Erika Mahoney

News Director

Erika Mahoney joined KAZU Public Radio in 2016. Her story, "Reality of Possible Separation Sets in for American Children of Undocumented Parents" won a National Edward R. Murrow Award in 2018 for 'Excellence in Writing.'

Erika studied Broadcast Journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She interned for CBS Sunday Morning in New York City. After graduating, Erika spent four years working as a TV reporter in Upstate New York and on the Central Coast of California. 

Erika's passion for journalism and public radio began in high school when she worked for an independent community radio station in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Erika loves living in the Monterey Bay area with her partner and orange tabby cat. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, yoga and painting.  

Ways to Connect

Doug McKnight / KAZU News

As the weather warms up and sunrises are greeted with chirping birds, local wildlife rescue centers say it’s safe to put bird feeders back up. They asked the community to remove feeders earlier this year after they became a salmonella super-spreader for a native songbird.

Erika Mahoney

The western monarch butterfly is in trouble. This past winter, fewer than 2,000 monarchs were counted in California, which represents a 99% percent decline in their population since the 1980s. But a hopeful spring is following a winter of doom and gloom. Congress has taken up their plight through legislation and there’s something you can do now — take a hard look at your garden.

KAZU News has won two Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for its work in 2020. The Radio Television Digital News Association honors outstanding achievements in electronic journalism annually through these awards.



Highway 1 in Big Sur will reopen Friday, two months ahead of Caltrans’ schedule. A section of the roadway at Rat Creek has been closed since late January.

Morgan Rector

California’s underwater kelp forests are in trouble. A combination of climate change and hungry purple sea urchins have decimated these vital forests. But the Monterey Peninsula has a kelp forest guardian — sea otters. New research out of the University of California, Santa Cruz is highlighting their role.

Amy Red Feather, wildlife technician

Local wildlife rescue centers are asking community members to temporarily take down their bird seed feeders and bird baths. These bird magnets are spreading a deadly disease among a native songbird called Pine Siskins.

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Brandt Bates

Highway 1 is scheduled to reopen early this summer. A section of the road on Big Sur’s south coast is closed after a debris flow washed out both lanes. The work to repair the damage will begin Monday, March 1.

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday. For one local couple, who is very much in love, Valentine’s Day should be carefree. Instead, it’s a painful reminder of a national policy they say prevents them from tying the knot.

Monterey County Sheriff's Office



The Big Sur community finds itself in yet another hardship now that a southern coast section of Highway 1 is closed. This hardship comes after a major wildfire last summer, the storm and debris flows last week and the ongoing pandemic. 

Heath Johnston

The powerful storm that caused outages, flooding and mudflows also washed out part of Highway 1 along the Big Sur coast. Caltrans crews and emergency contractors are now assessing the damage.

Richard Green

There’s been a lot of confusion about COVID-19 and the distribution of the vaccine. That's because it’s complicated. There’s confusion over how and when the vaccine will be distributed and confusion over a batch that caused some allergic reactions. KAZU’s Erika Mahoney has been following the developments.

Erika Mahoney

On a chilly December morning, Bree Machuca walks into the entrance of Pacific Grove’s Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. With binoculars in hand, she’s searching for the orange and black symbol of the coastal city. Pacific Grove is nicknamed “Butterfly Town, U.S.A.” because thousands of western monarchs usually spend the winter there. But this year, its sanctuary is empty.

Congressman Panetta's office.

When rioters breached the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, setting off a day of disturbing chaos, the Central Coast’s Congressman, Jimmy Panetta, was in his office on Capitol grounds on a Zoom call about the COVID-19 vaccine. KAZU News’ Erika Mahoney spoke with him about the moments that followed and what’s next. 

Erika Mahoney


The Monterey Peninsula is getting its first shelter specifically for single homeless women and families with children, including single fathers. According to the most recent homeless census, 35 percent of those without a place to call home are women and 25 percent are families in Monterey County. But that census was a year ago. After months of COVID-19, that number is expected to grow. 

Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula

With Monterey County hospitals full of COVID-19 patients, the county’s health officer has decided to voluntarily opt into the state’s new “Regional Stay Home Order.” This move follows five other counties in the Bay Area who also opted in early. 

Richard Green

With over 1 million total confirmed COVID-19 cases and surging, California is pumping the brakes on reopening. We checked in with Dr. Allen Radner for the fourth time since the beginning of the pandemic. He’s Chief Medical Officer of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System and an infectious disease specialist. Last weekend (November 14-15, 2020), Monterey County hospitals had 51 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, an all time high.

Erika Mahoney


It’s that time of year again when thousands of western monarch butterflies begin to show up in the Monterey Bay area to spend the winter. They come from all over the western United States and southwestern Canada. 

Historically, youth voter turnout is low. But young people are more engaged than ever before. Voter registration numbers among California college students tripled this election season compared to all of 2016, according to the state. KAZU spoke with young voters in our community who are making their mark this election.

The Santa Cruz County VoteMobile looks like a taco truck. But instead of tacos, you can order a ballot. The front of the trailer has two glass customer service windows. Let's just say you can't miss it driving around town. The trailer is brightly painted with an American Flag and the word "vote" written in giant letters on each side.