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

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Kevin Wong at Right Angle Images


Writer and performer Baruch Porras-Hernandez is a busy man. He hosts the Shipwreck Fan Fiction Competition and podcast in San Francisco, he founded the Latinx performer showcase Donde Esta Mi Gente, and he performs regularly with The Moth, Radar Productions and Literary Death Match.

8/30: Inside a syringe access program on Haight Street

Aug 30, 2017

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • Are San Francisco police officers discouraging drug users from getting clean needles?
  • Lawmakers push legislation to ease California’s housing crisis
  • A conversation with poet and performer Baruch Porras-Hernandez

San Quentin Radio: The barbers of San Quentin

Aug 29, 2017

Getting a haircut can make a person feel good. For the men in San Quentin, it's no different. Some of the barbers are paid to cut hair. Others volunteer to do so. It can be a complex process, but it's important in the prison environment.

Angela Johnston

Three years ago a major earthquake rattled the Bay Area. Napa Valley was hit the hardest: 200 people were injured, one person died and the total financial damage in the area was almost a billion dollars. It was also the first time an experimental early warning system called Shake Alert notified researchers of a major quake before it actually happened. If researchers secure enough funding, we may have more time to duck, cover and hold on before the next big one.

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • California looks to expand its earthquake early-warning system. 
  • The backstory of Bruce Lee's formative years in the Bay Area.
  • A story from San Quentin Radio about the barbers of San Quentin. 

Bruce Lee's Bay Area roots

Aug 29, 2017
Courtesy of Barney Scollan

Bruce Lee is admired around the world for his legendary martial artistry, and his film and TV roles — but less known are his early years in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This Stanford grad student was one of the first Trump travel-ban detainees

Aug 28, 2017
"JFK Protest" by CC Flickr User Gabriel F, resized and recropped

Nisrin Elamin Abdelrahman is a Stanford doctoral student in anthropology. A citizen of Sudan, she was flying back to the United States from her academic field work when President Trump issued the first iteration of his travel ban.

8/28: Nisrin's story

Aug 28, 2017


Today a special presentation from KALW News:  Nisrin Abdelrahman, a doctoral student at Stanford University, was detained at JFK Airport after President Trump passed his initial travel ban denying entry to citizens from seven majority-Muslim nations. This is her account of what happened, produced by the Stanford Storytelling Project.

fak1911. Used under CC0 BY / Cropped (Modifications allowed)

S.F. dispensary moratorium sends wrong signal, says state senator ... Oaksterdam offers scholarships ... Desert “cannabis paradise” faces big obstacles ... health, opinion, and more.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Anime & Cosplay Festival


I’m at Joann Fabrics in Colma, looking for fabric and materials with my friend Kasey. We’re searching for the right materials to make our costumes.       

I’m a cosplayer. That means I dress up on more days than just Halloween. Typically, we’d choose a character from a video game or TV show we like. I really enjoy becoming someone that isn’t myself, usually a character from a series that I have an emotional connection to.

Guests flock to San Francisco's Bird Hotel

Aug 24, 2017
courtesy of Birgit Soyka


Birgit Soyka stands in a large warehouse amongst 68 bird cages, each holding an exotic bird. The walls are covered in photos of brightly colored parrots, and bird-shaped tchotchkes dot the room. She cradles Boogie, a Congo African gray, and a regular guest at the San Francisco Bird Hotel, a spa and resort for birds.

“Hi Boogie,” Soyka says; the bird coos in response.


Officials in Berkeley and San Francisco are bracing themselves for competing political rallies planned for this weekend.

8/24: Bay Area braces for weekend rallies

Aug 24, 2017

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • Discussing the upcoming free speech rallies in Berkeley and San Francisco.
  • A high school reporter heads to Japantown for the San Francisco Anime & Cosplay Festival.
  • We reveal source of this week's Audiograph.

Used with permission from John Morgan under Creative Commons Flickr license


Wednesday marks the first day of classes at the University of California, Berkeley, which means it’s also the first day of classes for new Chancellor Carol Christ.

Is hate speech protected by the Constitution?

Aug 23, 2017
"first amedment area" by CC Flickr user Simon Willison, resized and recopped

The National Park Service today has decided to issue a permit to right-wing group Patriot Prayer for a rally on Saturday in San Francisco’s Crissy Field.

Learning the K-pop moves in a San Francisco dance studio

Aug 23, 2017


Korean pop, or K-pop, is a music genre known for its signature techno beats, synchronized dance moves and matching outfits worn by girl and boy bands.

8/23: UC Berkeley's new chancellor

Aug 23, 2017


Today on Crosscurrents:

  • A conversation with UC Berkeley’s new chancellor.
  • Constitutional lawyer and law professor Julie Nice on defining free speech.
  • A high-school reporter explains why Korean pop music is making people in San Francisco want to dance.

Lena Gustafson, resized and recropped

East Bay illustrator, painter and printmaker Sanaa Khan makes work that spans mediums, but usually revolves around the humorous, fun and surreal.



Police reform is a polarizing issue.



California is going through something of a black bear boom. At any given moment, there are more than 25,000 black bears roaming the state’s forests with their narrow heads, small ears, and tan, brown and black bellies.


But that also means there has been increased contact between bears and people.

8/22: The legacy of August Vollmer

Aug 22, 2017

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • Revisiting the legacy of Berkeley's first police chief, August Vollmer.
  • A conversation with East Bay artist and printmaker Sanaa Khan.
  • The dangers of feeding California black bears.

Exploring San Francisco's wave of fancy boba

Aug 21, 2017
“Cereal Milk Boba” from CC Flickr user Jeffrey Chiang, RESIZED AND RECROPPED


Boba tea first appeared in Taiwan in the 1980s. It came to San Francisco in the 1990s, and is now all over the world, from Armenia to Guatemala to South Africa.


Courtesy of Youth Radio

With classes starting up across the Bay, many Asian-American students are grappling with something you might not expect: being singled out as the "model minority." 

"Classroom" by CC Flickr User Victor Björkund, resized and recropped


Today was the first day of school for many students, including those in the San Francisco and Oakland Unified School Districts, and both districts have new superintendents.

Ben Trefny

Some people in the Bay Area got an unfiltered view of the eclipse. In San Francisco, a thin fog and cloud layer allowed viewing through ordinary sunglasses. In other socked in spots, the eclipse was not visible. KALW reporters around the region and in other states recorded reactions of onlookers.

8/21: Meet the new superintendents

Aug 21, 2017

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • Talking to the new superintendents of Oakland and San Francisco public schools.
  • A personal testimony from Youth Radio about the consequences of the model minority myth.
  • A high school reporter explores a new wave of gourmet boba shops in San Francisco.

Guess this Bay Area sound! August 19, 2017

Aug 21, 2017
Illustration by Rich Black / cropped and resized

This is Audiograph — the Bay Area’s sonic signature. Each week, we’ll play you a sound recorded somewhere in the Bay Area. Your job? Listen to the sound in the player above, figure out where it was recorded and what it is, then call to let us know.

If you think you can identify this Audiograph sound of the week, call 415-264-7106. Also, tell us where to record next. We’ll give away a KALW t-shirt every week to one lucky caller.

Photo courtesy of

Oakland-based singer/songwriter Quinn DeVeaux is one part city, one part country. When he plays with his band, the Blue Beat Review, he taps into Ray Charles and plays the savvy bandleader, burning his way through tune after tune and keeping his audience dancing late into the night.

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

Justice Dept. blocks DEA research ... Brave bank serves cannabis industry ... Tiger Woods, Teen Vogue, music and more

Photo by Julie Caine


We played you this sound and asked you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.