Mar 12

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NPR’s KALW sends a love letter to the Portola

A few months back we were contacted by one of the country’s oldest FM radio stations, KALW, about a series of stories they were running on the Portola. In Sept 1941, the San Francisco Unified School District created the station in the Mission after acquiring equipment from the 1940 Worlds Fair on Treasure Island. Then in 1996 they moved the studios to their current location in the Portola, Philip and Sala Burton High School. They reached out to us to share news of 9 stories they will be airing all about the Portola as a result of their Audio Academy, a nine-month long radio journalism training program. The first assignment for the new Audio Academy fellows was to publish a report on something related to the neighborhood.

The resulting journalism has resulted in short pieces about the Portola broadcast on KALW’s Crosscurrents program. Three segments (Linked below) brought to NPR listeners stories about how to pronounce the neighborhood name, the growing trend of trading card gaming and the Portola library book club helping developmentally disabled adolescents.

There will be three more new stories airing this coming Wednesday at 5pm, they will be about the Avenue Theater, history of the reservoir and The Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative in McLaren Park.

I took the opportunity one Friday afternoon to meet with Olivia Henry, KALW engagement manager, and some of the editorial staff at the station to find out more. I was warmly welcomed to their new offices, recently created in part of the school’s main buildings. I was surprised to see a fully functional and very active crew and had the chance to briefly meet with managing producer, Julie Caine. She informed me on how KALW was one of the first stations to introduce National Public Radio to listeners. While their funding might be dwarfed by the “other” (and non Portola located) NPR station KQED (who hasn’t sent us any love letters…) they do also rely very much on public donations to keep their superb quality programming alive. So before you click to listen on the shows below, throw some money their way so we can hear more about our wonderful neighborhood.


No seriously, stop here and go donate… now. I’ll pause for a moment to give you time.


I also got to meet two of the journalists who are reporting on the Portola. Cari Spivack and Jeremy Jue who told me a little about why they had joined the academy. Jeremy for example is a video editor who was looking to gain more understanding and skills around the art of storytelling. I’m really looking forward to hearing the shows on Wednesday and see what else these budding journalists are going to uncover about our quiet corner of San Francisco! But for now, have a listen to the following and remember to tune in to 91.7 FM on Wednesday next week at 5pm!


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Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/03/kalw-sends-a-love-letter-to-the-portola/

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