Sean Powers

Director of Podcasting

Sean Powers is Georgia Public Broadcasting's first director of podcasting. He joined GPB in 2014 as a producer/reporter with On Second Thought, and remained with the program until 2018. For his last four months on the show, he served as acting senior producer.  Powers is a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. In 2012, he completed a fellowship at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He moved to Atlanta after working as a reporter for the public radio station in Urbana, Ill. His reporting has earned him a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, five national PRNDI awards, honors from the Atlanta Press Club, and recognition from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Powers previously developed podcasts for ListenUp Audiobooks in Atlanta. He's also mentored teenage journalists who report for VOX Teen Communications, a magazine in Atlanta.

Ways to Connect

Laughing Skull Lounge

For many young people, turning 21 means buying their first legal drink. For On Second Thought intern and aspiring comedian Monique Bandong, it meant finally being able to perform at a 21+ venue. Okay, it also meant her first legal drink. Maybe drinks. "Sorry, Mom," she says.


GPB

Georgia has the nation’s third largest rural school population, but less than 30 percent of those students attend a big college or university. Part of the explanation is that students from rural areas are more likely to come from low-income households, and transitioning from a small town to a big city can both be daunting and financially nerve-racking for students thinking about college. We talked to Marjorie Poss, a guidance counselor at Pickens High School, about why students decide to stay close to home and how these fears can be overcome. We also spoke with Hannah Velcoff, a student who made the leap from Dawson County to New York University.


GPB

June is Pride Month. This year, Atlanta’s Pride Committee and the LGBT Institute at the Center for Civil and Human Rights are partnering with the Fox Theatre to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which ignited an equal rights movement in what became the LGBT community. We spoke with Emmy Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes, who’s headlining a comedy show at the Fox in celebration of Pride Month.


June is Pride Month. This year, Atlanta’s Pride Committee and the LGBT Institute at the Center for Civil and Human Rights are partnering with the Fox Theatre to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which ignited an equal rights movement in what became the LGBT community. We spoke with Emmy Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes, who’s headlining a comedy show at the Fox in celebration of Pride Month.


GPB

The history of Juneteenth goes like this: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But two years later, on June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas finally got the news that they were free. Now Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. However, many people have never heard of the holiday or even celebrate it. Historian and storyteller Lillian Grant Baptiste joined us from Savannah to give the history of Juneteenth and why people should celebrate the holiday.


GPB

The United Methodist Children’s Home reports there are more than 15,000 children in Georgia's foster care system — and that number is growing. But because of the increased need, UMCH has to say turn away children in need at least 40 times a week, so it reached out to churches for help. That's how Brett Hillesheim started fostering children. Hillesheim has fostered 18 kids within the past few years, and he now works with UMCH. 


GPB

Flannery O’Connor is regarded by many as Georgia’s greatest fiction writer. Her books are written with dark humor, eccentric characters, and it’s all set in a devout Catholic faith. All of which made her a leading voice in southern gothic literature.

 

 


Mariam Akbar / GPB

Most of America’s history has the experiences of food segregated. Everything differentiated between white and black Americans from: where you shopped, how you ate, what you ate, and the value of certain cuisines. Todd Richards, an Atlanta chef and owner of Richard’s Southern Fried just released his newest book about the ever-changing southern recipes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wikimedia Commons

Flannery O’Connor is regarded by many as Georgia’s greatest fiction writer. Her books are written with dark humor, eccentric characters, and it’s all set in a devout Catholic faith. All of which made her a leading voice in southern gothic literature.

 


GPB

According the United States Census Bureau, there are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans in America. In order to combat these issues with housing, popular TV shows like “Tiny House Hunters”are looking to create tiny homes as a solution.

  

The Chatham Savannah Authority for Homeless has organized the “Tiny Home Project” in order to fight this growing problem.

 


GPB

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and according to a new report, the number of people who take their own lives has risen substantially since 1999. Per the report, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older took their own lives in 2016. Georgia alone saw a 16 percent increase in suicides from 1999-2016. Emory University professor Nadine Kaslow and Doreen Marshall of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention say more needs to be done to prevent these tragedies.


GPB

Every month approximately 374 girls are sexually exploited in Georgia. On average, they are 12-14 years old. Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Atlanta office collaborated with nearly 40 local law enforcement agencies to rescue 148 missing children who had become victims of human trafficking. Some were as young as three years old.To learn more about Operation Safe Summer, we spoke with FBI agent Nathan Whiteman, who spearheaded the operation.


GPB

Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty today. According to the National Women's Law Center, more than half of them are women. Race, health and gender discrimination contribute to this disparity, but to learn about the economic history that led us to where we are today, we spoke with Diana Pearce and George Robb.


GPB

Jason Reynolds didn't get through a whole book until he was 17. He's now a bestselling author, and he's trying to change the way young people feel about reading. Inspired by hip-hop, Reynolds now writes books to get young people to excited about reading. He has various awards to his name, including an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teen and a National Book Award finalist designation for his book "Ghost."

Courtesy Dust-to-Digital

"Southern" has a variety of meanings in the personal and popular imagination. It's a term that evokes history, food and musical traditions and ways of speaking. They often get lumped together, especially by those who don't know the South.


GPB

The Georgia 2018 legislative session recently legalized the use of cannabis oil for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD affects about 31 million people in the United States. The disorder is often associated with veterans, but another group of heroes — first responders — also struggle with the disorder. According to one survey, one in 15 paramedics and EMTs has attempted suicide. Heather Harp, a paramedic in Atlanta, says she and her colleagues need more support in their battle against PTSD. 

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Graduation Achievement Charter High School was founded in 2012 to help at-risk students earn their diplomas. But after six years of poor performance, Georgia’s first virtual charter high school — and only “alternative”  school within the state charter system — is shutting down. The last senior class graduates later this month. To learn more about the future of virtual and alternative charter schools in Georgia, we spoke with Atlanta Journal-Constitution education reporter Vanessa McCray.

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The 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education made segregation of America’s public schools illegal. But decades before Thurgood Marshall argued for Linda Brown's right to attend the all-white school closest to her house in Topeka, Kansas, lawsuits brought by little girls and young women chipped away at the foundations of segregated education. New research finds their grassroots efforts paved the way for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) legal battle to integrate schools nationally.


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In a bid to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Alabama and six other states recently filed a lawsuit against it. The Obama-era program protects about 700,000 young immigrants from deportation. In Georgia, there are roughly 24,000 DREAMers, a term that describes undocumented immigrants whose family brought them to the United States as children, and who have grown up in the U.S. 

GPB

To many Georgians, barbecue is not just food. It's a lifestyle. Over the years, barbecue has evolved in the Atlanta area. Southern folks still grill out, but in recent years the cuisine has re-emerged as an integrated bond of multiple different cultures and communities. Over the next few months, we'll explore Georgia’s greatest barbecue joints and step into their kitchens to see what makes their food different. To start off our the series, we sat down with John T. Edge. He’s the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of "The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South."

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