Ben Trefny

News Director

Ben handles daily operations in the news department, overseeing the editorial and sound engineering teams, producing the nightly news and culture show Crosscurrents, and managing the KALW Audio Academy training program. He earned a Masters degree in journalism from the University of Oregon in 2000 and got his start in public radio at NPR member station KLCC in Eugene. After freelancing for numerous magazines and working for various commercial and public radio programs, Ben joined KALW in 2004. He has helped the department win numerous regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He has also helped train dozens of radio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today. Ben lives with his wife and twin children in San Francisco's Outer Sunset district, where Golden Gate Park meets Ocean Beach, and spends as much time as he can outside.

Ways To Connect

A new report from the legislative analyst's office shows California will have to pay more than $700 million a year to cover costs on nearly $10 billion in high speed rail bonds...

Brandon McFarland is the editor of Youth Radio's radio station, He joined KALW’s Ben Trefny to talk about the latest in Bay Area music.

BEN TREFNY: So tell me about what’s new on All Day Play.

An extended conversation in which KALW's Ben Trefny interviews filmmaker Andres Cediel about what lies beneath Bay Street in Emeryville: a shopping mall, atop a toxic industrial center, atop a Native American burial ground.

Audio available after 5pm PST on February 16, 2012.


Photo courtesy of

Just off Shellmound Street in Emeryville, an outdoor mall sits on prime real estate. It’s north of a maze of highways leading to the Bay Bridge. A quarter of a million drivers pass within honking distance every single day. While the Bay Street "Urban Village" was only established in the 21st century, the land it sits on has a very rich past. Rich enough to warrant a documentary film that uncovers several layers of unusual history.

Photo courtesy of PRBO

Today we begin our series of conversations with the Bay Area’s 2012 “environmental heroes.”

The Berkeley-based Bay Nature Institute recently named Ellie Cohen as conservation advocate of the year. Cohen is president of PRBO, which was originally the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. KALW’s Ben Trefny sat down with Cohen to talk about her work.

Ameen Belbahri

Maybe you support the Occupy movement, or maybe you don't. Or maybe you take this point of view:

NATO GREEN: I want to be for the 99%, but I don't know if you realize this, that's a lot of people, including a lot of assholes. And most of us given the opportunity would be able to say, would want to be able to say, "I'm for the 99%, asterisk, except some people." And then we'd have our own lists! 

Yesterday, the lights went out for redevelopment agencies all over the state.

A look inside California’s toughest prison; the politics of parole; a civil rights lawyer is fighting UC Berkeley police over gay rights; and the memory of George Moscone is adapted on the stage.

European Commission

In last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama proposed something radical, that dropping out of high school no longer be allowed. But that might be complicated. Every school district has tried numerous solutions to the dropout dilemma without success.

Imagine, for a minute, that you’re Governor Jerry Brown.