Matt Martin

General Manager

Matt Martin became KALW’s general manager in 2006.  Under his leadership, KALW has grown into one of the most productive and innovative stations in public radio.  Programs launched at KALW during Matt’s tenure as GM include the award-winning local newsmagazine Crosscurrentsthe design podcast 99% Invisible, and the Spanish-language narrative journalism program Radio Ambulante.  He helped create the station’s Audio Academy, a year-long program aimed at developing new talents in public radio, and led the first broad-based strategic planning process in the station’s history.

Matt grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, where he listened to Bob Edwards on Morning Edition while walking his newspaper route.

After earning a Master’s Degree in U.S. History at the University of Minnesota, Matt came to the Bay Area in 1997. He got his start in radio at KPFA in Berkeley, where he participated in the station’s news training program and went on to report, produce, and serve as a programming coordinator for the station, as well as getting arrested during the 1999 Pacifica lockout. 

In November of 2001, Matt came to KALW as a producer for Working Assets Radio – the program now known as Your Call.  In five years with the show, Matt worked with a great group of hosts, including Laura Flanders, Farai Chideya, and Rebecca Roberts.  In 2006, Matt took the reins as General Manager from his mentor Nicole Sawaya, and continued her emphasis on the development of high-quality, innovative local programming, in tandem with the best from global public broadcasters.

“Public radio has played an important role in my life – as a source of information and community, a place where I’ve discovered ideas and music, and am regularly reminded of the things in life that matter.  I want to make sure this resource keeps evolving to serve future generations of listeners.  And I can’t imagine a better place to tap its potential for crossing boundaries and opening minds than right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Ways to Connect

99% Invisible: Ten Thousand Years  In 1990, the federal government invited a group of  geologists, linguists, astrophysicists, architects, artists, and writers to the New Mexico desert, to visit the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation’s only permanent underground repository for nuclear waste.

Join KALW station manager Matt Martin Thurday April 28th at 5pm for the Manager's Report to the Listeners.

Station manager Matt Martin updates listeners on upcoming changes to KALW's weekend schedule and gives a personal tribute to announcer Joe Burke, who's retiring after 28 years at the station.  Listeners can call in at  415-841-4134, and you can also e-mail Matt with questions or comments at

Thursday, April 28th 5pm to 6pm.

This week, NPR's Heavy Rotation series features Emmanuel Nado, co-host of Africa Mix, heard Thursday nights from 9-11pm on KALW.

Emmanuel highlighted the song "L.A." by Habib Koite.  Hear the Morning Edition feature with Emmanuel here

On Memorial Day, tune in for Shake it, a new documentary that takes a tender look at two modern photo technologies - Polaroid and digital photography - and the human and visual connections we make with them.

Life of the Law: The Necessity Defense  Cannibals, cannabis-growers, Vietnam War protesters, and prison escapees all have something in common: The necessity defense. We explore the origins and uses of this rare long-shot defense argument, which says in essence, “Yes, I’m guilty of committing a crime...."


Tonight on Tangents, Dore Stein's Tangential mix will include the sounds of Natalia M. King's new album SoulBlazz.


Undercover Presents is a Bay Area project brings together an eclectic mix of local musicians to reinterpret classic albums from start to finish, in the studio and in live performance.  They've taken on influential records from Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, and Sly & The Family Stone --

In celebration of 25 years on "Folk Music & Beyond" on KALW, JoAnn Mar and Bob Campbell have put together a brand new "Best-Of" collection, featuring highlights of live performances recorded in the KALW studios.


Join Fascinatin' Rhythm host Michael Lasser for a 3-hour special exploring Kurt Weill's years in America. Friday from 8pm-11pm.

Immediately following the Your Call media roundtable, stay tuned for a new English-language special from Radio Ambulante, the groundbreaking Spanish-language podcast that uses the narrative journalism associated with This American Life to tell the stories of Latin America and Latino America.

Tune in for three hours of head-turning, mind-opening stories from Radiotopia, curated and co-hosted by 99% Invisible's Sam Greenspan and Crosscurrents' Ashleyanne Krigbaum.  Tuesday, May 6th from 9pm to Midnight.

Cal Tabuena-Frolli

Thanks to everyone who made KALW's spring fundraiser a success.  2,500 listener-supporters, including 500 new members, contributed more than $370,000 to KALW.

That's worth celebrating -- which is just what we'll do at The Public Radio Party we're throwing on Wednesday, June 11th from, 5-9pm at the CCSF Mission Campus.

On May Day, hear a pilot broadcast of "Consensus," a new series exploring the global cooperative economy.  This episode includes a report from this week's Jackson Rising New Economies Conference in Jackson, Mississippi, and an interview with Congressman Chaka Fattah, author of the "Creating Jobs Through Cooperatives Act".  Thursday at 5:30pm.

Starting on May 6th, we’re throwing a Public Radio Party at KALW.  And we’re big believers in never—ever!—having radio silence at a party.  

So, we asked some of KALW’s music junkies to dip into their collections and pull out their favorite songs for our Public Radio Party Mixtape

Life of the Law: Privacy Issues  Mike Katz-Lacabe is a normal, taxpaying, married, father of two. And yet, the San Leandro police department has what amounts to a family photo album of him and his car.  If you drive a car and live in an American city, your local police department probably has an album of you, too.

99% Invisible: “Structural Integrity”  When it was built in 1977, Citicorp Center was the seventh-tallest building in the world.  But it’s the base of the building that really makes the tower so unique. The bottom nine of its 59 stories are stilts. 

Blank on Blank: "Johnny Cash on the Gospel" "I just hope and pray I can die with my boots on." A previously unheard interview recorded in 1996.

Harvard College Observatory Collection of Astronomical Photographs

99% Invisible "Title TK" The name is important. It’s the first thing of any product you use or buy or see. The tip of the spear.  Only the names that are most interesting and most pleasant on the tongue can survive in your memory. So it’s no surprise that companies—especially large ones like Sony or Procter & Gamble—hire naming companies.

The Memory Palace: "400,000 Stars"

Youth Radio podcast: "An on-line challenge turns deadly"  An online drinking challenge made popular in the UK and Australia has already been responsible for five deaths of men under 30 years old. Youth Radio’s Rafael Johns and his friends have been monitoring this trend on YouTube wondering if it will hit in the US.

Sara Trujillo is a student at San Francisco's Leonard Flynn Elementary School, where she writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring her voice to the air during National Moetry Month.

99% Invisible: “Call Now” The subtle, possibly endless civil war over how attorneys should advertise their services (and whether they should advertise at all).

VoiceBox: "Auctioneering"  Inside the rhythm, art and sport of the live auction, with Colorado Auctioneers Hall of Famer Steve Linnebur and Tennessee auctioneer Justin Ochs.

Theory of Everything: When You're Lonely, Life is Very Long.  After moving to New York, writer Olivia Laing discovered the truth about loneliness. She says it is a gift.  Eric Klinenberg explains why more and more people are choosing to live alone and why cities like New York must invest in housing stock that singletons actually want to live in, the type of housing they have in Scandinavian countries.

Mike Watt and The Minutemen put out a classic album 30 years ago called Double Nickels on the Dime. He joins Sound Opinions this week to talk about the record that put San Pedro on the musical map. Then Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot review new albums from Grammy winner Pharrell Williams & Philly rockers The War on Drugs.

Sunday at 2pm.

Stanford Storytelling Project: "How Not to Give" The story of an entrepreneur who wanted to give one million t-shirts to Africa.

Youth Radio podcast: “A Critical Look at MOOCs -- Massive On-Line Courses”

The State We’re In: “Do the Right Thing” In Mexico, investigative journalism can be a life-threatening profession. Sergio Haro is a veteran reporter for the muckraking Mexican weekly, Zeta.

From The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, Reveal is for anyone who is interested in stories that break news and change our understanding of how the world works.  Reveal examines what governments, businesses and communities are doing behind the scenes, hidden from public view.

Glen Weldon, author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography (and panelist of the great Pop Culture Happy Hour) talks us through the iconography of our first superhero and why Supes has managed to stay relevant for 75 years.

Life of the Law: “Bad Constitution”  Alabama has the longest constitution, not just in the country, but in the world, with 885 amendments and counting.  Hear why it got that way, and how it affects everything in the state from school desegregation to pig farms.

After more than a decade, the Northern California alternative hip-hop triumvirate of Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator, and Kid Koala -- a.k.a. Deltron 3030 -- are back with a new album, Event 2

Hear them talk with Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot and perform in-studio on this week's Sound OpinionsSunday at 2pm.

Theory of Everything: "F is for Fake": To bot or not?  Host Benjamen Walker talks to data scientist Gilad Lotan about "fake followers" and online reputations, and Jason Q Ng, author of the book Blocked on Weibo, tells us why the Chinese government hates on-line bots.

Thursday at 5:30pm.

You know the saying: you can’t judge a book by its cover. With magazines, it’s pretty much the opposite. The cover of a magazine is the unified identity for a whole host of ideas, authors, and designers who have created the eclectic array of stories and articles and materials within each issue.   This is the anatomy of a magazine cover, starting from the top. Literally. Listen here.