Cover image of Bay Curious
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Rank #18 in Places & Travel category

Society & Culture
Places & Travel

Bay Curious

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #18 in Places & Travel category

Society & Culture
Places & Travel
Read more

Bay Curious is a podcast about the unexplored San Francisco Bay Area. Each week we take a deep dive into the mysteries that make this area quirky, delightful and, at times, dysfunctional. It’s a show about questions — and the adventures you stumble upon when you go looking for answers. Now here’s the twist: You ask the questions. You decide what we work on. You help us find the answer. Join host Olivia Allen-Price to explore the Bay one bite-sized episode at a time. The show is produced at KQED in San Francisco. Learn more at BayCurious.org.

Read more

Bay Curious is a podcast about the unexplored San Francisco Bay Area. Each week we take a deep dive into the mysteries that make this area quirky, delightful and, at times, dysfunctional. It’s a show about questions — and the adventures you stumble upon when you go looking for answers. Now here’s the twist: You ask the questions. You decide what we work on. You help us find the answer. Join host Olivia Allen-Price to explore the Bay one bite-sized episode at a time. The show is produced at KQED in San Francisco. Learn more at BayCurious.org.

iTunes Ratings

502 Ratings
Average Ratings
457
29
10
2
4

LOVE IT

By flyable 123 - Nov 14 2019
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IT IS SOOOOOOOOOOOO GGGGGOOOOOOOODDDDDDD👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

Excellent

By Kp4 ghost - May 21 2019
Read more
Always looking forward to listening to this podcast- keep up the good work!

iTunes Ratings

502 Ratings
Average Ratings
457
29
10
2
4

LOVE IT

By flyable 123 - Nov 14 2019
Read more
IT IS SOOOOOOOOOOOO GGGGGOOOOOOOODDDDDDD👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

Excellent

By Kp4 ghost - May 21 2019
Read more
Always looking forward to listening to this podcast- keep up the good work!

Listen to:

Cover image of Bay Curious

Bay Curious

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

Bay Curious is a podcast about the unexplored San Francisco Bay Area. Each week we take a deep dive into the mysteries that make this area quirky, delightful and, at times, dysfunctional. It’s a show about questions — and the adventures you stumble upon when you go looking for answers. Now here’s the twist: You ask the questions. You decide what we work on. You help us find the answer. Join host Olivia Allen-Price to explore the Bay one bite-sized episode at a time. The show is produced at KQED in San Francisco. Learn more at BayCurious.org.

Why Hasn’t the Tenderloin Gentrified Like the Rest of San Francisco?

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Tenderloin residents wanted to preserve its affordability. But will they be forced out as improvements come to the neighborhood?


Reported by Kelly O'Mara. Edited By Jessica Placzek. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Ryan Levi, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Erika Kelly, Amanda Font, and Julia McEvoy. Holly Kernan is Vice President for News. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller. Ask us a question at BayCurious.org. Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

May 03 2018

14mins

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El Camino Not-So-Real: The True Story of the ‘Ancient Road’

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Legend has it, El Camino Real is an ancient road that connects the Spanish missions. But is it true?


Reported by Rachael Myrow. Bay Curious is Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho and Julia McEvoy. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.


Ask us a question at BayCurious.org.


Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Nov 02 2017

11mins

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Why So Windy? Why So Foggy? And What’s With Karl?

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If you're coming to San Francisco in the summer, bring a jacket! We take a closer look at what causes the wind and fog to descend upon parts of our region each summer. Plus, a few bonus questions about famed Twitter account, @KarlTheFog.

Jul 26 2018

12mins

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Is There a San Francisco Accent?

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When you think about America’s biggest cities, many have a recognizable accent. Does San Francisco have one? And no, saying 'hella' doesn't count.

Jan 24 2019

16mins

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The Origins of Bay Area Place Names

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California was named after a fictional island for black Amazon-like warrior women, ruled by Queen Calafia. What about Bay Area names?


Reported by Jessica Placzek and Dan Brekke. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Ryan Levi, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Amanda Font and Julia McEvoy. Holly Kernan is Vice President for News. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller. Ask us a question at BayCurious.org. Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Jun 21 2018

11mins

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Is Rent Control Working and Should We Have More or Less of It?

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Rent control is in at least 15 California cities, but even in those cities there are many limits on what can be rent controlled. A proposition on the November ballot may get rid of those limits, but should it?


Reported by Jessica Placzek. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Paul Lancour, Ryan Levi, Suzie Racho, Erika Kelly, Amanda Font, and Julia McEvoy. Holly Kernan is Vice President for News. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller. Ask us a question at BayCurious.org. Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Jun 28 2018

13mins

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Why Are There So Many Dead People in Colma? And So Few in San Francisco?

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Reported by Jon Brooks. Bay Curious is Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho and Julia McEvoy. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.


Ask us a question at BayCurious.org.


Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Oct 26 2017

10mins

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Spinning Rims, Spinning Cars: the History of the Oakland Sideshow

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Sideshows have a bad reputation, but they also have a long tradition, East Oakland roots and deep ties to the hyphy movement.


Reported by Sandhya Dirks. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Ryan Levi, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Erika Kelly, and Julia McEvoy. Holly Kernan is Vice President for News. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller. Ask us a question at BayCurious.org. Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

May 17 2018

13mins

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How San Francisco’s Drag Royalty Does Good, While Looking Fierce

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How an S.F. drag artist founded one of the biggest and most bejeweled charities dedicated to LGBTQ causes.


Reported by Chloe Veltman. Bay Curious is Olivia Allen-Price, Paul Lancour, Jessica Placzek, Suzie Racho, Penny Nelson and Julia McEvoy. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.


Ask us a question at BayCurious.org.


Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Oct 05 2017

15mins

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Is the Castro Getting Less Gay?

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How economics and cultural acceptance are changing queer communities across the Bay Area.


Reported by Ryan Levi. Produced and edited by Olivia Allen-Price, Erika Kelly, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Jessica Placzek and David Weir. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.


Ask us a question at BayCurious.org.


Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Dec 06 2017

14mins

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How the San Francisco School Lottery Works, And How It Doesn’t

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San Francisco's complicated school lottery system offers opportunity that isn't always realized.


Reported by Katrina Schwartz. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Ryan Levi, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Erika Kelly, and Julia McEvoy. Holly Kernan is Vice President for News. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller. Ask us a question at BayCurious.org. Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Sep 27 2018

14mins

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Can You Go To Jail For Picking California’s State Flower?

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Rumor has it California's golden poppy has some special protections. Is it true?


Reported by Jessica Placzek. Produced and edited by Olivia Allen-Price, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Erika Kelly and Julia McEvoy. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question at BayCurious.org.

Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Nov 30 2017

10mins

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How Do You Define the ‘Bay Area’?

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Where the boundaries of this region are will vary according to who you ask and what you're looking to define.


Reported by Jessica Placzek. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Paul Lancour, Ryan Levi and Suzie Racho. Additional support from Julia McEvoy, Ethan Lindsey, Erika Kelly, Julie Caine, David Weir, Amanda Font, Carly Severn and Katie McMurran. Holly Kernan is Vice President for News. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller. Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org. Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Sep 06 2018

11mins

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How the Bay Area Came to be a Hub for Casual Style

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On a recent visit to San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, KQED listener Michelle Morby didn’t like what she saw. In the middle of the champagne-sipping, pre-performance throng, she spotted someone wearing jeans and white sneakers.

“That to me is completely offensive,” Morby said.

Morby is someone who likes to dress up when she goes out.

“If I got a ticket to the opera tonight, I would pull out a silk jumpsuit. I would wear it with the tallest platform sandals that I have. And I would do my makeup, and I would wear all my jewelry,” she said.

Like beauty, fashion is very much in the eye of the beholder.

So the fashion faux-pas prompted Morby to ask Bay Curious the question, “Why has the Bay Area become the Casual Capital of the World?”

Read the full web version: How the Bay Area Came to be a Hub for Casual Style

Reported by Chloe Veltman

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Maggie Galloway, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran, Paul Lancour and Ryan Levi. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org

Sep 05 2019

17mins

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History of the Berkeley Pier: A Ferry Tale

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For years Martin Kunz has been looking down the hill from his office at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, out over the water, at one of the longest piers in California — the Berkeley Pier.

“I see this every day from my office when I have lunch, and I was curious what the history behind this is,” he said. He submitted a question to Bay Curious, so off we went to find the answer.

Lately, the Berkeley Pier has primarily been used as a fishing pier, but decades ago it had a very different purpose.

Berkeley’s Population Boom

Back in the early 20th century, Berkeley was growing fast. Its population went from 13,214 residents in 1900 to 56,036 in 1920. Thousands of refugees from San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake found homes in Berkeley, the University of California experienced rapid expansion and an electric train system connected Berkeley to other Bay Area cities, such as Oakland.

Berkeley was establishing itself as an urban center, yet many of its residents still worked jobs in San Francisco. To get there, workers commuted by train to Oakland and then by boat to San Francisco — an inconvenient journey that makes today’s commute look like a cakewalk. So, in 1926, the Golden Gate Ferry Co. began building a pier that would bring auto ferries to Berkeley.

When the construction was finished, the dock was 3½ miles long, making it one of the longest piers in the state. Why so long? Parts of San Francisco Bay are very shallow. Underneath the pier, the water is between 7 and 9 feet deep. The pier needed to reach parts of the bay where the water was deep enough for a ferry to travel.

“A longer dock also meant that the ferry company saved a lot of money. In other words, you had to drive all the way out to the end of the pier and use your gas instead of them using gas for the ferry,” says Chuck Wollenberg, professor of history at Berkeley City College.

Ferry service began at the pier in 1929. The three boats were named Golden Bear, Golden Poppy and Golden Shore.

Car Talk

The 1920s saw tremendous growth in the number of Americans driving personal automobiles. Ford’s assembly line made cars more affordable, and it wasn’t long before cars surpassed trains in popularity. After all, this was a time when Republicans claimed that Republican prosperity had brought “a chicken in every pot. And a car in every backyard.” 

As more cars hit the road, more cars relied on the ferries at the Berkeley Pier, and lines could be long. Whenever Stanford played football against Cal at UC Berkeley, lines would stretch beyond the 3½ miles of pier.

“The mother of all traffic jams in the Bay Area occurred at the end of the Labor Day weekend,” says Wollenberg. “There was a four-hour wait. When people tried to cut in, people would take out revolvers and threaten people.”

But the same thing that created demand for the ferries also brought about the dock’s demise. With the rising popularity of cars, California legislators decided to create a bridge between Alameda County and San Francisco. The same year the ferries started running, engineers began laying plans for the Bay Bridge.

The Bay Bridge opened on Nov. 12, 1936. Former President Herbert Hoover watched as California Gov. Frank Merriam cut the ceremonial chain opening the bridge . The Golden Gate Ferry Co. would last only two more years, eventually calling it quits and giving the pier to the city of Berkeley. In total, the Berkeley auto ferries had run less than 10 years.

After the Bridge

Berkeley officials used state and city funds to convert the pier into a recreation area. It opened in spring 1938 and in the first year attracted 50,000 people. The Berkeley Recreation Department charged an admission fee of 10 cents for pedestrians and 25 cents for automobiles.

Fishing became a popular pastime on the pier and kids were encouraged to learn.

Sep 14 2017

9mins

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Why is Piedmont a Separate City From Oakland?

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Piedmont is surrounded on all sides but the city of Oakland, yet has remained an independent city since it incorporated in the the late 1800s. We take a closer look at the wild circumstances that lead Piedmont to form, and discuss some of the tensions that exist between Oakland and Piedmont residents today.

Apr 04 2019

14mins

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What Are Those Weird, Pink Ponds in San Francisco Bay?

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In the South Bay's colorful salt ponds, a decades-old industry continues to crystalize.


Reporter by Lauren Sommer with KQED Science. Bay Curious is Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Paul Lancour, Ryan Levi, Suzie Racho, Erika Kelly, Julia McEvoy and Katie McMurran.

Dec 14 2017

12mins

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There’s a Secret Message to Decode in San Jose

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f you’ve walked past Adobe’s corporate headquarters in downtown San Jose, you may have spotted them: four big orange LED lights that look like flat-head screws, turning in apparently random patterns.

This week’s Bay Curious question comes from listener Geoff Morgan, who wanted to know:

What do the turning wheels on the top of the Adobe building mean?

To start with, it helps to know Adobe makes computer software for people who work with words, pictures and sound.

“At the core of our DNA, really, is art and technology,” says Siri Lackovic, the company’s senior brand strategist.

That’s why you’ll find clever art installations all over their office towers.

Siri is one of the two people on the planet who know the whole story behind the glowing orange orbs Geoff noticed. The other person, of course, is the guy who came up with the concept, New York artist Ben Rubin.

“The hope is that someone would look up and say: ‘What is that?’ ” Ben says. “What is that thing trying to say, you know? What is its message?”

The name of this installation is San Jose Semaphore.

“Semaphore, by definition, is really a form of visual communication,” Siri explains.

Way back when, the only way to communicate surreptitiously over a short distance — say, from land to a ship — would be to rely on flag bearers.

“They would hold up the flag, and depending on the position of the flag, would let them know if it was safe to come in, or better to stay put,” she says.

This resonates with Geoff, the KQED listener who asked the question.

“I actually was in the Navy, and so I remember people communicating with flags, and it was always interesting to me because it looked very official, but a lot of times, they were talking about the latest baseball scores from ship to ship and things like that,” he says.

In case you didn’t serve in the Navy, here’s an amusing set of dramas executed in semaphore by Monty Python.

So, the short story on San Jose Semaphore is that it’s an art installation. The long story stretches back to artist Ben Rubin’s childhood in Boston during the 1970s. Back then, he owned a Heathkit shortwave radio. Sometimes, when he turned it on, he’d hear the strangest things.

“These sort of clicks and beeps and mechanized announcements,” Ben says. “Who could not listen to an encrypted message and not wonder what it says, you know?”

As NPR reported in a 2000 feature for the “Lost and Found Sound” series, these were numbers stations, shortwave radio broadcasts that historians believe transmitted messages to spies stationed around the world, starting in World War I.

To the average listener, the letters, numbers and songs broadcast on the stations sound random. But if you have the key to decode the gobbledygook — it’s a message.

Ben was fascinated by these numbers stations. So when it came time for college, he got a bachelor’s degree in computer science and semiotics, the study of signs and symbols. After graduation, he starting making art inspired by his studies. Now he makes media installations using technology, sound, images and physical structures — like the piece on the top of Adobe’s building in San Jose.

Silicon Valley Loves A Challenge

Each of these orange discs can assume four positions: horizontal, left-leaning diagonal, vertical, right-leaning diagonal. Four positions, plus four discs, means there are 256 possible combinations.

Every 7.2 seconds, those wheels turn to a new configuration of sort of positions. Then they rest.

“When they’re in that resting position,

Dec 28 2016

10mins

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The Island Ghost Town in the Middle of San Francisco Bay

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Drawbridge was a popular bird hunting destination decades. What happened?


Reported by Jessica Placzek. Produced and edited by Olivia Allen-Price, Vinnee Tong, Paul Lancour and Suzie Racho. Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.


Ask us a question at BayCurious.org.


Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Jul 20 2017

13mins

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What Gets Shipped Through the Port of Oakland?

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Oakland is home to the fifth-busiest container port in the country and all around it, containers are stacked sky high like colorful, life-size Lego bricks. Listener Ajith Kumar asked Bay Curious: “Why are there millions of containers in West Oakland? How much trade is happening via those containers every month?” Bay Curious gets the answer. Credits: Jessica Placzek, Olivia Allen-Price, Vinnee Tong, Paul Lancour and Julia McEvoy.

Aug 10 2017

8mins

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Between Romance and War: the Making of Treasure Island

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Listener Gary Pilgrim was taking a drive across the Bay Bridge with his new wife when they decided to stop at Treasure Island. After taking in the sweeping views, he wondered how this manmade island came to be in the first place, and what it's future holds. We're answering Gary's questions in a two-part series exploring the island's past and future. This week: How was Treasure Island made, and why?

Additional Reading:

How Treasure Island Got Made — and Why

Reported by Kevin Stark. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Katie McMurran and Rob Speight. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Kyana Moghadam, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Patricia Yollin.

Dec 12 2019

12mins

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How Charlie Chaplin and Silent Films Flourished in the East Bay

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Question asker José Muñoz wants to know more about the storied history of this place, which was a pivotal stop-off in Charlie Chaplin's career. Was Niles Hollywood before Hollywood was Hollywood?

Additional Reading:

This Tiny East Bay Town Was Once a Movie Making Hotspot

Reported by Rachael Myrow. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Katie McMurran and Rob Speight. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Kyana Moghadam, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Patricia Yollin.

Dec 05 2019

15mins

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A Look Back at the Occupation of Alcatraz, 50 Years Later

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The Occupation of Alcatraz began on Nov. 20, 1969, when a group of Native American students, calling themselves the Indians of All Tribes, landed on Alcatraz Island. They wanted to return the land to native ownership, and felt they had a right to the land because of the Treaty of Fort Laramie, which said that land deserted by the federal government should be returned to the natives who once occupied it.

Additional Reading:

WATCH: The Occupation of Alcatraz Turns 50, But the Impact of the Movement Lives On

A Look Back at the Occupation of Alcatraz, 50 Years Later

Reported by Alice Woelfle. Produced by Ericka Cruz-Guevarra, Devin Katayama, Kyana Moghadam and Jessica Placzek. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Katie McMurran and Rob Speight. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Kyana Moghadam, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Patricia Yollin.

Nov 28 2019

13mins

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Why Is There A Texas Flag Outside S.F. City Hall? What is S.F.’s First Square?

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Kevin Platt was checking out a flag display outside San Francisco's city hall when he noticed the flag from his home state, Texas, was among them. What gives? Plus, we take a quick dive into the history of San Francisco's oldest square — where the announcement of gold was made, and where the state's first public school house once stood.

Reported by Annika Cline and Marisol Medina-Cadena. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Katie McMurran and Rob Speight. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Kyana Moghadam, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Patricia Yollin.

Nov 21 2019

13mins

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Think the Bay Used to Be Bluer? You're Not Imagining It

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When Bay Curious listener Justin Hartung was growing up in Oakland, he remembers the Bay being blue. After moving to New York for college in the early 90s, and returning back to the East Bay a couple years ago, he noticed a big difference in the hue of the harbor. When did it get so green?

Additional Reading:

Feel Like the S.F. Bay Used to Be Bluer? You're Not Imagining It

Reported by Amanda Font. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Katie McMurran and Rob Speight. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Kyana Moghadam, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Patricia Yollin.

Nov 14 2019

16mins

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It's Our Birthday! Come Behind the Scenes

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To celebrate the third birthday of the Bay Curious podcast we are answering listener questions about our favorite episodes, how we make the show, our theme music, the way we choose questions, and questions we wish we received. Also don't miss our birthday celebration on November 14th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Babe's Monte Carlo in San Francisco. Register at BayCurious.org/events.


Additional reading/listening:

Why Do Some Hate the Nickname ‘Frisco’?

What Would It Take to Make Lake Merritt Swimmable?


Bay Curious has been made possible by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Vinnee Tong, Ryan Levi, Suzie Racho, Julie Caine, Erika Kelly, Paul Lancour, Kelly O’Mara, Carly Severn, Katie McMurran, Rob Speight, Pat Yollin, Maggie Galloway, Holly Kernan, Ethan Lindsay, and Julia McEvoy.

Nov 07 2019

15mins

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Secret Tunnels Under San Francisco?

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San Francisco is 49 square miles, but contains more than 1,000 miles of sewer mains, running under every block. Take a trip with Bay Curious reporter Carly Severn into the depths of the city, and discover an otherworldly cave that has reached legendary status with some urban explorers.

VIDEO: Take A Trip Into San Francisco's Sewer System

Web story: Tunnels Under San Francisco? Inside the Dark, Dangerous World of the Sewers


Reported by Carly Severn. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Suzie Racho and Rob Speight. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Patricia Yollin, Vinnee Tong and Ethan Lindsey.

Oct 31 2019

17mins

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Why Can't You Swim in Most of the Bay Area Lakes?

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The Bay Area is defined by water. Not just by the bay itself, but by the Pacific Ocean and myriad rivers, reservoirs, lakes and ponds. Yet most of the bodies of water you drive past are devoid of people. No swimming. No splashing around. Not even on the hottest days. Why is that?

Additional Reading (including a list of where you can swim):

Why Can’t You Swim in Most Bay Area Lakes?

Reported by Kelly O’Mara. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Katie McMurran and Rob Speight. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Patricia Yollin.

Oct 24 2019

11mins

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How Rocky Road Ice Cream Got Its Start in Oakland

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Two Oakland ice cream makers claim they invented the famous flavor — Fenton's Creamery and Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream. Either way, the depression-era creation changed the game for ice cream flavors in America.

More food history episodes:

Reported by Sasha Khokha, host of The California Report Magazine. Edited by Suzie Racho. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek and Katie McMurran. Additional support from Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Julie Caine, Kyana Moghadam, Carly Severn, Vinnee Tong, Ethan Lindsey and Pat Yollin.

Oct 17 2019

13mins

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You Gotta Check Out These Offbeat Museums

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Our first stop is the Bay Model in Sausalito, a roughly 1.5-acre model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta system. We visit The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, which pays tribute to over 100 years of surfing in the area. Our last stop is at Musée Mécanique where we meet the owner of this vast coin-operated collection.

Additional Reading:

12 Off-Beat Museums in the Bay Area To Visit This Fall

Santa Cruz Museum Shines Light on the History of Surfing

Reported by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Bianca Taylor and Maggie Galloway. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek and Katie McMurran. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho and Patricia Yollin.

Oct 10 2019

15mins

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Do Preserved Bodies Dwell in Lake Tahoe's Depths?! The Truth Behind Tahoe's Myths

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Lake Tahoe is the backyard playground for many in the Bay Area, so earlier this year we asked the Bay Curious audience what questions they had about this recreational hot spot. We collaborated with TahoeLand, a podcast from Capital Public Radio, to answer them!

– Are there dead bodies at the bottom of the lake?

– What’s the story behind Tahoe Tessie?

– What does it mean to keep Tahoe blue?

– Why is keeping Tahoe blue important?

Find more reporting on how climate change is impacting Lake Tahoe by checking out the TahoeLand podcast.

Web story: Do Preserved Bodies Dwell in Lake Tahoe’s Depths?! The Truth Behind Tahoe’s Myths

Reporting by Ezra David Romero, Sally Schilling and Emily Zentner.

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran and Paul Lancour. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Pat Yollin.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org

Oct 03 2019

11mins

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Sutro Tower’s Journey From Eyesore to Icon

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Back in the 1960s, San Francisco had really bad television reception. By many accounts, it was the worst of any city in America.

Good reception required a clear line of sight from the broadcast tower to your TV antenna, and in hilly San Francisco this was a challenge. Broadcasters began the hunt for a location to build a very tall tower that could send a clear TV signal far and wide.

A site was selected and plans were drawn up — but not without a bounty of controversy.

Read the full web story: Sutro Tower: The Origins of an ‘Eyesore’

Video from Jessica’s trip to the top: A Trip to the Top of Sutro Tower

This episode first aired on Jan. 5, 2017. It features question asker Craig Rubens.

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Reported by Jessica Placzek.

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Adam Grossberg and Katie McMurran. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Patricia Yollin.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question, vote in a voting round or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org.

Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Sep 26 2019

12mins

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The State Capitol Almost Moved to Berkeley and All It Got Was This Sweet Bear Fountain

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If you’re in Berkeley and wander far enough up Marin Avenue, there’s no doubt you’ll run into the Fountain at The Circle. The grand Beaux Arts fountain has become a symbol of the neighborhood and has inspired numerous paintings and drawings. It even has its own Berkeley Public Library card design.

But this fountain also symbolizes a big moment in Berkeley’s history, and how one developer’s dream almost changed California history forever.

Reported by Maggie Galloway.

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek and Katie McMurran. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Patricia Yollin, Carly Severn and Bianca Hernandez.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org.

Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Sep 19 2019

13mins

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Oh, SFO: Why So Delayed? (And What’s With the “O”?)

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It might seem like everyone thinks their local airport is the worst of them all: the longest security lines, the worst food, the most delays.

But we in the Bay Area have good reason to complain. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2018 SFO was the third-most-delayed major airport in the U.S. in terms of arrivals, with about 26 percent of arriving flights delayed. And that’s not unique to last year. Since 2010, SFO has consistently ranked in the top four of the most delayed airports, some years dipping as low as 69 percent of flights arriving on-time.

Also, what’s the deal with the ‘O’ in SFO?

Read the full web story on airport codes here: Why the ‘O’ in San Francisco’s Airport Code, SFO?

Read the full web story on delays here: Why SFO Is Notorious For Delays

Reported by Maggie Galloway and Jessica Placzek

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Maggie Galloway, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran, Paul Lancour and Ryan Levi. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org

Sep 12 2019

12mins

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How the Bay Area Came to be a Hub for Casual Style

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On a recent visit to San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, KQED listener Michelle Morby didn’t like what she saw. In the middle of the champagne-sipping, pre-performance throng, she spotted someone wearing jeans and white sneakers.

“That to me is completely offensive,” Morby said.

Morby is someone who likes to dress up when she goes out.

“If I got a ticket to the opera tonight, I would pull out a silk jumpsuit. I would wear it with the tallest platform sandals that I have. And I would do my makeup, and I would wear all my jewelry,” she said.

Like beauty, fashion is very much in the eye of the beholder.

So the fashion faux-pas prompted Morby to ask Bay Curious the question, “Why has the Bay Area become the Casual Capital of the World?”

Read the full web version: How the Bay Area Came to be a Hub for Casual Style

Reported by Chloe Veltman

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Maggie Galloway, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran, Paul Lancour and Ryan Levi. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org

Sep 05 2019

17mins

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Why Are There So Many Palm Trees in the Bay Area?

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After Joseph Morales, an electrician from Chicago, moved to Emeryville this past winter, he found himself wondering: What’s with all the palm trees in the Bay Area? Like Joseph, they didn’t originate here. But they’re all over the place.

Not that Joseph minds.

“They remind me of vacation,” he says, “having a good time with a cold drink and sitting under a palm tree.” Then again: “Northern California doesn’t really seem to be the ideal location for palm trees. I’m expecting hot weather and sun and beaches. And there’s just palm trees and mountains and cold water. So it just seemed weird.”

Read the full web version: Why Are There So Many Palm Trees in the Bay Area?

Reported by Daniel Potter

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Maggie Galloway, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran, Paul Lancour and Ryan Levi. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org

Aug 29 2019

13mins

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Think Bay Area Nightlife Ends Early? That Could Be About to Change

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Ever had your late night revels ended abruptly by the bartender announcing last call just before 2 a.m. here in the Bay Area?

If this strikes a chord, you’re not alone.

California’s 2 a.m. last call frustrates a lot of people. KQED listener Tara Downey even gets a little embarrassed by it when out-of-town friends visit.

“I have friends that live in New York, and so when they come back here it’s a little bit of a shock to them,” she explained. “They’re kind of like ‘OK, where do we go next?’ And… there’s not really an answer for that. We go home.”

Now she wants to know why last call is so early in San Francisco compared to other big cities.

Read the full web version: Think Bay Area Nightlife Ends Early? That Could Be About to Change

Reported by Carly Severn. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Maggie Galloway, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran, Paul Lancour and Ryan Levi. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org.

Aug 22 2019

12mins

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The Minister of Loneliness, Aristotle And How To Make That Awesome Person Your Friend

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Last year, Bay Curious received the question: “How do I make friends?”

We tried reaching out to the question asker, but they never responded. However, surveys show many Americans often feel lonely, and a lot of those lonely people also feel socially isolated.

Last episode we found tips for finding potential friends. This week we talk about how to make friend crushes closer, Aristotle’s ideas about friendship and the potential role of government in addressing social isolation.

For a few tips on how to make friends closer check out the web post: Frustrated by Shallow Friendships? Here’s How to Deepen Them


Reported by Carly Severn

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Maggie Galloway, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran, Paul Lancour and Ryan Levi. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org.

Aug 15 2019

16mins

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How To Find New Friends

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There isn’t a clear path on how to make close friends. Some people find making friends even harder than dating. They say with romantic relationships there’s at least some semblance of steps: You ask a person out, you go out again, maybe you keep going on dates, maybe one person isn’t feeling it and the relationship ends, or perhaps both people are feeling it, you talk and then make your relationship “official”.

Last year, Bay Curious received the question: “How do I make friends?”

We tried reaching out to the question asker, but they never responded.

Surveys show many Americans often feel lonely, and a lot of those lonely people also feel socially isolated.

To help our question asker, we’re going to start off with tips for finding potential friends, then next week we’ll talk about how to make them closer.

Read the full web version: How To Find New Friends

Reported by Jessica Placzek. Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran, Maggie Galloway and Paul Lancour. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org.

Aug 08 2019

16mins

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Why Isn’t Local Seafood a Bigger Deal in the Bay Area?

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Rayan Rafay was prepared to be blown away by Bay Area seafood when he moved here in 2016.

After growing up on the East Coast, he had been amazed by the seafood he encountered when he moved to Vancouver, British Columbia.

“It’s just this like magical wonderland of seafood,” he said. “Chefs just did things with seafood on the West Coast that I’d never even imagined in my lemon butter world of fish.”

But when he got here, he was surprised not to see the local catch on many restaurant menus.

So he asked Bay Curious: With the Pacific Ocean right there, why isn’t local seafood a bigger deal in the Bay Area?

This week on Bay Curious, we explore the economics of seafood and the cultural changes need for it to get a star place on our dinner plates.

Read the full web version: Why Isn’t Local Seafood a Bigger Deal in the Bay Area?

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Reported by Ryan Levi.

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Robert Speight, Katie McMurran, Paul Lancour and Ryan Levi. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our newsletter at BayCurious.org.

Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

Jul 19 2019

15mins

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