’s grappling with homelessness — Washington’s capital city, Olympia.  

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is “Family Matters.” First, we meet one Indipino woman and learn how she connected to her roots on Bainbridge Island. Then, we meet a mother and author who is sharing her son’s story of addiction as a cautionary tale for other parents. We meet a woman who might have been forbidden from having children a century ago — and we meet her daughter. Grieving parents turn a tragedy into something constructive. And we meet the father — so to speak — of “I Didn’t Reproduce Day.”

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Our latest episode of Sound Effect revolves around the theme, "It's Only Money." We'll meet a couple who tried to get rich flipping houses, decades before it was cool. We'll find out how a teenage blunder left Mike Lewis with a debt he could never repay, and how he reapid it anyway. A small town prints its own money, on pieces of wood. A Seattle writer considers a complicated inheritance: what she learned about money from her parents. And a group of friends order a round of drinks ... and fiasco ensues. 


We take a peek inside a fourth generation noodle factory to see how the noodles — and fortune cookies — are made. Then, a visit with one of the original television chefs. Also, an artist finds out that his artwork is edible, at least to ants.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Our latest Sound Effect theme is “Friend or Foe.” First, we hear how artists took over a business group and changed Camano Island. Then, we meet an ex-Army Ranger whose flip-flop business is an olive branch for peace. We dive into the epic life of Sidney Rittenberg, a "towering historical figure" who settled near Tacoma. We learn about the ups and downs of having someone else’s DNA. And one woman shares how a bad fortune telling session led to a new outlook on life — and some payback. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

For the latest Sound Effect, our theme is “New Year, New Me” — stories of reinvention, no matter what the calendar says. First, we meet a self-proclaimed former “couch potato” whose four-month solo hike changed how he sees the world. Then, we learn about the funk song former Mariners player Lenny Randle wrote about the Kingdome. We learn about an effort to eliminate legal debt for formerly incarcerated people. We meet a basketball player who made the unexpected leap to man of God. And finally, two unlikely roommates overcome setbacks to form a genuine friendship

Adrian Florez / KNKX

In celebration of our 200th episode, this week’s Sound Effect theme is “Suite 200,” where all of the stories connect to a place with Suite 200 in their address. First, two sisters follow up their brush with scientific fame by tackling homelessness in Seattle. Then, we meet a mom who helped raise money for childhood cancer research with help from some special athletes. We learn about a population boom in Bremerton that puts 21st century Seattle to shame. Finally, we meet one of Tacoma’s biggest advocates who has taken up residence in a city that’s, well, not Tacoma. 

This show originally aired on October 27, 2018. 

Gabriel Spitzer

This story originally aired on October 27, 2018.   

When Caroline Garry first noticed she had a problem with perfection, she was in her bedroom closet scrubbing down a pair of white leather Nikes. Caroline was in seventh grade, and like a lot of kids she had gotten attached to a new pair of school shoes. But unlike a lot of kids, Caroline would come home from school every single day and clean them. In hiding. Whether they were dirty or not.

"I just felt this compulsion. I needed to."

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is “Cheating Death” — stories of defying the odds and living to tell the tale. First, we meet a 1920s daredevil who survived 104 vertical feet of certain death. A diver recounts her underwater brush with death. A a 92-year-old author recalls how an unlikely ally saved her from Nazi occupation. We meet a UW researcher studying how to help your dog live longer. And a local storyteller talks about his unexpected connection with a woman who was awaiting a heart transplant. 

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

This week, stories of the unusual things we can’t get enough of. We meet a scientist who is also widely recognized as an artist who paints cats. A musician from Yugoslavia talks about making art during war time. A man makes a one person stand against those who think vaccinations are bad.

One of the Fort Casey disappearing guns overlooking the gateway to Puget Sound.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, the theme is “Playing Defense” — stories of protecting our turf. First, we travel to Whidbey Island to learn about massive forts that were built in the 1890s to protect Puget Sound from invading ships. Then, we hear the story of a gifted Thurston County boxer with a magnetic personality — and a weakness. We learn what it takes for students of color to thrive at a mostly white university. An evolutionary biology researcher helps us understand that, sometimes, viruses are on our side. And we look back at one of the greatest middleweight boxers of a generation. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, it is our yearly Thanksgiving week tradition of sharing our favorite music stories from the past year. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

The theme for this week’s Sound Effect is “Hidden Talents.” First, we hear how a summer job at a theme park launched one woman’s career at NASA and Microsoft. Then, a young man leaves his Mormon faith for a new religion: stand-up comedy. A country star shares how being bullied motivated him to excel on stage and in sports. We meet a man who fled El Salvador’s civil war — and may have changed the course of the country. Finally, how one performance of “I’m a Little Teapot” changed the summer, and maybe even the lives, of a bunch of Boy Scouts.   

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, “Getting There” — stories of what happens along the way. First, we hear a serendipitous story about a veteran and a training map of a small Washington town. Then, we learn about a legendary punk rock riot on a ferry in 1987. We meet a doctor facing death who wants to teach other doctors how to deliver bad news. A young person happens upon an obscure printing press in Olympia, and develops an unexpected friendship with the woman who runs it. Finally, we hear an indie-rock essay about aging. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

First, we learn about a map that shows the vast web of connections among Seattle bands. Then, we meet the chief of equity for Seattle Public Schools, whose  work is informed by her own past experience as a black student in the district. We meet a performance artist who explores how expectations of beauty killed her mother. We travel to a ridgetop observatory where young adults are working out who they’re going to be. And we learn how a Tacoma woman went from “cult” to college


This show originally aired on September 22, 2018.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is “You Can’t Choose Your Family...Can You?” We’re bringing you stories of family ties that go beyond blood, but still help define who we are and where we come from. First, a middle-aged woman learns she was conceived using an unexpected sperm donor. A bookseller searches for someone to take over his business and learns something surprising about himself. A resilient young woman balances college and guardianship of her younger siblings. Finally, a local doctor shares his journey of adopting a daughter from Kazakhstan.

The theme of this week’s Sound Effect is “Gatekeepers” — stories about people with power over who comes and goes. First, we hear what it’s like for a prison guard to be locked in with the inmates. Next, a story of escape and betrayal in one of the world’s most repressive countries. Then, the chilling words of a man ready to confront his fate — and his complicated journey to execution. Finally, we hear from a woman who once was tasked with helping determine who was approved to resettle from Vietnam to the U.S.

The theme for this week’s episode of Sound Effect is “Found in Translation” — stories of making ourselves understood, for better or for worse. First, we meet a Kenyan woman who was pleased to meet a white woman familiar with her home country and tribe — until she learned why. Then, we visit a landmark that’s become a flashpoint between a mostly white city government and a changing community. Host Gabriel Spitzer takes us back to a remote village in Alaska where he experienced an unlikely racial clash. A White Center teenager learns how to communicate with his immigrant parents. A scientist looks to an octopus to understand how aliens might think. And we explore what a transplant from South Africa learns about her home after protesting in Seattle.  


This week, stories of speaking out, even when it would have been easier to keep quiet. First, a climate scientist talks about her experience speaking out about sexual harassment and assault in field. Next, a doctor shares what he learned about interacting with the assertive parents of patients.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

The theme of this week’s Sound Effect is “Connection.” But it’s even deeper than that: Everything we do at KNKX Public Radio centers on connecting with listeners and linking listeners with each other. And we’re only able to do that because of your support.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

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.

First, the co-owner of a Tacoma bar shares how he came to acquire a small collection of glass art from Dale Chihuly. Then, we meet a woman who makes jewelry out of animal bones. A man shares how his obsession with a certain tree led him on an intense trip to Chile in pursuit of seeds. We meet a Seattle librarian who is helping catalogue more than 30,000 zines from across the country. Next, we learn about the man who collected — among many things — recordings of ferry horns. Finally, one of our own shares what he’s learned from a collection of letters from past girlfriends.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week’s theme for Sound Effect is “Wrong Place, Wrong Time,” stories of people stuck in circumstances they can’t control and what’s revealed by the choices they make.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Tacoma is a pretty special place. We don’t want to romanticize it — it’s complicated, like anywhere. But it does have this quality of openness, a willingness to let people in.

That’s exactly what the Sound Effect team did on Saturday. Gabriel Spitzer hosted a special, live show from KNKX Public Radio’s new downtown Tacoma station, while strangers wandered around on self-guided tours of the space.

And the doors will stay open long past Saturday's grand opening. The new station offers a place to convene community conversations, share culture and just meet up. 

In honor of our debut at 930 Broadway, the latest episode of Sound Effect is all about Tacoma. 

First, a KNKX colleague takes us inside Tacoma's most romantic hidden gem. Then, we meet the Northwest's friendliest raccoons and the park ranger tasked with teaching Tacomans to love them from a distance. We hear from a Tacoma earthquake survivor who remains grateful to a boy who died saving his life decades ago. We discover the family affair that is Tacoma’s alcohol service industry. Tacoma’s first African-American mayor discusses the heartbreak of racism. Finally, we’ll learn about a Tacoma-based newspaper that was part of the GI underground movement.