Jake Troyer

Producer, On Second Thought

Jake is a producer for On Second Thought.

Though born in New Hampshire, Jake is proud to have grown up in the great state of Georgia.

Jake joined the team at GPB after earning his Bachelor's in Computer Science and his Master's in Emerging Media from the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs!

Jake fell in love with audio storytelling from a young age, being raised on radio plays and audiobooks, which later turned to podcasts and public radio. He hopes to use this love of audio to amplify the wide range of stories in the Peach State.

Ways to Connect

While segments of Georgia’s economy have re-opened, last week Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton extended the judicial emergency for the state’s courts until June 12. Some court procedures have been held on Zoom since shelter-in-place orders began in mid-March.

On Second Thought explored the impact of coronavirus on the courts — as well as the implications for the pending case on the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery.

Compared to the lockdowns and shuttered businesses in countries across the world, Sweden is an outlier. Swedish officials have advised citizens to work from home and avoid travel, but most schools and businesses have remained open. This relaxed approach aims to minimize impact on the economy, and slow the spread of the virus through what is known as “herd immunity.”

Now, as the U.S. weighs further spreading the disease against the impact of a tanked economy, some Americans — particularly conservatives — are looking toward Sweden’s model as an option. On Second Thought unpacks the merits, risks and strategy behind Sweden’s approach, and what has become a political talking point here in the U.S.

Artists and arts organizations were quick to adapt to coronavirus. Museum tours, operas, Broadway shows, author talks, home concerts and classes for kids sprung up online shortly after closures were announced.

But as the dust begins to settle on our new normal, many worry about the long-term economic impact and outlook for the artists, performers and independent organizations essential to the cultural ecosystem.  Doug Shipman, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, joined On Second Thought to talk about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the arts world now – economically, culturally, and artistically – and how that might change as things open back up.

Bill Pierce / Cover Courtesy of Algonquin Books

“The Squad” gets a lot of media attention, but they are just one part of the record number of women elected to Congress in 2018. 


In fact, it was the most diverse freshman class ever elected: the first Muslim women representatives ever, the first Native women, the first two Latina members from Texas, two black women from New England, and the two youngest members ever elected to the House of Representatives. 



For many lucky enough to still have a job, getting dressed and made-up is a vestige of normalcy in a world that feels upended. For others, gray roots, shaggy beards and chipped nails are the last thing to worry about. But what has this unprecedented period behind closed doors revealed about our self-care and priorities? And what will happen to the beauty market when it’s all over?

On Second Thought explores these questions, which are particularly pertinent now that Gov. Brian Kemp has given the green light for barbershops and hair and nail salons to re-open.

The closure of schools, restaurants and hotels has wreaked havoc on the nation’s food culture, from one end of the supply chain to the other. Jon Jackson, founder of Comfort Farms in Milledgeville, joined On Second Thought to share what they’re dealing with, as well as how he got into farming in the first place. We also learn about StagVets, of which he’s executive director, and how it helps veterans dealing with PTSD.

Blaire Johnson

Until she was in her 30s, Vivian Howard was ashamed of being from rural North Carolina, and the food she grew up eating felt embarrassing.

Thankfully, a number of influential cooks, critics and restaurants ushered in a revival of Southern food — and Howard is among them. She’s a chef, restaurateur, writer and Peabody award-winning television host. Her new series, Somewhere South, began last month on PBS. Each of the six episodes explores a single dish, and how those foods reflect the history, evolution and people of the region.

In medical situations, it weighs heavily on doctors and nurses when they are unable to save a life. So, what happens when the decision is not what treatment to give, but who gets treatment at all?


Associate Director of the Emory University Center for Ethics and Director of the Center's Program in Health Sciences and Ethics Kathy Kinlaw and Assistant Professor of Bioethics at New York University’s Langone Health Brendan Parent explain the ethical considerations of triage decisions — and the emotional impact they can have on medical staff.


Jerrelle Guy

One of the ways that people are coping with coronavirus anxiety is by baking. Maybe you're noticing friends whom you never thought of as "bakers" posting photos of homemade goodies with hashtages like #QuarantineCookies and #IsolationLoaves.

Over the past three weeks, flour, yeast, sugar and eggs have been flying off supermarket shelves like so many rolls of toilet paper.

One of the ways that people are coping with coronavirus anxiety is by baking. That’s not a surprise to resident chef for NPR’s Here & Now Kathy Gunst, perhaps because she and former Food Network executive Katherine Alford wrote about the power of baking to process emotions in their new cookbook, Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury and Women’s Voices. On Second Thought spoke with Gunst to talk about the resurgence of baking in a world that is now so dramatically different.

Amy Harris/Invision / AP

In mid-March — just as sporting events were scrapped, music and book festivals were canceled, and the Olympics were postponed — the Georgia-based folk band Indigo Girls were one of just a handful of popular artists who began streaming live performance online.

Emily Saliers and Amy Ray, the duo behind the band, brought in around 70,000 viewers for that concert, which was streamed on Facebook and Instagram live.

The uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic can be even more complex, or downright dangerous, for both victims and survivors of domestic abuse. We’ll learn about the specific challenges for this vulnerable population — and how these victims and survivors may even struggle to get their piece of the stimulus bill.

Georgia band Indigo Girls have built a diehard community of listeners through decades of songs that touch on the joys and pains of living in the world. They were among the first to stream a live concert when social distancing restrictions were first announced. On Second Thought checks in with this pair of Georgia music legends to hear about how they're experiencing this unprecedented moment.

While online scams are always a danger, malware attacks and phishing schemes have found a new opportunity with coronavirus. Millions of Americans are now working and learning from home, without the protections — or IT help — found in most offices and schools. And in some countries, the virus has upped the ante on government surveillance of online activity. Alfred Ng, senior reporter at CNET News, and Brendan Saltaformaggio, assistant professor at Georgia Tech, talk about the concerns around data privacy and security that have developed alongside the coronavirus pandemic. 



As the United States tries to slow the spread of coronavirus, social distancing has become the new normal. Millions of Americans are shuttering indoors and spending more time behind screens — and the memes have flourished. Tweets, TikToks, and more viral content have picked up on major themes of the coronavirus pandemic, like the importance of washing your hands, the scarcity of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, and how boring quarantine can be. Dr. Andre Brock, Associate Professor at Georgia Tech studying digital culture, and Emma Grey Ellis, staff writer at Wired magazine who specializes in internet culture and propaganda, joined On Second Thought to talk about what online meme culture reveals about how we're processing anxiety during this unprecedented pandemic.



Response to the coronavirus pandemic has led to travel restrictions, canceled music festivals, school closures, consumer panic for basic needs like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and mayhem in stock markets across the world. The spiraling fears and slow access to tests for the virus in the U.S. have exposed weak points in government and healthcare systems, as well as the social fabric upon which we rely — especially for those most vulnerable. Dr. Keren Landman, a doctor, epidemiologist, and journalist, and Dr. Carlos del Rio, Chair of the Department of Global Health at Emory University, discuss how inequities in these systems play into the risks and outcomes of a global pandemic.



With his books The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake, best-selling author Erik Larson established a gift for bringing historic events to life, in almost cinematic detail. And his latest book, The Splendid and the Vile, continues in that tradition. From early September of 1940 until the following May, German planes bombed London and other British cities almost nightly to devastating effect. The book adds dimension and behind-the-scenes details to how newly-named Prime Minister Winston Churchill modeled courage and leadership during the London Blitz. At the end of February, On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott interviewed Larson onstage at The Carter Presidential Library. We hear that conversation and learn how Churchill guided the U.K. through the conflict — and stirred Britons through proud resistance and resilience.


While few operas were written in English, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess is one of the most celebrated — and perhaps the most controversial. Criticism of the opera's representation of black culture and dialect have followed the 1935 libretto for decades. As the Atlanta Opera prepares to present a production of Gershwin’s famous opera in early March, On Second Thought caught up with Morris Robinson, the singer playing Porgy in the upcoming production, and Dr. Naomi André, professor at the University of Michigan, to learn more about the classic music, story, and dilemmas presented by the Porgy and Bess.

“All I have are my words,” shares Nikki Giovanni, a 77-year-old poet and professor at Virginia Tech. She has published nearly 30 collections of poetry, anthologies, children’s books and essays. During the 60s and 70s, she helped pioneer the Black Arts movement and she has been credited as an influence by hip-hop artists. On Saturday at 4 p.m., she is giving a free reading at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. Before her reading, she reflects on how she views her many accomplishments at her age. 


The documentary Always In Season gives an honest look into the history of racism and lynching in the United States and connects it to the racial climate and justice of the present. The film makes its television premiere on PBS’ Independent Lens on Monday, Feb. 24. Director Jacqueline Olive talks about her documentary and her engagement with the film — and discussions across racial lines — with viewers in communities across the country. 

Visiting a cemetery on Valentine’s Day may seem like an unconventional way to share your love with your sweetheart. But with over 70,000 residents at Oakland Cemetery, there are a lot of love tales to unearth — which are the subject of a walking tour this weekend. Education Manager Marcy Breffle shared some of the most heartwarming love tales. 

Photo by Gene Schiavone

"Heart/Beat: Gospel, Brubeck and Rhythms of the City" is currently running at the Atlanta Ballet until Feb. 15.

The performance is in three movements. The first, "Elemental Brubeck," is choreographed by Lar Lubovitch, to music by Dave Brubeck. Then, "Tuplet" is the jazz-inflected bustle of the city, with choreography by Alexander Ekman.

Carol Chu

The Oscars nominations were announced this year with no women nominated for Best Director, the hashtag #OscarsSoMale began trending online. In the past 92 years, only five women have ever been nominated in the category.

For some, this outrage is nothing new. In a TED Talk that went viral, Atlanta-based actress, writer and producer Naomi McDougall Jones proposed that nothing short of a revolution would break the predominantly male hold on power in the film industry.

With news of the new coronavirus circulating around the world, there’s also been another viral threat: misinformation. TIME reporter Jasmine Aguilera and Dr. Marybeth Sexton, an assistant professor at the Division for Infectious Diseases at Emory University, discuss the rumors and misconceptions behind this new health epidemic.


Photo by James Patterson / Book Cover Courtesy of Simon and Schuster

On June 12, 1963, President John Kennedy delivered his report to the American people on civil rights. Hours after his nationally televised speech, NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers was shot in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi home. He was pronounced dead an hour later.

Accused killer Byron De La Beckwith was twice tried by all-white juries, which deadlocked. Nearly 30 years later, a reporter for Jackson's Clarion-Ledger newspaper unearthed documents and holes in the defense that led to re-trying and convicting the white supremacist behind Evers' killing.

Georgia is one of four states that does not have a law specifying penalties for hate crimes. Last year, State Representative Chuck Efstration, a Republican from Dacula, introduced a new hate crimes bill. It passed in the Georgia House last March and, in 2020, it is up for debate in the state’s Senate. We spoke with a reporter from ProPublica, Rachel Glickhouse, who worked on the publication’s “Documenting Hate” series, to learn more about how these laws work and what this bill, if passed, could mean for Georgia’s legal landscape. 

Dey Street Books

Marriage can be tricky. That’s why Joseph “Rev Run” and Justine Simmons wrote a book about their successful union.

The story begins in New York, where the couple met. That was at a Long Island roller skate rink in 1982. Joseph Simmons was then known as DJ Run — of the famed “new school” rap group, Run D.M.C.


Last week, federal agents arrested seven suspected members of the white supremacist group “The Base.” Among the suspects, three men from North Georgia — Dacula, Dalton and Silver Creek — were allegedly planning to kill a Bartow County couple and preparing for a race war.

The arrests expose a new front in violent extremism. Law enforcement is adapting to new domestic terrorist methods, and they consider small clusters of cells united by a larger group or ideology to be an expanding threat.

Pitbulls: they’re the dog that “America loves to hate,” and Jason Flatt is devoted to saving them. We learn how tragedy and depression transformed Flatt, and how a puppy saved his life. Now, he spends his time saving the most neglected — and least wanted — dogs that come across his foundation, Friends to the Forlorn.

For the last five years, we’ve heard cries of “fake news” from media critics on both sides of the political aisle. This year, Emory University offered first-year students the opportunity to enroll in a course about fake news. It’s one of Emory’s “evidence-focused seminars” intended to prepare students for college-level research. We speak to Dr. Judith Miller, who teaches the course, and Natalia Thomas, one of the students who took the class last semester.

It made headlines when Queen Elizabeth II agreed to grant Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle their wish for a more independent life, allowing them to move part-time to Canada while remaining firmly in the House of Windsor. We speak with Emory history professor Dr. Patrick Allit and CNN senior writer Lisa Respers France to analyze the historical context and current implications of their move to this side of the pond.

(Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool Photo via AP)

There is a lot of important news going on. Yet, this last week so many headlines were dominated by the news in Britain — not about Brexit, but “Megxit.”  More accurately, the response to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s surprise decision to step back from their duties as “senior” royals.

The move has revealed a range of opinions about monarchy, race, class and media — not just in Britain, but also here in the U.S.

Rock n’ Roll hits the page in Ian Port’s The Birth of Loud. Hear him tone it down to speaking volume when he stops by On Second Thought.