The Race to An Emergency
The Race to an Emergency, is a radio documentary about the 911 system in Oakland, California, and the perceived inequities within it. It was the recipient of the 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award and First Place National Documentary Award from the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. Go to theracetoanemergency.org for more information. (First aired 10/8/13).
In this edition of the auditory guessing game Audiograph, sound artist Bill Fontana reveals this week's answer -- his latest sound installation at the North Beach branch of the San Francisco Public Library.
KALW's Martina Castro brings us more. (6/19/14)
Producer Martina Castro took a walk around the Mission with San Francisco’s poet Laureate, Alejandro Murguía, to hear about what the neighborhood used to be like when he moved back in the 1970s, and what’s changed. Here’s the first part of their tour, which was a series produced for the Litography Project, a literary map of the Bay Area. Hear the whole series here. (2/29/2015)
Dog show! Breeders, handlers, owners, haters in San Francisco...they're all here. We visit the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show at the Cow Palace, the SPCA and ACC animal shelters, the booming dog economy. We hear from a psychologist on the dog-human relationship, and from a person who can't stand canines and the whole dog culture. (9/17/13)
Thao Nguyen grew up in Northern Virginia, and started playing music at age 12. Since then she has released three critically acclaimed albums, and spent most of her 20s touring, including a national stint with NPR’s RadioLab. It was coming back home to San Francisco and getting involved in her community that inspired her latest album, We The Common. Thao tells us a little more about how she’s grown up through her music in this interview with KALW's Martina Castro. (2/12/14)
So what? I’m a little obsessed with pigeons. I’m not sure when it started exactly, but at some point I realized I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them.
I take photos of them whenever I get the chance: making patterns in the sky as they play in the wind; huddling on telephone lines; bathing in the dirty water that pools on the side of the road. I think it’s fascinating to see how they survive alongside us, in all of our filthy urban glory...(continued) (8/11/14)
KALW’s Martina Castro asked reporters with the San Quentin Radio Project currently serving time there to imitate the sounds of their daily lives for this edition of Audiograph. Take a listen. (9/16/13)
Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing are best friends. They were both in separate bands and living in Marin County when they decided to go on tour together. They ended up in Norway and decided to form a duo. But it wasn’t until they got back from their trip that they came up with their name. “We were watching videos of our trip in Norway, and said 'No way!'" Johansing recalls. "And then, said ‘Yes way!’ Yesway! That’s our band name!”
That was three years ago, and now Yesway is coming out with their first full-length album. Ritz and Johansing tell us more about their musical friendship in this edition of Bay Area Beats produced by Martina Castro. (5/29/14)
There’s no denying that the media has latched onto a stereotype of what it is to be a “surfer girl.”
DAYLA SOUL: Like they’re bikini-clad, jumping off of waterfalls and listening to cool girly music, you know? And I wanted something a little more edgy, something a little more of the reality of who we are at Ocean Beach.
Filmmaker Dayla Soul and her team want to challenge those stereotypes by making a surf movie featuring many of the women who regularly surf the gnarly waves of Ocean Beach. It’s called “It Ain’t Pretty.” Hear excerpts from a roundtable discussion between some big-wave female surfers in the film talking about what they face in the water. (2/24/14)
An award-winning series of conversations with most creative minds working with sound in the San Francisco Bay Area. Created for and aired on KALW's evening newsmagazine, Crosscurrents.
Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich are hosts of the popular NPR science program RadioLab. They’re two of the most innovative, daring, and brilliant storytellers on the radio today. The show recently won a Peabody Award, Abumrad was awarded a 2011 MacArthur Genius grant, and Krulwich has an Emmy, a Polk, and a Du Pont award.
In this edition of Audiophiles, KALW's Martina Castro speaks with the Radiolab hosts about their unique sound and what inspires them to create it. (1/30/12)
An interview with acoustic physicist Roger Bland from UCSF, and his analysis of over 2,000 recordings of blue whales off the coast of Northern California. (2/12/12)
The Garden of Memory is an experimental music concert, which happens every summer solstice in the most peculiar of places – The Chapel of the Chimes columbarium in Oakland. It's a historic building, designed by the great architect Julia Morgan in the 1920s. What is it like to be at a gathering of audiophiles in such a unique space? Click on the audio above to hear the sonic portrait that KALW’s Martina Castro and Seth Samuel brought back of the Garden of Memory. (2/14/13)
Cheryl Leonard is a composer and instrument-maker in San Francisco. I speak with her about the sounds she recorded on a trip she took back in 2009 to Palmer Station, a biological laboratory off the Antarctic Peninsula. Through her work, Leonard has documented the sounds of a place that is slowly disappearing. (9/5/12)
In this episode of Crosscurrents, "The Audiophiles" teams up with "Audiograph" to take us on on a sonic tour of sounds from everyday life, led by bioacoustician and soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause. (3/21/13)
In this edition of The Audiophiles, Martina Castro takes us on a tour of The Exploratorium's "Listen" exhibit, where we learn why and how we use our ears to experience the world around us. (5/16/12)
Zoe Keating: A Symphony Unto Herself (All Things Considered)
Zoe Keating's latest album is titled Into the Trees, and that's exactly where I have to go to meet her. She lives in the middle of a redwood forest, an hour and a half north of San Francisco. It's fitting to find Keating in the middle of all this natural noise. In her studio, she creates a similar symphony of sounds, except she does it with just one instrument: her cello. (9/6/11)
Sharing Secrets at a San Francisco Art Show (Day to Day)
Five years have passed since Frank Warren started "Post Secret," an ongoing art project where people mail him anonymous secrets on postcards. Now the postcards are on display at a gallery in San Francisco. Visitors to the exhibit whisper their secrets into producer Martina Castro's microphone. (3/17/09)
Is Community-Funded Journalism the Answer? (Morning Edition)
If news organizations continue struggling to pay their reporters, would you be willing to pick up the tab? Spot.us creator David Cohn is hoping people will say yes. Spot.us is one of many Web sites popping up to unite journalists with the citizens that care to keep them in business. (1/30/09)
The 99¢ Store Evangelist (NPR.org)
Ever since she discovered the produce aisle, Sheila Dvorak insists on buying all her food from the 99¢ Only Stores. Her friend, 'Day to Day' producer Martina Castro thinks this is ridiculous, until she takes a visit to the store.
Listen to the frugal debate that ensues. (3/21/08)
Carnaval in Uruguay: Choir Competitions in the Streets (All Things Considered)
Uruguay boasts that it has the longest Carnival celebration not just in Latin America, but the world. The 40-day celebration is dotted with makeshift stages all around the capital city of Montevideo for performances of choral music called murga. Murga is both entertainment and a sociopolitical commentary that survived the military dictatorship of the 1970s. Martina Castro reports from Montevideo. (2/28/12)
Xavier Rudd: Unlikely Music for a 'Surfer Dude' (Day to Day)
Surfing and surf culture can represent two very different things to people who practice the sport.
They certainly represent different things to Australian musician Xavier Rudd, also an avid surfer. He wrote the musical score for a new movie called Surfer Dude, a comedy that tackles the clash between the spirit of surfing and the business of commercialized surf culture. But Rudd's music — a mix of Aboriginal music, folk-pop and reggae — captures a somewhat different sound than what might be expected for a surf movie. He tells independent producer Martina Castro that he is more spirit than business when it comes to his music — and his surfing. (9/12/08)
Shanghai Restoration Project: Hybrid Backbeats (Day to Day)
In the 1930s, the Chinese city of Shanghai became famous for residing at the center of commerce between East and West. That resulted in a lasting mix of traditions and cultures, seen on the face of the city's architecture and heard in the jazz that came out of Shanghai at the time.
The upcoming Olympic Games, some of which will take place in Shanghai, inspired a Chinese-American music producer to create an updated soundtrack for those visiting the city. Dave Liang is the founder of the Shanghai Restoration Project, a group that combines traditional Chinese instruments with hip-hop and electronica. He spoke with independent producer Martina Castro about writing the musical story of Shanghai. (8/5/08)
Cowbird is a really beautiful multimedia platform and social network that lets you tell stories by combining a piece of audio with a photograph and text. Sounds simple, but that's why I love it. Check out some of my stories on there so far.
Photo of a coming lightning storm in Ortíz, my grandparents' farm in Uruguay, 2004
I've never experienced darkness like the darkness of night on my grandparents' farm. When you shut off the light, you can't even see your own hand in front of your face. I know because I've tried -- I did it all the time when I was a kid. :)
I found the absolute darkness of the room where I slept so exhilarating that it would keep me awake -- almost as if the darkness was a blank canvas that begged my memory and imagination to start painting. I'd listen to music with my headphones on and let myself drift in that black space, off into the dream world with my eyes wide open. (
After almost four years of living in San Francisco, I realize that I'm kind of obsessed with wildlife in the city. Especially pigeons.
It seems like whenever I'm out walking by myself, I end up pulling out my phone to photograph them. I've caught them picking away at run-over slices of pizza on the street...bathing in dark puddles of God-knows-what that gathers in the gutters...and cramming by the dozens into the soot-filled awnings of old Victorians for warmth. (Continued on Cowbird)
Tango dancers near the Plaza del Entrevero in Montevideo, Uruguay. Taken by Martina Castro, March 10, 2012
For me, there's no more obvious display of the art of waiting than during a tango.
Just go to any milonga and you'll see that all the couples move at their own pace. As the leader, you can decide to take the steps super s---l---o----w----l---y. Maybe you even stop altogether, for moments at a time. And as the follower, the only way you know how fast or slow to go and in what direction, is to.......just......wait. (continued on Cowbird)
My Abuela Chiquita was 16 when she met her first love. It was the summer of 1944.
She went to spend a few days at her friend's house out in a farm town of Uruguay called Ortíz. One day, the girls decided to go check out the scene at the train station.
"It was the place to be! Everyone was there, it was basically a big party," Chiquita remembers. Her friend was hell-bent on introducing Chiquita to the most eligible bachelor in town. But, as they both looked around for him, something else caught Chiquita's eye. (Continued on Cowbird)