Ben Trefny | KALW

Ben Trefny

News Director

Ben handles daily operations in the news department, overseeing the editorial and sound engineering teams, delivering daily newscasts, producing the nightly news and culture show Crosscurrents, and supervising special projects including KALW's Audio Academy training program.

He earned a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon in 2000 and got his start in public radio at NPR member station KLCC in Eugene. After freelancing for many magazines and producing for regional and national commercial and public radio programs, Ben joined KALW in 2004. He has helped the department win numerous regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He has also helped teach hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today. He currently serves as the president of the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Ben lives with his wife and twin children in San Francisco's Outer Sunset district, where Golden Gate Park meets Ocean Beach, and spends as much time as he can outside.

You can reach him at ben@kalw.org.

PG&E Power Outages Cause Problems For Low-Income Seniors

Oct 31, 2019
Carlos Ebert / Flickr / Creative Commons


More than 350 thousand Californians remain without electricity, today. The shutdowns were part of an effort by utility companies to prevent their equipment from sparking fires. Pacific Gas & Electric says more than 100,000 people remain without power here in the Bay Area.

National Weather Service

From the official CalFire release at 7:04am on Wednesday, 10/30

Lynn Friedman / Flickr Creative Commons

Next Tuesday, San Franciscans will vote for a mayor. Just like they did last year. Ever since Mayor Ed Lee unexpectedly passed away in December of 2017, the city’s top position has mostly been held by London Breed.

Ben Trefny / KALW

Paul Ybarra Robertson joined the Marine Corps as a teenager. Later in life, he spent his time helping guide teenagers, as Dean of Students at San Francisco’s Galileo High School.

Ellen Lee Zhou is one of five candidates running to unseat San Francisco’s current mayor. She’s got a Master’s Degree in social work from San Francisco State, and has worked as a behavioral health clinician. 

Ben Trefny / KALW

Joel Ventresca is a long-time San Francisco city resident who’s a retired airport analyst. He’s run for public office before and bills himself as the most progressive candidate in this race. 

Ben Trefny / KALW

Wilma Pang is an opera singer and musician. She’s also unsuccessfully run for public office in San Francisco several times. And now she’s running to be the city’s next mayor.

Noah Berger / AP Photo

The lights were back on Friday for more than half of the nearly 2 million Northern California residents who lost electricity after the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. utility switched it off earlier this week to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires during dry, windy weather.

KALW’s Audio Academy class of 2020 just got started. It’s my pleasure to present them, in their own words and photos:

Sona Avakian (she/her/hers) – I don’t have any radio experience, but I have some print journalism experience. For a while I did a Q&A with authors and artists having events in SF for examiner.com and I’ve done a few interviews for The Rumpus. Issues that I’m interested in are: housing and the cost of living in SF; how to survive as an artist/musician in San Francisco; environmental issues; and local history. I’m looking forward to the Audio Academy. 

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

Governor Gavin Newsom, last week, signed AB5: that’s legislation that transforms the way workers are identified and get paid in California.

Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocated for Nursing Home Reform, discusses the problems in the nursing care industry.

Kevin N. Hume / SF Examiner

On Thursday, the city and county’s Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal to designate a parking lot near Balboa Park BART Station for long-term parking and overnight camping in vehicles. This approach has already been tried in Oakland, Palo Alto, and San Jose, but it’s a novel move for San Francisco. 

For the person accustomed to playing a factory model, a guitar from the hand of a skilled luthier is always a revelation. The tone, action, craftsmanship, and finish make playing such an instrument a unique pleasure.

Haight Ashbury Music Center's Last Dance

Aug 13, 2019
Sean Murdock / Haight Ashbury Music Center

The Haight Ashbury Music Center is selling off its gear. The store’s been around for some 40 years — it was opened by the brother of Janis Joplin’s bassist. And it’s been a centerpiece of the Haight Street experience ever since. So what happens when a place known for culture and counterculture loses its music?

Ben Trefny / KALW

Marcus Thompson writes about basketball for the national outlet The Athletic. In recent years he wrote biographies of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. But before all that, Marcus grew up a Warriors’ fan in Oakland’s Sobrante Park.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The Golden State Warriors’ off-season is underway. In one of their last moves in Oakland, the team introduced its three draft picks at its convention center practice facility. But while the new players posed for the media, the vets have other things going on. In the latest episode of Bounce: the Warriors’ last season in Oakland, KALW’s Ben Trefny has more.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW

Tomorrow night, the Warriors will play their last game in Oakland. When the team leaves the Coliseum, they’ll leave behind a stadium that’s ideal for public transit riders. 

Kyle Trefny

More than a dozen candidates to be president of the United States were in San Francisco over the weekend for the California Democratic Convention.

Ep. 8 - Getting ready for the Finals

May 29, 2019
Marco Siler-Gonzales / KALW

The Golden State Warriors have had a week off after sweeping the Western Conference Finals. So they turned their attention to the East, to see whom they’d face for the NBA championship. 

Dean's Cards / Bo Walsh / KALW News

Portland Trail Blazers guard and East Oakland native Damian Lillard recently returned to Oracle Arena to face off against the Golden State Warriors in the same building where he grew up cheering for them. 

Lauryn D'Angelo

The Golden State Warriors are rolling, now. Last night they crushed the Portland Trailblazers in the first game of the Western Conference Finals. But, win or lose, the team is leaving for San Francisco next year. In the latest from Bounce, we're looking at how the Golden State Warriors organization is teaming up with local businesses like Oakland's Bakesale Betty to bring some East Bay flavor to the City.

Wikimedia user Pi.1415926535, used under CC BY-SA 3.0

You can say the Warriors relocating to San Francisco is a business move. With courtside suites costing more than $2 million a year in a city with some of the wealthiest folks on the planet, the franchise is poised to make a lot more money. Not to mention the businesses popping up near the Warriors’ new billion-dollar Chase Center. But what about the Oakland establishments near Oracle Arena in East Oakland? What are their prospects after the team leaves? In this episode of Bounce, we're headed down Hegenberger Road to see how businesses are feeling about the Warriors bouncing to San Francisco.

Lena Joy

In this episode of Bounce, the Golden State Warriors are rounding into playoff form. They won the first two games against their rivals, the Houston Rockets, which brings up the question of whether it's a viable rivalry at all. 

Ep. 3 - From wilderness to superteam

Apr 24, 2019
Bo Walsh / KALW

In this episode of Bounce, we tell the story of half-a-century of trials and tribulations through the eyes of a longtime fan.

Flickr user hercwad, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Creative Commons

We're only two games into the playoffs and there's already a lot of drama. In this episode of Bounce, we'll cover a heartbreaking injury, a gutwrenching defeat, and we'll meet some of the people who show up outside every game to make a living.

Joe R. Goyos / Support for Families of Children with Disabilities

Community members came together on Thursday, March 21, for a forum and roundtable discussion of what it takes to navigate San Francisco Unified School District’s Special Education system and to develop an action plan to support African American students with learning differences.

Anissa Malady

Lawrence Ferlinghetti will be 100 years old this Sunday.

The poet and painter was the contemporary of authors Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. In 1953, he opened City Lights bookstore in San Francisco’s North Beach — the first all-paperback bookseller in the country. 

Stacey Lewis

Lawrence Ferlinghetti will always be associated with San Francisco, but he’s originally from the East Coast. He was born in Yonkers, on March 24th, 1919, several months, actually, after his father died. 

Courtesy of San Francisco Public Defender's Office

San Francisco's late public defender Jeff Adachi died unexpectedly after suffering an apparent heart attack in North Beach. 

Page Hodel

Today is Valentine’s Day. To celebrate we want to share with you a love story set here in the Bay Area.

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