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

Freddy Cole

At this weekend’s Atlanta Jazz Festival, singer Freddy Cole takes the stage. Cole is the younger brother of jazz great Nat King Cole. Freddy released an album last year called "He  Was  The King,"  a tribute to his brother, Nat. We talked with Freddy about his storied career, and his brother’s legacy. 

Peter Mountain / Walt Disney Pictures

The Breakroom gang joins guest host Adam Ragusea to weigh in on the week's news. The panel includes Ed Sohn of Thomson Reuters, Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown, Savannah Magazine editor Amy Condon, and Amber Scott of the non-profit Leap Year.


Marcus Williams

Marvel’s "Black Panther" wrapped shooting last month in Atlanta. It’s just one example of a welcome change we’re seeing in comic books: the rise of black superheroes. Two Atlanta-based authors are adding to the stack with, “Tuskegee Heirs: Flames of Destiny.” The comic series weaves African-American history with an epic mission to save the planet.

Alix Blair

For many veterans returning from war, it can be difficult to adjust to civilian life. A new documentary premiering on PBS on Memorial Day tells the story of one veteran who has suffered emotionally and physically from war, only to return home as a farmer where he’s trying to find peace. The film previously ran at the Macon Film Festival last summer. 

Little Tybee

The band Little Tybee first came together in Atlanta in 2009. The group blends folksy lyrics with intricate musical arrangements. Their fourth album came out last summer and the band gave us a live music preview from the GPB Performance Studio. 

Little Tybee will perform this Saturday at the Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park.


The history of Southern food is as rich as its flavors. Whether it's red beans and rice, fried chicken, biscuits or potlikker, the history of our region’s fare stretches far and wide – from slave plantations, to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and into our kitchens today. 


These days you can find sweet tea just about everywhere in Georgia. However, there was a time when it was more rare. GPB's Sean Powers pours up a tall glass of history with freelance journalist Tove Danovich and Vernell Mosley of the Sweet Tea Factory.

"HISTORY OF SWEET TEA" written by Linda Stradley of What's Cooking America:

bamaboy1941 / flickr

All this month, we tour historic theaters in our state, as part of National Historic Preservation Month. We continue our series at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center in Madison, Georgia. It's a performing and visual arts facility. Filmmaker Jesse Freeman explains how this space shaped his love for filmmaking.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Since President Trump reached his 100th day in office, a whirlwind of stories about Trump have dominated the headlines. Georgia voters are paying especially close attention as a special election approaches in the state’s 6th Congressional District.

Georgia Department of Corrections

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles has declined to commute the death sentence of J.W. Ledford. His execution is scheduled to be carried out Tuesday, May 16. It will be the first one this year. Georgia has long played a central role in the death penalty debate.


In Georgia, county courts have contracted with private probation companies to collect fines from offenders. People are sometimes jailed for not being able to pay, even though the Supreme Court outlawed debtors’ prisons some 35 years ago. In the last couple of years, Georgia law changes made it harder for private probation companies to operate. What happens now to people who don’t pay the fines?

Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation

All this month, we learn about historic theaters across the state as part of National Historic Preservation Month. We continue the series with stories from a man whose own family history is bound up in his hometown theater. Tommy Lam’s grandfather started the DeSoto Theatre in Rome, Georgia, way back in the silent film era. He looked back on a century of screenings, segregation and more.

Alan Rhew

When we think of Southern Gothic, a lot of names come to mind: Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy. Critics include North Carolina-based author David Joy in that category. His new novel, "The Weight of this World," takes us into a gritty, seamy world in rural Appalachia. Characters are tormented by their own demons, roused by painful memories of a small town and memories of war.

Phil Provencio / flickr

Some comedians let nothing keep them from the stage. Ali Wong was in her third trimester when she performed for her Netflix comedy special, “Baby Cobra.” We talked with Ali Wong ahead of her performance at The Tabernacle in Atlanta on Friday, May 12.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The Shaky Knees Music Festival begins this weekend in Atlanta. All week, we’ve heard from artists on the festival’s line-up. We top off the series with a very distinct Southern voice: Tennessee-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Amythyst Kiah. She performs at the festival on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The stocks of the two biggest private prison companies in the nation saw a big boost shortly after President Trump took office. One of those companies is the GEO Group, which currently operates detention facilities in Georgia.

Riverdale Avenue Books

If romance novels aren’t appealing to you, try adding some Southern love and death. That’s the premise behind the new romance anthology, “Gone with the Dead.” It’s inspired by two Atlanta classics: “Gone with the Wind” and “The Walking Dead.” We talked with the anthology's editor Lori Perkins, who is the founder of Riverdale Avenue Books.


Beyoncé’s "Lemonade" album took the nation by storm last year. The album sparked a massive conversation about race issues in this country and last month "Lemonade" was recognized with a Peabody Award from the University of Georgia.

Morton Theatre

In honor of National Historic Preservation Month, we are visiting historic theaters across the state. Our first visit takes us to the Morton Theatre in Athens. It opened in 1910, and it's one of the oldest surviving African-American built, owned, and operated vaudeville theaters in the United States. Theater director Lynn Green shares her memories of the Morton Theatre.

MarkCiz / flickr

Do you get enough sleep? A good night’s rest can depend on lot of things: your dinner, your kids, where you live, and even your race. A new book by Emory University professor Ben Reiss explores how we got so sleep-obsessed, yet sleep-deprived.

leebyrne68 / flickr

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola recently announced it would lay-off 1,200 workers. This comes after similar downturns in recent years.

Whitney Chirdon / On Second Thought

The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news. The panel includes Steve Brown of the Fayette County Board of Commissioners, Natalie Pawelski of Cater Communications, Georgia State University professor Eric Segall, and Kennesaw State University professor Roxanne Donovan.

We talk with singer and songwriter Rhiannon Giddens, who is best known as the lead vocalist with the string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She’s got a new solo album, "Freedom Highway." It tells the stories of oppressed African Americans. We talked with her ahead of a performance at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on Saturday, May 6 at 8 p.m.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

Georgia’s system for deciding parole just changed for the first time in a decade. Last month, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles approved new guidelines for determining if inmates should get out of prison early. One of the changes includes a person’s prior arrest history, rather than just their conviction history.

Charles McNair

Once upon a time, magazines published novels one chapter at a time. Now author Charles McNair is bringing the novel back to bite-sized form in the Atlanta-based magazine, The Bitter Southerner. Each week, he releases another chapter of “The Epicureans.” We asked Charles to take a break from writing and tell us about his creative process.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

A new bill to keep the federal government funded through September does not include cuts to Planned Parenthood.

Shealah Craighead / The White House

President Trump has signed more than 20 executive orders since his January inauguration. Still, many news organizations don’t always seem clear on what an executive order really is, or how it’s different from other documents a president signs. We break down what an executive order means.


We then chatted with University of Houston lecture Michelle Belco, who studies the history of executive orders.

Lucas Theatre for the Arts

All five employees at the historic Lucas Theatre in Savannah were recently fired by the theater's board. There are now questions about the future of the Lucas. The Savannah College of Art and Design acquired the theater in 2002. We talked with Connect Savannah editor-in-chief Jim Morekis, who has been following the story.

Photo courtesy of Cicada Rhythm

Cicadas are expected to return to Georgia this year after a long hiatus. Athens band Cicada Rhythm paid tribute to the raucous insects by naming their band after them. We asked Dave Kirslis to add some favorites to our essential Georgia Playlist.

Wikimedia Commons

Belief and fact don’t always line up. An Emory University class dives into the convoluted world of conspiracy theories, and how they influence American politics. We talked with instructor Felix Harcourt and two of his students: Carolyn Koehnke and Laura Marquez.