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? Tell us about it!

  

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Atlanta Sounds
10:06 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Stitch By Stitch, An Atlanta Shoemaker Revives A Time-Honored Trade

A completed pair of boots are shown here. Shoemaker Sarah Green says it takes her about 40 hours in a week to make three pairs.
Myke Johns WABE

The work that goes into making a pair of leather shoes is exacting and difficult.

Few people make shoes on a small scale anymore, but there is a relative newcomer. Sarah Green makes boots, and, in this Atlanta Sound, we paid her a visit at her workshop in Atlanta to find out how it’s done.

And the 30-second version of this story:

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Atlanta Sounds
7:52 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Atlanta Psychiatrist Makes House Calls To The Homeless

Psychiatrist Liz Frye and the Mercy Care Street Medicine team treat people who are homeless in parks, on the side of downtown streets and under highway overpasses, like this one.
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Psychiatrists treat people of all walks of life for all kinds of issues. It could be anxiety, depression or other brain disorders like schizophrenia. But while the diagnoses and histories may vary, most psychiatrists see all their patients in one place ─ at their clinic or practice.

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Atlanta Sounds
11:00 am
Sun March 29, 2015

Calligraphy: A Quiet Art With Lots Of Flourish

Emily Cantor-Amthor writing with a quill pen.
Eric Durban WABE

Putting ink to a page is far less common in today's highly technological age. Yet, the art of writing isn't lost on everyone.

On a family vacation to Ireland as a child, Emily Canter-Amthor saw the "Book of Kells" for the first time. It's an intricately written manuscript dating back to around 800 A.D., and she was fascinated by the stylistic lettering.

Using an array of writing tools, including quill pens made from the flight feathers of birds, calligraphy is still practiced today by artists such as Canter-Amthor.

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Atlanta Sounds
5:00 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

A Growing Group Of Handspinners Drawn To The Ancient Craft

''Spinning is the process of putting twists into a raw fiber,'' Paula Vester said. ''You can do it with your fingers, you can do it with a handspindle or you can do it with a spinning wheel.'' Pictured here is Deborah Held and part of her spinning wheel.
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE

For thousands of years, people have used a craft called "spinning" to turn fibers, such as silk, cotton and wool, into thread and yarn.

While today most thread is spun on machines, there is a growing community of handspinners – people who prefer to create it themselves. To learn what's behind this movement, WABE's Stephannie Stokes talked with Paula Vester, Deborah Held and Alyssa Gulledge at the Peachtree Handspinners Guild.

  Here is the 30-second version of this story:

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Atlanta Sounds
2:39 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

Atlanta Sounds: Clearing A Path In Georgia's National Parks

Bob Ruby volunteers to keep the trails clear for Georgia's hikers.
Eric Durban WABE

Bob Ruby is an avid volunteer and has been an outdoorsman his entire life. So when he retired from the corporate world, it seemed like a natural fit to volunteer outdoors.

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Atlanta Sounds
5:00 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

For 30 Years, A Blind Man Has Brought The Written Word To Georgia's Visually Impaired

The Georgia Radio Reading Service's Phil Jones in the control room.
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Many might take reading for granted. But for those who are blind, it can be a real challenge to access everything that’s written on paper and online. That’s why many who are blind tune into the Georgia Radio Reading Service.

The service broadcasts the written word to visually impaired people all around Georgia. Volunteers read hundreds of materials over the airwaves each month, including everything from grocery coupons and newspapers to full-length books.

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Atlanta Sounds
12:00 pm
Sun March 1, 2015

Local Artist Designs A World Of Balloons

Gayle Rubenstein inflates a balloon with helium.
Eric Durban WABE

You’re probably familiar with the shiny "Get Well" and "Congratulations" balloons you find floating at the grocery or dollar store. There is however a higher world of balloons that supplies everything from ballroom displays and corporate events to bar mitzvahs and graduations.

In this Atlanta Sound, we meet certified balloon artist Gayle Rubenstein.

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Atlanta Sounds
5:00 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

Meet The Neon Tube Benders Who Light Up Atlanta's Streets

Blaze Pearson bends a neon tube into the shape of a ''K.'' As he bends the glass, he uses a blow hose to maintain the tube's diameter.
Stephannie Stokes WABE

Neon signs are all over the streets of American cities, from the simple red ones that let you know a business is “open” to the more elaborate lights that adorn old theaters and hotels.

But what you probably don’t know about those familiar, bright-colored signs is that, whether they're words or pictures, they’re all shaped by hand. By people known as “neon tube benders.”  

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Atlanta Sounds
9:00 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Druid Hills Teacher Introduces Film Photography To New Generation

Student Dakota Lobban captures an artistic portrait on the train tracks.
Dakota Lobban/Druid Hills High School

A few years ago, it seems like the big argument in photography was film versus digital.

Fast forward to today, and most people probably just pick up their phone when they want to snap a quick picture. While digital photography makes capturing a moment very convenient, there’s still something special about black and white film photography to teacher Noelle Petersen. 

We visited her photography class at Druid Hills High School to find out how her students have taken to shooting and developing film in this Atlanta Sound.

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Atlanta Sounds
11:00 am
Sun February 8, 2015

Finding A Home On The Felt Table

Jacob Camp sets up for a shot.
Eric Durban WABE

On the face of it, the game of pool is quite straight forward: knock balls into pockets on a table.

But the skill and intrigue of the game was enough for Hollywood to take notice, casting critically acclaimed actor Paul Newman as a pool player in "The Hustler" (1961) and "The Color of Money" (1986). 

Far from the glitz and high stakes games though, there are still regular people meeting up to socialize and enjoy competition on the felt table.

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Atlanta Sounds
9:21 am
Mon February 2, 2015

College Park Resident Doesn't Mind Having The World's Noisiest Neighbor

John Duke standing at the end of Main Street in historic College Park. When the wind blows from the east, planes taking off from Hartsfield-Jackson pass directly overhead.
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Just north of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, College Park might have one of the world's noisiest neighbors. Thousands of planes take off and land each year on the runways just down the road from the city center. 

But despite all the noise, College Park resident John Duke thinks the airport is an important part of his city’s identity, and even what makes it great.

 Below you can hear the 30-second version of this Atlanta Sounds story.

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Atlanta Sounds
12:51 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Atlanta Performer Gives Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Speeches New Life

Stephon Ferguson gives a presentation at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
Stephannie Stokes/WABE

At the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, you'll find the original Ebenezer Baptist Church. It’s where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his first sermon and where he would serve as co-pastor until his assassination in 1968.

Today, it’s no longer a place of worship, but a place where people can learn about the legacy of Dr. King. Sometimes it’s also where visitors can experience what it might have been like to hear the civil rights leader while he was alive. 

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Atlanta Sounds
11:00 am
Sun January 18, 2015

In Business With Man's Best Friend

Terie Hansen walks a client's dogs.
Eric Durban / WABE

Perhaps you love animals and you’d gladly just hang with your dog all day if it was possible. For some people that’s a reality, because it’s their business. Increasingly, people are turning to others to help them out with their animals. 

In this Atlanta Sound, we profile Terie Hansen, who left the daily grind of advertising to care for other people’s pets. 

And the 30-second version of this story:

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Atlanta Sounds
11:00 am
Sun January 11, 2015

Atlanta Teen Keeps Family Tradition On The Cutting Edge

Theodore Davis sharpens a knife in his parents kitchen.
Eric Durban / WABE

Knife sharpening isn't a task that many people would probably associate with a teenager. Theodore Davis, however, found out that sharpening knives has deep ties in his family. So instead of giving more traditional teenage jobs a try, Davis turned to knife sharpening. 

In this Atlanta Sound, we joined Davis to learn a little more about the family tradition he carries on. 

  And the 30-second version of this story:

  Have an idea for Atlanta Sounds? Let us know!

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Atlanta Sounds
6:00 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Ancient Japanese Art Comes Alive

Atlanta Taiko Project members practice.
Eric Durban / WABE

The art of Taiko drumming dates back to sixth century Japan. Fast forward almost 1,500 years and in this Atlanta Sound, we meet Atlanta Taiko Project member Travis Lau. With such a precise, rhythmic display, Lau says that Taiko is an art that should be seen as well as heard. “It’s such a powerful bodily practice that is mental, spiritual and physical,” Lau says. “That’s what defines Taiko.”

Have an idea for Atlanta Sounds? Let us know!  

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Treecycling
6:00 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Bringing One for the Chipper – Recycling Christmas Trees in Grant Park

City of Atlanta employees collecting trees to be chipped
Myke Johns WABE

The Christmas season is officially over and as the decorations come down, one big questions is what to do with the tree? The residents of Grant Park had one answer with the good of the environment and the community in mind.  

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Atlanta Sounds
12:00 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Ice Skaters

Credit Orlin Wagner / Associated Press

In this Atlanta Sound, we meet two ice skaters named Jasmine and Dayo. The couple were skating at an outdoor rink in midtown Atlanta.

The activity is not exactly common in our southern city, and the beginner pair told us that ice skating can take some getting used to. 

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Atlanta Sounds
12:30 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

At Tuba Christmas, Low Brass Gets The Spotlight

Tuba Christmas at Underground Atlanta
Ryan Nabulsi twinlensatl.com

Tuba players don't always get a lot of attention. They're generally stuck in the back rows of the orchestra, providing the bass while the trumpets take the melody.

But for at least one hour every year, these low brass musicians get to perform front and center. In an event called Tuba Christmas.

The annual performance brings together a couple hundred tuba players, from students in their early teens to professional musicians in their late 50s, to play Christmas carols.

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Atlanta Sounds
12:30 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

"There's A Whole Dance To Shooting A Cannon": A Conversation With A Cannoneer

Brad Johnson a member of the volunteer cannon crew at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
Credit Ryan Nabulsi/WABE

With its tree canopy and winding trails, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park offers a quiet, serene escape from the city. That is, until the park's volunteer canon crew arrives.

A handful of days each year, the group of men, young and old, assembles on the mountain, dressed in wool uniforms. And they do what their name implies--shoot off cannons. 

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Atlanta Sounds
8:00 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: The Jerk Chef

Jerk chicken at Juci Jerk in Stone Mountain.
Credit WABE/Dan Raby

  For Jamaicans, jerk is no insult. It's a culinary tradition stretching back centuries to the early days of British colonial rule on the island. And it's one that can make both Caribbean natives and non-natives' mouths water. 

But you don't have to go to Jamaica to find it. Jerk chefs like Donald Roberts of Juci Jerk are cooking up the specialty right here in Atlanta, as we learn in this Atlanta Sounds.

 

You can find the longer version of our story about jerk cooking here.

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Atlanta Sounds
12:30 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

"It Feels Good To Be Lucky Once In A While": Bingo Night In Avondale Estates

Bingo night at American Legion Post 66 in Avondale estates.
WABE/Stephannie Stokes

In the mid-to-late 20th century, people flocked to halls around the country to play a game of chance called Bingo. 

And today, while the game isn't quite as popular as it was in its heyday, there is still a group of dedicated Bingo players keeping the tradition alive. 

WABE producer Stephannie Stokes talked to a few of them at a Bingo night at the American Legion Post 66 in Avondale Estates and brought back this sound portrait.

And the 30-second version of this story:

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Atlanta Sounds
10:46 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Soda Fountain

A sign inside the Chapman Drug store still has the old prices for the fountain's various tasty treats.
Credit Dan Raby / WABE

In this edition of Atlanta Sounds, we meet Derek Chapman and the Chapman Drug soda fountain.

In the first part of the twentieth century, the soda fountain could be found in drug stores across America. However, with the rise of the vending machine and pharmacy chains, soda fountains began to disappear.

While there are very few working fountains these days, Chapman Drug in Hapeville has had one for almost 100 years. 

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Atlanta Sounds
12:15 pm
Sun November 2, 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 their old 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.” 

  

  

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Atlanta Sounds
12:39 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: The Hammerchord Inventor

Bob Cunningham and the "Hammerchord."
Stephannie Stokes/WABE

 Many people are interested in music or, at least, love listening to it. But few have gone as far as recreating the musical instruments that fascinate them. 

That has been the life-long passion of Atlanta resident Bob Cunningham, and for the last few decades it has inspired him to build wooden harps, first as a hobby and then professionally.

One day his appreciation for the craft even led him to invent an instrument of his own, called the "Hammerchord," as you'll learn in the sound portrait below. 

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Atlanta Sounds
12:15 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Auto Enthusiast

Danni Suskin.

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. We profiled him for this Atlanta Sounds.  

 

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Atlanta Sounds
12:00 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Covey Of Quail

Credit David Yu - flickr.com/photos/davidyuweb/

Sirkka Hougard has an aviary where she keeps a 'covey' of quail. A covey is a term for a small flock of birds. She feeds the birds each day, and the birds peck at the meal while making small noises. We meet Hougard and her quails in this Atlanta Sound.

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Sports
12:06 pm
Fri October 17, 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:

  This story originally aired June 11, 2014

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Atlanta Sounds
12:16 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Boot Camp

Boot Camp, early in the morning.
Credit Kate Sweeney

In this Atlanta Sound, we meet Matt, who attends an early morning 'boot camp'. In the world of fitness, a boot camp is designed to burn calories and build strength and endurance. 

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Atlanta Sounds
11:39 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Baby Birth

Mary Novotny and Tycho.

In late 2012, Mary and her husband, Andy Rodriquez, submitted audio to WABE of their hospital room where their soon Tycho would soon be born.

4 hours and 22 minutes later afer their initial recording, Tycho came into the world, and they couple caught his first moments on tape. We've turned that audio into this Atlanta Sound.

    

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Atlanta Sounds
12:30 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

The Doughnut Maker in Decatur

Maria Moore Riggs at Revolution Doughnuts.
Evan Jang WABE

America eats over 10 billion doughnuts each year, but fresh, homemade doughnuts can be hard to find. Maria Moore Riggs started off selling her baked goods at local farmer’s markets, and as soon as she offered doughnuts, they were hard to keep in stock.

Now she runs Revolution Doughnuts in Decatur, where they make them by hand each morning, as we found when we visited them for this Atlanta Sound.

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