Audrey Dilling


Audrey Dilling is an editor and reporter for KALW's evening news and culture magazine, Crosscurrents. Her primary beat is California's water crisis. She is also a mentor in KALW's "Audio Academy."

From 2011-2013, she produced KALW's community storytelling project, Hear Here, which began as part of the Association of Independents in Radio's national "Localore" initiative, designed to bring journalistic and technical ingenuity to extending public media service to more Americans. Part radio project, part community engagement effort, and part live event series, Hear Here stories  give Bay Area residents a chance to make their voices heard – on public airwaves, online, and on stage. 

Dilling studied audio documentary at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Lewis & Clark College.

Ways to Connect

Audrey Dilling

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District is currently about  $3,500 per month. That means a renter needs to make almost $130,000 per year if she wants to spend just a third of her paycheck on rent. Singer-songwriter Candace Roberts doesn’t fall into that income bracket. 

Under CC license from Flickr user Eric Goldberg


San Francisco voters will see two competing clean-energy propositions on their ballots in November: Propositions G and H. But, what they won’t see is that the electrical union workers union that wrote Prop G is now actually supporting H.

Scientists project that the level of the water in the San Francisco Bay will rise three feet by the end of this century. That’s a conservative estimate - storm surges and extremely high tides could bring that number up to eight feet. This encroaching water poses a threat to existing developments and to future ones. In its latest investigation, the San Francisco Public Press examined the plans for more than 21 billion dollars worth of incoming development around the Bay.

Leslye Corsiglia has been working to create affordable housing in San Jose for more than 30 years. She's just recently left the city's Department of Housing to take a a position at the helm of a new advocacy organization called Silicon Valley at Home. She sat down with KALW’s Audrey Dilling to talk about the region’s challenges and opportunities for affordable housing.


Click the audio player to hear the full interview.



Audrey Dilling


All week long, we've been playing this sound and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

The 39th annual Frameline Film Festival, which features films and shorts about the LGBTQ experience, starts tomorrow in San Francisco.

One short film, The Typist, reaches back 60 years to tell the story of Otto Bremerman, a closeted gay Navy man who served as an office clerk during the Korean War. He was responsible for typing up dishonorable discharges of colleagues outed for being gay. Filmmaker Kristine Stolakis discovered Bremerman’s story in the oral history archives at the San Francisco’s GLBT Historical Society. She joined KALW’s Audrey Dilling in our studio to talk about the process of bringing an audio story to life on the screen.

Audrey Dilling


Seventy thousand people call San Francisco’s suicide crisis line each year. Making that call usually means someone is on the verge of harming themselves due to severe emotional distress. But San Francisco has launched a new service that’s aimed at reaching people before they’re on the brink of crisis – the San Francisco Mental Health Peer-Run Warm Line.

Flikr user Jeff Croft

The number of children in the city of San Francisco is dwindling. Back in the 1960s, kids made up a full quarter of the population. The latest census numbers showed the city was made up by only 13.4 percent of them. But now, after a concerted effort by City Hall, there’s been a dramatic change.

A note for our readers: the following story is of an adult nature.

The LA Times recently published an editorial that reported that California’s reservoirs are currently storing only about a year’s worth of water supply. Significant storms could still add to that supply, but it’s daunting data, coming at the tail end of the traditional wet season.

Flickr user toyzrus8

The Hetch Hetchy Regional Water system, operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC), carries water to 2.6 million customers in the Bay Area. How it does that is remarkable – remarkably simple, says PUC Water Resources Manager, David Briggs.

Audrey DIlling

A couple on an evening stroll down Valencia Street comes to a stop outside Lost Weekend Video. They’re peering in through the big front window.

“I wanted to check it out because I haven’t seen a video store in a long time,” says Abel Martinez. “These days I watch a lot of pirated movies.”

Under CC license from Flickr user Janet Ciucci

California is entering its fourth year of drought – and it’s really starting to show in some of the state’s most vital water resources. The Central Valley Project, which supplies water for about a third of California’s farmland, recently announced it had no water to give. That means those farmers will have to seek water elsewhere or let fields go fallow. About six percent of available farmland went unplanted last year due to the drought, resulting in more than $1 billion in lost revenue. The dire situation has left farmers and regular folks alike wondering when’s it going to end.

KALW’s Audrey Dilling has been looking into how much water it would take to get us out of this drought. She joined KALW’s Hana Baba in studio to talk about what she learned.

Under CC license from Flickr user Don McCullough

For this story we head down to San Jose, where wild pigs have been causing quite a stir. These big, burly beasts weigh around 300 pounds. All that weight can do a lot of damage when it goes tearing through a suburban lawn or golf course. That’s what these animals have been up to lately around San Jose, especially in the neighborhoods that border rural hillsides. So, in January, the San Jose City Council voted to extend a law that allows licensed people to trap and shoot the animals. The law was set to expire, but now it’s in effect permanently. To find out what this means for San Jose and it’s pig population, KALW’s Audrey Dilling spoke with Terris Kasteen from California Fish and Wildlife.

TERRIS KASTEEN: The pigs come through in one night and the sod is completely roto-tilled. It's torn up. Gone.

Wikimedia commons user Gazebo


The Searsville Dam is causing big trouble on the peninsula. The 122-year-old, 65-foot-tall dam is closed to the public, hidden away on 1,200 acres owned by Stanford University.

Under CC license from Flickr user Beatrice Murch

In San Francisco’s Richmond District, where Geary Boulevard meets Park Presidio, there stands a bright, white, defunct Christian Science church. There are big white columns out front, with pink steps leading up to iron double doors.

But, what goes on inside this church is not quite what you’d expect.

When you’re up in an airplane, shopping can be difficult. Unless, of course, you reach into the pocket of the seat in front of you and find a SkyMall catalogue. That’s the airline magazine that offers products like a special vacuum for your dog’s droppings or a human slingshot, right at the moment when you might be bored enough to buy them.

Under CC license from Flickr user Scott2342

When you go to vote next Tuesday, the first thing you’ll see in the list of state measures is Proposition 1. It’s also being called “the water bond”. And let’s get one thing straight right now – this bond won’t resolve the current drought. We can’t vote to make it rain.

But, Proposition 1 can make it rain in the form of $7.5 billion worth of funding for water projects around the state. These could include projects that recycle, conserve, and store more of the water we already have.

Audrey DIlling

Bay Area homes, businesses, and factories send about 550 million gallons of wastewater to treatment plants every day. That’s enough water to fill 750 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Just six percent of this water gets re-used for agricultural, industrial, and other non-potable purposes – meaning nobody drinks it. The rest gets discharged back into the Bay.

On November 4th, Oakland voters will pick their next mayor. All month on “Crosscurrents,” we are going to bring you the voices of each of the 15 people who are campaigning for the job.

Joe Tuman is a self-described outsider to Oakland city government. He’s been a member of politically-focused Oakland organizations – including one that kept tabs on local public safety funding from Measure Y – but he’s never held political office. Instead, he’s spent nearly three decades teaching government and law at San Francisco State. And he’s competed in thirteen Ironman triathalons.

Audrey Dilling

At the end of a narrow alley off of International Boulevard, through the open doorway of El ColectíVelo bike shop, I’m greeted by a young boy.

“R.B.! It’s the lady here for you!” he shouts.

“R.B.” are initials I’ll hear shouted out a lot of today. They stand for Reggie Burnett. He’s the leader here.

In San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, there’s a small building that’s a big part of some young people’s lives. Sunset Youth Services provides teenagers, transitional age young adults, and their families with support like violence prevention programs, parenting classes, and food assistance. And tucked away in a corner upstairs is the youth-run music studio, Upstar Records. That’s where teens learn to record their own songs, produce beats, and shoot music videos.

Twenty-four-year-old Clarissa Bryant has been recording there since she was sixteen, just one year after she came out at school. KALW’s Audrey Dilling brings you the story in this installment of Bay Area Beats.

At about 1:30am, after a night out with friends, Kyle Nichols-Schmolze is waiting for the AC Transit 800 bus near Market and Van Ness in San Francisco’s Civic Center.

Eighteen-year-old Tatyana Martinez turned to writing poetry as a young girl to cope with big changes in her life. Over time, her poetry evolved into music. She now works for the youth run recording studio Upstar Records, inside San Francisco’s Sunset Youth Services. The youth center supports young people and their families with things like parenting classes, food assistance, and job training at Upstar. When she’s not helping young musicians make music, Martinez writes and records her own songs with the goal of putting out her own album. She shares the story behind her songs in this installment of Bay Area Beats.

At the corner of Sanchez and Market, Jason Dorn pulls out an iPhone. He’s at one end point of the access area for San Francisco Free WiFi, a free wireless network that the city launched this past December. It spans Market Street, from Castro Street to the Embarcadero.

When you’re trying to figure out a piece of information online, your search will typically bring you to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia about practically everything.

But, what if you wanted to know something about Oakland – like why 880 is also called the Nimitz freeway – there’s another place you might land: Oakland Wiki.

Annie Lin / San Francisco Mixtape Society


The San Francisco Mixtape Society hosts mix exchanges at the Make Out Room in the Mission District. Music lovers meet, mingle and exchange mixes they made based on a particular theme.

Sunset Youth Services is an organization that supports transitional age youth and their families with things like parenting classes, food assistance, and job training. And it's home to the youth-run recording studio, Upstar Records, where young people learn audio production skills. That's where you’ll usually find 16-year-old Adriel Diaz. 

TraVaughn Hicks has been making music since he was a young boy and his rapper uncle would record him singing on his songs.

Audrey DIlling

Third-grader Kiana Sezawar is learning to care for plants at the Visitacion Valley Greenway community garden.