Sound Effect | KNKX

Sound Effect

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.

Graham Kerr in the kitchen of his home in Mount Vernon. A picture of his wife, Treena, smiles at visitors.
Posey Gruener / KNKX

This story originally aired on January 5, 2019.

Graham Kerr gained fame in the 1960s and '70s as a TV chef. He was known as the "Galloping Gourmet," and became famous for his love of rich food. But it was another love that truly defined his life — his love for his wife Treena.

Though he may have had the celebrity, Graham says, it was Treena who had the star power. 

Rabbi turns 500-year-old love songs into rap

Aug 23, 2019
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.

Sound Effect producer, Jennifer Wing, front and center with the Port Townsend Drizzle.
Port Townsend Drizzle


Brighterorange / Wikimedia Commons

This story originally aired on Jan. 14, 2017.

Ira Glass, the host of This American Life, is headed to Seattle later this month to give a talk. We grabbed a few minutes with him to ask what it is that keeps him from sleeping.


As a child, Ira Glass spent nights considering his own mortality.  

“I would just lie in bed, trying to get my mind around the idea that I would be dead and everything in the world would continue without me,” remembers Glass.

Seattle black history through the lens of a beauty salon

Aug 17, 2019
Jasmine Jackson, one of the hosts of the podcast "Hella Black Hella Seattle," with salon owner De Charlene Williams
Jennifer Wing / knkx

 This story originally aired on Feb. 4, 2017.

To enter De Charlene William's Beauty and Boutique hair salon at 21st and Madison, where First Hill meets the Central Area in Seattle, you have to get past an iron gate.  The extra security is a reminder that doing business here for 48 years has not always been easy.

"I've been through a lot here on this corner," Williams says.

Steve Wilson

This story originally aired on May 13. 2017.

Television producer and director, Steve Wilson, says making television is just like making cheese.


“People consume cheese. Some people make really good cheese. Other people make really terrible cheese. But, everybody eats cheese —and I make the cheese,” he told us.



Nathan Vass


This story originally aired on Dec. 2, 2017.

Many of us make our way through traffic while riding on a bus.

One of the busiest bus routes in Seattle is the No. 7 carries more than 11,000 people every day. The No. 7 goes through the Rainier Valley and at night It turns into the No. 49 when it heads north, to the University District.


This is Nathan Vass’s bus route.


In 2016, I interviewed Ira Glass. He was coming to Seattle to give a talk and KNKX was one of the event’s sponsors. It was late in the day. I was not at my best and I was nervous about asking questions of someone I admire — someone who is so talented at drawing out stories from others. The story we ended up airing from this conversation was perfectly fine. This story here is from the cutting room floor audio of that original conversation. It’s a peek at the edges of interviews. These bits are often just as interesting to listen to, yet almost never make it to the airwaves. 

courtesy of Port Townsend Drizzle

 This story originally aired on Dec. 1, 2018. 

For three years running, from 2015 to 2017, the Port Townsend Drizzle took home the gold medal in the over-50 women's division at the Washington State Senior Games.

It's an impressive feat for a group of women without much basketball experience. It would be even more impressive if they'd had anyone to play against.

This week on the show, Sound Effect producer Kevin Kniestedt hops in the host chair and shares some of his favorite stories that he has worked on for the show over the years. First, we hear Kevin in one of his earliest interviews, at the age of 3. Then, we hear how a Pierce County land developer became the host of the most famous radio show in the country.

Courtesy Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives

This story originally aired on August 13, 2016.  

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.

Credit Alex Gao

This story originally aired on February 11, 2017.

Marcus Haney has caught several big named musicians on camera, including the likes of Coldplay and Elton John.

In 2014, he was asked to produce a music video for the British band Bear's Den. He came up with the idea of coming to Seattle to film his younger brother, Turner Haney, and Turner's friends, who all attended Seattle Pacific University, capturing youth on the brink of adulthood. 

This show originally aired on September 8, 2018.

Courtesy of John Michael Kohler Museum 2010


This story originally aired on September 8, 2018.

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

This story originally aired on September 8, 2018.

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


This story originally aired on September 8, 2018.

Wes Browning has held an impressive array of jobs at Real Change, the newspaper distributed mainly by homeless vendors: He’s been a columnist, an artist, circulation specialist, public speaker, and so on.

He’s also been homeless three times and struggled with his mental health, so he understands the paper’s vendors better than most.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX


This story originally aired on September 8, 2018. 

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.

Credit Vinay Shivakumar/Creative Commons by 2.0

This show originally aired on June 16, 2018.

courtesy of Paula Becker


This story originally aired on June 16, 2018.

Paula Becker grew up reading the "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" children's books, and loved the whimsical stories of her uncanny ability to cure children of bad character traits. The author of the books, Betty MacDonald, lived in Washington. Many years later, when Becker moved to the Evergreen state, she asked her local librarian what had become of the best-selling author.


Courtesy of Mark Goetcheus


This story originally aired on June 16, 2018.

The day that changed Michael Freeman’s life came about 22 years ago.

“I was crushed by an eight-ton truck in a loading dock across the pelvis. They took me out to Madigan and did emergency surgery,” Freeman said.

This story originally aired on June 16, 2018.

Every Tuesday night, St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Seattle opens its doors and invites people living with mental illness and homelessness to come in and create. In the unique art space they can paint, knit, play music or find their own creative pursuits.


The Karen Korn Project was founded by Pastor Kae Eaton and Patricia Swain, in honor of Swain’s daughter Karen. Karen died from suicide in November of 2014, after struggling with mental illness and homelessness herself.

Seattle Public Library


This story originally aired on June 16, 2018.

Real estate. It’s a hot topic in the Northwest right now. A white-hot market like Seattle’s creates winners and losers, depending on which side of the transaction you happen to be on. These days, you’d probably rather be a seller than a buyer.


But back in 1985, when Merlin Rainwater and her husband bought their place, the roles were reversed. They were able to score a little bungalow on the East slope of Capitol Hill for just $50,000.


Adam Jones/Wikipedia Commons

This story originally aired on June 16, 2018.

If you have a band in Seattle, good luck finding an affordable practice space. There aren't many to begin with, and if a band can find a place that doesn't mind the noise, it is often small, old and outrageously expensive.

Seattle music journalist and author Charles R. Cross says things were noticably different in the early and mid-'80s. 



This show originally aired on June 9, 2018.

Courtesy Rich Hawkins

This story originally aired on June 9, 2018. 

Most of us don’t grow up dreaming of being a tiny gear in some big, impersonal mechanism. But for Rich Hawkins, destiny started coming into focus on the day when, as a kid, the first family television showed up.

A guiding light inside a box of sunglasses from Taiwan

Jul 20, 2019
Joel Shupack

This story originally aired on June 9, 2018.

When Sound Effect contributor Joel Shupack was just out of high school he was working a boring, tedious warehouse job in Bend, Oregon.

“My job,” recalls Joel, “was to open boxes full of sunglasses, take them all out and put each pair into a separate box. They would be mailed out to all of the dupes who signed up for a sunglasses-of-the-month club.”

Fifty years ago, astronauts left the first human footprints on the moon. Today, space continues to inspire.
Tim Durkan


This episode is part of the Destination Moon Podcrawl, marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Please check out our partner podcasts, including The Flight Deck, Geekwire, Stuff You Missed in History Class and Radiotopia’s The Truth.   



This show originally aired on May 26, 2018.