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Crosscurrents is the award-winning daily news magazine from KALW Public Radio. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the divides in our community - economic, social, and cultural.

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Got a general comment, tip, or a story we should cover? Email or call (415) 264-7106.

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How was the San Francisco Bay formed?

Nov 5, 2017
State of California Department of Conservation / cropped and resized

KALW listener Claudia Zeiler wanted to know how and when the San Francisco Bay was formed. 

Joe Parks / cropped and resized

One KALW listener wanted to know why there are no sound walls along either Highway 24 or Highway 980.

By Pixabay user kidjack. Licensed under Creative Commons CC0/cropped.

Bay Area makes progress on adult use permits ... “Campfire pot” could save growers in North Bay fire zone ... Medical guidelines enhanced ... FDA puts CBD distributors on notice ... Ten years of higher ed ... and more.

Who is Karl the Fog?

Nov 2, 2017
phoca2004 / cropped and resized

KALW listener Janet Basu wanted to know; just who is this Karl the Fog, anyway? 

Don't get confused — Covered California still exists

Nov 2, 2017
Covered California

As open enrollment for Covered California begins, President Trump’s recent attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act have caused a lot of confusion. KALW’s Health Reporter Marissa Ortega-Welch gave some pointers for navigating the chaos.

What happens to the plastic bags we recycle?

Nov 2, 2017
Victor Andronache / cropped and resized

KALW listener Mimi Manning wanted to know what happens to the plastic bags that are dropped off to be recycled at grocery stores. 

Public art expected to change San Francisco skyline

Nov 2, 2017
Projected Completion, January 2018
Courtesy of the artist and Boston Properties


As the tallest building in San Francisco, Salesforce Tower is the new center of the city skyline. And as soon as January, the top of the tower will also become a work of public art, created by San Francisco artist Jim Campbell.


Hundreds of short-legged pups celebrate Corgi Con

Nov 2, 2017
Claire Stremple

Corgi Con is a semi-annual celebration of short, sausage-shaped dogs called Corgis. Hundreds of dogs and their families descend on Ocean Beach for a day of events and festivities.

11/2: A new city skyline

Nov 2, 2017


Today on Crosscurrents:

"San Francisco-Mission District" by CC Flickr user emile lombard, resized and recropped

San Francisco’s Mission District has a historically rich Mexican heritage.

Hannah Kingsley-Ma

This week brings with it Día de los Muertos.

Eli Wirtschafter

AC Transit is building a faster, more reliable bus line on International Boulevard in East Oakland. But some locals are worried that the project will be one more thing forcing them out of the city.

Audiograph's Sound of the Week: Ghost Hunter

Nov 1, 2017
Julie Caine


Here's the sound we played as a clue. We asked you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

Listen above for the full answer.  

David Boyer

On Sunday mornings in the Castro neighborhood, there’s a place where rhythm reigns. Dancers pull out their leg warmers, spandex, and fluorescent headbands for Sunday Skool — and with the right accessories and a lot of attitude, their dreams of being a backup dancer for a day come true. 

Halloween through the eyes of a spirit medium

Oct 31, 2017
"Crows" by CC Flickr user Jennifer C.,

For many of us, Halloween is a day we get to depart from reality. But for Sandra Belanger, ghosts, the afterlife, and death are part of everyday life. That’s because she’s a “spirit medium.” 

10/31: Spirits, ghosts, legwarmers for dance class

Oct 31, 2017

Today on Crosscurrents: 

Here's the sound we played as a clue. We asked you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

10/30: Bookstore survival in the age of Amazon

Oct 30, 2017


Tomorrow on Crosscurrents:

  • Celebrating the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s Green Apple Books.
  • From our partners at The Moth, Bay Area author Laura Albert explains the story behind her longtime pseudonym, JT LeRoy.

Green Apple Books celebrates 50 years in SF

Oct 30, 2017
Courtesy of Green Apple Books


San Francisco's iconic Green Apple Books grew from a 750-square-foot storefront on Clement Street in 1967, to a space of over 8,000 square feet today.

10/26: The art of Día de los Muertos

Oct 30, 2017


Today on Crosscurrents:

  • A personal reflection on the Day of the Dead.
  • Taking a curated tour of the Día de los Muertos exhibit at San Francisco’s SOMArts Cultural Center. 
  • Bay Area Beats — with singer/songwriter Kelly McFarling.

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.

Meditating on loss while celebrating life

Oct 30, 2017
Martina Castro

El Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a traditional Mexican holiday in which people honor the spirits of those who’ve passed. 

Jeff Waldman

One listener wanted to know: “What’s the true story behind the Hunters Point Crane?” We sent a reporter from our collaborative reporting project Hey Area to find out.

Ben Trefny

Rio Yañez has been putting together the Día de los Muertos exhibit at SOMArts Cultural Center for many years. He took KALW's Ben Trefny on a tour of this year's exhibit.

The Remembrance and Resistance: Día de los Muertos Exhibition is open  now through November 9th. 

By Pixabay user 3dman_eu. Licensed under Creative Commons CC0/cropped.

Legalization survey at all time high ... Impact of North Bay firestorms ... More good news for children with epilepsy ... What Steve Kerr says ... and more.


Today on Crosscurrents:

  • How the firestorm up north will affect the affordable housing crisis.
  • How San Francisco’s hot housing market is keeping homeless people out of available units.
  • Two close friends reflect on their experience caring for abandoned elderly patients in the wake of an assisted-living residence's closure.
  • The story of the man who made Golden Gate Park.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs

CalFire has named the blazes that devastated Sonoma and Napa Counties earlier this month the October Fire Siege. FEMA says this is the worst fire disaster in California’s history.

Sharon Wickham, San Francisco Public Press


The latest edition of the San Francisco Public Press includes a story about one possible solution to homelessness — hotels.

Just about everyone knows that the largest park in San Francisco is Golden Gate Park. But can you name the second largest one? (The Presidio doesn’t count; that’s federal.) 

Named for John McLaren, San Francisco’s first Superintendent of Parks, McLaren Park is just over 300 acres, about a third the size of its larger and better-known sibling.  


Four years ago, two close friends single-handedly cared for stranded elderly and mentally ill residents who were abandoned at a failing assisted-living facility in Castro Valley.