What You Didn't Know About Your NWPR Hosts

Have you ever wondered what your favorite NWPR host does with their free time? They’re pretty secretive about their personal lives, but a few have opened up about their preferred pastimes – and the answers may surprise you.

Long before he became the voice you hear weekday mornings on NWPR – classical music host Steve Reeder had his sights set on being part of the sports community. As a sports broadcaster and occasional announcer, Steve's love for various Seattle sports grew - he announced locally at many Seattle arenas for soccer, tennis, hockey and football and even traveled internationally to follow the big events. “As early as age 12, I began setting my sights on broadcasting--more specifically, on sports announcing…it seemed to me, the coolest kind of job in the world.” More recently, he’s been using his sports knowledge as part of his trivia team, Moons of Venus. Steve's other areas of trivia expertise? Geography and cinema.

Anjuli in the role of Hope Harcourt, seen here with her Anything Goes sweetie, Billy.

Classically-trained soprano Anjuli Dodhia sings her heart out in musical theater performances throughout the year. She’s added acting and a little dancing to her resume from her time on stage. “I like it because, just like watching a movie or seeing a play, it gets you outside of yourself. But with the music added, it heightens the dramatic experience and the emotion.” Most recently, she starred as Hope Harcourt in a performance of Anything Goes at the Regional Theater of the Palouse an has enjoyed many other lead and ensemble roles since she started. “Anything can happen …your costume could rip, you could get pulled into the orchestra pit, or you could have to ad lib your way out of a scene when someone misses a cue call.” And in case you were wondering, yes – all of those things have happened to Anjuli. If you'd like to hear Anjuli in a musical theater style, check out her ode to Taylor the Latte Boy. 

A 19 is a good roll, but not necessarily what adventurers would want Thom to get.

  They say friends that battle giant gelatinous cubes and goblins together, stay together, right? Well, they should.  All Things Considered host and Dungeon Master Thom Kokenge runs a Dungeons and Dragons campaign on a weekly basis. He first started in junior high - Thom remembers the librarian staying late to let them play through their campaign - but  once he hit high school, took a decades-long break. Thanks to his wife’s encouragement, Thom started back up in 2009 and to this day still plays with the same core group of friends, ranging from college students to professors. “I forgot how much it utilizes all your creative capacity,” Thom says, “from writing to acting to drawing. It’s all about making friends around a table playing a game.” 

Gigi ready to tackle the day with shears in hand. Her yard boasts a black walnut tree and several maples.

  You may picture Gigi Yellen studying different languages and music history in her spare time – and that’s partly true. But what may surprise you is that one of her other favorite pastimes involves getting her hands dirty – in the yard, that is. Shovels, shears and work gloves help her get the job done – Gigi feels invigorated when the start of her day requires some manual labor. Simply put, she likes trees. And it’s not just the yard work she enjoys; Gigi also has a great appreciation for wood projects. “My favorite table is one I refinished myself: found it all scruffy in an antique shop, loved the suggestion of rays of sunshine in its design.” Her own handiwork aside, Gigi is always up for browsing galleries and seeing what artists have done with wood. “I’m always impressed with the contrasts in color, texture, grain and function, and with the patience and skill artists have invested in producing such new beauty from such ancient, living stuff.”

Two of Seth's creations - pictured above is chicken roasted with serrano chiles, forbidden rice with green tea, then roasted red peppers and onions. Below is a goat cheese panna cotta with a simple orange zest reduction

Weekend announcer Seth Maynard gets creative with food in his free time - when he’s away from the mic, the kitchen is where you’ll find him. He is a self-proclaimed amateur chef and wine connoisseur and is currently pursuing a sommelier license.  Seth has worked in many professional kitchens, through his love for creative cooking dates back long before he ever worked in a kitchen. “Even at family barbecues, my burger was never complete until, for better or worse, it was loaded with peanut butter, olives, and jelly.” His tastes have changed a wee bit since then.  “My favorite dishes come from Peru. Like the country, there is a lot of variation in the style of cuisine. In the highlands, you see a lot more stewed, red meats with beans and potatoes while on the coast, it's all about ceviche. The food is demonstrative of the land or sea that it came from.”

Jessie, or Jane, on the left celebrating a win with her teammate TracerBullet.

Friday afternoon host Jessie Jacobs becomes Jane Austentatious after work – that’s her roller derby stage name. This isn’t the scripted stuff you saw on TV in the 50’s and 60’s. That means no elbows or tripping allowed, but Jessie sure knows how to hip check. “I’m really big into facing my fears and growing as a person and derby lets me do that on a weekly basis. My own personal growth aside, I absolutely adore the positive impact derby has on women and girls - and men, for that matter - in their communities and across the world.” Jessie, or Jane, rather, likes to jam, which means she’s one of the point scorers for her team. She tries to be as agile and fast as possible to maneuver through the rest of the skaters. Jessie also shows up to work with some pretty impressive bruises.