RadioActive

RadioActive

www.kuow.org/podcasts/radioactive
Stories produced by students participating in our youth media program. Learn more about the intensive, fun and free introductory radio journalism workshops we offer throughout the year.


Teens are warning each other about sex trafficking on TikTok. Here’s why the videos could do more harm than good
Jul 9 • 4 min
On a single day in King County, an estimated 300 to 500 children under the age of 18 are sex trafficked, according to the Seattle organization Real Escape from the Sex Trade (REST). The dangers of getting forced into sex trafficking are something that…
The politics of pantsuits
Jul 7 • 4 min
For the first time in United States history, the country saw six women run for president in the 2020 election. Unlike the male candidates, the women were asked about their fashion choices. What women candidates wear plays a huge role in whether people…
Girls Court
Jul 2 • 4 min
Over the past two decades, while juvenile incarceration rates have been decreasing, rates of incarcerated girls have either stayed the same, or increased. In response, the Kitsap County Girls Court opened in June 2019 as Washington State’s first court…
Gen Z and body hair
Jul 1 • 3 min
In the time of Covid-19, our hairstylists, waxers and threaders aren’t available to keep us looking fresh. Many of us are trying to figure out what to do about our body hair as our hair continues to grow and grow … and grow. The younger generation doesn’t…
Spurned: The story of an outcast cowboy
Jun 25 • 14 min
Elise Cresswell is a reporter searching for a big story. When she meets a scorned “cowboy,” she thinks she’s found it. But like any good story, it doesn’t end the way she expects…
Students of color on online learning, school funding and Covid-19
Jun 23 • 16 min
High school looks different this year for most students: classes on Zoom, drive-through graduations, social distance birthday parties, skipped proms. But some students have more pressing worries as classes move online. How do you make the switch to online…
‘Happiness is the most rebellious act.’ Stories of resilience and connection for families during Covid-19
Jun 18 • 51 min
Two teens share an hour of stories about family, resilience and self-discovery, all produced by young people in the Puget Sound region.
Special education in the midst of a pandemic
Apr 21 • 4 min
As a Mercer Island High School senior, RadioActive’s Meghana Kakubal worried that school closures would make it difficult for her to graduate on time. She wasn’t worried about finishing her course work, though, because she knew it would continue online.…
The pros, cons, and privilege of online learning during a pandemic
Mar 18 • 2 min
Radioactive reporter Charlotte Engrav shares her story
Gen Z teens balance growing up with saving the world
Jan 23 • 50 min
Two teens share an hour of stories created by young people, and discuss the balance between teen activism and just being a kid.
How faith defines - and divides - a family
Dec 19, 2019 • 4 min
When my dad immigrated to Seattle from Eritrea, the Eritrean Catholic church became his new community. He goes to mass every Sunday. There, he sings in Tigrinya, his native tongue, and prays to God. As a first generation Eritrean American, I feel the duty…
Arranged marriage
Dec 17, 2019 • 4 min
In India, 90% of people have arranged marriages. That might feel odd to those of us who grew up in the United States, like me. I’m a 16-year-old, first-generation Indian American, and I feel caught between two traditions when it comes to love. Will I…
Surviving middle school
Dec 12, 2019 • 4 min
In middle school, you’re thrown into a completely new environment with hundreds of people you’ve never met before. Your body and brain are changing. You’re starting to learn how to grow up. This transition can be hard on young teens. They can fail in…
Masculinity and vulnerability
Dec 10, 2019 • 3 min
When I was twelve years old, I was always trying to get away from my family. Soccer was my escape. But when I didn’t have soccer, I was in my room with my door closed. I never talked to my mom. I didn’t have a close relationship with my sister, and I…
My sister’s road towards independence
Dec 5, 2019 • 3 min
My sister Saba waits eagerly for her yellow school bus every morning. But Saba is a sophomore in high school. In three short years, she will leave our brick-bound high school, and her yellow school bus won’t come by to pick her up any more. My family is…
Finding my sperm donor through 23andMe
Dec 3, 2019 • 4 min
All my life, the only thing I knew about my biological father was his number: sperm donor 893. Recently, we found each other through a genetic testing site, making me wonder if a stranger could become family.
Filipino flavor: Finding identity in the kitchen
Nov 26, 2019 • 4 min
We don’t go to church for mass in my family. We go to my grandma’s kitchen. Food is my tie to my Filipino culture. But I don’t know if my connection to food is enough for me to call myself Filipino. I set out to use cooking as a way to dig deeper into my…
Eleven years sober, this stand-up comedian now helps teens in recovery
Nov 21, 2019 • 4 min
Sam Miller is a six-foot-six, 360-pound stand-up comedian. Sam’s larger than life presence isn’t the only thing that sets him apart on stage. In his comedy, he talks about his experiences with drug and alcohol addiction, incarceration and homelessness.…
Advice from a neurodiverse teen on navigating the school system
Nov 19, 2019 • 4 min
In Washington State alone, 143,000 students receive special education services. I’m one of those students.
School windows, covered in lockdowns. A Seattle teacher makes art to ease the terror
Nov 14, 2019 • 4 min
During a lockdown, teachers must secure the classroom doors and windows. At Franklin High School in Seattle, they have found a way to address one of these security measures… with art.
The secret diaries my grandma snuck out of a Communist prison in Vietnam
Nov 12, 2019 • 3 min
My grandfather was a South Vietnamese soldier during the Vietnam War. After the war ended, the Communist government imprisoned him in an re-education camp. As a way to connect with his family, he secretly wrote letters, poems and stories.
Shivering, cold, praying to get out. A Seattle-area teen on surviving homelessness
Nov 7, 2019 • 4 min
There are over 12,000 people in Seattle and King County experiencing homelessness. Many of them, including families, live in vehicles.
The barrier between us is breaking: How politics brought my mom and me closer
Nov 5, 2019 • 3 min
Sometimes politics drive family and friends apart. But when Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American congresswoman, was elected in 2018, my mom and I became closer than ever before.
When unwanted questions drove us out of school, Nova welcomed us
Oct 31, 2019 • 3 min
Nova High School is a “saving grace” for non-conforming students.
What my friend’s top surgery taught me about self-love
Oct 29, 2019 • 5 min
Meet my friend, Lazarus Killmer. Laz loves to draw and write poetry. He’s always been comfortable calling himself an artist. But his gender was a different story.
Hijabis on the soccer field: This teen founded a camp for Muslim girls like her
Oct 24, 2019 • 4 min
On this sunny day, girls of all ages are doing laps around the field — kicking soccer balls, running drills, and living their best lives. Some of the girls wear headscarves. Others wear dresses. On this field, there is no dress code.
Obsolete: a fictional podcast
Oct 22, 2019 • 10 min
Loneliness can be hard to handle, especially when you have no one to talk to.
Bloody Mary is just a game. Why are we still scared of it?
Oct 15, 2019 • 9 min
What’s the appeal of fear?
The line between cultural appropriation and appreciation: ‘It’s all about power’
Oct 8, 2019 • 9 min
Ariana Grande’s barbecue grill tattoo. $75 bonnets sold by a white woman. Japan’s Chicano subculture. Where is the line between cultural appropriation and appreciation?
Generation Zodiac: How teens use astrology like religion
Oct 1, 2019 • 9 min
Find a Gen Z kid with a void in their soul, and they can tell you: astrology memes are sweeping the internet
Welcome to the void
Sep 24, 2019 • 11 min
The year is 1958. A string of disappearances leads intrepid junior reporter Mary Price out to investigate a mysterious tip. When her tape recorder is discovered years later, the story revealed shocks the world.
Seattle’s got a pothole problem. These teens want more than a temporary fix
Sep 17, 2019 • 10 min
Seattle is ranked the 11th worst city in the United States for road conditions.
‘You won’t kill me.’ The repetitive reality of police brutality cases
Sep 12, 2019 • 10 min
About one in every thousand black men can expect to be killed by police.
‘Speak English!’ Nah, no thanks
Sep 3, 2019 • 10 min
The United States does not have a national language. So why do people demand that everyone speaks English?
We took a dog with attitude to an animal communicator
Aug 27, 2019 • 10 min
Meet Chase. He has some problems. We took him to an animal communicator to fix his attitude - and find out if people can actually talk to dogs.
Spying phones: Have you ever felt like your phone was reading your mind?
Aug 20, 2019 • 8 min
Have you ever felt like your phone was reading your mind? We have.
Is it unethical to be a billionaire?
Aug 14, 2019 • 7 min
How much is a billion dollars, really? Do the rich have an obligation to give money back to their communities?
The Pink Tax: What you need, they mark up
Aug 6, 2019 • 7 min
More than half of the population spends an absurd amount of money every year on products that they need. Think tampons and other menstrual products. What’s worse is that institutionally, these products are considered luxury items and marked up as such.
‘They’re so complacent.’ What these youth activists say about grown-ups
Jun 27, 2019 • 3 min
When a group of K-12 students confronted Senator Dianne Feinstein for not supporting the Green New Deal, she put up her dukes. “I’ve been doing this for thirty years,” Senator Feinstein said. “I know what I’m doing. You come in here and say, it’s my way…
The unlikely friendship of Peanut and Ranger, a baby donkey and orphaned puppy in Sammamish
Jun 24, 2019 • 4 min
Last year 40 animals were rescued by the Sammamish animal sanctuary. While many shelters take in dogs and cats, this sanctuary focuses on rescuing farm animals.
How to be a feminist, and other lessons from my grandma’s badass friend
Jun 20, 2019 • 4 min
In recent years, modern movements like the Women’s March and #MeToo have garnered widespread momentum. Ninety-year-old Alene Moris started fighting the battle for women’s rights long ago.
This documentarian makes you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes
Jun 18, 2019 • 4 min
Can a documentary inspire social change? Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi is using the emerging world of virtual reality to evoke empathy from viewers.
‘I think I can still save her.’ How one immigrant teen supports her mother and sister
Jun 13, 2019 • 4 min
Teenagers have really busy lives. School, sports, clubs, jobs and more. When you’re the oldest child in an immigrant family, there can be even more pressure to succeed. Maria is one of these teens. She found the burden to be almost too much.
Why I stopped looking at depression memes even though some of them were really funny
Jun 11, 2019 • 3 min
If you’ve ever been online, you’ve probably seen plenty of memes. Kermit the Frog drinking tea is a famous one. They are often humorous, but there’s a darker side of internet memes that focus on depression.
Should you pursue your passion in college or a degree that would make you money?
Jun 6, 2019 • 4 min
Over the last ten years, the number of students majoring in the arts and humanities at the University of Washington has dropped significantly. That’s no surprise when STEM and Business degrees are touted as more valuable. What do you do when society tells…
Pressure, insomnia and hospitalization: The new normal for students applying to college
Apr 3, 2019 • 12 min
“If you had asked me if I would chop my leg off if it meant admission to Stanford, I would say yes in a millisecond.”
Why does it matter where I’m ‘really’ from?
Mar 27, 2019 • 11 min
People often find ways to identify with and exclude others. We categorize ourselves by using gender, class, race and even age to connect with people like ourselves or separate ourselves from others. As a society, why are we more comfortable questioning…
The racist practice of mispronouncing names
Mar 21, 2019 • 13 min
Having people mispronounce your name isn’t just annoying or embarrassing. It’s racist.
Tortillas and K-pop: Stories from RadioActive’s community workshops
Mar 13, 2019 • 13 min
Teens from the Yakima Valley, Seattle Indian Health Board and the Coalition for Refugees from Burma share their thoughts on tortillas, English K-pop.
He was a veteran with four months to live. This is how he restored Hamm Creek
Dec 12, 2018 • 4 min
If you knew that you only had four months to live, what would you do? After suffering three heart attacks, John Beal was told that he was going to die. He decided to use the rest of his life to clean up Hamm Creek, an offshoot of the Duwamish River so…
My grandpa lost his girlfriend to cancer. He fights for Medicaid in her name
Dec 11, 2018 • 4 min
My grandpa, Steve Schoettmer, lost his girlfriend Rose to colon cancer in 2017. In the past, his county’s Democratic party had approached him about running for office, but he had refused. Rose was too ill. But when he heard that Speaker Paul Ryan was…
Step sisters: The dance team that stood up for Black Lives Matter
Dec 5, 2018 • 4 min
Darnesha Weary describes step dancing as “creating music and rhythms and beats with every part of your body.” She directs the Northside Step Dance Team in Shoreline, and last year, her team used their dance routine to protest the police shootings of…
A white woman slapped my mom on a Seattle bus. She picked on the wrong woman
Dec 4, 2018 • 4 min
My mom was on the bus one day, riding Route 41 to Chinatown from Northgate, when a white woman slapped her and started yelling at her. My mom told me she was sleeping on the bus when the woman slapped her. “I never had this problem. I don’t know why she…
Am I less Filipino if I can’t speak Tagalog?
Nov 28, 2018 • 4 min
My grandma taught me everything I needed to know, including how to speak Tagalog. But as I grew older, she stopped teaching me Tagalog. Now, I worry that I am losing my language.
I was the saddest kid. The tears finally slowed when I started writing
Nov 27, 2018 • 4 min
There was a time when the one emotion I knew better than the rest was sadness. I have never met a kid as sad as I was. I cried at school, at the Boys and Girls Club, at home, at my cousins’ house — everywhere. It wasn’t until I started writing that the…
My aunt was 16 when she ran off to join the Eritrean Liberation Front
Nov 14, 2018 • 4 min
The Eritrean War of Independence started in 1961 and lasted for 30 years, until the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front defeated Ethiopian forces in 1991. Nearly one-third of all soldiers in the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front were women, including my…
How this young Buddhist monk uses Instagram to connect with Khmer youth
Nov 13, 2018 • 4 min
I was shocked when I saw the pictures that a Buddhist monk from my temple posted on Instagram. Venerable Prenz posts pictures of himself hiking and traveling around the world. I saw pictures of him studying for his college classes and visiting with his…
My uncle has experienced homelessness for decades. He still comes to family dinner at my house.
Nov 8, 2018 • 4 min
My mom, Maryanne Battles, and her older brother, Chris, had an extremely difficult childhood. But they always had each other.
My grandfather was a paper son under the Chinese Exclusion Act. He created an iron legacy.
Nov 6, 2018 • 3 min
Under the Chinese Exclusion Act, people had to create false papers to immigrate. My grandfather, who came here in 1937, had to pretend he belonged to another family. It took him decades to build his own family.
I didn’t know my mom was non-binary until I started to question my gender identity
Oct 31, 2018 • 4 min
When my mom was young, at the age of five, she started thinking about herself as a boy. My mother was assigned female at birth, but when she was little, she had the classic childhood experiences of a transgender boy. It was almost stereotypical. She…
Sober for 27 years. Now her son is experimenting with drugs
Oct 30, 2018 • 5 min
Sober for 27 years. Now her son is experimenting with drugs
How one transgender dancer challenges the Bollywood binary
Oct 25, 2018 • 4 min
How one transgender dancer challenges the Bollywood binary
Why this Boeing test pilot keeps a flute in her toolbox
Oct 23, 2018 • 4 min
I go to a special high school with a focus on aviation. Although I love my school, sometimes I feel like I don’t get to explore my creative side. So I started asking questions: What role should art play in STEM education? And how can creativity help us to…
Black students, white teachers: How this affects Seattle teens
Oct 17, 2018 • 3 min
“I began to think, maybe what they’re saying is true. Maybe my people don’t do good.”
Attack of the angry colon: How I deal with my chronic illness
Oct 16, 2018 • 5 min
The bathroom is a universal experience, right? Well, not for me. Instead, I am one of the very lucky 1.5 million with an inflammatory bowel disease.
A Rohingya teen escaped genocide in Myanmar. This is how he ended up on Mercer Island.
Oct 11, 2018 • 6 min
A Rohingya teen escaped genocide in Myanmar. This is how he ended up on Mercer Island.
How my 90-year-old neighbor, a Holocaust survivor, sees America today
Oct 9, 2018 • 6 min
One of the world’s biggest cities was once a safe haven for Jewish refugees. During World War II, more than 18,000 Jews sought refuge in Shanghai. They witnessed the war from a perspective that often goes unheard. My neighbor Werner Glass is one of them.
After racist attack, my mom hid her trauma to protect me. Now I want to help her heal
Oct 3, 2018 • 4 min
A young white guy, clean cut with dark hair, started shouting racial slurs and spit on her. Only one person checked to see if she was okay.
My grandpa sang songs to fight for freedom. Now I sing them too
Oct 2, 2018 • 7 min
Last summer, he sang a song I hadn’t heard before. He told me what the lyrics mean: let us dance, and let us sing folk songs, because we have achieved independence. At first I was confused. What independence? From whom? And what’s going on here?
Eastern Washington teens talk about school and being super awkward
Sep 20, 2018 • 7 min
Stories produced in RadioActive’s first radio journalism workshop for teens in the Tri-Cities.
Facts or faux: Investigating conspiracy theories
Sep 18, 2018 • 9 min
Many conspiracy theories can become outlandish but some have a kernel of truth to them. How can you tell what is fact and what’s just pure speculation?