Sean Powers

Producer/Reporter - On Second Thought

Sean Powers is a producer and reporter for "On Second Thought.” 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 about a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, five national PRNDI awards, a first place award for best use of sound from the Atlanta Press Club, and recognition from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. After a long week of public radio, Powers enjoys live jazz and soul food. He also mentors teenage journalists who report for VOX Teen Communications, a magazine in Atlanta. In addition to his work at GPB, he also oversees the development of several podcasts for an audio book company in Atlanta called ListenUp Audiobooks.

Ways to Connect

Jackson Beals

For nearly a decade, Atlanta filmmaker Amanda Avery was a sex worker. Her experiences culminated into the short film, "Leaving Charlie." Amanda wrote, directed, and starred in the film. She also made a point of bringing on an all-female and gender nonconforming crew.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Driving through White, Georgia you might come upon what looks like a forest preserve. Look closer and you’ll see it’s actually a graveyard for rare and retired vehicles. What started as a car dealership in 1931 is now the final resting place for more than 4,000 cars. GPB’s Sean Powers buckled up for a trip to the massive junkyard known as Old Car City USA

First, the Atlanta City Council, along with the United Way, has committed $50 million  to help combat homelessness. This comes after news that the city’s largest shelter, Peachtree-Pine, will close by the end of August. Joining us is Rick Westbrook, Executive Director for Lost N Found, and Deirdre Oakley, Professor of Sociology for Georgia State University.

First, another round of allegations have surfaced against musician R. Kelly. Now, parents have claimed their daughters are being held captive by the hip-hop musician, living in homes he rents out in Atlanta and Chicago, with almost every aspect of their lives controlled. R. Kelly publicly denies these allegations. Jim DeRogatis broke the story earlier this week. He’s a Buzzfeed contributor, host of WBEZ’s "Sound Opinions," and our guest.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The early years for the Allman Brothers Band were spent in Macon in The Big House. It was a refuge and safe haven for artists to be creative. A documentary called "Please Call Home" is showing Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Macon Film Festival. The film chronicles the history of The Big House, and the people who lived there. We asked filmmaker and former Allman Brothers Band tour manager Kirk West to talk about his memories of the group's time at The Big House.

First, one of the first African-American elementary schools in Atlanta was recently slated for destruction. But after outcry a piece of the structure was saved, to become part of a new YMCA center in Vine City. This is just one fight in a perennial battle over historic preservation. A recent National Trust for Historic Preservation study says Atlanta has a  teardown culture -- worse than just about about any other major American city. We talk about this with Sheffield Hale, President of the Atlanta History Center. And with Mtamanika Youngblood, President of Sweet Auburn Works.

Lacey Terrell / HBO

We talk with actor Tony Hale, best known for roles on "Veep" and "Arrested Development." He stars in the movie, "Brave New Jersey." It’s showing at the Macon Film Festival this week, July 20-23. 

We talk with actor Tony Hale, best known for roles on "Veep" and "Arrested Development." He stars in the movie, "Brave New Jersey." It’s showing at this week’s Macon Film Festival, July 20-23.

Then, 21 years have passed since Atlanta became an Olympic city. The games were transformative. For a look back, we re-visit a conversation we had with former NPR correspondent Kathy Lohr and Georgia State University professor Maurice Hobson.

Flickr

Six Flags just announced its historic wooden rollercoaster, The Georgia Cyclone, will be closed by the end of July. The park turned 50 this year, and a lot has changed since it opened. GPB producers Ryan McFadin and Sean Powers bring us an audio postcard from Six Flags.

Federal prosecutors are investigating bribes paid to Atlanta city officials in exchange for business contracts. Two contractors have already plead guilty to dishing out these bribes--though it is not clear who accepted them. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has exclusive new info on the situation. We talk with reporter Scott Trubey, who has been covering the bribery scandal at City Hall.

Then, Kaleb Anderson is a 19 year-old-from Atlanta. He was diagnosed with HIV just a couple of months before starting college. He shares his story in a commentary.

Chris Rickwood

A video game is like a really complicated recipe. Every ingredient is necessary - from the animation, to the storyline, to the the sound effects. For Chris Rickwood of Atlanta, the music is the most important part of any game. He writes music for video games. He’s worked on songs for more than a hundred games. His compositions have been as short as two minutes and as long as an hour. We asked him to describe a couple of his favorite video game songs that have a connection to the Peach State.

 

A report released last month provides a grim picture on the effects of gun violence on children. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found nearly 1,300 children in the United States die in shootings each year. That makes gunshot wounds the third leading cause of death for children up to the age of 17. We talk with Atlanta-based trauma surgeon Omar Danner, who worked on a separate report about the victims of gun violence admitted to Grady Hospital.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Atlanta-based comic book publishers Carlton and Darrick Hargro are working to develop more superheroes of color. The brothers are behind the new comic book company, 20th Place Media. They discussed their latest comic called “Moses,” which draws connections between the African slave trade and an alien abduction.

Jefferson Police Department via AP

Gun rights are often a subject of political argument, but doctors see the physical effects of gun violence everyday. Researchers at the Morehouse School of Medicine reviewed gunshot victims at a trauma center in Atlanta, and they found that over two years the bulk of the patients were male and African-American. We talked with Dr. Omar Danner, one of the study's researchers.

Deirdre Hynes / flickr

One of the most successful and influential groups to come out of Georgia is the Indigo Girls. Since the first release in 1985, the folk rock duo has had multiple platinum albums and won a Grammy. We talked with band member Amy Ray, who performs Friday night at 8 p.m. in Atlanta at the Variety Playhouse.

 

First, last week, Georgia’s public health commissioner was named as the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here in Atlanta. Brenda Fitzgerald was chosen by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a former Georgia congressman. The last permanent director of the CDC was Tom Frieden, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009. We re-visit our conversation with Frieden, who talked about his work with the CDC, and what he hopes to see happen there in the future.

First, the battle for voter data is reaching a tipping point in Georgia. Last week, a lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court seeks to overturn the results of the 6th District congressional election, alleging a voter data breach at an election center at Kennesaw State University influenced the outcome. And a new restraining order is looking to bar President Trump from obtaining voter information in Georgia. We talk about these issues with Kristina Torres, reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Steve Johnson / flickr

“Boil Before Using” was the rule for tap water in several Atlanta neighborhoods last week ... not long after we learned about undetected lead contamination in many Georgia waterways. Now, a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows Georgia leads most states in drinking water violations, most of them in rural areas.

A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows Georgia leads most states in drinking water violations. Most happen in rural areas. We talk about the findings with Erik Olson, the NRDC’s health program director.

Then, 40 years ago President Jimmy Carter posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr. The civil rights icon had died about a decade earlier. Our producer Sean Powers takes us back to the day MLK was honored at the White House with this audio postcard.

The Associated Press

Forty years ago, President Jimmy Carter awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. some ten years after his death. The civil rights icon was assassinated in 1968. Producer Sean Powers took us back to that day at the White House with this audio postcard.

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

This year marks 155 years since a daring operation happened in Georgia to try and end the Civil War. A team of Union soldiers planned to steal a train, and destroy railroad bridges, tunnels, and telegraph lines to the South. All of this was a plot to derail the Confederacy. The locomotive captured in that raid is now on display at the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History in Kennesaw.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, alleging the company discriminates against older workers by not hiring them in the first place. This leaves in place a ruling from Atlanta’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. We discuss the implications with Paul Chichester, an Atlanta-based employment attorney. And Peter Gosselin, contributing reporter for ProPublica.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department/Savannah Morning News via AP

Over the holiday weekend, three people in Savannah were killed following a shooting and car crash. Savannah has one of the highest murder rates in Georgia.

The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news. The panel included Kennesaw State University professor Roxanne Donovan, writer and blogger Jessica Szilagyi, business owner Ruel Joyner, and Korean Daily reporter HB Cho.

First, Sucheta Rawal is a children’s book author on a mission. She created Beato, a world traveling cat, who’s part of a broader plan to raise cultural awareness in both kids and adults. Her latest book is “Beato Goes to Indonesia,” which just hit the shelves. The author joins us in the studio.

In recent years, newspapers and magazines have moved to all digital formats. But one magazine in Georgia is making a print comeback. This year Decatur-based Paste Magazine started a quarterly magazine that looks and feels different. The second edition just came out. We learn more about the magazine’s reboot with founder and editor-in-chief, Josh Jackson.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

Parts of President Trump’s travel ban went into effect last week, but the change might be temporary. The U.S. Supreme Court lifted an injunction on the ban and will review the case this fall. The revised ban temporarily affects some travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries.

First, the City of Atlanta plans to raise the minimum wage for city workers to $15 an hour. Following a national trend, Atlanta is the first such place in Georgia to make the move. But will a minimum wage increase hurt or help the working class? We talk about the pros and cons with Kristy Offitt, Employment Litigator for Ogletree Deakins in Atlanta. And Tom Smith, Assistant Professor of Finance at Emory University.

First, the Smithsonian Channel just launched a new series called “America in Color.” The five part program features historical film footage from the 1920s through the 1960s, presented in HD and with the addition of color. We talk about the show’s Georgia ties with the Executive Producer, John Cavanagh.

Homeless Pets are everywhere in Georgia. The issue has been labeled the biggest challenge facing shelter and rescue operations in our state. We spoke with Gloria Dorsey, vice president of Community Education at the Atlanta Humane Society. We also heard from Jessica Rock, a founding partner at Animal Law Source.  

A new café in Atlanta caters to cats and their humans. At Java Cats Café, you can order coffee and hang out with adoptable cats. GPB’s Sean Powers stopped by to learn more about this purrfectly feline coffee shop. 

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