Virginia Prescott

Host, On Second Thought

Virginia Prescott is the Gracie Award-winning host of On Second Thought for Georgia Public Broadcasting. Before joining GPB, she was host of Word of Mouth, Writers on A New England Stage and the I-Tunes Top Ten Podcasts Civics 101 and The 10-Minute Writers Workshop on New Hampshire Public Radio. Prior to joining NHPR, she was editor, producer, and director on NPR programs On Point and Here & Now, and Director of Interactive media for New York Public Radio.

Throughout her radio career, Virginia has worked to build sustainable independent radio in the developing world and has trained journalists in post-conflict zones from Sierra Leone to the Balkans. She was a member of the Peabody Award-winning production team for Jazz from Lincoln Center with Ed Bradley and the recipient of a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University.

Virginia loves working as a radio and podcast host, but regrets that so many good outfits go unnoticed.

Mark Morin

Drag has gone mainstream. Drag queen story hours are popping up in libraries across the country, RuPaul’s Drag Race just won an Emmy, and so did actor Billy Porter for his role in the drag-drama, Pose.

But one group from Atlanta aims to keep drag’s edge. Their most recent event, SUCKAPUNCH! Drag Wrestling, involed performers dressing up in drag and facing off in well-choreographed smackdowns.

Frank Reiss and Emmy Carmichael from A Cappella Books in Atlanta stopped by On Second Thought to share their recommendations for our Southern Reading List. It's our series of authors and readers sharing books that define and reflect the South.


Boudleaux and Felice Bryant had a deep impact in Nashville, with notable hits like "Bye Bye Love" and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” Their music has been recorded by artists like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton and Simon & Garfunkel.

The hit-making couple is the subject of a new exhibit at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn.

If music is a universal language, then OneBeat has diplomacy down. It’s a group of 25 emerging musicians from around the world who collaborate on writing, producing and performing original music. They also tour select cities. A few of the members, Farid Ghannam, a singer, Ming Qi, a synthesist, Rodney Barretto, a percussionist and Free Feral, a string player and composer, stopped by the studio to talk to On Second Thought.

AJ Mast / AP

Hispanic Heritage Month is a federally designated event that runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. It’s a time to celebrate how people with roots in Spanish-speaking countries add to the complex narrative of the American story.  

Hispanic food, fashion, architecture and art – as well as the Spanish language itself – have become essential elements in the American mix. Sometimes those contributions make a pop-culture splash. The song "Despacito" tied Billboard’s record for most weeks at the top spot after Justin Bieber remixed Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s reggaeton hit. Other contributions come  from teachers, doctors and families whose contributions grab less attention than athletes and movie stars.

Through her work as a rural physician, Dr. Keisha Callins addresses the bigger picture of maternal mortality in Georgia. 

Serving as the only OB-GYN for the 16 health clinics in the community heath care systems in Georgia, Callins believes in taking an holistic approach to women’s health. She says that maternal health care is often too narrowly focused on pregnancy and needs a broader scope on overall health.

The Morehouse School of Medicine had planned to use a $500,000 grant from The Department of Community Health to create The Center for Excellence on Maternal Mortality. The grant now stands to be eliminated as a part of state-wide budget cuts ordered by Governor Kemp. 

Dr. Natalie Hernandez is an assistant professor at Morehouse School of Medicine. She spoke with Morning Edition host Leah Fleming.

Antonio Johnson

The theory known as "The Third Space" claims that, for more open and creative interaction in communities, you need neutral places outside of work and home like churches, cafes and parks.

In many traditionally black neighborhoods, that third space is the barber shop. Photographer Antonio Johnson has been documenting these anchors of community across the country in his project, You Next.

For more than a century, Georgia cotton farmers helped grow the American economy and the garment industry. The clothing industry has evolved many times over since then — now, it’s easy to pop into a store and walk out with a $5 t-shirt, most likely synthetic and made outside of Georgia and even the United States.

But after decades of increasingly cheap, “fast” fashion, there are signs of change. Sustainable fashion was featured on some catwalks for Spring 2020 collections, and fast fashion giant Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy earlier this week. A growing consumer movement is re-evaluating the social and environmental impacts of the global clothing trade.

The host of On Second Thought, Virginia Prescott, is hitting the road for a string of exciting events and intriguing interviews that you won't want to miss.

Anotonio Johnson is a photographer and among the contributors for Pop-Up Zine Atlanta.  Johnson's project, You Next, aims to capture the sense of community and transformative power of the black barbershop across America.

An estimated 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age each day. By 2030, one in five Americans will be a senior citizen. Yet fewer are retiring when turning 65, and, for many, traditional retirement is not financially feasible or desired.

Ina Jaffe is a veteran correspondent for NPR covering aging in America. Her new series tackles the new realities of work and retirement for older Americans, sharing the personal stories of Americans faced with tough choices.

The birding community tends toward the older, white, and wealthier demographic. But that hasn’t stopped the young, Black, and gifted Jason Ward from keeping his eyes to the sky.

Ward hosts the YouTube series, “Birds of North America” and is an apprentice with the Atlanta Audubon Society. He’s spreading his passion for birding far and wide — and particularly to communities of color.

The challenge of finding the right balance of independence and attentive care for long-term senior living can be challenging – even gut-wrenching – for families. And when it comes to private pay senior care, costs can be incredibly expensive.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigative reporter Carrie Teegardin has spent a year looking for what families won’t see on tours of more than 400 private pay senior care facilities in Georgia.  Her investigation found hundreds of safety violations, incidents of physical abuse, and assaults to dignity that often go unreported.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigative series has uncovered a chilling reality at some senior care facilities. Get the story from the AJC reporter, Carrie Teegardin.

Erika Davidson / AP

The world mourns a Georgia-born music giant today. Jessye Norman, the renowned opera star, passed on Sept. 30, 2019 at the age of 74.

Norman was born in Augusta in 1945 and grew up in the segregated South. In her memoir, Stand Up Straight and Sing!, she remembers listening to opera on the radio as a child.

Rachel Wilson / Safe Havens International Staff

In the past few days, both U.S. senators from Georgia have announced legislation aimed at curbing mass violence.

Outgoing Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson is splitting with some members of his party. His bill would give the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ongoing funding to research mass shootings.  That’s despite a provision to stop such funding passed by congress in the 1990s under the strong influence of the National Rifle Association.

Meanwhile, Sen. David Perdue is teaming up with his Democratic colleague, Doug Jones of Alabama on a bill called “The School Safety Clearinghouse Act” which would fund a federal information hub.

Ben Mathewson

Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist David Sánchez hails from Puerto Rico, but, these days, he calls Atlanta home. Schooled in jazz by the legends, Sánchez is now schooling others as an artist-in-residence at Georgia State University. Tune in for a sample of his new record, Carib a project about exploring the music of the African Diaspora, beginning in the Caribbean.

Senator David Perdue has a new plan to create a clearinghouse of information to help schools enhance security, and Senator Isakson has a new bill that would fund research of mass violence at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Join the director of Georgia State University’s Center for School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management, Kristen Varjas, and Executive Director of Safe Havens International, Michael Dorn, for a discussion of the plans and the issues that surround them.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Two legendary rock musicians and an innovative classical violinist join On Second Thought to talk about how they are mashing up their respective disciplines. Along with original compositions, these musicians use songs from Georgia’s most beloved musicians and bands and adapt them for an orchestra.

Allison Krausman

The Doll’s Head Trail is one of Atlanta’s obscure city trails found at Constitution Lakes Park in southeast Atlanta.

Along the trail is a collection of trash-to-treasure art installations. Each piece is made with discarded objects found within the 125-acre reserve and from the South River which flows through it.

“A Night of Georgia Music” continues a collaboration between Mike Mills, bassist songwriter and co-founder of R.E.M.; Chuck Leavell, former member of The Allman Brothers Band, now the music director and keyboardist for The Rolling Stones; and Robert McDuffie, violinist and founder of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University.

They will be performing at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 29, but first they stopped by On Second Thought.


Kishi Bashi made a name for himself with the shiny, fantastical indie pop of his first three albums. (The singer and multi-instrumentalist also made a pseudonym for himself: his stage name is a mashup of his first initial – K, for Kaoru – and last name, Ishibashi.) 

Ishibashi's newest record Omoiyari takes a more sober turn. From Japanese, "omoiyari" roughly translates as compassion or kindness shown toward others, which stirred in the Athens-based musician after President Trump's administration placed a travel ban on people from specific, predominantly Muslim countries. Hooten

New and expecting mothers are frequently told that their lives will change once their baby arrives. They don't always hear how, especially when it comes to their careers.

Caitlyn Collins is a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis. She conducted interviews with mothers around the world and found American moms feel far more stressed out than women in Italy, Germany and Sweden. Collins spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about her research.

Courtesy of Flux Projects

Flux Projects is back at it. The arts organization produces temporary events that connect people to creativity and to place. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 26, Flux is transforming Ponce City Market into an acoustic playground.

A series of artists are using sound as the primary medium to reveal hidden dimensions of the historic building turned ultra popular destination for food and shopping.

Caitlyn Collins is a sociologist and author of "Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving."  Collins looks into “Work/Family Justice” for parents, especially as more and more women become the breadwinners of their families.  Her studies show that mothers in the United States are the most stressed of comparable western cultures and speak more about not having enough time to be with their children. Unlike many European countries, such as Sweden, the United States does not have a national support system for mothers. Collins preveiws her research into societal trends and policy with On Second Thought before her speech at the University of Georgia.

When Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide last month in a New York Corrections Facility, questions about the state of mental healthcare in America’s prisons briefly dominated the national news.

But suicides in jails and prisons are becoming more and more commonplace – especially in Georgia.  The state has one of the highest rates of inmate suicide in the nation, nearly double the national average.

Michael Adno

Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a staple on high school and college reading lists. Published in 1937, it could have easily disappeared into obscurity if it wasn't for a young Georgia writer named Alice Walker

Suicides are on the rise in jails and prisons, and Georgia has one of the highest rates of inmate suicides in the nation — nearly double the national average. On Second Thought explores the circumstances effecting the numbers.

Atlanta-based freelance reporter Max Blau reported in The Macon Telegraph last month. He spoke to state officials, family members and dug into public records data. He joins On Second Thought to discuss his findings on prison suicides.

Vaping is under fire after a series of deaths and crackdowns on flavors, said to attract children to smoking. The new vaping flavors contain nicotine salts, which deliver nicotine more quickly through the body, increasing the likelihood of addiction. The effects of electronic cigarettes on school-age children have been reported as the cause of eight deaths so far.  On Second Thought speaks with Dean of GSU’s College of Public Health, Michael Eriksen, on the latest news and developments.