Sean Powers

Director of Podcasting

Sean Powers is Georgia Public Broadcasting's first director of podcasting. He joined GPB in 2014 as a producer/reporter with On Second Thought, and remained with the program until 2018. For his last four months on the show, he served as acting senior producer.  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 a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, five national PRNDI awards, honors from the Atlanta Press Club, and recognition from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Powers previously developed podcasts for ListenUp Audiobooks in Atlanta. He's also mentored teenage journalists who report for VOX Teen Communications, a magazine in Atlanta.

Ways to Connect

There aren't many African-American males who play lead roles in superhero or Sci-Fi films. 

The U.S. Senate plans to vote this Friday on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Given his record, predictions are that Kavanaugh will shift the court to a conservative majority. That got us wondering about what cases are on the docket for the term that began on Monday. We spoke with Fred Smith, Jr. about cases to watch during the 2018-2019 term. Smith is an associate professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

Next Monday, public schools and state offices across Georgia close to mark Columbus Day. Five states, more than 50 cities and dozens of universities no longer observe the federal holiday. Most instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. After a unanimous vote this summer, South Fulton became the first city in Georgia to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. On Second Thought’s Virginia Prescott spoke with Mayor Pro Tem Mark Baker about the ctiy's new holiday. 

The FBI is currently investigating allegations of sexual assault made against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Tens of millions of Americans watched testimony from Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. Responses to the hearings and the #MeToo Movement make clear sexual violence is something that must be addressed in the public sphere. We spoke with University of Georgia psychology professor Isha Metzger and Sally Sheppard, executive director of The Cottage, a sexual assault center and children's advocacy center. We discussed how we talk about sexual assault in our communities. 


The ongoing debate over so-called religious freedom laws recently surfaced in the Georgia gubernatorial race. Democrat Stacey Abrams told a group in Savannah the law is unnecessary -- and could prevent prospective employers from setting up shop in Georgia. Meanwhile, Republican rival Brian Kemp has pledged to sign a religious protection law. That got us thinking about the nature of laws on Georgia’s books. We learn about some curious and outdated ones.

There are a lot of film and television projects being produced right now in Georgia. We got a rundown of some of what’s in production from Kalena Boller. She works as a location manager in Georgia’s film industry. She also gave us a preview of her upcoming GPB podcast, "The Credits." It focuses on the stories of the people who work behind the scenes.

 

Lee Coursey / flickr

In June, Atlanta’s iconic Hotel Clermont reopened after an extensive renovation, a matter of concern for fans of the dingy strip club in the hotel basement called the Clermont Lounge.

The Man Behind The Predator Mask

Sep 27, 2018
Kimberley French / 20th Century Fox

This month, the movie The Predator came to theaters. In the new remake of the 1987 film, the actor wearing the alien mask is Georgia-native Brian Prince. Brian was a student at SCAD when he plunged into the gravity defying stunts of parkour. He told us how he got involved in the film industry as a stuntman.

Arthur Mola / Invision/AP

There are a lot of film and television projects being produced right now in Georgia. We get a rundown of some of what’s in production from Kalena Boller. She works as a location manager in Georgia’s film industry. She also gives us a preview of her upcoming GPB podcast, "The Credits." It focuses on the stories of the people who work behind the scenes.

 

Elise Amendola / The Associated Press

Pressure is ratcheting up on U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). She’s considered a swing vote in the confirmation of federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Collins’ office has been deluged with calls, threats, and a crowdsourcing campaign to unseat her if she votes for Kavanaugh has raised more than a million dollars. On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott talks with Sen. Collins at the ‘Constitutionally Speaking’ series event at  Saint Anselm College.


CNN

The late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain changed the way a lot of people think and write about food. He traveled the world for his CNN show, Parts Unknown. From Nairobi to Atlanta, he brought us along for the ride. Bourdain took his life in June. On Sunday night, CNN debuted the final season of Parts Unknown. We look back on Bourdain’s legacy in the culinary world. 

GPB

The federal Farm Bill making its way through Congress could dramatically reduce the availability of free school meals. Those meals offer significant help for the nearly 20 percent of Georgia households with children that struggle to afford quality food for their families, according to the Food Research and Action Center. So many students qualify for the free meal program in Macon's Bibb County School District that free breakfast and lunch are available district-wide. To put that in perspective, the district served 18,000 lunches last year alone. 

GPB

The Fair Housing Act is 50 years old this year. Former President Lyndon Johnson implemented this landmark piece of civil rights legislation days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. King often said housing was a key victory in the struggle for African-American equity in the United States. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

During the 1930s, Macon, Georgia was the nation's most redlined city. That term was not used until much later, but the practice -- denying mortgage loans or municipal services that effectively drew a line around areas based on race or income -- was common. Redlining is now illegal, but as GPB's Grant Blankenship reported in 2016, finding affordable housing in Macon -- and many of Georgia's growing cities -- is tough.


GPB

On today's "On Second Thought," we revisited a few of the conversations that have lingered in our minds this week. Jonathan Merritt told us why he stopped having conversations about faith after leaving Georgia behind for New York, and how he is reconceptualizing religious language for a new era. We also heard from filmmaker Stefan Forbes about Lee Atwater and the Southern strategy. On Second Thought's Virginia Prescott also took the show on the road to Athens, Georgia, where she snacked on edible insects with University of Georgia entomologist Marianne Shockley. Need a palate cleanser after that? Virginia visited Atlanta-based Chef Todd Richards for a BLT breakfast sandwich with collard greens. 


GPB

Five years ago, Jonathan Merritt moved from Buford to Brooklyn, New York. Almost immediately, Merritt found he couldn't communicate with the people around him. It was not that they spoke a different language, but rather that Southern Baptist preacher's son — and Emory-educated Master of Divinity — felt unable to have the conversations about faith and spirituality that he had always had in his hometown. Merritt set out to find out if other people in the United States were avoiding conversations about religion. 


GPB

Today, "On Second Thought" took a scan of the state.

We spoke with NPR political reporter Asma Khalid about low voter turnout, and heard from some of the Georgians she met in Houston, Cobb and Hancock counties.

GPB's own Emily Jones also joined from Savannah with a story about alligators in the Okefenokee swamp, and "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott munched on some edible bugs with University of Georgia entomologist Marianne Shockley.

We also caught up with John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance. His new series, "TrueSouth," debuts on SEC Network tonight. Chef Todd Richards also told us about his favorite Southern ingredient: collard greens. 

Sean Powers / GPB

We launched a new "On Second Thought" series on Tuesday called “Main Ingredient” in which a chef tells us about his or her essential Southern ingredient. Host Virginia Prescott heads into the kitchen with Atlanta-based chef and cookbook author, Todd Richards. He shares with us his love for collard greens.

"Bacon, Collard and Fried Egg Sandwich" by Todd Richards

GPB

Is Georgia turning blue? That question came up in 2014 when Jason Carter ran for governor, in 2016 when Hillary Clinton ran for president and in 2017 with Jon Ossoff’s campaign in the most expensive House race in history. Every time, however, Georgia remained a red state where Republicans won. 


Laughing Skull Lounge

For many young people, turning 21 means buying their first legal drink. For On Second Thought intern and aspiring comedian Monique Bandong, it meant finally being able to perform at a 21+ venue. Okay, it also meant her first legal drink. Maybe drinks. "Sorry, Mom," she says.


On Second Thought For Friday, June 22, 2018

Jun 22, 2018
GPB

Georgia has the nation’s third largest rural school population, but less than 30 percent of those students attend a big college or university. Part of the explanation is that students from rural areas are more likely to come from low-income households, and transitioning from a small town to a big city can both be daunting and financially nerve-racking for students thinking about college. We talked to Marjorie Poss, a guidance counselor at Pickens High School, about why students decide to stay close to home and how these fears can be overcome. We also spoke with Hannah Velcoff, a student who made the leap from Dawson County to New York University.


On Second Thought for Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jun 20, 2018
GPB

June is Pride Month. This year, Atlanta’s Pride Committee and the LGBT Institute at the Center for Civil and Human Rights are partnering with the Fox Theatre to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which ignited an equal rights movement in what became the LGBT community. We spoke with Emmy Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes, who’s headlining a comedy show at the Fox in celebration of Pride Month.


June is Pride Month. This year, Atlanta’s Pride Committee and the LGBT Institute at the Center for Civil and Human Rights are partnering with the Fox Theatre to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which ignited an equal rights movement in what became the LGBT community. We spoke with Emmy Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes, who’s headlining a comedy show at the Fox in celebration of Pride Month.


On Second Thought for Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Jun 19, 2018
GPB

The history of Juneteenth goes like this: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But two years later, on June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas finally got the news that they were free. Now Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. However, many people have never heard of the holiday or even celebrate it. Historian and storyteller Lillian Grant Baptiste joined us from Savannah to give the history of Juneteenth and why people should celebrate the holiday.


On Second Thought for Friday, June 15, 2018

Jun 15, 2018
GPB

The United Methodist Children’s Home reports there are more than 15,000 children in Georgia's foster care system — and that number is growing. But because of the increased need, UMCH has to say turn away children in need at least 40 times a week, so it reached out to churches for help. That's how Brett Hillesheim started fostering children. Hillesheim has fostered 18 kids within the past few years, and he now works with UMCH. 


On Second Thought for Thursday, June 14, 2018

Jun 14, 2018
GPB

Flannery O’Connor is regarded by many as Georgia’s greatest fiction writer. Her books are written with dark humor, eccentric characters, and it’s all set in a devout Catholic faith. All of which made her a leading voice in southern gothic literature.

 

 


Mariam Akbar / GPB

Most of America’s history has the experiences of food segregated. Everything differentiated between white and black Americans from: where you shopped, how you ate, what you ate, and the value of certain cuisines. Todd Richards, an Atlanta chef and owner of Richard’s Southern Fried just released his newest book about the ever-changing southern recipes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wikimedia Commons

Flannery O’Connor is regarded by many as Georgia’s greatest fiction writer. Her books are written with dark humor, eccentric characters, and it’s all set in a devout Catholic faith. All of which made her a leading voice in southern gothic literature.

 


On Second Thought for Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Jun 13, 2018
GPB

According the United States Census Bureau, there are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans in America. In order to combat these issues with housing, popular TV shows like “Tiny House Hunters”are looking to create tiny homes as a solution.

  

The Chatham Savannah Authority for Homeless has organized the “Tiny Home Project” in order to fight this growing problem.

 


On Second Thought For Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jun 12, 2018
GPB

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and according to a new report, the number of people who take their own lives has risen substantially since 1999. Per the report, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older took their own lives in 2016. Georgia alone saw a 16 percent increase in suicides from 1999-2016. Emory University professor Nadine Kaslow and Doreen Marshall of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention say more needs to be done to prevent these tragedies.


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