Crosscurrents | KALW


Monday-Thursday at 5pm

Crosscurrents is KALW Public Radio's award-winning news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community.

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The Seshen is a band that’s a family of friends. Over the past decade, they've grown up together, dedicated to music with purpose. In this edition of Bay Area Beats, they share the influences behind their latest album, Cyan.

Picture People

Oakland author Mary Monroe has been captivating her readers with juicy storylines and unforgettable characters for decades. Her latest novel “Across the Way” is about two neighboring couples who are both friends and enemies living in 1930s Alabama.


From the project Uncuffed:

How many of us have been lucky enough to turn one of our favorite childhood hobbies into a way to earn a living? Imagine being paid for the simple, innocent joy of riding a bike? One of our trainees, Jeb DeAngelis spoke to another producer, Joe Kirk, about his life-long obsession with riding on two wheels.

Global events designer Edward Perotti put his glamorous touch on affairs for celebrities and corporations. He talks about how he went from being a shy San Francisco kid to planning luxurious parties in Hollywood, the Great Wall of China, and beyond.

Flickr user The National Guard (CC BY 2.0)

By now, over four months into the shelter-in-place ordinance, you’ve probably swapped testing stories — or been on a Zoom call featuring questions such as: How did you get an appointment? Did it hurt? How long to get the test results?

Shelter-in-place caused many artists to postpone or cancel live concert events, but that didn’t stop Freddie from releasing new material or performing online. In this edition of Bay Area Beats, the Oakland-based R&B singer talks about how releasing their debut album Melanin Monroe helped them express what it means to be black and genderfluid.

Dark Cyst / Wikimedia Commons

Some changes are coming to Deep East Oakland due to a $28.2 million grant that targets low-income areas affected by pollution. Oakland Chief Resilience Officer Alexandria McBride is the city’s lead on the grant. She provides more detail about the projects, including the environmental and economic impacts.

Jinho’s Journey: Fighting Police Violence From the Inside

Jul 21, 2020
Courtesy of Jinho Ferriera

Black Lives Matter might be the largest social movement in American history. Last month, an estimated 15 to 26 million people took to the streets to protest police violence, launching a national conversation about the role systemic racism plays in law enforcement.

Bart Heird, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / cropped

From San Quentin Radio:

In prisons across the United States, incarcerated people often separate themselves by race or ethnicity. Blacks hang with blacks, whites with whites, and so forth. But at San Quentin, people of all races participate in playing in a role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons. They defy prison politics to share in a fun activity and also escape from the stress of the prison system.

Jake Bunch

In California, a lot of people whose jobs have been deemed essential during the shelter-in-place work in food, including commercial fishers. The industry is tough even in the best of times. Now, restaurant closures and social distancing have made fishing for a living more complex — and child care plays a role too. In this installment of The Essentials, we meet a commercial fisher and father.

Oakland hip hop artist Jwalt has opened for rap legends such as Nas and the WuTang Clan. And he’s barely out of high school. This is just the beginning for the rising star. Jwalt talks about mental health and his debut album 'Yours Truly.'

UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism has new leadership. Geeta Anand is the new interim dean and the first woman to be in that position. Anand started in the midst of a major shakeup over diversity at the school, after the resignation of Ed Wasserman, who was dean for seven years. 

Tracking Down A Mysterious Hum In San Francisco

Jul 16, 2020
Nikolas Harter / KALW

Recently, reporter Nikolas Harter heard an eerie hum floating through his neighborhood. He hopped on his bike and journeyed out with his recorder to discover why the north side of San Francisco is suddenly being bathed in mysterious ethereal tones. 

Click the play button to listen to the story.

Porfirio Rangel / KALW

Hey Area is where you ask the questions and we find the answers. Today’s question comes from Monzerrath Gonzalez: “Who are the most influential Latinos in the Bay Area?”

Go Back In Time With The Windmills

Jul 15, 2020

We're heading to the far west side of the Bay Area for our last stop on the tour... for now. And, we're going back in time. At the end of the 19th century, when Golden Gate Park was just a few decades old, engineers built a pair of windmills to irrigate it. They harnessed the power of the ocean winds to pump water through the barren sand and nourish the verdant landscape. Over time the windmills fell into disrepair and slowly disintegrated. But, in the early 21st century, some visionary San Franciscans decided to rebuild them. We’ll hear that story from Niels Swinkels.

Anna Kuperberg

Dr. Louise Aronson is a bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist for the book "Elderhood." Through her own stories of being a geriatrician she shares why the healthcare system needs to improve in treating older adults and why we should embrace aging.

Book tours have been canceled since shelter-in-place began, so we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. This one is from Oakland author Emily Pilloton reading from her new book, "Girls Garage." 

Coping With Depression In Prison

Jul 13, 2020
Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

Raymond Jones is often debilitated by depression. Sometimes he doesn’t want to shower, eat, or even think. He also doesn’t like to take the drugs prescribed by the prison’s medical department, because of the way they make him feel.

Jimmy Hsu

In our ongoing series, The Essentials, we meet people who are working out in the real world while many of us are sheltered at home. In this installment, we hear how the pandemic has changed the daily routine for Jimmy Hsu, who owns a laundromat in Richmond.

Bo Walsh / KALW

In November of 2018, Chico resident and expecting mother-to-be Kaylan Sigel began writing letters in a journal to her unborn son. Four days after penning the first entry, Kaylan’s life was turned upside down when the Camp Fire of Butte County burned down her home.

Jenee Darden

"Hamilton" has found new fans now that it’s streaming on Disney+. Before the pandemic, high school students attended a special matinee of the musical. They performed their own work on stage and told stories of some people left out of history books.

The COVID-19 outbreak in prisons across California is taking an incredible toll — not only on the people inside, but on the families and friends of incarcerated people. And because of the pandemic, our producers on the inside can’t access their recording equipment. So today, you’ll hear from the friends and family outside of prison, reading letters to their loved ones stuck on the inside.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs / KALW

Less than a week ago, Chanthon Bun was incarcerated at San Quentin Prison. He had been granted parole and was waiting to get out. But two things stood in his way: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and COVID-19.

Holly J. McDede

A few weeks ago, University Press Books in Berkeley announced it would shut for good after nearly 50 years in the business. Now, the remaining East Bay independent bookshops  are turning to the community to hold on. 

Wikimedia Commons

The recent protests against the killing of Black people by police have put racial inequity at the forefront of our national conversation. Santa Clara County witnessed some of the first and largest protests in the Bay Area last month, in San Jose. And the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has promised to address inequity in their county.

Book tours have been canceled since shelter-in-place began, so we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. This one is from Sacramento author Shelley Blanton-Stroud reading from her new novel, "Copy Boy."

Wikimedia Commons

Positive cases of COVID-19 at San Quentin State Prison have now surpassed 1,000, including more than a hundred prison workers who tested positive. The outbreak started after a transfer of incarcerated people from Chino.

Roam Over To The Bison Paddock

Jul 1, 2020

We’re heading out from the ponds of the Golden Gate Casting and Angling Club. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to our next stop. As we approach John F. Kennedy Boulevard, again, we come across a site you won’t find on any map — but one that locals return to year after year. About 30 feet up one of the park’s majestic tall trees, there’s a great horned owl nest. Every year, the owls return to the same spot. Right now, though, we’re crossing the street to see some much bigger creatures. We’re going to the bison paddock. For well over a century, Golden Gate Park has hosted a herd of these 900-pound hoofed and hairy beasts. They were originally brought in as part of a nationwide conservation effort. So why are they still here? Laura Klivans gets some answers from people who care for the bison in their home on the west side of the park.

Book tours have been canceled while we're sheltered-in-place, so we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. This one is from San Francisco author Jaimal Yogis reading from his new children’s picture book, "Mop Rides the Waves of Life."

Ash Ponders

Most religions teach people to help those in need. But what happens when that mandate clashes with how the government views the law? In this story from The Spiritual Edge, we hear how federal prosecutors cracked down on volunteers providing aid on the border.