I joined City Cast, a new nationwide network of local podcasts and newsletters, in Jan. 2022. I’m the lead producer at City Cast Las Vegas, a daily news and culture show that connects locals (and locals-at-heart) to the city they love. Sometimes that love means we have tough words for our city, too! Find all of our episodes here.
In June 2021, the News Director at Nevada Public Radio (KNPR) approached me about creating a podcast by and about Southern Nevada’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities — the region’s fastest-growing demographic. I was Executive Producer for Season 1, leading a team of five through the creation of 10 half-hour narrative episodes.
Our three-part series on the impact of the pandemic on our underemployed service workers, overworked nurses, and those facing rising anti-Asian violence won 2nd place in Audio Storytelling from the Best of the West journalism contest.
“KNPR’s series exploring the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on Asian American and Pacific Islanders in Southern Nevada (and beyond) is a shining example of journalism that is produced for and with – not about – communities,” the judge wrote.
From mid-2020 to Dec. 2021, I was a producer for the award-winning podcast Gastropod, a show that looks at food through the lens of history and science. We turned the pitch from my application into “Like Water In the Desert,” an episode about agriculture in the desert southwest (transcript here).
I hosted a live special segment at my member NPR station on the topic of race and racism in Southern Nevada’s Asian American community. I moderated a conversation with five panelists on presidential rhetoric, COVID’s disproportionate impact on Filipino healthcare workers, the Asian American community’s complicated relationship to Black Lives Matter, immigration policy, and more.
WHYY’s The Pulse
Last year, a survey indicated that 30% of American children want to become YouTubers someday—nearly three times as many who want to become astronauts. Should we be worried? I talked with a handful of kids and University of Georgia professor of education Jay Rojewski about children’s career aspirations.
This story aired on The Pulse’s Sept. 4th, 2020 show titled “The Future of Work.”
Spicy Eyes is a podcast about food and culture in Las Vegas, NV. Producer Kristy Totten and I want to share a different side of the city we call home: Our Thai temple feasts, wild game hunters, halal butchers and late-night Hawaiian eats say so much more about the communities that make up one of the most diverse cities in the country.
Radio Race is a competition sponsored by KCRW’s Independent Producer Project. At 10am on a Saturday morning, they announce a theme and you get 24 hours to create a four-minute radio piece from start to finish.
My 2021 entry under the theme “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” won 1st runner-up. I interviewed writer Christine Hyung-Oak Lee about a time when all of her neighbors’ rooftop detritus would end up on her balcony — and hers alone.
The 2020 Radio Race theme was “Time Warp.” My story follows the history of red lipstick, how wearing it sends us back in time, and why that’s more than a little complicated.
Sonja Swanson · Something Old, Something Rouge | Radio Race 2020
For 2018’s theme, “The New Normal,” I interviewed the founder of a non-profit that provides postpartum doulas to women (CW: suicide, depression).
In November 2014, I started to write and report on-air for tbs eFM (101.3 FM), an English-language radio station in Seoul. While there, I began to interview in Korean and edit audio files more extensively.
Local Eats (Sept. 2015–Sept. 2016)
A live weekly segment with chef Seoyoung Jung, mirroring bburi kitchen, our website about local, seasonal Korean ingredients.
Hyangsu, a Nostalgic Journey Through Seoul (aired June 11, 2015)
Where is the Korea that my mother knew? Why are we so nostalgic for these disappearing places? I co-wrote and narrated this one-hour radio documentary about places in Seoul from my mother’s generation that are on the verge of disappearing.
Postcards from Korea (March–Sept. 2015)
I conceived of this six-month series in which I traveled around Korea and Seoul, bringing back audio snapshots (found sound, interviews, musings) for a live weekly scripted segment with host Ahn Jung-hyun. I translated 30 sec–2 min interview clips from Korean to English and my producer had them dubbed. Once a month, we chose one listener who had called or texted in and I sent them a postcard.