Atlanta Sounds

Atlanta Sounds debuted on September 10, 2007 and is designed to show the texture of Atlanta. The stories are portraits, oral histories, anecdotes, memories and fragments of life overheard. All told by those who live, work, and visit metro Atlanta. Think of each Atlanta Sound as a pixel in the photograph of Atlanta.  Got an idea or comment for the series?  Click here to send us your ideas for Atlanta Sounds!

Looking for an episode that aired before February 28, 2012? Please visit our Archive here




Atlanta Sounds
12:15 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Meet The Man With Thousands Of Cameras

Steve Schwab holds a Hasselblad camera
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Most people today, if they want to take a picture, they’ll pull out their smartphone. Or maybe, if it’s a really special occasion, they’ll dust off that ol’ digital point-and-shoot.

But inside a Decatur camera store, called The Camera Doctor, you’ll find a man whose love for film cameras hasn’t changed with advances in technology. 

His name is Steve Schwab and, as he put it, he’s “kinda camera crazy.” 


Have an idea for Atlanta Sounds? Let us know!

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
12:30 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

The Auto Enthusiast - Audio Slideshow

Danni Suskin of Sandy Springs.
Credit Evan Changhwan Jang / WABE

Many car enthusiasts are drawn to vehicles for their speed. They’ll pour time and money into their cars all to make them run as fast as possible.

But for Sandy Springs resident Danni Suskin, his love of cars has little to do with their horsepower. In fact, the ones that interest him barely make it past twenty miles an hour.  

Suskin collects and restores old cars, some of which date back more than a hundred years, as we learn in this Atlanta Sounds Audio Slideshow. 

Read more
12:14 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

The Birder - Audio Slideshow

Credit Dylan Fagan / WABE

Stress inside a big city is almost a given.  With the traffic, politics and construction... it can all be a bit much. And sometimes, it would be nice to get away from it all. Cristina Brosius has found a way to do that, right here in the city.

Christina is a birder, or someone who observes birds as a recreational activity, and she watches them at a quiet park hidden away in the busy city – Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve. We visited the park with her for this Atlanta Sounds Audio Slideshow.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
11:46 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Waking The Kids

Left to Right: Will Van Zant, Caroline Van Zant, C.J. Van Zant, and Maddux the Dog

In this Atlanta Sound, we meet Katie Van Zant, who gets her three children up for school every morning. 

Getting  kids ready for their day isn't always an easy task, but Katie is happy on the mornings they're able to leave on time.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Archer
12:15 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

The Archer - Audio Slideshow

Credit Andrea Oullette / WABE

Kyudo is the Japanese art of Archery. It is a Japanese martial art that has been practiced for nearly a thousand years.  It has followers from all around the world, including right here in Atlanta. Kyudo Instructor, Ed Symmes has invested over 25 years of his life into the art form, and he talks about his passion here in this Atlanta Sounds. 

Below is the Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow version of this story.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: Glass Blower
12:15 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

The Glass Blower - Audio Slideshow

Mali Harrell has been blowing glass in a Decatur studio for just a few years, but says that in that time, she's become "completely addicted to it." Glass blowing is the process of heating up a molten piece of glass and then blowing air into a special pipe called a punty rod. This fills the glass with air to give it the shape you want. It might sound easy,but it is not. It is a delicate and very hot process as we learn in this Atlanta Sounds story. 

Atlanta Sounds Audio Slideshow:  

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
12:03 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Powder Puff Patrol

Intermission can be fraught. You want to grab a leg-stretch, maybe a drink, and very often, a trip to the restroom. But as we all know, this can pose a challenge for those of us—especially women—who don't wish to miss the opening curtain on Act II. This is very much the case at an historic venue like Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, which is known for its stained-glass windows and trademark starry-blue ceiling, but not for its ease of navigation. In this Atlanta Sounds, we meet the Powder Puff Patrol, a keen group of volunteers and staff appointed to confront this rather delicate problem. 

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
12:15 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Badminton - Audio Slideshow

Credit Evan Jang / WABE

When we think of fast moving shuttles, we usually don’t think of a sport where a shuttle is used.  But the shuttle in a game of badminton can travel over 200 MPH.  No, it is not the friendly backyard BBQ game of our youths here; we’re talking about people with special rackets, shoes and love of a sport that actually started in India in the 1800s.  

Neal Samuels plays badminton almost every week here in Atlanta. We recently visited him on the court to see the sport in action.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
10:12 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Hummingbirds - Audio Slideshow

Credit Dylan Fagan/WABE

Hummingbirds are seasonal in Georgia, and they usually make their first appearances here in early March.

Woodstock, Georgia resident Betsy Hegerty has a love for the birds which is quite evident. She’s set up a dozen or so feeders around her home.

“I just find them fascinating,” Hegerty says. "We gather [hummingbirds] over the spring and summer, but by late July and August we have a frenzy."  We visited her backyard to see the birds for ourselves.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
10:12 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: The Lemonade Stand

From left to right: Cole McCord, Kamryn Harty, Zuri Wiley, Layney McCord, Justin King, Spencer King and Carolyn Harty.
Credit Dave Barasoain

These kids were not just selling lemonade, but they were raising money for the charity Press On, to fight childhood cancer. 

Apparently, the young fundraisers have done this once before, and more lemonade sales are expected to follow.  

Read more
11:51 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Facing Off With the Atlanta Street Hockey Club

Dan Raby WABE

We now head to Atlanta's Kirkwood neighborhood for some hockey. Twice a week, fifty-two weeks of the year, the Atlanta Street Hockey Club convenes on Bessie Branham Park’s basketball court for a few games. This loose confederation of players has been swinging sticks at each other since 1997, and we joined them one morning for a court-side view of the action and spoke to Keith Waldrop, the president of the club.

Here is the 30 second Atlanta Sounds version of this story:

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Vinyl Collector
12:15 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

The Vinyl Collector - Audio Slideshow

Credit Dylan Fagan / WABE

How do you collect your music? Digital downloads? Do you (still) have shelves at home filled with CDs? Or are you one of the few for whom the ultimate in sonic enjoyment still means just one thing: records?

In this audio slideshow, we visit the house and record collection of Chip Duffey -- a vinyl collector who traces his enthusiasm back to his childhood in the '70s. When WABE's Kate Sweeney originally interviewed Duffey, the two listened to a few records and talked about what makes the experience of vinyl different.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
10:52 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: The Graduation Bell

Holy Innocents seniors at the bell
Credit Holy Innocents Episcopal School

For Holy Innocents Episcopal School seniors, it's not over till the bell rings... and the old railroad bell did toll on May 16, proclaiming an end to the Class of 2014’s time at Holy Innocents. Here are some of the thoughts of this year's graduating class.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Tractor Collector
12:00 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

The Tractor Collector - Audio Slideshow

Credit Dylan Fagan

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet Bo Bradshaw.  He’s been collecting tractors since the 1990’s.

While modern tractors have electric starters, Bradshaw’s 1938 AW John Deere tractor has no key, but requires a hand crank to start. 

Bradshaw grew up in a small town in Indiana, where his love of tractors originated. Today he is a resident of Inman Park where you can sometimes find him giving hay rides.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
4:03 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: The Soccer Player

Credit Eric Durban

In this Atlanta Sound, we meet Bonnie Shea, a teenage soccer player for the ECNL Concorde Fire U15 girls team.

As one of the team captains, Shea helps direct the team from her center defender position on the field. 

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
1:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: The Fiddler

Credit Bob Simon

For almost four decades, the fiddle has been a fixture in Bob Simon's life. 

He began by teaching himself and later took lessons. Today, Simon teaches the fiddle to individuals and groups around the metro area.

"I don't want them to play like I do," Simon says. "I want them to find their own way of playing, but there's always going to be a part of me in there and I like that legacy."

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
4:22 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

The Parrot Owner - Audio Slideshow

R. Thomas and his bird, Sparkle
Credit Kate Sweeney / WABE

 In this Atlanta Sound, we meet R. Thomas and his bird Sparkle. Thomas has always loved exotic birds, and keeps a small aviary outside his Peachtree Street restaurant, R. Thomas Deluxe Grill.

Sparkle, a yellow-naped Amazon, lives in a glass enclosure that bears her name in glittery, green paint. Her vocabulary includes such phrases as “Hello!” “Play ball!” and “Happy Birthday!” Thomas received Sparkle on his own tenth birthday. He says her life expectancy is 80—the age he is now—making Sparkle 70 years old. “Maybe she’ll catch up to me,” he says.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Monk
12:00 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

The Monk - Audio Slideshow

Credit Alex Williams / SCAD Atlanta


In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet Brother Callistus of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers. 

He says that life in the monastery is unique, and that his life there is in response to a deeper call.

You can hear a longer version here

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
3:09 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: Pumpkin Launch

Zachery Marr (far right) and his team prepare their trebuchet for the competition. Each team is allowed three launches.
Eric Durban

Started in 2010, Southern Polytechnic State University’s pumpkin launch competition challenges students to build a device that will throw a pumpkin. From catapults to trebuchets, teams of students design and construct their own devices in an effort to launch a pumpkin in both distance and accuracy. Almost 230 students formed 26 teams for this recording from the 2013 launch.  

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
11:26 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: Bar Mitzvah at The Temple

Credit WABE

In the Jewish tradition, a Jewish boy automatically becomes a Bar Mitzvah when he reaches the age of 13, and a girl at the age of 12. Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah” literally means “son (daughter) of commandment”.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah candidates spend several months preparing for the ceremony by learning how to read and recite from the Jewish scriptures.

In this Atlanta Sounds, we meet 12-year-old Charlie Hirsch who is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah ceremony at The Temple.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
11:20 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: Decatur Train

Credit David Lee Simmons/WABE

We all know that trains are loud, but for the residents of Decatur, the sound of the train’s whistle stops conversations in their tracks.

The train passes through the city several times a day and resident Alexandra Zinnes says she knows families so familiar with the sound that they really do have to pause as the train passes.  

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
10:00 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: Olympic Park Fountain

Credit Linda Chen / WABE

On hot Atlanta days, squeals of laughter can be heard as kids play and splash around at one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Olympic Park. It was built when the city hosted the 1996 Olympic Games and features the five iconic interconnecting rings.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Pigeon Racer
12:00 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

The Pigeon Racer - Audio Slideshow

Credit Dylan Fagan / WABE

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet Pigeon racer, Jeff Biddle. He was introduced to it when he was a boy, when he found one of his neighbors raced pigeons. He says it’s kind of peaceful to come home from work after a long day and let the birds out and enjoy watching them fly.  

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Gardener
12:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

The Gardener – Audio Slideshow

Credit Dylan Fagan

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet Japanese gardener Jim Gibbs.  He spent over thirty years working on his 220 acre, “Gibbs Garden” and opened it to the public in March of 2012.   He says that when you can spend your life working with gardening and nature combined that it’s a really wonderful life.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Oboe Maker
12:14 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

The Oboe Maker - Audio Slideshow

Hastings Huggins SCAD Atlanta

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet oboe maker, Harry Vas Dias, who makes his home in North Decatur. His instruments are replicas of 18th century baroque oboes, and each is hand-crafted.   He says he's made nearly 500 oboes by hand.

Atlanta Sounds
12:02 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

The Percussionist - Audio Slideshow

Tom Sherwood

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet percussionist Tom Sherwood.

He began playing drums when he stumbled upon an old drum kit in his dad's garage.

Today he is the principal percussionist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds
12:11 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

The Orchestra Teacher - Audio Slideshow

Kerin Reed at work
Credit Rori-Tai Williams

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet Kerin Reed, a long-time elementary school orchestra director.  Reed says her favorite part of the job is watching her students mature on the instruments.   She seems especially proud when she finds out that some of them have gone on to play professionally.  

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Car Racer
8:33 am
Sat July 27, 2013

The Car Racer - Audio Slideshow

Credit Allison Hill / SCAD Atlanta

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet autocross driver Alison Hill.   “Autocross” is a style of motorsports in which drivers take on a course one at a time, racing against the clock.  Allison conveys the best strategy for winning in just one word: Faster!

Click here for the original, longer story. 

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Lab Tech
12:07 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

The Lab Tech - Audio Slideshow

Credit Rori-Tai Williams

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet lab technician Elsa Mekonnen.  She finds the world of bacteria to be quite beautiful, and loves science for its curious nature.

Read more
Atlanta Sounds: The Ham Radio Operator
12:02 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

The Ham Radio Operator - Audio Slideshow

Rori-Tai Williams

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet the ham radio operator, Wayne Robertson. From his home in Decatur, Georgia, he talks to people from all over the world.   He says it’s a bit like fishing and you never know what you’re going to get.

Read more