“A sharp and smart digest of local, national and international news”

The Nation‘s “2018 Progressive Honor Roll”

UpFront delivers a mix of local, state, and international coverage through challenging interviews, civil debates, breaking updates, and in-depth discussions with authors.

About Us:

Brian Edwards-Tiekert  [@bedwardstiek] is the founder and co-host of UpFront. He started his work in media helping to set up the Independent Media Center in Chiapas, Mexico, where he also did human rights work. For two years, he ran a nationwide support program for progressive publications at colleges and universities. He started in radio as a beat reporter covering environmental justice issues for KPFA, where he also served as a network correspondent for international climate talks, produced an award-winning climate documentary series, established a long-form journalism training program, then adapted that curriculum for groups ranging from high school students in Los Altos to inmates in San Quentin Prison. In 2016, he was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University.


Cat Brooks [@CatsCommentary] is UpFront’s Co-Host, and a long-time performer, organizer and advocate.  She played a central role in the struggle for justice for Oscar Grant, and spent the last decade working with impacted communities and families to rapidly respond to police violence and radically transform the ways our communities are policed and incarcerated. She is the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) and the Executive Director of The Justice Teams Network. Cat graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and trained at the Royal National Theater Studio in London. Notable roles include Lady Macbeth at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and Ruth in Raisin in the Sun. In 2018, she won 40,000 first-place votes for Oakland Mayor–more than any candidate in the prior two Oakland mayoral elections.


Jeannine Etter is the host and producer of UpFront on Fridays. A published writer, editor, organizer, and event planner, she’s a graduate of the KPFA First Voice Media Apprenticeship Program and was recently elected to the KPFA Local Station Board. She’s a lead member of the KPFA Amandla Radio Collective of black programmers and serves as the Executive Producer of many KPFA On-air productions including International Women’s Day, Black History Month and other various programming specials. She’s the Technical Producer for the KPFA Evening News and was a Technical Producer for Free Speech Radio News. As an event planner, she’s coordinated events from film screenings and art showcases to discussion groups and community forums. She’s the creator and coordinator of KPFA’s Movie Matinee series and lead coordinator with the Oakland Pan African Festival where she received the Black Excellence Community Award in 2017. She’s the editor of 6 books including “Ruminations” by KRS-ONE. She’s a freelance writer, having worked for many media organizations in the Bay Area writing most recently for Berkeleyside, Oakland Magazine, and Vibe. She is also host of Chocolate Octave, a monthly music program airing last “Wednesdays/Thursdays” from midnight-2am on KPFA.


Corinne Smith [@cocoluces] is UpFront’s Producer. She’s worked as a reporter for KPFA’s News Department, and produces special broadcasts for KPFA and the Pacifica Network, including election-night broadcasts, presidential debates, and KPFA’s live broadcast from 2018’s history-making She the People summit.



aileen pic

Aileen Alfandary [@KPFANews] is UpFront’s News Editor. She’s been co-directing KPFA’s award-winning news department since 1978, when she cut her teeth producing all-night coverage of the nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island. She gets to work at 4:30 AM every morning . . . by bicycle.




Mitch Jeserich [@MitchJeserich] is UpFront’s national politics editor.  He got his start as KPFA’s California State Political Reporter in Sacramento before going to Washington DC to cover the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court. In 2009 Mitch launched a pilot program called Letters from Washington, chronicling the first 100 days of the Obama administration, that would become Letters & Politics, a nationally-syndicated daily radio program that won the designation “Most Valuable Radio Show” on the 2016 Progressive Honor Roll of The Nation magazine.



Kirstin headshot

Kirsten Thomas is UpFront’s board operator, line producer, call-screener, and pre-dawn ray of sunshine.





Lucy Kang (@ThisIsLucyKang) is the Features Reporter for KPFA. Her work can be heard regularly on UpFront. Previously, she was the producer for UpFront and a reporter in KPFA’s News Department. In 2019 she received an Excellence in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Society of Professional Journalists Northern California chapter for her radio documentary “The Community of Grace,” produced at KPFA.




Danielle Kaye (@danielledkaye) is an intern for UpFront. She’s an undergraduate at UC Berkeley majoring in Global Studies and French. Danielle developed an interest in local politics as a news reporter and editor for The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student-run newspaper, and hopes to one day report from Senegal, where she studied in Fall 2019. Danielle has loved learning how radio programs get put together through her internship with UpFront; she’s covered issues ranging from homelessness during COVID-19 to the Trump administration’s travel bans. You can listen to her reporting for KPFA here.


Safi wa Nairobi is an intern with UpFront. Passionate about learning and exchanging information and ideas, this multimedia artist uses the arts to educate, enlighten and inform others about local, state, national and international news developments and issues.  Producing with KPFA, 94.1FM, Berkeley, since 2004, including co-founding KPFA’s Women’s Magazine, Safi has been sharing the visual voice as a means of creative expression–both photographically and via film–connecting current material and documentary storytelling through community radio airwaves.  While still producing radio (including with B.A.J.A.B.A. on JaZzLine), Safi began interning with KPFA’s UpFront November 2019.  Foci include African-descended musicians and writers, people with disabilities, youth, women, LGBTQI, as well as the elder population.  Much of Safi’s work can most accurately be described as cultural documentary.  Current projects include One of Minnie: The Fillmore Story; Bay Area Treasures; Jazz, You and Me: JYAM; Community Stories: An Oakland Testament; and Community Stories: San Francisco Testimonials.


Past Interns