An active listening practice in San Francisco

May 2020

“When I’m listening to KQED, I’ll stop and take a note,” says Haley Sage, an NPR listener in California. “There’s always paper and pen around. Little notes will end up everywhere!” 


For Haley Sage, tuning into KQED (NPR affiliate in San Francisco) is both an adrenaline rush, and a connective thread to life outside her home in the town of Ben Lomond, California. During the week, Haley stays busy maintaining relationships with friends over Zoom, practicing meditation, and making music from her home. A fifth generation Californian, Ms. Sage takes a great joy and comfort in the perspectives she hears on NPR.


Okay Google, play KQED

First thing in the morning, I’m looking forward to my cappuccino. As I come downstairs, pretty much the first words out of my mouth are ‘Okay Google, play KQED.’ I live alone and KQED is my go to. 

It takes a lot to get me rolling in the morning. I’m on the West Coast, so the news is already in full swing. Listening to the news is an adrenaline rush that gets me up. 

Noticing the nuances

I start my morning with a walk, or a run if I’m feeling ambitious. There’s something nice about noticing the little nuances in the neighborhood. 

Recently kids have been painting rocks and leaving them all over the place. It’s cheery stuff. The rocks say “we can do this.” It’s just so charming. Everyone’s been cleaning their closets out while on lockdown, so there’s free stuff out on the street. I saw a box of folded paper airplanes with rainbows on them and little messages. Starting the day by noticing the coherence in my local community is wonderful. People wave at each other more, like a ‘hey I see you.’ 

An active listening practice

When I’m listening to KQED, I’ll stop and take a note, even do a little research just to get the full experience when I’m moved. There’s always paper and pen around. Little notes will end up everywhere! 

The aspect of constant learning is so important for me. I definitely have a dedicated, active listening practice. In the same way that meditation is a practice. I’m an active listener because I’m interested in increasing my own awareness, curiosity and compassion about other people. 

NPR keeps me company

I really enjoy having the news read to me. I lost my husband 7 years ago, it’s a little sad, but the news keeps me company. It’s just nice to have a voice reading things to you. 

With the local anchors who are airing the NPR feed, you can hear them choke up. Especially when we were ten days into lockdown. I could tell they were in their home studios. It was so full of heart, it was so real. It absolutely transcended. 

We’re all silent together

By the end of the day I’m exhausted because I’m keeping myself so busy. I just prepare my food. It’s really enjoyable. Appreciating my food and the day I’ve had, keeping a heart of gratitude.

I feel very fortunate I was able to do my healing before COVID. I’m kind of coming off my sabbatical from widowhood, and I’m realizing now the whole world is shut down and cocooned too. I know a lot about self care because I had to walk that road. 

I’m part of a women’s group and now we check in every Tuesday night. We do a guided meditation together, which means we’re all silent with our eyes closed together over zoom. It maybe sounds boring, but it’s wonderful.


of public radio listeners like Haley rate their home station as “excellent” since the coronavirus outbreak.

Interested in getting your brand in front of an audience of loyal, uniquely connected listeners? Get in touch with our team to learn more about NPR sponsorship.


Let’s Talk


Source: Jacobs Media Coronavirus Survey, April 2020.