Monday-Thursday at 5pm

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

Courtesy ShadowLight Productions/Resized and cropped

Larry Reed is a master of shadow puppetry. He learned the craft the traditional way in Bali in the 1970’s. 

1/12: Water, water

Jan 12, 2016

The true cost of beef

Jan 12, 2016
Sonoma Discoveries Magazine

Americans eat about 16 billion burgers a year. Or 50 billion burgers a year. It depends on which study you read. In 2014, burger chains grossed about $70 billion in sales.

Daily news roundup Tuesday, January 12, 2015

Jan 12, 2016
"Gender Neutral Restroom UC Irvine" Ted Eytan, under CC license/ Resized and Cropped


Here’s what’s happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW News:

 Uber cuts passenger fares, drivers cry foul // SF Examiner

“Citing low winter ridership, Uber has slashed prices in 48 cities across the U.S. While Uber says it’ll mean good things for riders and drivers alike, drivers say the prices go too far.”

There are hidden costs attached to almost everything we buy. T-shirts, mortgages, and hamburgers.  In the book “The Value of Nothing: How to reshape market society and redefine democracy,” Raj Patel argues that even a hamburger may have hidden ecological and social costs of as much as $200. 

Joe Picard

Watching Bay Area singer Karina Denike perform is like going back in time, to an era of torch singers. You can hear a lifetime of musical influences in her music — a jazz vocalist’s depth mixed with a punk edge, a little doo wop, an Eastern European lilt, and some 1960’s soul.

Illustration by Rich Black.

This is Audiograph—the Bay Area’s sonic signature.

Daily news roundup for Monday, January 11, 2016

Jan 11, 2016

Here’s what’s happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW News:

No winning Powerball tickets sold; jackpot hits $1.3 billion // Los Angeles Times 

"The Powerball lottery jackpot has risen to more than $1.38 billion, the largest amount in U.S. history. Lottery fever has gripped the country as people scramble to buy tickets before the next drawing Wednesday. 


1/11: The true cost of beef

Jan 11, 2016


  • Examining the true costs of producing one of America’s favorite foods -- hamburgers.
  • Author Raj Patel on hidden food costs and how global food aid may be causing more harm than good.
  • Singer Karina Denike on her unique Bay Area sound.

Used under license through Creative Commons

Plans for a California cannabis credit union...  Parker throws cash at legalization… “Nuns” threatened for growing… Cities statewide enact restrictions on cannabis… Health, Opinion, and more.


"Oakland Riviera" by FLICKR user Fragmentary Evidence used under CC, resized and recropped


In our current era of electronic transfers, bank cards and direct deposit, it is easy to forget that people used to go home at the end of the week with a pay envelope filled with... money! In fact, the name of one Bay Area neighborhood is based upon that old practice. That neighborhood is Oakland's Jingletown.

Tacos and Banh Mi: A match made in heaven

Jan 7, 2016
Olivia Cueva

On the corner of 14th Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland, there's a strip mall with a mini-mart, a laundromat, and then there is Saigon Deli.   

The brave new world of play!

Jan 7, 2016
Chris Hambrick

On a warm and sunny Wednesday afternoon I meet Curt Wear at Lincoln Square Park in Oakland’s Chinatown. Wear is the President of Community Playgrounds, and he builds and installs playground equipment in parks like this one.

Daily News Roundup for Thursday, January 7, 2016

Jan 7, 2016
© BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons used under CC-BY-SA / Resized and cropped

PG&E monthly power bills are rising // Inside Bay Area

"PG&E is ringing in the new year with an increase in monthly gas and electricity bills that will rise at a faster pace than the local inflation rate."

1/7: Playgrounds past and present

Jan 7, 2016
  • Playground equipment has changed in the Bay Area—for safety’s sake.
  • How the Oakland neighborhood of Jingletown got its name.
  • A beloved restaurant fuses Mexican and Vietnamese food.

The Book Report: Natalie Baszile

Jan 6, 2016
Courtesy Natalie Baszile,

The Book Report is a series where we talk to local authors about they books they love. Today we hear about Amy Bloom's Away from Natalie Baszile, a writer living in San Francisco. 


When you think of a farmer, you may picture an old curmudgeon in overalls and straw hat squinting out at a bucolic pasture, chewing a piece of grass as he slaps wildly at flying pests. Well, that was the old breed of farmer.

Under CC license from Flickr user David Goehring/cropped from original

I killed my first deer in the backwoods of Wisconsin when I was 13 years old. This was the first time I really understood the existential price of eating meat: death. 

CC: Daily digest for Wednesday, January 6, 2015

Jan 6, 2016
"2015-10-13 no fishing" by Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker

Here’s what’s happening in the Bay Area today, as curated by KALW News:

Californians Miss Water Conservation Target // NBC Bay Area

“State officials say drought-stricken California used 20 percent less water in November, once again missing the 25 percent conservation mandate set by Gov. Jerry Brown.

1/6: Backyard Butcher

Jan 6, 2016


  • What it really takes to make your chicken dinner.
  • Novella Carpenter talks about raising animals in her Oakland backyard.
  • A local author discusses a  book she says made the rest of the world fall away.

Kristina Loring


Many spaces are designated for either men or women: bathrooms, clothing stores, hair salons. But some people don’t subscribe to being a man or a woman. This is true for Clem Breslin, who identifies as being genderqueer. 

On today’s episode of “Crosscurrents,” we are talking about identity. We have heard how people, whether intentionally or not, can “pass” as another race, just by the sound of their voice. Passing can also be a full-time, physical endeavor. The United States has a long history of African Americans who chose to live as white in their daily lives. 

Alyssa Kapnik Portraiture


We are always adjusting the way we sound. It especially depends on the social situation we are in. Linguists call it "code switching," a term originally used for people who would switch between two different languages like Spanish and English.

1/5: Constructing identities

Jan 5, 2016

Cal Tabuena-Frolli

The Book Report is a new series where we talk to local authors about the books they love. Today we hear about Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim from Katherine Ellison, a writer living in San Anselmo. 

Click the audio player above to hear about the book. 

The Book Report is brought to you by KALW and the Litography Project, which is mapping the stories of San Francisco’s literary scene. Find more Litography stories here

Todd Whitney

If you have walked the streets of the Bay Area recently -- you might have seen posters featuring the names and faces of Oscar Grant, Renisha McBride, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, among others. 

They are plastered across building walls, store windows, and telephone polls by their creator, Oakland based artist Oree Originol. The simple black and white posters are meant to honor the lives of unarmed black and brown people who have who have been killed.

Tracy Grubbs grew up fascinated, curious and also afraid of death. Her curiosity, plus her interest in Buddhism led her to volunteer at the Zen Hospice Project, a San Francisco center for the dying supported by the Buddhist community. Grubbs spoke with her colleague Lisa Messano.

U.S. Customs & Border Patrol, under CC license from Flickr

Surgeon General to review drug rules… RICO charges dropped in Berkeley… Mexican farmers converting to other crops… Kosher cannabis… Year-end review… and more.


morgan / Used by permission through CC license. Cropped from original.

Towns and counties vote for local control… Oklahoma still suing neighbors… Columbia legalizes medical marijuana… Concentrates are medicinal…  What “Trumbo” doesn’t tell you… and more.


Elisabeth Fall/

Monday, January 4th at 5pm, tune in to hear “Stories from San Quentin,” a special broadcast from Life of the Law featuring powerful human stories of prisoners, staff and volunteers at California's oldest prison.