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

Mary Rees

When Ralph Medina’s family first moved into their two-bedroom apartment, the rent was around $2,000. Today, he’s pleading with the Alameda Rent Review Advisory Committee (RRAC) to slow down the constant increases.

Photo used with permission, credit: @AaronPeskin

If you follow the politics of housing development in San Francisco you know it’s been a highly divisive year; long-time affordable housing activists havebeen sparring with pro-growth advocates. The city’s November ballot reflects that divide.

10/20: Rent review board or rent control?

Oct 20, 2016

Cari Spivack


At 8:30 on Monday morning, instead of taking her son Jasper to preschool, Jennine Jacob and her three-year-old set up a tent on the sidewalk in front of San Francisco’s City Hall.

Ben Trefny


Students returned today to June Jordan School for Equity, a small public high school in San Francisco, a day after four students were shot in the parking lot.

Liza Veale


Some homeless advocates in San Francisco are working to make the streets more hospitable for those who are forced to live on them. Proposition Q wants to nullify those efforts, by making encampments specifically illegal.

Caring for the homeless and their four-legged friends

Oct 19, 2016
Ramon Johnson


An effort to keep homeless people safe in Santa Clara County has gone to the dogs. And the occasional cat.

A San Jose shelter now opens its doors to pets, and hosts a free veterinary clinic the last Saturday of each month. The clinic is a partnership with the city’s Animal Care Center.


This music is being played by the Ives Collective. They specialize in “performances that venture beyond the familiar,” often featuring works that are rarely heard. The Ives Collective has a performance Sunday (10/23) at the Old First Church on Sacramento Street in San Francisco. Music begins at 4 p.m.   

  • High school students at June Jordan School for Equity recover from an on-campus shooting.
  • Prop. Q is a small battle in a larger fight over San Francisco's approach to homelessness.
  • A San Jose homeless shelter opens its doors to pets.

photo courtesy of People in Plazas

Today’s local music is by Bobbie “Spider” Webb. He’s not native to San Francisco, but pretty close: his family moved here when he was five. He has his own band, but is happy to sit in with other Bay Area musicians too.

10/18: Giving non-citizen parents a vote

Oct 18, 2016
  • Should non-citizen parents have a vote in school board elections?
  • Reporter Nanette Asimov on the future of City College of San Francisco.
  • Local MacArthur "genius" designs inexpensive tools to make science accessible. 

Prakash Lab


Last month, four Bay Area residents were named Macarthur Award winners. That means they’re now unofficialy known as "geniuses". Each will receive more than $600,000, and can do with it what they will. That’s usually for the public good. So we all win.

Michael Fraley /

San Francisco voters have a few more education-related ballot measures to consider. Others will help determine the fate of City College. The embattled school once served more students than any other community college in the country, but questions about how City College has been managed led to a massive drop in enrollment. 

Sarah Tan


About 10 families are gathered near San Francisco’s Civic Center on a Tuesday night in September, nervously waiting for a board of education meeting to start. They’re frustrated, because many didn’t have the chance to vote for the elected officials they’ve come to see.

Jeremy Dalmas


Harbir Batth isn’t having a good day. Not many fares.


“It's been terrible,” he tells me.


Then finally, some hope appears: a doorman for the Parc 55 Hotel in Union Square hails the cab over. They hop in and we’re headed to North Beach.


Courtesy of the Community Music Center

Four years ago, the University of California at San Francisco, in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services and 95-year-old Mission district institution Community Music Center, initiated a clinical trial to study the impact that singing in a choir can have on older adults. 



Buzzfeed News made waves at the beginning of the month, when it exposed the havoc behind the scenes of a rapidly growing company called Blue Apron.

KALW's November 2016 election coverage

Oct 17, 2016

No matter where you live in California, your November ballot is packed with choices. Here is a page of resources to assist your pre-election research.

10/17: Medallions keep taxi drivers stuck in industry

Oct 17, 2016


Audiograph's Sound of the Week: Mama's Royal Cafe

Oct 14, 2016
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.

Courtesy Southern Exposure

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an artist, chef and educator. Her artwork often uses food to celebrate and investigate culture and identity, especially around people of color and immigrant communities.  

Revolutionary breakfast in West Oakland

Oct 13, 2016
Photo courtesy of Sana Javeri Kadri, Resized and Cropped

At its height, the Black Panther party fed tens of thousands of school children every morning across the country with their Free Breakfast Program.

Courtesy of Detour, resized and recropped

Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The organization was created by two students at Merritt College in Oakland — Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale — who decried police brutality and economic exploitation.

The Hipwaders

Oct 13, 2016

The music we’re featuring today is by The Hipwaders.  You may not have heard of them, but children you know probably have. The School Library Journal, for example, says, “This Bay Area band’s latest album should be in every library’s music collection.”

Sights & Sounds of East Oakland: Art after foreclosure

Oct 12, 2016
Photo courtesy of Oakland Voices

This is my grandmother’s story as much as it is mine. I lived with her, Attaway, on 2657 67th Avenue from August 2006 to May 2012 and enjoyed every minute of it. But a series of events killed my joy.

Just northeast of Lake Merritt, across the 580 freeway, you really can’t miss it. It's big, it's public, it often contains inflammatory messages, and it's neon. 

Tycho is one of several performers appearing at this weekend’s (10/15+16) Treasure Island Music Festival. If you’ve thought about going but never have, this may be the year to do it, because it’ll be the last year the festival is in its namesake location.

10/12: The impact of a paid route to school

Oct 12, 2016