San Francisco | KALW

San Francisco

Ummra Hang

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is targeting long-time residents with criminal convictions, most of whom have lived in the US since fleeing the Cambodian genocide as children.

San Francisco Sherriff's Department / cropped and resized

From our Audiograph series:

San Francisco’s oldest working jail is located on the top floor of the city’s Hall of Justice. That jail is seismically unsafe, and it’s got a bad reputation — rats wandering behind the walls, peeling old paint, and even frequent raw sewage floods

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. 

Wilfred Galila

For over 40 years choreographer Alleluia Panis has been presenting her Dance theatre works on Bay Area stages. After immigrating to San Francisco from the Philippines in the mid-1960s, Alleluia became a fixture in the South of Market Filipino arts community. 

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning while black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools.”

San Francisco Unified School District’s African American educators have been honoring the achievements of black students who earn a 3.0 grade point average or above for a quarter of a century. This year’s emcees say the event celebrates an often-ignored narrative of excellence.

JoAnn DeLuna / KALW

Longtime San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi was memorialized at City Hall and during a vigil last week. He died on February 22 of what appears to be a heart attack. He fought to bring accountability to law enforcement and representation to the accused. 

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. 

Diego Rivera Mural Project

Vickie Simms is a docent for the Pan American Unity Mural, painted by 20th-century artist Diego Rivera. Vickie gave up a business career to study art history, and this is a plum gig. The artwork is extraordinary. And Vickie’s pretty amazing, herself.

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?”

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.

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.

The last black man in San Francisco

Feb 12, 2019
LBMSF Kickstarter Campaign


San Francisco is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country -- but it has one of the lowest populations of African-Americans. In 1990, 11% of city residents were African-American. In 2001, it was 7.8%. Now, it’s just 6%. San Francisco native Jimmie Fails says it makes him feel like the last black man in the whole city.

What is the oldest restaurant in North Beach?

Feb 12, 2019

Bay Area newcomer, Brittany Bare, wanted to know the history of the oldest restaurant in North Beach.  She asked: “What is the oldest restaurant and the history of that restaurant in Little Italy?” After setting Brittany straight about the fact that this ain’t New York and, in San Francisco, it’s North Beach, reporter Mary Franklin Harvin, found the answer — with a slight caveat. 

How many yoga studios are there in San Francisco?

Feb 12, 2019
Nikolas Harter / KALW

Today’s question comes from Britt Coughlin in Berkeley. She asked, “How many yoga studios are in San Francisco?” Britt also wanted to know if the yoga economy is actually sustainable, or more like a bubble set to burst.

What are the seven hills of San Francisco?

Feb 12, 2019
Emma McAvoy / KALW

San Franciscan Andre Duque wanted to know more about the seven hills of San Francisco. He asked “What are the seven hills of San Francisco? And can you really see them all if you stand atop any one of them?” KALW reporter Emma McAvoy and Andre Duque visited Twin Peaks with San Francisco hill expert Dave SchweIsguth to see if they could find the seven hills of San Francisco.

Todd Lappin, used under CC BY-NC 2.0 / Cropped

Brittany Bare moved to San Francisco just over a year ago. She wants to know: in the event of an earthquake, where in San Francisco is the single safest place to be?

Can you actually win the San Francisco Dream House?

Feb 12, 2019
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA)

Erin Drake-Prior has a dirty little secret; she has bought into the San Francisco Dream House Raffle without fully trusting that it’s real. So she asked: “Is it even possible to win the dream house in the San Francisco Dream House Raffle?” KALW’s Kristin McCandless went out to find an answer and ended up deep in the history of our country.

Where can we find water after the Big One?

Feb 12, 2019
Marissa Shieh / KALW

After the next big earthquke, many Bay Area residents will find themselves without water. What’s next, and where should they expect help?

Andreas Zhou


Every Lunar New Year, Chinese American women from across the country travel to San Francisco to participate in the Miss Chinatown USA pageant — an ethnic beauty pageant that’s been a national event since the late fifties.

Bay Area Beats: Kim Nalley

Jan 24, 2019
Scott Chernis

In this edition of Bay Area Beats, San Francisco singer Kim Nalley explains how balancing singing with being a historian and Ph.D student has helped her pay tribute to the legends of jazz that have come before her.

Zeina Nasr / KALW

From our Audiograph archives:

Tiny Telephone is a recording studio in San Francisco’s Mission District committed to making analog recordings on tape, maintaining affordable rates, and welcoming a diverse range of local and international musicians into its colorful, creative, and caffeine-enhanced world.

Scenes from San Francisco's Women's March

Jan 22, 2019

More than 40 thousand people gathered in San Francisco for the third Women's March.

Like at previous Women’s Marches, people of all ages arrived at Civic Center Plaza toting signs critiquing the Trump administration. This year, many also carried signs reflecting the newer issues of the Me Too movement, like, “I Stand with Christine Blasey-Ford” or “Mute R. Kelly.”

Truc Nguyen


From our Audiograph archives:

When Metallica, the Rolling Stones, or other big rock acts come to the Bay Area, and they need their guitars fixed, there’s a good chance you can find them down at 15 Lafayette Street in San Francisco.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs / KALW

The San Francisco Immigration Defense Unit is a team of eight lawyers with the public defender’s office who represent people threatened with deportation. 

Comedian Rex Navarrete on finding humor through struggle

Dec 18, 2018
Courtesy of Rex Navarette

Growing up in South San Francisco during the ‘80s, Rex Navarrete secretly studied comedy. He says Eddie Murphy's records gave him his first lesson in real stand-up and storytelling in middle school.

Courtesy of Mel Waters

From the Carlos Santana tribute wall in the Mission District to his Jerry Garcia piece in the Haight, much of Water’s work celebrates the iconic figures of San Francisco’s past.

Holly J. McDede / KALW News

Ever since recreational cannabis went legal in California, cannabis tourism companies started popping up around the state. They offer travelers a chance to smoke and sip wine, paint and puff, and learn cannabis factoids while lighting it up.

Courtesy of Randy Shaw

There are a lot of things to blame for the housing affordability crisis in the Bay Area — we talk about a shortage of housing, we talk about predatory landlords and property flippers, we talk about why we have a for-profit housing system at all.