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. 

Today is day 24 of the prison hunger strike in California. It started off with thousands of prisoners refusing meals, protesting the conditions in the Security Housing Unit, or what’s also been called solitary confinement. The number of strikers has now come down to several hundred, and last week one of them, inmate Billy Sell, died in the SHU at Corcoran State Prison. He had been there for 24 years. The CDCR has issued a statement that his death a suicide, but mediators are calling for an independent investigation to see if he had received proper care during his hunger strike.

Photo by Julie Caine

This story is part of The Audiophiles series, our award-winning series of conversations with the most creative people working with sound around the Bay.

Under CC License from Flickr User Michael B.

Today is the last day of school for students in the Oakland Unified School District, and it also marks the end of a long year for student teacher Diana Arbas. We’ve been listening in on her radio diaries all week, as she struggled with classroom management and learned how to take better care of herself so she'd be prepared to help her 9th graders pass her class.

Karen Gordon

Diana Arbas has been retracing the ups and downs of teaching ninth graders at Oakland High School. In her first semester she was guided by a mentor, as she tackled some pretty big challenges – by December she was exhausted, and learned she had to take better care of herself if she was going to meet the demands of her classroom. By April, she was finally feeling in control. 

shared by USAG-Humphreys on flickr

Have you ever had to command the attention of three dozen teenagers? It’s not easy. Especially when you’re still learning how to be a teacher.

“Classroom management, it’s about control,” says Oakland High School student teacher Diana Arbas. “Control of the students, sure, but it’s about control of self. It’s about demonstrating to them how an adult behaves.”

Diana, 27, is learning to lead in the classroom with the help of her Coordinating Teacher, or CT. She has felt a sense of responsibility to her students from the beginning. But, by December, when we last heard from Diana, she was ready for a break.

Karen Gordon

Diana Arbas, 27, is a student teacher at Oakland High School. She’s in a masters program at Mills College, where in order to earn her degree, she has to tackle a real classroom. Diana has the guidance of a more experienced teacher, known as a Cooperating Teacher, but the goal is for her to be able to stand on her own.

Oakland’s a hard city to teach in. Oakland High is in East Oakland. The student body is made up of kids with very diverse backgrounds, many from the poorest neighborhoods in the city. Not all come to the ninth grade ready to tackle that level of work.

A year ago, KALW’s Ali Budner met Sharena Thomas and her friend Lesley Phillips, two women from East Oakland who say the 911 emergency response system in their neighborhood is broken.

In trying to find a possible solution, they co-founded group called The People’s Community Medics. Its goal is to train citizens in basic first aid so they can help people as they wait for emergency responders.

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.