Adam Ragusea

Backup host "On Second Thought"

Adam is host of Current's podcast, "The Pub." He's a Journalist in Residence and Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism at the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. He’s also reported for public radio shows including "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered," "Here & Now," "Marketplace" and "The Takeaway." Before becoming a journalist, Adam studied music composition, and he creates all the music for "The Pub."

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Frequent listeners of NPR’s "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" may know of Maz Jobrani. He's an Iranian-American comedian and actor, and a frequent panelist on the show. Jobrani says comedians can play an important role in challenging stereotypes. He’s been doing it for years.  We caught up with him ahead of a series of performances this week at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta.

Frequent listeners of NPR’s "Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me" may know of Maz Jobrani. He’s an Iranian-American comedian and actor, and a frequent panelist on the show. Jobrani says comedians can play an important role in challenging stereotypes. We talk about how he’s doing that ahead of a series of performances this week at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta.

WILDFLOWERNEWS

Atlanta activist Cecily McMillan is only 27 years old, but she's experienced things that most of us won’t ever face. In 2014, McMillan was convicted for assaulting a police officer during an Occupy Wall Street protest, and she served three months behind bars at Rikers Island in New York. She made numerous accusations while incarcerated about abuse and prisoner neglect.

We speak with her about her new memoir, "The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan," which chronicles her time at Rikers Island.

Mercer University

World-renowned violinist Robert McDuffie has opened a music conservatory at Mercer University in Macon. It not only focuses on musical talent, but also offers a broad-based education and teaches students how to survive financially as working musicians. He talks about the McDuffie Center for Strings and why some consider it to be the “Juilliard of the South.” 

Macon's Hidden Musical Past

Sep 13, 2016
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Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers and Little Richard are just a few of the top-notch musicians to get their professional start in Macon, Georgia. But there are many other talented Macon artists who haven't gotten the same recognition.

As part of our Year of Georgia Music series, we speak with Jessica Walden and Jamie Weatherford of Rock Candy Tours in Macon, which takes guests to visit some of the historical music sites in that city.

If Aretha Franklin is the “Queen of Soul,” Otis Redding was the king. He died in 1967 at the young age of 26, but not before recording some of the most powerful soul records that still resonate with contemporary listeners. Last weekend, Macon hosted a festival in honor of the fallen soul-singer, including musical performances from his two sons. Author Mark Ribowsky examines Redding’s legacy from his upbringing in Georgia to his untimely death. He talks about his book, “Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul.”

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The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. isn’t the crisis it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Testing and treatment options have improved, but people are still dying. And the Atlanta metro area has one of the highest rates in the nation for new diagnoses. Producer Sean Powers explains why.

The Last Months Of Frankin Roosevelt

Sep 12, 2016

History tends to focus on the struggles Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced one by one: World War II, his declining health, and preparing a possible successor. But Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Joseph Lelyveld explores these issues simultaneously and the political and personal pressures Roosevelt faced in the final months of his life. He provides insight into the country’s longest-serving president in his new book, “His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt.” 

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States isn’t the crisis it was in 1980s and 1990s. Testing and treatment options have improved, but people are still dying. GPB’s Sean Powers reports on why. Then, a study by the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta found that two health insurance companies in Georgia -- Cigna and Humana -- are forcing HIV patients to pay more for their medications than they would for other drugs. The group filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights last week. We speak with Dr.

Georgia State University Library

In the Jim Crow South, there were some communities that integrated their police departments with African American officers. On one hand, these officers were authority figures who maintained law and order. On the other, they were denied basic human rights by the very communities they swore to protect.

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The U.S. Department of Justice sued Georgia last week for allegedly segregating and mistreating thousands of public school students, who are enrolled in a statewide program called GNETS.

AfterSchoolSatan.com

The Breakroom gang returns to talk about Satanic Temple members planning to start an after-school program at a Cobb County elementary school, a televangelist who bought Tyler Perry’s $17.5 million Buckhead mansion, and Donald Trump’s latest war of words, this time with the Muslim parents of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq.

Joining us for The Breakroom: 

BRYAN SELLS LAW

The small city of Sparta, Georgia made headlines this week. A lawsuit claims Hancock County and its Board of Elections systematically questioned the registrations of nearly 200 Sparta voters - most of whom are black. A quarter of the voters were removed from voter rolls. This electoral move would have required the pre-clearance from the federal government three years ago. But the Supreme Court struck down that provision, saying the mandate was outdated and unconstitutional.

The small city of Sparta, Georgia made headlines this week. A lawsuit claims Hancock County and its Board of Elections systematically questioned the registrations of nearly two hundred Sparta voters - most of whom are black. A quarter of the voters were removed from voter rolls. This electoral move would have required the pre-clearance from the federal government three years ago. But the Supreme Court struck down that provision, saying the mandate was outdated and unconstitutional.

The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office

Six Georgia men are facing federal charges for trafficking guns to New York. According to the 17-count indictment unsealed last week, half of the men are former military.

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted six Georgia men last week for trafficking guns to New York. The gun runners smuggled the weapons through an underground market known as the “Iron Pipeline.” The pipeline refers to Interstate 95, which connects states like New York with strict gun laws to Southern states like Georgia with less gun restrictions. We learn more about the Iron Pipeline and efforts to dismantle it with journalist Tina Susman and New York City Public Advocate Tish James.

 

Gullah Geechee On Screen

Aug 4, 2016
Julie Dash's 1991 "Daughters of the Dust" features a family in the Gullah community in 1902 South Carolina.

The first Gullah Geechee Heritage Film Festival kicks off this weekend in Horry County, South Carolina. The festival hopes to educate younger audiences and create opportunities to share Gullah narratives on-screen. We talk with Amy Kelly, one of the festival’s organizers, about how the Gullah community has been depicted in film.

WWE

Wrestling icon Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts struggled with substance abuse in and out of the ring. Wrestler Diamond Dallas Page moved in with Roberts to help him get his life back on track. The documentary “The Resurrection of Jake ‘The Snake” chronicles their friendship and Roberts’ recovery.

We speak with the two wrestlers and director Steve Yu about the documentary.

You can find more information on the documentary here.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis wears many hats - civil rights leader, politician, and graphic memoirist. The story of the Civil Rights Movement is told through his eyes in a three part graphic memoir series called “March.” The final installment came out on Tuesday. We talk with Congressman Lewis, his co-author Andrew Aydin, and the books' illustrator Nate Powell about telling history through comics. We also talk with Rep. Lewis about his feelings on the Black Lives Matter movement and his quest to push for gun control.

Top Shelf Productions

Georgia Congressman John Lewis wears many hats - civil rights leader, politician, and graphic novelist. His story and the story of the civil rights movement is told through a three part graphic memoir called, “March.” The final installment of the series is out this week. We talk with Congressman Lewis, his co-author Andrew Aydin, and the book’s illustrator Nate Powell about telling history through comics.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Macon-Bibb County officials meet later this month to discuss why the rate of pedestrian fatalities is so high in the city. It’s either the most deadly or close to the most deadly county in the state for walkers, depending on how you count it. Chris Tsavatewa of the Macon-Bibb Board of Health tells us why he's made pedestrian safety a top issue.

Macon-Bibb Country officials meet this month to discuss why there are so many pedestrian fatalities in the area. The Georgia Department of Public Health found the county has the second highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the state. We speak with Macon-Bibb Board of Health member Chris Tsavatewa about what needs to be done to decrease the number of deaths. Then, we talk with Angie Schmitt, editor of Streetsblog USA, about how pedestrian fatalities look across the country. 

GA.EDU

The Georgia Cyber Academy is the state’s largest public school and one of the biggest virtual programs in the country. The academy received more than $80 million in public funding last year. But despite the investment, state officials gave the school a "D" grade after the school under performed in standardized testing. 

Pulitzer Peaches: Bill Dedman

Aug 1, 2016

2016 is the centennial year of the Pulitzer Prize. So we’ll spend some time with past winners who are connected to Georgia in a new series called, “Pulitzer Peaches.” We speak with investigative journalist Bill Dedman in the latest installment.

Is Georgia Set To Become A Swing State?

Aug 1, 2016
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Georgia is a red-majority state, but that may change. There are hundreds of thousands of people of color in Georgia who are not registered to vote. If they showed up on Election Day, they could change the result. We talk with  political science professors Andra Gillespie of Emory University and Daniel Franklin of Georgia State University.

Democrats and Republicans gathered at their respective conventions over the past two weeks to nominate their choices for president. Georgia politicians had a front row seat at both conventions. We recap convention highlights with Emory University political science professor Andra Gillespie and the role Georgia played.

The Breakroom gang joins guest host Adam Ragusea to weigh in on the week's news. The panel includes Atlanta-based LGBT educator and activist Robbie Medwed, Savannah Magazine editor Amy Condon, Georgia State University professor Hector Fernandez, and Macon Telegraph editorial page editor Charles Richardson.

Atlanta singer Mike Geier is the creative force behind Puddles the Clown. He describes Puddles as a sad clown with the golden voice. Puddles doesn’t speak, but his baritone voice can fill a room when he sings.  He covers everything from Lorde's "Royals" to Abba’s “Dancing Queen.” Ahead of Geier’s performance this weekend in Atlanta as Puddles, we talk with him about putting on the clown makeup and what inspires him. 

Asperger's Are Us

Neurological disorders, as a rule, are not funny. That doesn’t mean that the people who suffer from them are not. Take for example the members of the comedy troupe Asperger's Are Us. They all actually do have Asperger’s syndrome, but they don't let their condition define their comedy. The four-member group performs Friday at 8pm at Dad's Garage Theatre Company in Atlanta. We talked with Jack Hanke and Ethan Finlan, two of the group's members.

 

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Atlanta singer Mike Geier is the creative force behind Puddles the Clown. He describes Puddles as a sad clown with a golden voice. Puddles doesn’t speak, but his baritone voice can fill a room when he sings. He covers everything from Lorde's "Royals" to Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”  We caught up with Mike Geier ahead of Puddle's performance on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Center Stage Theater in Atlanta.

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