I’m currently (May 2020–) a fellow with the award-winning podcast Gastropod, a show that looks at food through the lens of history and science. I assist the producers and hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley with research, editing, transcription, finding and pre-interviewing guests, writing social media posts and newsletters, and pitching ideas for their new season.
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 worked with the producers to select the five panelists and research the topics and interview questions.
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 to a handful of kids and U. 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.
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 (tw: 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.