Sax man and bestselling instrumentalist of all time, Kenny G, needs no introduction. Following stints with Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra (at the age of 17) and The Jeff Lorber Fusion, the Seattle native and UW grad embarked on a solo career in the early 1980s.
It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news. The Department of Justice signals a long-awaited green light on new pot laws in Washington and Colorado. Fast-food workers in Seattle and across the country hold a one-day strike to push for an increase in minimum wage pay. The Obama Administration makes the case for American military involvement in Syria.
Plus, state Republicans choose a new leader, Seattle schools face a possible teacher strike, and same-sex couples get a break from the IRS.
President Barack Obama is currently in his fifth year in the White House. Before he was president, then-Senator Barack Obama visited KUOW. Steve Scher talked with Obama about the war in Iraq, US-Russia relations and the Democratic Party.
The Daily Show's Senior Black Correspondent: Larry Wilmore
Larry Wilmore is The Daily Show’s Senior Black Correspondent. He’s the author of "I'd Rather We Got Casinos and Other Black Thoughts," and he’s also written for “The Bernie Mac Show,” “The Office” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Steve Scher talked with Larry Wilmore in 2009 about the election of President Obama, the line between satire and compassion and more.
You've likely heard of the Shia-Sunni split in the Middle East but what caused the split? British journalist Lesley Hazleton explores the stories behind the schism: from assassinations, to a favored wife, to bloody battlefields. Marcie Sillman talks with Lesley Hazleton about the roots of this centuries-old divide.
As many as 3.5 million people in the United States experience homelessness in a given year. We'll hear a few personal stories about homelessness. In 2007, Steve Scher talked with Lisa Gray-Garcia (aka Tiny), journalist, poet and founder of POOR Magazine and the Poor News Network, Neal Lampi, who was living in a transitional housing program, and Renee Gebre, then living at Seattle Union Gospel Mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter.
The pigeon used to be considered a symbol of peace and fertility. The birds were also a critical component of wartime communication. Yet, now people often consider them rats with wings. Steve Scher talks with Andrew Blechman, an award-winning journalist and author of “Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird,” as well as Dave Cheney from National Bird Control.
Thousands of American soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last decade. Many suffered physical injury as a result. Today we hear first hand stories from members of our military. Steve Scher talked with Lt. John Arthur, Capt. Jeremy McGuffey and Sgt. Christopher Hoyt about life after injury and coming home from war.
You might not recognize his name but you've seen Stephen Tobolowsky in countless Hollywood movies and television shows, from "Groundhog Day" to "Heroes." The character actor is also a popular storyteller, weaving tales for radio and podcast listeners on The Tobolowsky Files. Steve Scher talked with Tobolowsky in 2011 live on stage at the Neptune Theater.
Radio Retrospective: Making The First Sound Effects
It's often assumed that sound effects during radio's Golden Age were all made by a person, but that's a bit of a myth. Many were played from records to save time and space. Steve Scher talks with Producer Katy Sewall about how early sound effects were created and tips on making your own at home.
Guitars are a powerful symbol. When lashed onto someone like Keith Richards or Jimi Hendrix, they epitomize hard-sounding, hard-living, loud rock. When plucked by a flamenco player, they can evoke sultry nights and romance. Where did the guitar come from, how has it evolved and are there any changes that we can expect to see in the future? Steve Scher talks with classical guitarist Steven Novacek; Ron Reed, instrument maker and manager of Dusty Strings Guitar Shop; Gene Nygaard, guitarist and maker of Zero Guitars; and Jay Boone, owner of Emerald City Guitars.
In 2010, woodcarver John T. Williams was killed by Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk. Controversy over the shooting led to much anger and distrust for the police department. In 2012, a 34-foot memorial totem pole was raised in John T. Williams' honor. Steve Scher talked with John T. Williams’ brother Rick Williams at the site of the totem pole.
Back in 2012, the Seattle Police asked the public for help. Deputy Chief Nick Metz urged people to talk to the police to help stop what he called a “huge increase” in shootings. That's counter to a strong "don't talk to the cops" mantra espoused by many. Steve Scher talked with columnist Larry Mizell and singer Choklate Moore about why many individuals think talking to the police is unsafe and unwise.
Within 48 hours of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the FBI began arresting the Japanese-Americans they considered subversive. In its second wave of action, the rest of the Japanese-American community along the West Coast was forced to leave their homes and move to incarceration camps. These actions are a strong, vivid and very recent part of our city's history and the legacy of the Japanese-Americans living here. Steve Scher talked with Fumiko Hayashida and Sam Mitsui about their own experiences at that time.
Our time here on Earth is limited. One day we will all be gone, passing into history. It is something we consciously know, but frequently ignore. Award-winning actor Alan Alda doesn't forget anymore — not after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile. You might know Alda from “M*A*S*H” or “The West Wing.” Alda is also the author of “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.” Marcie Sillman talked with Alda in 2007 about life, work and not wasting time.
Giving birth in American comes with many options: doctors, doulas, midwives, induction, cesarean. Only very few opt for natural births, a birth with no drugs and little to no intervention. Producer Katy Sewall brings an intimate look at one couple’s decision to go that way.
Paula Poundstone: On Writing, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder And TV
Paula Poundstone is known for improvising with the audience so well it seems planned. She’s a stand up comedian, winner of an Emmy Award and author of the book “There is Nothing in this Book that I Meant to Say.” In addition to comedy, Poundstone is a mother to three, a regular on television and radio, and a writer. Steve Scher talked with Poundstone back in 2007 about writing her book. Poundstone also answered listener calls.
Writer and storyteller Jack Hitt has made a career portraying the larger-than-life characters he's encountered: a flamboyant neighbor who made international news as one of the world's first transsexuals, a building superintendent who was also a Brazilian mobster. "Why do these things always happen to you?" people ask. They don't, he says. Unbelievable stories happen to everybody. His new solo show mingles these stories with scientific research to show how our story-generating brains are constantly editing reality and "making up the truth" for us. Steve Scher talked with Jack Hitt in 2009.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin is best known for his writing about the Vietnam War. Merwin has written and published poetry for over 50 years and translated the works of Dante and Pablo Neruda. He also comes from the generation of some of America's most famous poets: James Merrill, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, James Wright and John Ashbery. What was it like to work in that company? Steve Scher talked with W.S. Merwin in 2010 about the art of poetry.
Have you heard of a "choosey Suzie" or a "wife-in-law?" Do you know what being "in pocket" is? Thousands of underage kids trapped in prostitution know all too well. Steve Scher talked with Joanna Ward, then a case manager at YouthCare’s Orion Center, and heard first-hand stories of underage sex trafficking.
George Michael “Micky” Dolenz, Jr., is best known for his role in the television sitcom, “The Monkees.” He became the drummer and a lead vocalist for the band created for the show. But Micky Dolenz spent much of his life in the show biz. Back in 1993, Steve Scher talked with Micky Dolenz about his path to music and the many other projects Micky worked on over the years.
Annie Leibovitz began taking photographs for Rolling Stone in 1970. By 1973, she was its chief photographer. In addition to magazine editorial work, Leibovitz has created successful advertising campaigns for American Express, Gap and the Milk Board, among others. Exhibitions of her work have appeared in museums and galleries all over the world. What are the stories behind Annie Leibovitz's iconic photos? Steve Scher talked with Annie Leibovitz in 2008 about what it’s like to photograph queens, presidents and the like.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch has written a three-volume history of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, “America In The King Years.” Steve Scher talked with Taylor Branch in 2006 about King’s legacy, democracy and nonviolence.
They’re big, noisy and everywhere. But crows are much more than cackling flocks. They recognize people, they mate for life and they pant like dogs when they’re hot. A commonly seen bird, maybe – but crows are not common in their abilities. Steve Scher talks with John M. Marzluff, professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington, and Tony Angell, a freelance artist and writer about their collaborative book, “In the Company of Crows and Ravens” and the wonders of these mysterious birds.
Steve Earle Makes Protest Music With A 21st Century Twang
Two young twenty-somethings with no money and a lot of ambition moved to New York City. They wanted to be artists, but they weren't sure what kind. She was his muse. He was hers. She was Patti Smith. She went on to become one of the founders of punk rock. He was Robert Mapplethorpe. He became a famous photographer. He died of AIDS in 1989. Patti Smith tells the story of their 20-year relationship in her new book "Just Kids." Steve Scher talked with Patti Smith in 2010.
Isabella Rossellini became famous for high-fashion modeling and for her acting roles in over 60 films and television shows. But she also makes films about sex. Specifically, the sex lives of animals. From the elephant seal to the little anchovy — all erotic encounters are on the table. Isabella Rossellini joined us back in 2009.
"All children are born artists. The problem is to remain artists as we grow up," says Sir Ken Robinson, an international expert on creativity. School, he says, encourages us to become good workers, not creative thinkers. So how do we fix it? Marcie Sillman talked with Sir Robinson in 2009 about his book, "The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything," and the challenges of teaching creativity.
A Conversation With "Game Of Thrones" Author George R.R. Martin
With HBO's "Game of Thrones," George R.R. Martin's world of Westeros is seducing TV viewers much as it captured readers. Martin began writing science fiction stories in the 1970s, and early on his stories were nominated for awards. Raised in a housing project in New Jersey, he used to write monster tales for the neighborhood kids. Steve Scher talked with George Martin in 2012.
It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news with Joni Balter, Eli Sanders and Knute Berger. Steve Ballmer says he's stepping down. What lies ahead for Microsoft? Washington Ceasefire and Mayor Mike McGinn ask Seattle businesses to go gun-free. Will it work? Plus: arena backer Chris Hansen fesses up to an awkward political donation, state Republicans get ready to pick a new party chair and the debate over a $15-an-hour minimum wage picks up steam.
We talk about those stories and more with our panel of journalists. What stories were you following this week? What wasn’t covered enough? What’s your take on the news?
Ever walked past a crumpled note and wondered what the history behind it is? Davy Rothbart, the founder of FOUND Magazine, has. He’s turned that curiosity for found objects into a career. Marcie Sillman talked with Rothbart and his brother Peter Rothbart, an expert finder and musician, back in 2006 about lost trinkets, stray photographs and cast-aside artifacts just waiting to be discovered.
One weekend back in 2005, Weekday Producer Katy Sewall attended her 10-year high school reunion. Katy claimed to have a wonderful time. High school reunions are notorious for disappointment, competition and awkward moments. But some listeners say they’re worth it. In this 2005 segment, Steve Scher talked with listeners and a few familiar voices from the KUOW studios.
“The War of The Worlds” was an episode of the American radio drama, The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It aired on October 30, 1938, and convinced a number of listeners that a real alien invasion was in progress. In this edition of Weekday’s Radio Retrospective, Steve Scher talks with Katy Sewall about “The War of The Worlds” broadcast and explores whether listeners back then were just plain gullible.