For the past dozen years, independent media producer Rose Aguilar has been host of "Your Call", a weekday morning talk show at San Francisco's upstart public radio station, KALW.
You can say upstart because KALW has a much smaller audience than KQED, a ratings giant that has more listeners than any other Bay Area radio station, including all, yes, all commercial stations.
And because KALW is making a name for itself by branding itself "local public radio."
More recently, KALW has started providing "Your Call" to other regional public radio stations, including The Bridge 105.7 FM since last fall when KVMR's second signal was introduced to western Nevada County's media landscape.
"Your Call" is heard Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m. on the 105.7 FM signal, with Pacifica Radio's "Background Briefing" airing Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. from KPFK in Los Angeles.
Mondays usually feature the program's weekly Media Roundtable, where Aguilar first began appearing on KALW back in 2001 while she was a reporter and host for CNET Radio, covering technology's impact on society.
Last week, for instance, the Roundtable featured coverage of the campaign against Representative Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim congresswomen, for criticizing the political influence of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC and House Democrats’ debate over anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
That drew praise on Facebook because Aguilar ran Omar's entire statement, instead of just the so-called juicy excerpts mainstream media featured, with supporters saying that put the criticized content in a whole new context.
That's one of the differences listeners will find in "Your Call", as well as episodes usually aired here on Wednesdays about the environment called "One Planet", most recently covering the 2019 San Francisco Ocean Film Festival last week and the future of high speed rail in California the week before.
In late 2004, while producing (but not yet hosting) "Your Call," she found herself feeling "completely disconnected from the rest of the country" after the past few elections.
"I was tired of stereotypes in the media about red-state voters, blue-state voters, you know, Christian voters," she told the East Bay Express. "And I got tired of preaching to the choir, frankly, and I got tired of listening to the left only talk to each other and judge everyone else."
So Rose took a leave from her job, bought a 1984 Toyota van and went on a six-month journey through Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah and Montana to talk to red-state residents about their views, including those Aguilar "would never share, let alone comprehend", according to the East Bay Express.
The result was her book "Red Highways: A Liberal's Journey into the Heartland".
"One of my wishes is to have a van with a radio station inside it so you could drive across the country and have community meetings broadcast from all over," she told an authors' conference. "Cable TV just gets soundbites, but if you spend an hour with someone, it's far less a black and white viewpoint that you get."
She found most red-state citizens she interviewed open, inviting and available.
"When I called a friend of a friend, you know, I'd tell them about my project. They would immediately tell me to come over. They would never ask for a business card or last name. They just trusted me. And that would never happen in San Francisco," according to Aguilar.
That's where whoever you were interviewing would Google you first and then ask to meet at a cafe, she told the Express.
Aguilar has written for AlterNet, The Nation, Truthout and even Al Jazeera English over the years.
She's currently working on a book about older women activists and a new radio show focusing on investigative journalism. Rose is also a member of the Native American Journalists Association and is a mentor-editor for the OpEd Project, an organization that works to increase the range of voices heard in the media.
Rose's interests include hiking, camping, vegan living, animal rights, live music and spending as much time underwater as possible. She volunteers for Students Rising Above, an group that supports first generation college bound high school students.
Oh, the vegan living part was a little difficult on the red highway trip. Some places her only option was the vegetarian sandwich at a Subway franchise. And she'd never been inside a Wal-Mart until the journey through the red states.
So now she has a different perspective on this red vs. blue state thing. And brings it to western Nevada County three times a week via The Bridge 105.7 FM.
KNOW & HEAR
WHAT: "Your Call," featuring Politics & Culture, Dialogue & Debate, with host Rose Aguilar from KALW/San Francisco
WHEN: Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, 11 a.m. to noon.
WHERE; The Bridge 105.7 FM, serving western Nevada County and surrounding areas.
INFO: Under the "Listen" tab at kvmr.org , the station's home page or 530/265-9073