Meet The Audio Academy Class of 2024
We're thrilled to welcome the 11th cohort of our Audio Academy! After successfully completing two intensive days of orientation, they are all set to dive into their assignments within our news department starting next week. They'll be learning the ropes from our experienced staff, covering a wide range of skills, including short and long-form radio writing, research, fact-checking, reporting, voice work, and more. We can't wait to showcase their talent on the airwaves very soon! Without further ado, let's hear directly from them as they introduce themselves in their own words.
Leenah Najeiah Bassouni (she/her)
I'm a Libyan archivist and investigator. My work centers on Islamic dream theory, surveillance, and subversive radio histories. I'm interested in the silences of the archive, dreaming new futures, and rugs. In my free time, you can find me digging for textiles or road-tripping.
Sarah Jessee (she/her)
I’m a strategist and storyteller who’s loved audio — and radio specifically — as long as I can remember. After studying radio documentary at the Salt Institute, I contributed to Snap Judgment and WVTF News before bringing my storytelling skills to the marketing world. I’m happy to be back where I feel I belong: the public radio community.
Sandra Halladey (she/her)
Passionate about speaking up for and building a constituency of support for public institutions — I am thrilled to be accepted as a fellow in the KALW Audio Academy. For many years I have pitched and sourced stories — especially around public education and the arts. I love to connect people to ideas and projects and feel that producing and curating stories can have a significant impact on public policy. Originally from England - I fell in love with San Francisco as a year abroad student at UCSC and have lived in SF since 1985. With 35 years of non profit and executive leadership experience and currently working in international education — I am privileged to have a flexible schedule that allows me to participate in this opportunity. An avid paddle boarder and recent convert to cold water swimming — my limited free time is often spent on and in the water as well as at the beach (with my dog).
Alastair Boone (she/her)
I'm the Co-Editor in Chief of Street Spirit newspaper, and a member of KALW's 2024 Audio Academy.
Pat McMahon (he/him)
I am a sound artist, audio editor, and lifelong radio enthusiast from Chicago, IL. Observation and deep listening are fundamental to my work and art practice. My passion for audio inspires me to use sound to construct environments, craft moods, and build narratives. Previous radio experience includes WBEZ Chicago 91.5FM, WXRT Chicago 93.1FM, and WZBC Newton 90.3FM, where I currently host a jazz and ambient hour called From Somewhere.
I am thrilled to be here at KALW. Excited to learn and discover, to produce and collaborate, to listen and observe.
Molly Blair Salyer (she/her/they)
I'm an San Francisco native who grew up in SF Unified and listening to KALW. An avid traveller and cultural adventurer, I spent the 15 years leading up to the 2020 pandemic running youth hostels around the Bay Area and exploring as much as possible. More recently I've completed my MA at SF State in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts. I'm passionate about culture and community, and believe joy and pleasure are radical routes to social progress.
Steffi Puerto (she/her/ella)
I was born and raised in East Oakland and I recently graduated with a double bachelor's in journalism and Critical, Race, Gender, and Sexuality at Cal Poly Humboldt. I have a passion for community journalism, storytelling, and multimedia. I am excited to be a part of the KALW Radio Academy! Mostly because I will be learning and exploring new lengths in audio storytelling. While at the same time strengthening my skills as a journalist. When I am not focused on journalism I enjoy cooking, keeping up with pop culture, and rating movies on Letterboxd.
Sheryl Kaskowitz (she/her)
As a writer focusing on the role of music in public life, I have become more and more intrigued about the possibilities of telling stories using audio, and I am thrilled to join this year's class at the KALW Audio Academy. A Bay Area native, I studied voice and music history at Oberlin College and earned my PhD in ethnomusicology at Harvard. When I'm not working as a freelance writer and editor, I enjoy singing with the women's vocal group Solstice, baking, and exploring hidden trails at the Albany Bulb. I live in Berkeley with my husband Ben, two sons, and our beloved dog Maddie.