youth radio

Karin Agness became a leader among young Republicans because of a girl crush, writ large.

Shrinking the skills gap for unemployed young adults

Aug 15, 2012
Sayre Quevedo, Youth Radio

Even with almost 13 million Americans out of work, companies still complain that they have open positions that go unfilled because they can’t find the right talent. One organization thinks it’s found a solution to the skills gap problem. It’s helping young people who have a high school diploma or GED find jobs in growing sectors of the economy like technology and high finance.

Two years ago Breyana Scales says she was stuck between a dead end job painting kids’ faces at a theme park while trying to get through college.

The game of politics makes some people gag. But for others, it’s what they live for.

Meet DJ, Ben and Nick — the protagonists of the new documentary “Follow the Leader,” which just received a $27,000 boost on Kickstarter.

The film follows these young men from the age of 16 through their first year in college. At age 16, all three have political ambitions to be national leaders.

Youth Radio: "When did violence become so normal?"

Aug 8, 2012
Flickr user ControlArms, under CC License /

Since the Aurora, Colorado shooting, I keep asking myself: when did violence became so normal? It pops up everywhere in American culture. We feel excited it by it when we see it on a screen. We feel proud of it when we see it in uniform, and angered by it when we see it near our children.

Young people seek political discourse online

Jul 12, 2012

Youth might not be going to the polls in vast numbers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about making change in their communities, and in the national issues that affect their lives.

According to a recent study by the MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics, youth are actively expressing their opinions on social and political issues through blogs and other social media.

Google on crusade to take down YouTube downloading sites

Jul 9, 2012

Video-to-download service which has a reported four million unique visitors is now on the top of Google’s piracy list.

In a letter sent to the site’s owner by YouTube’s Associate Product Counsel Harris Cohen states that, “offering any kind of service that allows YouTube content to be downloaded (as opposed to simply streamed) is prohibited.”

2012 has become a year for earth-shaking documentaries. Eugene Jarecki’s The House I Live In stunned and angered me at Sundance this year and now The Invisible War – which also took its first bow in Park City – has done the same at this week’s Los Angeles Film Festival.

This weekend, Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap opens in theaters, and it is absolutely deserving of an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary. It’s compelling, witty and much needed in terms of refocusing us on what hip hop, and rap in particular, is really about. There have been a number of documentaries put out over the years that have focused on emceeing, but this one really hits home for a few reasons.

Photo by Denise Tejada

Youth employment in the United States is the lowest it’s been in 60 years, according to the Pew Research Center. Young people graduating from high school struggle to find jobs, and also face brutal college tuition costs. Educators are struggling to really prepare their students in high school for a career.

According to Forbes Magazine, careers in the healthcare sector are among the top recommended jobs for young people, because they include entry level opportunities and don’t always require a college degree.

Foster youth debates emancipation

Jun 11, 2012
Photo courtesy of Flickr user m t miller

About 4,000 foster youth emancipate each year in California. Many of them have no place to go. A new law that went into effect this year aims to help them transition to adulthood. AB12 allows foster youth to stay in state care until they are 20 years old. They get financial support, and help finding housing and scholarships for college. They also have to check in with a social worker, and have regular court dates. Advocates hope the law will reduce the chances that these young people will end up homeless.

Photo by Chaz Hubbard

When Shannon Mills left her job as the director of a nonprofit in Berkeley, California about five months ago, she didn’t know what her next job would be. After freelancing for awhile, she decided to hunt for something more permanent.

“I started putting in applications and you know how the job market is …it was just crickets on the other end. People weren’t even telling me thank you for applying,” she said. That routine can become demoralizing. Mills switched up her strategy, migrating her search for work to

Schoolboy Q Live In Oakland [Interview]

Jun 5, 2012

Schoolboy Q has put himself on the map with his new, well received mixtape, Habits and Contradictions.’s DJ K_Heem caught up with the LA native after his performance in Oakland, California. Backstage at the New Parish, he comments on Oakland, his album reaching the top of the iTunes charts, and the making of “Druggys With Hoes Again” with Ab Soul.

Forget Med School, Become A Plumber Says Thiel

May 29, 2012

Peter Thiel, prominent venture capitalist and founder of PayPal, recently claimed on 60 Minutes that plumbers make more money than doctors. So why bother with higher education? It’s expensive, and you can get an equally well-paying job without it, goes the rationale.

Turning 18 this year is special: you get to vote in the November elections! Remember when you first voted? The rush of being old enough to be heard, to count, to matter.

Marvin Gaye’s album, What’s Going On, has been called one of the great soul music records of all time. The album was showcased at a 1972 concert at the Kennedy Center in Marvin’s hometown of Washington DC. Last Thursday, the Kennedy Center commemorated that performance with a concert. They also gave one musician the original recording of the song "What's Going On," to re-imagine it in a modern context. That musician was Youth Radio's Brandon McFarland.

For more than thirty years, it's been Barry Krisberg's priority to fight for reforms in California's state juvenile correctional facilities, known as the California Youth Authority (CYA) or Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). And now a change is coming at the DJJ. 

Local youth respond to Trayvon Martin's death

Mar 29, 2012
Photo by Colleen Higa

Criminal justice news continues to make national headlines, with the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Social networking sites are full of commentary on the killing. Many in the African American community are wondering how to talk to their sons about such tragedies.

Courtesy of

Back in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sentencing juveniles to life without parole for any crimes besides murder is cruel and unusual punishment.This week the high court took another look at life in prison, except this time for juveniles under the age of 14 convicted of homicide.

NPR reports that currently 79 people are serving life terms for crimes committed when they were 14 or younger. Justice Anthony Kennedy is expected to be the deciding vote on a decision expected by early summer.

A look at love through the eyes of teenagers

Feb 14, 2012
Photo courtesy of

Valentine’s Day is a day that holds a lot of meaning for some people – and very little for others. Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s Day, thinking about love is something we all do, often from the time we’re very young. Youth Radio’s Denise Tejada took some time out to ask the interns at her office what they think about love. Here are the voices of Sayre Quevedo, Kayla Ritchey, Eyama Harris, Rayana Godfrey, Madeleine Roberts, and Evan Y.T. Childress, all participants of Youth Radio in Oakland.

European Commission

In last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama proposed something radical, that dropping out of high school no longer be allowed. But that might be complicated. Every school district has tried numerous solutions to the dropout dilemma without success.

What's the future of TV? Just ask a teenager

Jan 17, 2012
Brett Myers / Youth Radio/ BY-NC-SA

This week as tech geeks and gurus gather at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Oakland-based Youth Radio is looking at the future of television. And where better to glimpse future viewing habits than inside a teenager’s bedroom. Youth Radio’s Rayana Godfrey brings us this story.

RAYANA GODFREY: I’m laying in my room. You know, this is basically my dojo, my sanctuary, my place to go.

Musician Chris Turner is an Oakland native, but he’s spent much of the last decade touring the country with a soulful, sophisticated R&B sound. He just recently had his first show in a long time in his hometown.

Tajah Jones/Youth Radio

Alexander Monsanto has achieved a lot of firsts. He’s a first-generation American, the first in his family to graduate high school, and the first to get a college degree. All eyes are on him to succeed, but it’s been 10 months since he got his accounting degree from Florida Atlantic University, and still no job.

“There are times where I would question what I was doing,” said Monsanto. “I studied accounting for four years. If it’s going to be this difficult to get a job, is this really the field I want to be in?”

Photo by Denise Tejada for Youth Radio

In East Oakland, the street economy ranges from selling CDs out of your car to braiding hair at bus stops. But the underground marketplace can be a slippery slope to illegal activity, like selling guns, drugs, and sex.

Photo courtesy of Youth Radio

Child prostitution goes on in America every day and every night ­– despite the efforts of federal, state and local authorities. For more than a year now, Youth Radio has been investigating child sex trafficking in Oakland. It's a system of exploitation that's ensnaring girls across America.

The FBI estimates 100,000 to 300,000 children and youth per year are forced into prostitution. But missing from these types of reports are perspectives from the girls themselves, who are caught up in what's known as "the game.”

For many artists, creating works of art is a deeply personal process –not a lucrative one. But for others, it’s an opportunity to make money. A lot of money. Take today’s pop music artists – you can hear commercially promoted music by tuning into America’s Top 40. But if you want to find emerging artists and diverse sub-genres from the Bay Area and around the world, you should check out All Day Play from Oakland’s Youth Radio. The station DJs follow the latest trends from hip hop to soul to electronica, rock, and house.