'Civic' host Laura Wenus (left) and producer Mel Baker (right). Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Public Press

Good news regarding the journalism industry is hard to find these days. 

Newspapers and magazines are going kaput seemingly every day, and even Pulitzer-winning newsrooms have had to lay off employees. This news website is itself still figuring out how to survive far into the future.

But there is a ray of hope. 

The San Francisco Public Press, a quarterly paper featuring in-depth investigative reports, is in the process of launching a brand-new radio station: KSFP 102.5 FM in San Francisco. It will feature original journalism produced by the Public Press team, including a weekly political podcast called “Civic.” It will also feature programming from other local stations, and eventually a space to promote up-and-coming podcasters. 

It will also be intensely focused on San Francisco.

With KSFP, the counter-intuitive advantage is that the signal only reaches San Francisco and a little bit beyond,” said Michael Stoll, the executive director of the Public Press. “So we can focus intensely on the city and the unique policy challenges facing it.”

Starting up a broadcast radio station in the age of podcasts is not out of character for 10-year-old paper. After initiating online in 2009, it made the unusual move of launching a print edition — still its flagship product, which sells for $1 per copy and can be found around the city. 

Terrestrial broadcast is not a growth medium anymore. But in a way it echoes with starting up a newspaper in the 21st century,” Stoll said. “We’re reclaiming and trying to breathe new life in media that others have given up for dead.” 

The radio show and podcast “Civic,” hosted by Laura Wenus (a former Mission Local reporter and editor) and produced by Mel Baker, a veteran Bay Area radio producer, will focus on public affairs in San Francisco and the people making them happen. It will air every evening at 6 p.m. and then the next day at 8 a.m. The first show airs on Monday, August 19, at 6 p.m.

A podcast compiling highlights of the week’s shows will be released every Friday.  

“This is also an exciting opportunity for listeners because we’re so flexible and we’re so open to feedback and we can change according to what people tell us they want,” Wenus said. “Since we are at the beginning of this journey, they can determine what direction we go.” 

Join the Public Press for the “Civic” launch party on Monday at 6 p.m. at Impact Hub (1885 Mission St.). 

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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