Hey Area: You ask, we answer. | KALW

Hey Area: You ask, we answer.

Hey Area is a collaborative reporting project of KALW News. Audience members submit questions about the Bay Area and if your question is selected you may be contacted to participate in telling the story behind it. 

What have you always wondered? Ask your question here.

Flickr user KitAy, used under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped


Studies have shown that proper nutrition can help improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs. WIC is a special federally funded program for women, infants, and children to give vouchers to low-come families for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Don Kagin

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. San Francisco artist Jeremy Fish wanted to know: What is the value today of an authentic monetary note from the famous San Francisco anti-hero Emperor Norton?

This Hey Area question comes from three members of the East Oakland Collective, a group working for positive change in deep East Oakland. They wanted to know: What is the impact of the history of the Black Panthers in East Oakland?

Ariella Markowitz / KALW

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. One listener wanted to know, what’s the history behind the street fire alarm boxes around the city? Are they functioning today?

Manolo Morales / KALW

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. One listener wanted to know, what is the back story of Jose Castro, the individual that the Castro District is named after?

How Many Ships Are Buried Under San Francisco?

Aug 29, 2019
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, National Park Service / cropped

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. Nastassya Saad wanted to know how many ships are buried under San Francisco.

How Bad Is The Air Quality In The Bay Area?

Aug 22, 2019
Ron W / Flickr Creative Commons, used under CC BY-ND 2.0 / Resized

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. One listener wanted to know how bad the air quality is in the Bay Area. 

Who Are The Hells Angels Of San Francisco?

Aug 13, 2019
Taylor Caldwell / KALW

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. One listener wanted to know about the infamous motorcycle club, the Frisco Hells Angels.

Alice Woelfle / KALW


Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. Jonathan Davis wanted to know why Amtrak drivers blare their horns so loudly in the middle of the night as they pass through the East Bay.

Did The Wave Start At The Oakland Coliseum?

Aug 8, 2019
Bo Walsh

If you’ve ever attended a professional sporting event, there’s a good chance at some point you have found yourself rising to your feet with hands raised in rhythm with thousands of other fans. It’s a phenomenon known simply as “the Wave. ”

Was There Ever An Exotic Zoo In Glen Canyon?

Aug 6, 2019
From the San Francisco Chronicle, July 18, 1897. Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library, Articles and Databases.

KALW listener Richard Goldman wanted to know if there was ever an exotic zoo in Glen Canyon, and whether there was a railroad that connected the canyon to downtown San Francisco. 

Where Are The Best Places To Eat In East Oakland?

Aug 1, 2019

Oakland’s food scene has been blowing up the past few years, with an increase in new, delicious restaurants. Diane Rodriguez asked Hey Area, “Where are the good places to eat in East Oakland?” 

An East Oakland Community Comes Together To Address Mental Health

Jul 31, 2019
Cinque Mubarak

East Oakland residents have lived with violence for a long time. Studies show exposure can impact mental health. A listener asked our Hey Area project what kind of volunteer work are East Oakland residents involved with. 

One organization is helping black women with their mental health

Cara Field / The Marine Mammal Center

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. Listener Harry Tarpey wanted to know Why are so many whales washing up dead around the Bay Area?

Oakland Tech Centers Give Locals A Shot At Jobs In The Industry

Jul 29, 2019
Cinque Mubarak

Jobs in tech are growing in Oakland, but will Oakland residents be able to compete for these jobs in their own backyards, particularly in East Oakland, where the unemployment rate is about 8%?

Courtesy of the Dipsea Race Office

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. Listener Nastassya Saad wanted to know: Is Marin County’s Dipsea Race really the oldest in the country? 

When is the Big One coming to the Bay?

Jul 16, 2019
Flickr User 1Flatworld / Creative Commons, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / resized

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. Listener Rory Plewman wanted to know when the next big earthquake is going to hit the Bay Area.

Who is the ancient king looking down on Civic Center?

May 14, 2019

A regal statue keeps watch of San Francisco Main Library's Fulton Street entrance. Who is he and why is he there? 

Almost everyone who flies into San Francisco or San Jose airport has seen it -- a vibrant patchwork quilt of colorful water. There, on the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay, you can see bright pinks, pumpkin oranges, neon greens and deep magentas, contrasted against the dark blues of the natural bay water. The last time KALW listener Donna Staton peered out an airplane window, she saw it, too.


Will BART damage my hearing?

Mar 26, 2019
Eli Wirtschafter

This question came from listener Michael Mackin. Since this story first aired in September 2016, nearly all of BART’s legacy fleet have new, quieter wheels and 60 new cars have gone into service. 

Why is Oakland’s flag green and gold?

Feb 26, 2019
Marco Siler-Gonzales

The Oakland A’s may have popularized the color scheme of green and gold. But the origin of Oakland’s colors dates back before the A’s even arrived.

Where are all the Diego Rivera murals in San Francisco?

Feb 21, 2019
Joaquín Martínez, used under CC BY 2.0 / cropped

Have you ever wondered where you can find the murals by Mexican artist Diego Rivera in San Francisco? KALW listener Monzerrath Gonzalez has. So, KALW Reporter Sara Nora Koust went with her to San Francisco Art Institute to check one out.

Who is the most influential Latino in the Bay Area?

Feb 21, 2019
Porfirio Rangel / KALW

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

Is San Francisco really sinking?

Feb 21, 2019
Lisa Wang / KALW


Listener Alexjandra Rodriguez asked us, “Does San Francisco sink, or is it the whole Bay Area?”

Kevin McLean / KALW

Listener Ruta Aiono wanted to know: “Why are there so many eucalyptus trees in the Bay Area?”

JoAnn DeLuna


Listener Lecoya Lejeune wanted to know, “When and why did the drum circle start in Lake Merritt?”

Why are there so many sand dollars on Ocean Beach?

Feb 20, 2019

Listener Katie Taylor asked us why there are so many sand dollars on Ocean Beach, and if our sand dollar population is healthy. 

What is the steepest street in San Francisco?

Feb 20, 2019
Alyia Renee Yates / KALW

KALW listener Stephanie Stathanos wanted to know, what is the steepest street in San Francisco? KALW Audio Academy Fellow Alyia Renee Yates headed to Market Street in the early morning to find the answer.

Lance Gardner / KALW

Listener Katie Taylor asked us to find out how San Francisco’s Folsom Street became “the center of sexy times.” KALW Audio Academy Fellow Lance Gardner went to find out.

What is San Francisco's oldest running streetcar?

Feb 20, 2019
Magnolia McKay / KALW

San Francisco is home to a fleet of colorful historic streetcars. They run on Market Street and the Embarcadero, as the F and E lines. We got the question “What is the oldest running streetcar in San Francisco?” KALW Audio Academy Fellow Magnolia McKay found the answer.