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

We dedicate an entire show to the Southern drawl. Y’all listen up now…

Where did y’all come from, anyway? We can trace the use of the word all the way back to colonial ancestors. Cameron Hunt McNabb, an English professor at Southeastern University, gives us a history and dialect lesson. Plus, The Atlantic staff writer Vann Newkirk II makes the case for why y'all is needed.

U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct by five women. Many high ranking Republicans have called on him to drop out of the race. But one state poll says Moore enjoys support by many Alabama evangelicals. This could be part of a bigger picture. In 2011, the Public Religion Research Institute found only 30 percent of white evangelicals thought elected officials who commit an immoral act could still fulfill their public duties. In 2016, that number had more than doubled, to 72 percent. We talk with Dan Cox,  Director of Research for PRRI.

ATRIA BOOKS

Chilean-American novelist Isabel Allende has written a lot about the immigrant experience. Allende is a former journalist who fled Chile after the 1973 assassination of her uncle, who was that country’s president. She’s in Atlanta on Thursday, November 16, to promote her latest book, "In the Midst of Winter." She's speaking at the Atlanta History Center.

Good news: breast cancer death rates dropped by nearly 40 percent in the last three decades. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosis for U.S. women. Skin cancer’s first. But there is bad news. Black women continue to die at a higher rate than whites, especially in the South. But some states have eliminated the racial disparity in breast cancer deaths. These are recent findings by the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society. Carol DeSantis is Director of Breast and Gynecological Surveillance for the organization, and our guest.

This summer, 27 so-called micronations gathered in Dunwoody, Georgia for MicroCon 2017. A micronation is defined as a small, self-proclaimed entity which claims to be an independent sovereign state, but is not acknowledged as such by any recognized sovereign state, or by any supranational organization. Vice News produced a documentary from the convention, which featured many micronations based within Georgia. We get the inside scoop from Vice Media Video Producer Oliver Noble.

A new book explores why so many young men of color wind up in prison. “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America” is the work of Yale Law School Professor James Forman, Jr. His father was a leader of SNCC -- the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Forman, Jr. is also a graduate of Atlanta’s Roosevelt High. He joins us in the studio.

Wikimedia Commons

Finding your true calling can take years, even decades. Children’s book author Christopher Paul Curtis found his calling in his 40s. After spending more than a decade working at a Detroit car factory, he began writing young adult fiction about the African-American experience. He was the first American man to win the Newbery Medal literary prize. 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.'s iconic album, "Automatic for the People." We asked R.E.M mega-fan and Athens-based music reviewer Jordan Stepp to share an appreciation of the album. She talked about two of her favorite tracks: "Drive" and "Sweetness Follows." 

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has appeared in “That 70s Show,” “Fargo,” “Bob’s Burgers,” and many times on “Law and Order.” But he may be best known for his stand-up comedy specials, and two seasons of "The Jim Gaffigan Show." We catch up with him ahead of a live show in Atlanta this weekend.

jufchicago / flickr

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has appeared in "That '70s Show," "Fargo," "Bob’s Burgers," and, of course, "Law and Order." However, he may be best known for his stand up specials, and two seasons of "The Jim Gaffigan Show." Gaffigan is in Atlanta this weekend for a live show. He told us there is an argument for comedians not to talk about the news.

 

On Tuesday Atlantans voted for a new mayor and other important city positions. We analyze election day results with Andra Gillespie, Professor of Political Science at Emory University. And Greg Bluestein, Political Reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Veterans Day is this weekend. We meet a veteran named Bradley Field, who works in the film industry. Among his credits: "Detroit," "Suicide Squad," and "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice." On Second Thought regular Kalena Boller caught up with Bradley just after production wrapped in Atlanta on "Den of Thieves," which is out next year.

Three former sheriff’s deputies in Washington County, Georgia face murder charges. A man they tased this summer died. The incident was captured on video. We talk with GPB’s Grant Blankenship, who is following the case.

Many of Georgia’s historic theaters need repairs. This month, the Atlanta-based Fox Theatre Institute gave $85,000, shared by four theaters, for historic preservation. One recipient is Rome’s DeSoto Theatre. We learn about that theater’s legacy from Rome resident Tommy Lam, whose grandfather started the DeSoto.

HISTORIC DESOTO THEATRE FOUNDATION

Many of Georgia’s historic theaters need repairs. This month, the Atlanta-based Fox Theatre Institute gave $85,000, shared by four theaters, for historic preservation. One recipient is Rome’s DeSoto Theatre. We learn about that theater’s legacy from Rome resident Tommy Lam, whose grandfather started the DeSoto.

Three former sheriff’s deputies in Washington County, Georgia face murder charges. A man they tased this summer died. The incident was captured on video. We talked with GPB’s Grant Blankenship, who is following the case.

 

  

HBO

This weekend, the popular HBO show "Vice Principals" ends after two seasons. The show revolves around a high school vice principal named Neal Gamby, who is played by Statesboro, Georgia native Danny McBride. He’s also a co-creator of the series. McBride joined us to talk about the show’s success and filming in the South.

Democrats lost big in 2016. But this year, progressive candidates in the South begin to win state and local races. Birmingham, Alabama recently joined the list of Southeastern cities electing left-leaning, African-American candidates. Senator Bernie Sanders personally endorsed Birmingham’s new Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin. Woodfin beat a two-term Democratic incumbent in a runoff election last month. We talk with Woodfin about his campaign, and his plans for Birmingham.

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Tuesday, November 7, Atlanta voters will pick a new mayor. With nine candidates vying for office, campaign fundraising and robocalls have played a major role in the race. That’s been a hot-button issue as the feds investigate pay-to-play contracts at city hall. 

Next Tuesday, Atlanta voters will pick a new mayor. With nine candidates vying for office, campaign fundraising and robocalls have played a major role in the race. That’s been a hot-button issue as the feds investigate pay-to-play contracts at city hall.  A joint investigation by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Georgia News Lab examines the flow of money from city contractors to the campaigns. We talk with AJC reporter Dan Klepal and Georgia News Lab reporter Ryan Basden.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

In the wake of this week’s terror attack in New York, President Trump wants to kill the Diversity Visa Lottery, a program that issues about 50,000 visas a year to countries with low immigration rates to the U.S.

Atlanta is among many American cities making an aggressive bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. The Georgia city of Stonecrest even offered to de-annex some land and name it Amazon. The company’s first HQ is in Seattle, Washington. And Seattle has some wisdom to share with other cities who might want to attract the retail giant. A new podcast is called “Prime(d): What Happens When Amazon Comes to Your Town?” It’s produced by KUOW, Puget Sound Public Radio. Reporter Joshua McNichols joins us.

VICE

Militias are named in the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. Many of the groups bearing that name today self-identify as members of the alt-right movement. Filmmaker James Burns spent time embedded with a Georgia militia for a VICE.com documentary. We talked with him about the rise of right-wing militias.

The terms “alt-right,” “far-right,” and “radical right” get thrown around a lot these days. But there’s actually very little research on what those terms mean and who the people are identifying with them. Cas Mudde, Professor in the Department of International Affairs at UGA, is looking to change that. His new book is “The Far-Right in America.” He joins us to analyze the movement and its many subsets.

KEVIN BAGGOTT / flickr

The longer a building has been around, the more likely people will say that it’s haunted. The Fox Theatre in Atlanta opened in 1929 and some say a few of the millions who’ve passed through those doors still remain. The theater hosts ghost tours this time of year. On Second Thought producer Sean Powers wanted to learn about the spirits that refuse to leave...even after the curtain comes down.

 

An interview with former Fox Theatre organist Bob Van Camp, whose ashes are stored in the theater auditorium:

Sara Wise

Jeffrey Kilpatrick, a lecturer at the University of Georgia, has a new collection of scary stories that take place in Athens.This collection is called “Hometown Horrors, Terrifying Tales of Athens: Volume 1: Bloody Boulevard.” One of these terrifying tales revolves around two University of Georgia students who want to learn more about a cult in town called the Inner Circle.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

We’re in Halloween mode with some uncanny tales, but not every story is scary. David Hirt is a professional storyteller. This month, he shared Southern Ghost stories at the Art Station Theatre in Stone Mountain. We asked him to share a spooky story.

 

 

A full hour of tricks and treats and from the On Second Thought crew.

 

Georgia native Karin Slaughter has written several international bestsellers and they are not for the faint of heart. These are complicated, tough, and realistic thrillers. Her latest is “The Good Daughter.”  It’s about a terrifying event that rips apart a family and the small town where they live. We spoke with Karin Slaughter about revealing the dark side of Georgia’s small town life.

An Atlanta attorney accused of murder says it was a tragic accident.  The prosecutor says Tex McIver knew what he was doing when he shot his wife, Diane McIver. The case is explored in this season’s “Breakdown” podcast, produced by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It premiered earlier this month. AJC reporter Bill Rankin joins us in the studio.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The On Second Thought team loves Halloween, and loves visiting spooky spots. In 2015, producer Sean Powers went to the House on Horror Hill in Alpharetta to see what spirits are moving in the night.

 

 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An Atlanta attorney accused of murder says it was a tragic accident. The prosecutor says Tex McIver knew what he was doing when he shot his wife, Diane McIver. The case is explored in this season’s “Breakdown” podcast, produced by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. AJC reporter Bill Rankin, who co-hosts the podcast, talked about the case.

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