Martina Castro

Editor & Producer

Martina Castro served as the Managing Editor of KALW News until 2014.  She started her career in journalism as an intern at National Public Radio in Washington D.C., and worked with NPR as a producer, trainer, and freelancer before coming to KALW.  Martina's independent work has been featured nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Day to Day, as well as the online radio magazine The [Un]Observed.

On KALW’s Crosscurrents, Martina has produced stories gauging the impact of the recession on the Bay Area, and also has focused on the arts like in her series The Audiophiles, a wide-range of conversations with creative people working in sound around the Bay.  She also edited and produced The Fault Lines, an award-winning series about the roots and solutions to violence in Oakland.  Martina likes to work in audio even in her free time – she makes radio in Spanish as senior producer of the new podcast Radio Ambulante, is a sound artist and designer for local art installations, and she sings with the San Francisco Latin rumba reggae band Makrú.  She’s also known to go out for an occasional surf. 

Rick Bucich /

Jaimal Yogis was 29 years old when he went through his first big heartbreak. At the time, he was living in a dark studio to save money and Jaimal was feeling pretty sorry for himself.

His girlfriend Sara was his first real love. When they met in their early 20s, Jaimal was instantly drawn to her silly sense of humor and green-blue eyes. After a short time, they fell for eachother. Hard.

The chemistry between people on a dance floor and the DJ mixing for them is not something to take lightly. The DJ is like a combination of artist, entertainer, and performer – taking the crowd on a musical journey.

Courtesy of Radio Ambulante

In February 2013, Radio Ambulante put on a live show in New York City. We presented some of our best stories from our pilot season in English and Spanish, but we kicked off the evening with a conversation between novelists Junot Díaz and Francisco Goldman and Radio Ambulante's Executive Producer Daniel Alarcón.

This conversation is about the art of translation, on what it's like to write stories about Latinos in English, and about the relationship each author has with Latin America.

Note: this conversation contains explicit language.


This Thursday, members of the esteemed San Francisco Writers’ Grotto will stand up and read their worst writing, in front of an audience. It’s part of the annual Litquake Festival, and it’s called "Regreturature." KALW’s Martina Castro went to last year’s show and did some thinking about her own creative process.

In this episode of Crosscurrents, we go on a sonic tour of sounds from everyday life, led by bioacoustician and soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause.

Part I.

Bernie Krause says if we really listen, we’ll hear an animal orchestra out there and we need to protect it.

“Fully 50 percent of the habitats I’ve recorded are now quiet. It tells us about so many things about ourselves and how we’re doing in relationship to the rest of the living world around us,” says Krause.

Sarah Cahill is considered one of the architects and champions of the new music scene in the Bay Area. She founded the annual Garden of Memory concert at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, which is one of the many ways she tries to make contemporary music more accessible to a wider audience. She also does that Sunday nights on her radio show Then and Now on KALW on Sundays at 8pm. Cahill spoke with KALW's Martina Castro and played some songs for her, as she described why she ended up leaving the more formal classical world, for the freedom of the experimental genre.

By some estimates, the video game industry today is worth more than $100 billion. It’s a male dominated industry: the most recent study found that the people who work in gaming are nearly ninety percent male. They’re paid much more, and they’ve created a culture that’s not very friendly to women. To learn more about the gaming industry gender gap, KALW’s Martina Castro sat down with Tasneem Raja, the interactive editor at Mother Jones. They talked about the role of women the video game industry, the subject of a recent article by Raja.

Under CC license from Flickr user enricod

With less than two weeks to go before election day, San Franciscans have a lot of issues to consider. Some are unique to San Francisco, for example, we’re the only city in California that bases our business tax on a company’s payroll. That means if your business makes more than $250,000, your tax is based on how many employees you have, not how much money you make.

Proposition E would change that. It would phase this tax out, and institute a new one based on a company’s gross receipts, meaning the total amount of money it brings in each year. 

Eighty-five percent of San Francisco's water comes from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. San Francisco Proposition F calls for the city to begin evaluating the option of draining the reservoir. Before the Hetch Hetchy Valley was flooded, or the O’Shaughnessy Dam was built, environmentalists led by John Muir put up a big fight to keep it protected.

LitQuake and the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts present an evening with novelist Daniel Alarcón and the team behind Radio Ambulante, the new Spanish-language podcast based here at KALW. Join us for a special night of live bilingual radio, featuring stories from Latin America and the U.S. moderated by Oscar Villalon, ZYZZYVA's managing editor. The event is on Tuesday, October 9th, and begins at 7pm. Advance purchase is recommended.

Local musician Kelly McFarling wrote her song “Atlanta” as an ode to her hometown, but she didn’t write it – or any other song, as a matter of fact – until she settled into her current home in San Francisco. In this edition of Bay Area Beats, McFarling tells KALW’s Martina Castro why she credits San Francisco with helping her launch her musical career, and better understanding the idea of home.

We rely on a large dose of passion to do what we do at KALW, so we want to honor those around the Bay who do the same – for their work, families, neighborhoods, etc. Help us find them!

Maybe it's your child's teacher who goes the extra mile, the owner of your local corner store who goes out of his or her way to keep customers happy...whoever comes to mind, let us know, and we might feature them on the air.  

Just leave us your nomination on our tipline at (415) 264-7106. 

Ashleyanne Krigbaum

This morning, thousands of young undocumented immigrants became eligible for temporary legal status due to the implementation of President Obama's policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which is considered the most expansive immigration policy to take effect in the past 25 years. The federal initiative grants access to work permits and temporary protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Bangkok Coffee, 2012

There’s talk that we’re in the midst of a second tech boom in San Francisco. Twitter is opening its new headquarters in the Central Market district and residents are buzzing about what’s to come. Mayor Ed Lee has been courting start-ups since he came into office, hoping they’ll bring thousands of new jobs to the city.

So far in KALW News’ series of conversations about sound, we’ve taken you to the planetarium of the California Academy of Sciences, and to the unique San Francisco sound theater called Audium.

For this segment of “Audiophiles,“ where we talk with the most creative minds working in sound, we want you to close your eyes and imagine you've walked into a diner…

MARTINA CASTRO: You go up to the jukebox, throw in your quarter and pick a random song. It sounds like a pretty cool song, but listen closely…

Photo courtesy of

Generally, pornography isn’t something that comes up in casual conversation. It’s a taboo topic for obvious reasons – but local author Stephen Elliott says this means people know very little about the people who work in that industry, and often consider them victims or bad people. In his twenties, Elliott was a stripper in his hometown, Chicago, and he's part of the sex worker community here in San Francisco. He and his friend Lorelei Lee, an adult film star, decided to co-write a screenplay that would share their perspective of what it’s like to work in porn.

The San Francisco International Film Festival is now in full swing, with over 200 films from all over the world screening in the coming weeks. One of the Bay Area filmmakers featured this year is Jamie Meltzer. His documentary, Informant, follows the evolution of radical activist Brandon Darby who was involved in the high-profile arrest of two fellow activists during the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Imagine for a moment that you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, say at about age nine. What would have been your biggest dreams? Favorite color? Best friends? What would you hope to never forget as a grown up? These are just a few of the questions that KALW’s Martina Castro posed to three 4th grade girls, all friends and classmates at the Park Day School in Oakland. They attend an after school art and mindfulness class at Honey Moon Studios.

Photo courtesy of

Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich are hosts of the popular NPR science program RadioLab. They’re two of the most innovative, daring, and brilliant storytellers on the radio today.

California is home to the largest U.S. women’s prison, located in Chowchilla. Women represent the fastest growing sector of the prison population nationwide and in the state. And the Habeas Project says about two-thirds of women behind bars report they are survivors of domestic abuse. One of those women was Deborah Peagler.

Peagler says her boyfriend started abusing her shortly after they began dating at age 15. She says he was upset with her because she refused to prostitute herself.

The sound of the Occupy movement, from Wall Street to the West Coast, has been captured in angry chants. But give a listen to protests of the past, and you’ll find musicians making themselves heard in many different ways. KALW’s Martina Castro spoke with Latin jazz percussionist John Santos about the role of music in social protest and the Occupy movement.

Awhile back, we took you deep into outer space:

CHRISTOPHER HEDGE: You’re always going to have a whoosh sound when you go through something in a planetarium, so I was thinking, “Well what if those whooshes were made with the real signatures of what you’re going through?”

Photo by Jen Dessinger

Space exploration – it’s something we’ve made a national priority since NASA’s inception, over 50 years ago.

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because it’s easy but because it’s hard.

But last week, NASA launched its last space shuttle mission – officially retiring the almost 30-year-old spacecraft.