From a Report on a Turkish Radio Station to Stanford’s Marching Band, KALW’s Audio Academy Wins Hearts
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
The week of Valentine’s Day featured a lot of lovely stories on Crosscurrents, led by Audio Academy fellows and alumni. Here’s a quick recap:
First off, Jeremy Dalmas (’14),
our cost of living reporter, produced an enhanced conversation with our host, Hana Baba, about a specific plan around Oakland’s downtown. Jeremy has a very engaging storytelling style, and he really shines in this format.
He’s also a terrific reporter. In the fall, he traveled to Turkey for a few months, and he brought back a profile of a Turkish radio station which provided a lot of perspective on freedom, repression, independence, and the power of communication. Really powerful, lovely, heartfelt story.
Current Audio Academy fellow Bo Walsh had a couple pieces air this week as well, and how about that! First, he booked DJ QBert, a famous scratchmaster who grew up in the Excelsior District, just over the hill, and went to Balboa High in the SFUSD.Take a listen to the “Bay Area Beats” segment Bo produced out of that interview.
Then, Bo crafted an extraordinary exploration of the infamous Stanford Marching Band That story has a real flow to it, I learned quite a bit – though some of it wasn’t so pretty! The piece was popular with the audience, too, getting bunches of calls as an “Audiograph” segment.
We also had an unprecedented and cool combo, this week, taking advantage of what was actually a scheduling mistake to give a behind-the-scenes look at how we make radio. On World Radio Day – Tuesday – after Jeremy’s Turkish radio piece, we aired two interpretations of the same 45 minute StoryCorps interview. (It turned out that two Audio Academy fellows, Marisol Medina Cadena and Amber Miles, accidentally received the same assignment.) We liked what they each did with the edit, so Hana spoke with them both, on the air, about how they made their editorial choices. Check out the segment – it worked out really well!
This week, too, we highlighted other students’ perspectives in a few different ways.
One of our Audio Academy mentors, Raquel Maria Dillon, edited a story by UC Berkeley student Sawsan Morrar about planting acorns in fire-ravaged North Bay regions. It earned this nice email note from a listener who said she grew up in San Francisco in the 1930s and 40s:
“You all do such a great job. I look forward to your program every morning and evening. I loved the one about acorns this morning.”
Also, our education reporter, Lee Romney, produced a collection of personal conversations with African American teenagers in Oakland who have experienced issues with sexual harassment. It was very upsetting to hear these stories, and so brave of these girls to talk. We followed the segment with a solutions-oriented conversation with a woman helping provide support and education within the Oakland Unified School District. Voices need to be heard!
It’s my pleasure to give a shout out to Hannah Kingsley-Ma (’15), our daily line producer, who is being honored as a participant in an intensive learning experience as a resident at Third Coast in Chicago . Check out the crew she’ll be learning with (and Hannah is just right of center in the pic):
Finally, esteemed podcast producer Anna Sale, who makes Death, Sex, and Money for WNYC, came by to talk with KALW’s Rose Aguilar on Your Call. Anna dropped by to visit the newsroom and told me, “I love Crosscurrents! I wish it were a national show.” Check out the picture I’ve attached of her with our Thursday news department lineup.
Good stuff all around.