Ben Trefny

News Executive Editor

Ben handles daily operations in the news department, overseeing the editorial and sound engineering teams.  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.  Since then, under the leadership of news director Holly Kernan, he has helped the department win numerous 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.

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4:52pm

Tue March 12, 2013
Astronomy

Where's the best place to view the Comet PanSTARRS?

UFOs may be a bit far fetched, but this week there is something else coming from outer space. The Comet PanSTARRS can be seen in western skies this week.  To learn more about the science behind the spectacle, KALW's Ben Trefny spoke with Urban Astronomer Paul Salazar.

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5:03pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Politics

Condo conversion bill could circumvent rent control in San Francisco

Apartment building on Larkin Street in San Francisco
Flickr user sftrajan

If you’ve tried to find a place to live in the city lately, or even know someone who knows someone trying to find a place to live, you know San Francisco has a housing crisis. For many of the city’s longtime residents, rent control is the only thing that allows them to stay in their homes, but there’s a way for landlords to circumvent it – it’s a 1986 law called the Ellis Act.

The Ellis Act allows landlords to evict tenants if they plan to convert the building to a different use; for example, to move in themselves. In practice, it’s often been used to put buildings on the market at prices that those former tenants couldn’t afford. The last time Ellis Act evictions spiked was during the late 90s tech boom – there were 440 of them just between 1999 and 2000.

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10:23am

Mon February 18, 2013
Arts & Culture

An animated bunch of Oscar nominees

Official poster of "Adam and Dog"
Courtesy of adamanddog.tumblr.com

I’ve always been intrigued by the short features that are nominated for Academy Awards every year. Everybody (who watches movies) is familiar with the best picture nominees, the best actors, actresses, and directors. But only recently have I become aware that the shorts that win the same awards are available to be seen as well.

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5:42pm

Wed February 13, 2013
Arts & Culture

A mind for Jazz

Record shop owner Berigan Taylor dropped by KALW to tell Executive Editor (and fellow Jazz fan) Ben Trefny the story behind his little record shop in Oakland. Berigan’s was the inspiration for Michael Chabon’s new novel, Telegraph Avenue.  Taylor is a life-long record collector and still one of the Bay Area’s biggest jazz enthusiasts. As in, he could probably name every musician on every jazz recording you have ever heard.

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7:12pm

Thu January 24, 2013
Transportation

How to pick the right lane in Golden Gate Park

Courtesy of SFMTA Livable Streets

The streets of San Francisco are changing. There are separated bike lanes on Market Street. There’s green paint all over the Wiggle. The city is definitely becoming more bicycle-friendly.

After many delays, the city’s bike plan is taking effect, with city streets long-designed for car traffic being reconfigured for other modes of transportation. Four years ago the city had 45 miles of bike lanes. Today there are 65 and more are scheduled to be laid down. Plus, 75 more miles of streets will be stenciled with symbols designating them as bike-friendly routes. It’s all having a big impact.

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