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

Billy Howard

Atlanta is the fifth-highest metro area for new HIV diagnoses, according to federal dataA collection at Emory University sheds light on the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s by showcasing photos by Atlanta photographer Billy Howard.

WALB-TV

According to a recent lawsuit, hundreds of students at Worth County High School in Sylvester, Georgia were the subject of a humiliating pat-down by local sheriff's deputies. The case raises questions about privacy on school campuses.

First, according to a recent lawsuit, hundreds of students at Worth County High School in Sylvester, Georgia were the subject of a humiliating pat-down by local sheriff's deputies. The case raises questions about privacy on school campuses. We speak with Robyn McDougle of the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute.

First, walking might be good for your health, but maybe not so good for your safety. Last year, 236 pedestrians were killed in Georgia. That’s a 40 percent increase in just two years. We discuss this with Sally Flocks, President and CEO of PEDS, which advocates for pedestrian safety in Georgia.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

President Trump has accused the news media of not covering terrorist attacks adequately. New research from Georgia State University shows the president is partially right. Researchers find there is a systematic bias in the way terrorism is covered, and an attacker’s identity can have an impact on coverage.

First, retail stores are disappearing, but the economy’s not the bad guy. Rising pressure from online shopping is causing brick and mortar stores to file for bankruptcy at a record pace in 2017. We’ll talk about how this retail downturn is affecting Georgia with Amy Wenk, reporter for The Atlanta Business Chronicle, and John Brown, Associate Professor of Economics at Georgia Southern University.

On Set In Georgia

Jun 21, 2017
Chuck Zlotnick / Columbia Pictures

From the next installments of the Avengers series to a new Godzilla flick, there are a lot of major productions currently filming in Georgia. Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Jennifer Brett gave us an update about the latest blockbusters in the state.

First, June 20 is World Refugee Day. The town of Clarkston, Georgia, is home to a large refugee population. It’s been called the Ellis Island of the South. We talked with Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry about how executive orders may impact the refugee community there. Then, two refugee friends from Syria share their stories. One of them arrived in Georgia right after 9/11, but before the Syrian civil war. The other is a young child, who came to the state last year. Besides calling Syria their birthplace, they share an even greater bond.

Jae C. Hong / The Associated Press

It’s been a year and a half since a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. The two attackers were killed after they gunned down 14 people. Georgia native Shannon Johnson, a graduate of Macon’s Windsor Academy, was one of them.

Up first, when you go into a hair salon or a cosmetics store, how much do you know about the products used on your skin or your hair? A recent study says there are dangerous chemicals in some of these products, particularly those marketed to black women. That study comes from the non-profit Environmental Working Group. Nneka Leiba is the group’s Deputy Director of Research.  She joins us with journalist A'Lelia Bundles and Atlanta hair stylist Latasha Gray.

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The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news.

One year ago, Atlanta-based Rapper Gucci Mane was released from prison. Since his release, he has been reinventing himself. He headlines a concert this weekend in Atlanta. We speak with Georgia-based hip-hop artist Makonnen and hip-hop scholar Regina Bradley about Gucci Mane’s influence on hip-hop in the South. Then, NPR Music hip-hop reporter Rodney Carmichael reviews Gucci Mane’s latest album, "Droptopwop."

Wikimedia Commons

Atlanta-based rapper Gucci Mane got out of prison last year. A month later, he released a new album and headlined at the Fox Theatre.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

The whole Georgia voting process has come under scrutiny in recent years. The Daily Yonder, a news website, compared investigations into voting violations in rural and urban areas of the state. We talked with reporter Tim Marema, who found rural voters undergo a disproportionate share of state elections boards investigations.

As the race for a single congressional district draws national attention, we take an hour to examine Georgia’s changing electorate.

First, Cobb County is the last metro county in Georgia with a white majority. But it’s expected to become "majority minority"—more than 50 percent non-white residents—in the next four years. Politically, the reliably Republican county is shifting to largely Democratic, and may flip in the upcoming 6th Congressional District election. We talk about the changing electorate in Cobb with Andra Gillespie, Political Science Professor at Emory University.

Physics Tutor / flickr

More than six decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling. For the first time in history, it was illegal for states to have separate public schools for black and white students. However, many public schools in the South have actually re-segregated in the years since Brown v. Board, according to a recent report from Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Most clowns are cheerful, right? Well, one clown in Atlanta is awfully sad. Puddles the Clown is a persona created by Atlanta-based singer and bandleader Mike Geier. Puddles is currently a contestant on FOX’s "America’s Got Talent." He won over all the judges. We asked Geir to tell us how he met Puddles, and to take a step away from his friend by adding his picks to our Georgia Playlist. 

A recent study finds Atlanta lags behind nearly every large city in the country when it comes to preserving historic architecture. A 1922 building in Vine City was recently slated for teardown, only to be partially saved as a YMCA center. We talk about Atlanta’s flimsy historic preservation record with Sheffield Hale, President of the Atlanta History Center; and Mtamanika Youngblood, President of Sweet Auburn Works.

Talia Crews / flickr

Lead was banned from plumbing decades ago, but as the crisis in Flint, Michigan shows, lead contamination lasts a long time. A new investigation into Georgia’s water systems finds they are not immune from lead contamination. We talked about the story with reporters Andy Miller of Georgia Health News and Brenda Goodman of WebMD.

TheClubTI / flickr

We talked with comedian Caroline Rhea, best known for her role on the ABC television show, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." Rhea is performing June 9 and 10 at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Here in the South, we know our food is delicious, and even the region's young chefs are celebrated. Jasmine Stewart, 12, of Milton, Georgia took first place in FOX’s latest MasterChef Junior competition. We joined Jasmine and her proud family in their kitchen.

 

Ars Lyrica Houston / flickr

Opera singer Jamie Barton of Rome, Georgia adds two more songs to our essential Georgia Playlist, a collection of songs by the state’s most beloved musical artists. She chose works by Michael Daves and Roland Hayes.

 

Sean Powers / Christian Boone

A Georgia lawsuit alleges the Boy Scouts of America covered up sexual abuse for years. The plaintiffs are two former Boy Scouts, each allegedly abused by the same scoutmaster. The Northeast Georgia Boy Scout Council, two Athens churches, and the estate of the former scoutmaster are also named in the suit.

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Last month, the Atlanta City Council approved an ambitious goal: to rely solely on renewable energy by 2035. Another city that’s taken the lead with renewables is Las Vegas. The city recently met its goal for all city services to completely rely on renewable energy like wind and solar.

emily blincoe / flickr

The Georgia Peach might well be the most iconic symbol of Georgia, but this year’s crop is suffering with losses in the range of 80 percent after a late spring freeze. It turns out the peach started out as a rarity, and is not native to our agricultural climate. We revisited a conversation with Kennesaw State University professor Tom Okie, entomologist Dan Horton, and Georgia peach farmer Al Pearson.

One thing that marks the post-civil rights years is the rise of hip hop in Atlanta. DJ Jelly had a front row seat as Atlanta became a hip hop hub. He’s been playing tracks here since 1990. We asked him to contribute to our occasional series Georgia Playlist. He chose songs by Kilo and Sammy Sam.

The Civil Rights Movement in the South is well-documented. But one author says what happened next can use more explanation. Regina Bradley is author of “Boondock Kollage: Stories from the Hip Hop South.” It offers 12 short stories chronicling Southern life in the post-civil rights era.

The late singer Gregg Allman inspired many musicians like rapper Killer Mike, Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls, and Mike Mills of REM, to name just a famous few. They shared their favorite songs by the Allman Brothers Band.

 

 Killer Mike - "Whipping Post"

Gregg Allman

We celebrate the life and legacy of Georgia singer and songwriter Gregg Allman, who died over the weekend. Allman revolutionized rock and roll in the South. He spoke with "On Second Thought" host Celeste Headlee in 2015 shortly before he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Allman explained how he got his start singing with The Allman Brothers Band and what Macon means to him. He also revealed the origins of the song “Melissa,” and he took a stand for artists who struggle to make a living.

Cindy Hill / GPB News

All this month, we visit historic theaters in our state, to mark National Historic Preservation Month. Our series finale is a visit to Brunswick’s Ritz Theatre. The theater opened in 1899 as a grand opera house and began showing movies in the 1920s. It has been a part of life for many in coastal Georgia — like Gwen Mayberry and her grandson, Daniel.

 

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