Amy Kiley | WABE 90.1 FM

Amy Kiley

Host, All Things Considered and Marketplace

Amy fell in love with radio while serving as the news director at her college station, Northwestern University’s WNUR. After working as a host and show reporter at Milwaukee Public Radio, Amy headed south to be the local voice of "All Things Considered" for WMFE in Orlando. Now, she’s excited to serve WABE’s Atlanta-area listeners through that role.

Amy has filed stories for NPR, Marketplace, the BBC and a number of national print publications. She has earned fellowships in legal and immigration reporting as well as awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Associated Press in Florida and other organizations.

Along the way, Amy lived in New Zealand and Argentina and picked up graduate degrees in music and liturgy.  

Norman Mackenzie, director of choruses for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, poses for a portrait on July 9, 2015.
Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus has won almost as many Grammy Awards as Adele. But whereas Adele makes millions, ASO singers get paid … nothing.  A visit to an ASO rehearsal explains why these singers volunteer.

Like us on Facebook 

To get into this choir, performers need a great voice that blends well with others and the ability to read music really well.

Meaghan Curry has those skills. 

"I get so much joy out of singing with the chorus and getting to hear this orchestra,” she says.

Kim Kenney / Atlanta Ballet

A proposed sales tax to create a steady stream of funding for the arts in Atlanta appears to be dead.

Like us on Facebook

Mayor Kasim Reed needed Georgia lawmakers to sign off on the plan in order to put it before voters as a referendum in November. The idea was to let constituents decide whether they wanted to pay a one-tenth of a penny tax to support music, dance, theater or other artistic ventures in the city.

Ballethnic Dance Company

The City of Atlanta could get a small sales tax to support the arts. For every dollar spent in the city, one-tenth of a penny would go into a fund for music, dance, theater, fine art or other creative endeavors. That money would generate an estimated $15 million a year. City leaders hope to let voters decide the matter in a referendum this November. 

City Lights Host Lois Reitzes discussed the plan with WABE Arts and Culture Reporter (and "All Things Considered Host") Amy Kiley.


Courtesy of Atlanta United

The inaugural season is now underway for Atlanta's new Major League Soccer team. Atlanta United FC lost to the New York Red Bulls in Sunday’s opener at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium. But, in other ways, the match was a “win” for the new team.

Like us on Facebook

Twenty-five minutes into the game, Yamil Asad scored the first goal in Atlanta United history. Then, right at the end of the game, New York scored twice – finishing the game with an Atlanta defeat.

Fox Theatre in Atlanta on Peachtree Street
Allison Guillory / WABE

A bill to allow casinos in Georgia is dead for this year, but its sponsor, state Sen. Brandon Beach, says he'll bring it back next year.

Like us on Facebook

In the meantime, Beach says he wants to address the concerns of critics. Some doubt casinos would benefit the economy and fill state coffers as promised. Others worry about gambling addictions.

Andrea Corredor

It's Black History Month, and some Atlanta Public Schools students celebrated recently with a civil rights anthem.

Like us on Facebook

In 1939, Dr. Nathaniel Bronner Sr. was the only male graduate of Apex Beauty College on Auburn Avenue.
Courtesy of Bronner Bros.

The nation's largest African-American beauty show turns 70 years old this weekend. A hair product company called Bronner Brothers puts it on twice a year in Atlanta. This weekend’s show runs from Saturday, Feb. 11 through Monday, Feb. 13.

The brand name might sound masculine, but behind it is a league of black women who overcame Jim Crow laws to lay the groundwork for the African-American hair care industry.

Dan Raby / WABE

Georgia's music industry could start to get more tax breaks like TV and film companies do under a bill set to be introduced this month.

State Rep. Matt Dollar from Marietta said a study committee found music is big in Georgia, but not all musicians stay here.  

Pixabay Images

Atlanta's music scene is legendary, and recording studios are a big part of it.  But, some studios have caused noise complaints.  A few have seen deadly shootings.

That prompted a proposed city ordinance to regulate new recording spaces.  It's set for a full council vote on Tuesday.

If the ordinance passes, new studios would have to be sound proof and have a special use permit.  They also couldn't open within 300 feet of homes. 

Pixabay Images

Television and movies have a $6 billion impact on Georgia's economy each year.

Now, some lawmakers are eyeing more arts to bring in money: the for-profit music industry.

State Reps. Spencer Frye, a Democrat, and Matt Dollar, a Republican, are members of a study committee that explored how to support that industry. 

Now, they're ready to propose legislation.  The two representatives spoke with WABE's Amy Kiley.  Dollar began with an overview of the committee.

Like us on Facebook

Courtesy of MailChimp

Conventional wisdom says for-profit employees work for paychecks, and nonprofit employees want to make a difference.

Two Atlanta companies have turned that wisdom on its head. They made philanthropy a part of their business model and found it has paid off.


Aspen Institute

Dr. Tom Frieden will step down as head of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Inauguration Day.  That's standard practice when a new president takes power.

WABE’s Amy Kiley spoke with Frieden about his time with the CDC and the future of the institution.  He started by addressing concerns that a new administration might reduce funding for the CDC or change its priorities.

Interview Highlights:

The Woodruff Arts Center is home to the High Museum, the Alliance Theatre and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Alison Guillory / WABE

After years of symphony lockouts, tight budgets and bad press, it has finally been a good year for Atlanta's dominant arts organization in 2016. The Woodruff Arts Center is home to the High Museum, the Alliance Theatre and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. 

Last year, the ASO opened its season with a performance of Mahler's "Resurrection Symphony," but now, resurrection might be a better theme for the Woodruff Arts Center.

Courtesy of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church

December 12 is the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  It's especially important to Catholic Latinos.

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Atlanta has a large population with roots in Guatemala and Mexico, so it celebrated the feast.

It started with a Mass.  Then, the celebration moved to the church hall.  There, parishioners told the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe with a play, music and dance.

Some people who stopped by Creative Loafing's Crafts & Drafts event at Atlantic Station also visited the mall's stores.
Hadj Cruz

Black Friday is this week. For years, it's been a day when sales attract shoppers to area stores.

More recently, it's had to compete with Cyber Monday. That's a day retailers offer big discounts online.

That takes money away from brick-and-mortar shops. This season, forecasts says holiday internet sales should rise at least 7 percent. 

Georgia Supreme Court building
Nick Nesmith / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal is remodeling the states's judicial branch.

He named three new justices to the Supreme Court of Georgia Wednesday. Two of them come from a new law that expands the high court, starting in January.

Nels Peterson and Michael Boggs will be promoted from the Court of Appeals. Boggs also co-chairs the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform. The governor's other pick is Solicitor General Britt Grant.

Nick Arroyo for the Atlanta Music Festival

The Atlanta Music Festival begins Nov. 14.  It features days of workshops and performances to celebrate the region's musical and cultural heritage with a focus on African-American traditions.

The Atlanta Music Festival will culminate with a gala concert.  Singer Jessye Norman will perform, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Taylor Branch will also take part.

Al Such / WABE

Atlantans will vote on two sales tax referenda on Election Day that would fund transportation projects. 

The Atlanta T-SPLOST would run for five years and provide four-tenths of a penny in taxes. SPLOST stands for "special purpose local option sales tax." The "T" means the money would go to transportation. 

The MARTA referendum would give a half-penny sales tax to that agency for 40 years. 

If both pass, one big winner could be the BeltLine.



MARTA bus in traffic, Jan. 19, 2015, Atlanta
Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta-area voters will have a chance to vote on three sales tax measures as part of the general election.  The ballot items would put money toward different types of transportation-related projects in different parts of the Atlanta area.

MARTA Referenda

Atlanta voters will have a chance to vote for or against a half-penny sales tax that would put money toward MARTA for the next 40 years. It would take effect in 2017. 

Al Such / WABE

About 37 million Americans practice yoga, and some people in Atlanta are starting to do it in unexpected places. They do it on paddle boards out on Stone Mountain Lake, at area malls and at a park just off the BeltLine. WABE stopped by one yoga class to learn why hundreds of people there have left the gym behind.

Yoga As Community

The class is at a field near the Old Fourth Ward Skate Park. There, hundreds of people cram together yoga mats and move together like synchronized swimmers.   

Brenna Beech / WABE


On Oct. 3, 1949, the nation's first radio station owned by an African-American was founded right here in Atlanta. WERD became a mouthpiece for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a rallying point for the civil rights movement.

Amy Kiley / WABE

The Appalachia Mountains that run from New York to Mississippi produced sometimes isolated communities with distinct cultures. Today's Appalachia is more connected, but much of northern Georgia is still quite rural. 

For 50 years, high school students in Clayton, Georgia, have interviewed older residents to chronicle the region’s character. They publish what they find in The Foxfire Magazine. It's become so popular Random House has made it into a series of books. 

Ben Rose /

The Black Mafia Family was one of the largest drug-running organizations in U.S. history. It formed in the late 80s in Detroit and operated its distribution hub in Atlanta through the 90s and early 2000s. Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory ran BMF’s distribution here, and his brother, Terry "Southwest T" Flenory, handled supply from Mexico into Los Angeles.

Eight years ago, on Sept. 12, 2008, the brothers were sentenced to 30 years in jail. Though they're behind bars now, the BMF brand survives in music and pop culture.

Courtesy of Morehouse College


One of Atlanta's historically black colleges is highlighting historical, black music. Morehouse College will host "How Sweet the Sound: 2nd Ecumenical Celebration of Music in the Black Church" on Friday, Sept. 9, and Saturday, Sept. 10.

  It's partly a conference -- with workshops to help musicians brush up on their skills. It's also part celebration -- since it seeks to connect attendees with the legacy of African-American Christian music.

Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta

From giant pandas to Sumatran tigers, Zoo Atlanta’s large animals can have large appetites. Shuffling at least 20 pounds of plants a day to herbivores like pandas is enough of a chore, but what about large meat eaters? WABE looks into how Zoo Atlanta feeds its large carnivores.


A fossa is a weasel-like creature that climbs trees and often eats lemurs in the wild. 

Feeding Zoo Atlanta’s fossa, Logan, starts the way most carnivore feeding begins – with fences. Lead Carnivore Keeper Jenny Elgart says they keep humans and animals safe. 

Courtesy of Fulton County Animal Services

Officials assume the alligator spotted in Lake Lanier in August and another one captured near the Chattahoochee River last spring had been pets originally.  So, how did they get out in the wild?  And, what other exotic pets do people keep?

Fulton County Animal Services enforces county animal ordinances by sending out about 75 officers every day.  WABE's Amy Kiley visited the shelter and asked director Lara Hudson for her oddest tales.  Interview highlights:

The 2011 Decatur Book Festival crowd sifts through boxes of books
Courtesy of The Decatur Book Festival

Labor Day morning starts with a number of marathons, like the Big Peach Sizzler 10K that ends at Buckhead Station Shopping Center.

Dragon Con continues with autograph and reading sessions and film screenings. And, of course, fans can always dress up as their favorite characters. Dragon Con is based at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, though it takes place elsewhere downtown as well.

 The Georgia mascot Uga takes the field before an NCAA football game against the LSU, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Athens, Ga.
John Bazemore / Associated Press

College football season is now underway, and Georgia's teams are getting ready to take the field.

Georgia State University will host the Ball State Cardinals on Friday, Sept. 2, at the Georgia Dome. GSU continues to build its program as it kicks off its seventh season.

The next day at the Georgia Dome, the University of Georgia will play North Carolina at 5:30 p.m. In preseason rankings, the Bulldogs are 18th and the Tar Heels are 22nd.

GSU Winter 2015
Alison Guillory / WABE

Monday is the first day of class at Atlanta's largest universities and Georgia State University and Georgia Tech both report a record number of applications this year.

GSU says they're up 29 percent from last year. That's produced the school's largest freshman class ever with more than 3,500 new Panthers.  They also have the best average high school GPA in the school's history.