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

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

 

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. 

NATE STEINER

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.

JOSEPH SHAPIRO / NPR

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.

TIDAL

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.

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