Benjamin Temchine

Where I've Been

Public Radio Employment
Your Call
Philoso?hy Talk

The Root System
320 ppm
Good Questions to Ask

News Reporting
The Biography of 100,000 Square Feet
Mother Jones
The Takeaway
Frontline: "Chasing the Sleeper Cell"
The World

UC Berkeley
Daily Cal

Other experience
Peace Corps
The Search by John Battelle

UC Berkeley J-School
Oberlin College

I.F. Stone Scholarship for Excellence in Investigative & Human Rights Reporting

2004 Third Coast Festival Competition- Finalist

2009 California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow

My Work

Your Call

I am Senior Producer and fill-in host of Your Call the live, daily call-in show on KALW 91.7 FM, Public Radio in San Francisco. I have produced hundreds of shows since 2004. I have been Senior Producer since 2006 and Fill-In host since 2007. Here are all the shows I have hosted, arranged chronologically:

Friday Media Roundtable: May 15, 2009
[05.15.09] A conversation with Mike Madden, Washington correspondent for Salon and Jonathan Steele, the roving Foreign Correspondent from the Guardian.

What Do You Need for Your Best Birth?
[05.14.09] What social supports do women and their partners need to make informed decisions about how to bring their babies into the world? A conversation with Abby Apstein, co-author of Your Best Birth, and San Francisco mid-wife Maria Iorillo.

Flat Broke in the Free Market

[05.11.09] A conversation with former Washington Post South Africa and South America Bureua Chief, John Jeter, author of Flat Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People.

Friday Media Roundtable: June 6, 2008
[06.06.08] A conversation with Frank Russo of the California Progress Report, Steve Greenhouse of the New York Times and David Danelo, author of Blood Stripes: A Grunts Eye View of the War in Iraq and the upcoming book The Border: Exploring the US-Mexican Divide.

Robert Thurman, author of Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet and the World
[06.05.08] Talking with Robert Thurman about his vision for a resolution to China's occua[tion of Tibet.

Russell Banks, author of Dreaming Up America
[06.03.08] Talking with Russell Banks about his first non-fiction collection. Banks takes a novelists eye to colonial America to find the root of the dreams and obsessions that bind us today. Do the aspirations in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution still call Americans to action?

Term Limits in the 2008 Election
[06-02-08] A conversation with David Latterman, Principle at Fall Line Analytics; Thad Kousser, Professor of political science at UC San Diego; Jesse Taylor columnist for the Berkeley Daily Planet.

The Ethics, Economics and Aesthetics of Eating Fruit
[05-28-08] Adam Gollner, author of "The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession," and Dan Koeppel, author of "Bananas!: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World."

Forget Me Not
[05-14-08] Sue Halpern, author of Can't Remember What I Forgot: The Good News From the Front Lines of Memory Research

Polling and Our Democracy
[01-28-08] How accurate are polls? How are they conducted, who funds them and how accurate are they?

Friday Media Roundtable: May 30, 2008
[05-30-08] A conversation with John Nichols of the Nation magazine, Anna Badkhen from the Center for Investigative Reporting and Richard Gizbert of Al Jazeera English about how the news of the week was covered.

Friday Media Roundtable: May 23, 2008
[05-23-08] A conversation with Clare Cummings, author of Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds, Shmuel Rosner for Haaretz and Joe Garofoli at the San Francisco Chronicle about how the news of the week was covered.

Indian Gaming Propositions
[01-29-08] A debate about the Indian Gaming Proposals that would triple Southern California slots that was on the February 2008 ballot.

What brings voters to the polls?
[01-21-08] What kind of elections and policies maximize voter turn-out, and what keeps voters at home? With Christine Pelosi, author , "Campaign Boot Camp" and Allen Raymond author of "How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative"

Whatever Happened to Universal Healthcare in California?
[12-04-07] Why did health care reform stall in Sacramento in 2007? Who is fighting to get it moving again?

Sudan 101
[05-24-07] An introduction to Sudanese with Alex de Waal, fellow of the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University and Scott Edwards from Amnesty International.

Gamer Theory- Video games, Fairness and History
[05-17-07] McKenzie Wark, author of "Gamer Theory"

Philoso?hy Talk

I was producer and occasional reporter for Philoso?hy Talk, which airs on KALW, KUCR, Oregon Public Broadcasting, KSCL, KZSU and KRCC, among others.

Back to the top

The Root System

The Root System is a blog I started about pre- and post-natal brain development. That's where I come in. The name comes from the obvious parallels between dendrites and tree roots. Dendrology is the study of roots. Dendrites are the receiving side of synapses. The massive increase in synaptic connections in the first two years of life is called arborization. But most importantly, the job of a parent is to root their child firmly in this earth and to other people. Those connections, to place and people and culture, are re-woven by the brain in a fabric of axons and dendrites and synapses.

Back to the top

The Biography of 100,000 Square Feet

This is the biography of a hundred-thousand square feet. In the heart of San Francisco, where City Hall meets the city's most important street, there is a plaza with no benches and a fountain with a fence around. How does this happen? Why does a public space fail? Is it just the homeless and the drug addicts? Or is it something deeper? Something hidden. Can good intentions and idealism become so removed from reality, they actually border on negligence? This is the story of United Nations Plaza.

A documentary I made while a grad student at UC Berkeley School of Journalism. It first aired on Invisible Ink on KALW in San Francisco. It was a finalist at the Third Coast Audio Festival Competition. In early 2005 it was the Feature Documentary on Transom, the Peabody award winning showcase for excellence in public radio. That was pretty awesome.

It is still available for download and broadcast on PRX. Since the premiere in May of 2004, it has aired on public radio stations across the country including on WBEZ in Chicago, WFVU in New York City, WZBC in Boston, WBSR in Providence, and KFAI in Minneapolis/St.Paul.

Praise for 100,000 Square Feet

"Portraits are tough in radio, because you must take something inherently static and make it move. All character, no action. A portrait of a place may be even tougher." - Jay Allison, Public Radio Godfather

"Great subject and great piece."- Joe Richman, Producer Radio Diaries

"Not the likeliest, nor the easiest of ideas, but it's brought off with quiet elegance, even when folks are grabbing for food."-Robert Krulwich, "the man who simplifies without being simple"

"A great piece of work. Sympathetic but not sentimental, clear-eyed without being cold. Terrific writing as well."Jackson Braider, WGBH

"A bravura piece of urban reporting and political thinking... This is truly great work." - Bill McKibben, author of Long Distance and The End of Nature

Back to the top


The KALW News department runs a weekly news magazine and I have filed several reports and interviews with them. The latest interview, with Richard Rayner, author of The Associates is not yet posted on their website. I am hounding them about it right now.

Back to the top

Mother Jones

I have begun doing interviews for Mother Jones online. The first interview is here. I spoke with the author of a piece about a Emmanuel Constant, the former head of a Haitian death squad.

Back to the top

The Takeaway

PRI and WNYC's new morning show, The Takeaway in conjunction with WNYC, KPCC and KALW had live national coverage of the Super Duper Tuesday election. I covered the Republicans in Northern California Republican Headquarters in San Jose.

Back to the top


While at Berkeley, I was in Lowell Bergman's Investigative Reporting Class. I had two assignments: chart the American Intelligence system's organization chart before and after 9-11 and explain the Material Support Statute that used to prosecute the Lackawanna Six. The results were used for a Frontline documentary and New York Times story written by Lowell Bergman.

Back to the top

The World

In September of 2005, I produced a piece for The World on PRI about local band Charming Hostess for their album Sarajevo Blues. Sarajevo Blues is challenging and haunting music, a collaboration between Charming Hostess and the Sarajevan poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic. The story explored the political and musical traditions that ChoHo steeps in. It isn't on The World's site anymore, but you can listen here.

Back to the top


I made several pieces for B-Side, the brilliant side gig of Tamara Keith. Only one of them is available online, a story about a young Ballerino about to dance the Nutcracker. Again. And again. And again...
Sadly another piece I did about the heat of a Sahara summer, when it gets so hot you shiver and start to put clothes back on, is MIA.

Back to the top


The ballerino piece first aired was made for the Job Files, an occasionally series about how people make a living. I interviewed James Sofranco, then a young Ballerino in the Corps of the San Francisco Ballet. The Nutcracker is both the biggest moneymaker for the ballet, and the worst nightmare of the dancers, who have usually done it about a thousand times. This is James' story.

Back to the top


In the Summer of 2006, I was brought into the production of "Ferlinghetti: Open Eye, Open Mind" which aired on KWQED. I helped direct the live call-in show and have continued working with Jim McKee, Erik Bauersfeld and Lawrence Ferlinghetti since, including the new spoken word opera tentatively called the Waratorio. If you speak Finnish, here is a story about the Waratorio .

Back to the top

San Francisco Chronicle

When Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe took over for a beloved and dingy diner, it looked like more gentrification in Emeryville, but the true story is much more interesting. Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe takes over for Eugene's was published in the Chrnicle in 2002.

Back to the top

The Recorder

My story California Jury Verdicts Keep on Climbing is a painstakingly researched round up of the largest jury awards in California from 2002. The story and the accompanying chart were published in a special report over five pages of the paper. The story was chosen by the editors as story of the week.

I also completed The Recorder's annualPublic Defender Salary Survey. This is part I of II. I conducted a salary survey of all ten Bay Area public defenders and district attorneys. This front page article including a salary comparison between counties, entry level public defenders and district attorneys, and the salaries of senior staff.

Back to the top

UC Berkeley J School

This is where I am putting work done at Berkeley that didn't fit into other categories. In 2002, I was assigned to the Care Not Cash campaign. Here is one of the stories I wrote about the election. S.F. Votes on Competing Plans for Homeless I wrote another story about the Sunrise ceremony held annually on Alcatraz. It was called Solemn Memories of a Protest 33 Years Ago.

Back to the top

The Daily Cal

A few of the stories I wrote while at Berkeley were published in the Daily Californian including Ballot Measure to Decide Whether Waterfront Plans Sink or Swim. The fate of Berkeley's last stretch of privately owned waterfront land will be decided by the ballot.

Back to the top

Peace Corps

I was a small enterprise development volunteer in Diourbel, Senegal from early 1997 to mid 1999. Senegal is in the Sahel, on the border of the Sahara. Even eleven years ago it was possible to see the effect of climate change: less rain, fewer trees, more desert and more illness. My job was to find technological and cultural responses to the challenges posed by climate change and poverty. Technological advances could be genetic, gadget or knowledge based - improved seeds, appropriate processing equipment, accounting systems for the illiterate. The cultural responses were often stories from other Senegalese people of nearby countries. Facts never convinced anyone to make a risky change, but a compelling story opened up new possibilities.

I wrote "Selling Men" when I returned home.

Back to the top

The Search

I was research assistant for John Battelle for his book, The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture.

Back to the top


Email: ben (at)
phone: 415-692-1247


Google Docs
Yahoo Mail


New York Times
Washington Post
SF Gate
Los Angeles Times
Al Jazeera
Associated Press
Boing Boing
Boston Globe
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Congressional Quarterly
Drudge Report
Entertainment Weekly
Fox News
Financial Times
Globe and Mail
The Hill
New York Daily News
New York Observer
The Onion
PBS NewsHour
Rolling Stone
Times of London
USA Today
Wall Street Journal
Yahoo! News

Way Markers

Surfline: Pacifica
Storm Surf

Contact Benjamin Temchine

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved.

visitors since 2002.