KVPR launches ‘The Other California’ podcast
San Joaquin Valley native and author & historian Gerald Haslam spent most of his career chronicling life in the Valley -- celebrating its vibrant communities but never overlooking its warts.
“It harbors no movie stars, no beaches, no redwoods, but has an abundance of tenacious people of all colors, as well as miles and miles of farm and ranch land, rich oil fields, and communities churning with desperation, joy, passion, and hope, or the hope of hope,” he wrote in “Haslam’s Valley.” “Pretty? Not generally. Rich? For a few. Interesting? Oh yeah.”
KVPR draws the name of its newest podcast from the title of one of Haslam’s many books: The Other California: The Great Central Valley in Life and Letters.
In KVPR’s The Other California, host Alice Daniel takes us into small rural towns throughout the San Joaquin Valley, and introduces us to the people who make them what they are.
For many Californians, these towns might not be more than a sign on a freeway exit off of Highway 99 or Interstate 5, but they’re home to incredible stories of community, family, and overcoming obstacles that are an important piece of the California story. The podcast will explore themes like immigration, identity, and what makes these communities special to those who live there.
“We’re taking the listener to a place they may have driven through but don’t know anything about,” said Daniel, who also serves as KVPR’s News Director. “After they hear the podcast, we want them to have a different perspective that will inspire them to be more curious, more tolerant, more open-minded about the world.”
The podcast begins with Daniel’s own valley origin story and an interview with the late Haslam himself – he died last year at the age of 84 – where he explains what he means by “The Other California.” In the episodes that follow, listeners will visit six towns in six different counties: Woodlake, Chowchilla, Avenal, Taft, Huron, and Livingston.
These are towns molded by California’s pervasive desire to reshape the landscape in the quest for a new economy – be it gold, agriculture, oil, prisons, weed or warehouses. Episodes will look at each place from various angles including the town’s economy, history, local changemakers, traditional arts and youth. The entire KVPR news team is involved in reporting this project.
“We’re thankful for the support of Cal Humanities for making this podcast possible,” said Alex Burke, KVPR’s Content Director. “Their generous grant has allowed us to take a deeper dive into exploring the diverse and often overlooked histories of our valley, and bring those stories to an ever wider audience.”
In addition to the podcast, snippets of The Other California and will be featured on KVPR’s newsmagazine Valley Edition, and during local broadcasts of Morning Edition.
The first episode of The Other California debuts March 18. Find it at KVPR.org, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Listen to the podcast trailer:
This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.