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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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An alternative to calling 911 in the Tenderloin

Sep 1, 2016
Concrn (resized and cropped)


Jacob Savage almost became a cop. He spent high school and college going on police ride-alongs, wearing a uniform and a bulletproof vest.

Photo courtesy of Aya De Leon

If you came of age in the 90’s in the Bay you might be familiar with Aya de Leon. She was a local slam poet hero who found fame touring the states with her hip hop theater show, Thieves in the Temple. Now, she’s out with her first novel, Uptown Thief, which she calls a “feminist heist novel.”

9/1: An alternative to calling 911

Sep 1, 2016

Photo by Don Meehan, Courtesy of GG Park Band // Resized and Cropped

Today’s local music is by the Golden Gate Park Band of San Francisco. This group’s origins trace back to 1882, when it was created to support the California National Guard. 

Photo courtesy of Rue Mapp


One of the Bay Area’s main attractions is its proximity to nature. Only 45 minutes separate Bay Area residents from arriving at the ocean, the mountains, or a hiking trail. But not everybody experiences the Bay Area’s natural beauty.

8/31: Opioid addiction in San Francisco

Aug 31, 2016

Photo courtesy of flickr user ep_jhu


The drug Fentanyl has been at the center of San Francisco’s recent opiate overdose outbreaks. It’s a drug 100 times more potent than morphine, according to Philip Coffin, the Director of the Substance Abuse Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Nigel Poor


For people who are incarcerated, it can be hard to find a space to grieve a loved one's death. There's no funeral, and no family or friends by your side to help ease the pain.  Reporter Greg Eskridge interviews fellow inmates about ways that they've learned to grieve behind bars.

Marylee Williams


A line is forming outside Glide Church in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. People are waiting to get dinner or to get sent to another shelter for the night. But that’s not what Jana Lee* is here for.

Courtesy of Danny Click

Blues/rock guitarist Danny Click is known for his electrifying live shows. But have you ever heard him play acoustic guitar? 

Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Shelton Johnson brings the hidden history of Blacks in the American West to life through a storytelling project at Yosemite National Park. In his performance, he channels that past, and transforms into the fictional role of Buffalo Soldier Elizy Bowman. And, as a note for our listeners, this story contains some racially-charged language.

Richmond's real life Rosie-the-Riveters

Aug 30, 2016
The Betty Reid Soskin Pages

During World War II, the city of Richmond quadrupled in size when about 70,000 workers flocked to work at the shipyards that dotted the bay’s shoreline.

Destiny Muhammad Project

Hear that?  If you think classical harp is just for weddings and classical symphonies, well, Destiny Muhammad is here to teach you otherwise.

8/30: Who are national parks for?

Aug 30, 2016

Guess this Bay Area sound! Aug. 28, 2016

Aug 29, 2016
Illustration by Rich Black.


This is Audiograph — the Bay Area’s sonic treasure hunt. Each week, we’ll play you a sound recorded somewhere in the Bay Area.

Used under license from Google Images (commercial use & modifications allowed / cropped from original)

Recreational cannabis could lose in California ... Humboldt officials play “green card” against illegal growers ... “Marley Natural” finds a home in Santa Rosa ... Free cannabis for Santa Cruz vets ... and more 

Hannah Kingsley-Ma


There’s a warehouse in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood stuffed with the severed legs of aging mannequins, screws of various sizes, and large pieces of real fur.


Photo by Bonnie Chan.

All week long, we've been playing this sound and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.


San Francisco musician Joshua Raoul Brody grew up in a musical family just outside New York City, where he loved listening to comedic songwriters like Tom Lehrer and Allen Sherman.


This song is by Bay Area blues powerhouse Kim Nalley

Kim Nalley performs Saturday, 8/27 at the Biscuits & Blues club, off Union Square in San Francisco.

8/25: Why are teachers buying their own supplies?

Aug 25, 2016


A long life, well-lived, can be a gift to many people. Last week, the Bay Area said farewell to Frank Quan, who for 90 years kept his doors open to friends and strangers alike at China Camp State Park.

Creative Commons


In November, California voters will decide whether or not to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. It’s Prop 64 on your ballot. Already, the medicinal use of marijuana has been legal since voters passed a proposition back in 1996.

Creative Commons

Kelly Quirke, community engagement coordinator for Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, finds it ironic that so many people he deals with in their 60s and 70s are adamant about not getting high on cannabis.


We’re here to help you vote the way you want to. But we need your help to do it.

You know your county, your state, and your representatives best. You know what issues matter the most to you, and you may know something that will help make our reporting stronger.

Under CC license from Evert-Jan Hielema.


Bobby Hutcherson, the jazz legend and internationally renowned vibraphonist, passed away last week. He was 75. A few years ago, KALW’s Ben Trefny joined reporter David Ross at Bobby’s home near the coast in Montara. They talked about music and life and things larger than life. The result was this piece Ben and David produced about Bobby for our series Bay Area Beats.

Just over 100 miles north of San Francisco, residents of Lower Lake are cleaning up their devastated community. The Clayton Fire, a suspected arson, destroyed nearly 300 structures. It’s the second time in less than a year that people living in Lake County have suffered from a blaze.

Courtesy of the Dane family / Cropped and resized

It’s not surprising to find female singers today who “do it all.”  They write and sing their own music, play an instrument, and maybe even dance. And in a growing number of cases they also run businesses. But this wasn’t the norm back in 1957, when singer Barbara Dane released her first album.

Guess this Bay Area sound! Aug. 21, 2016

Aug 22, 2016
Illustration by Rich Black.


This is Audiograph — the Bay Area’s sonic treasure hunt. Each week, we’ll play you a sound recorded somewhere in the Bay Area.