Rest in Power: Gina Hotta

30 09 2009

TO OUR COMRADE, G ” by Renee Geesler

On Thursday Oct 1 we paid tribute to G on Apex Express.  Listen to the show here:

You can also listen here on KPFA’s website


A public celebration of the life of Gina Hotta will be held on Sunday, October 25 from 5-7pm, with a reception following.  We will gather at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th street 2nd floor, in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza.

If you are interested in sharing your memories or music, please contact us by Friday, October 16.

You can contribute photos or other small items to the Community Altar, or an appetizer for the reception.

We also encourage you to bring a cranes to add to our 1,000 cranes installation in honor of Gina’s legacy.

510-848-6767 x 464
To send condolences via snail mail:
Michael Yoshida
811 York Street Unit #103 Oakland, CA 94610

Gina Hotta
Gina Hotta, Photo taken By Derek Chung

Words can’t express the shock and sadness that I felt after hearing the news that Gina Hotta passed away on Monday night.  Gina was a true movement leader and truth soulja.

She was an award winning documentary producer, and hosted KPFA’s weekly API show, Apex Express, which airs Thursdays at 7pm.  She was also a graduate of First Voice, Group 3, NOVA.  Now we are at Group 34!

I met Gina after I graduated from First Voice in 2001, she approached me and asked if I would be interested in helping her start another API radio show.  She produced INSIDE/EASTSIDE which was onKPFA in the 90’s.  So we started APEX Express, in 2001.  It was Gina, me, Pratap, Eric and Nishat.

Years later, after many of us moved on to do other political work, she kept that radio show GOING!  And really worked to bring in hip young voices like Kiwi, Maya, Wayie, Ariel, Phatric…  “G”, her on air name, was cool, dedicated to the struggle and an inspiration to so many people through the years.

Much love to Gina’s family and Gina’s husband, KPFA Operations Director Michael Yoshida.

Feel free to post comments and memories

APEX contact information

Phone:  510-848-6767×464 or
past program list:

Berkeley Language Center Tribute:




12 responses

5 10 2009
Dr. Anthony Brown

Dear Michael,
Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you as we mourn Gina’s passing and celebrate her life and work. As Program Director at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Gina provided an early home for the Asian American Orchestra, where we launched our GRAMMY nominated project, Far East Suite. She is directly responsible for bringing the AAO to the public’s attention through her ardent support and promotion over the years, and we are eternally grateful to her.

I am in upstate NY with limited internet and cell service in the town 20 miles away. I learned of Gina’s death last Wednesday from Renee via FaceBook. I return home on October 14th. Please let me know how I can contribute to the public commemoration for Gina later this month.

We remain devastated by her loss; she touched so many lives and gave so unselfishly to the struggle for Justice and Freedom.

Anthony Brown, Ph.D.
Director, Asian American Orchestra;
Smithsonian Associate Scholar

3 10 2009
Dr. Alex Feng & Charlene

We were graced with Gina’s incredible presence when she did an interview of Dr. Feng for the First Annual Taoist Gathering in 2004. She supported the Center and the Gatherings over the next six years – promoting it on KPFA and volunteering at the annual event becoming one of the of the first Qi Gong students at Zhi Dao Guan where she continued to study many Saturday mornings. She was grounded and strong and compassionate. We all will miss her.

2 10 2009
Preeti Mangala Shekar

Dear Gina,

You will be missed, cherished and always fondly remembered and missed. You will always hold a special place in my memories – you were the first journalist who interviewed me on KPFA and I remember how you made that happen : “Instead of you bringing in all these experts on India, why don’t I just talk to you? You have a lot to say on India clearly!” I was moved by your ability to quickly make space and opportunity available for new talent. I am still in a state of shock…


Dear Renee – thanks for this space to share, read and mourn together…. my sincerest condolences to Michael Yoshida and other family members who are all coming to terms with such a huge loss….

2 10 2009
Amit Pendyal

It is indeed shocking and sad that Gina is no more. My condolences to her family and friends at her sudden passing.
I started co hosting APEX with her last year and what amazed me was her knowledge of issues affecting Asian Americans. I was particularly impressed with her reach in the community and her ability to bring voices to forefront, which otherwise would had not been heard. This in turn improved my own understanding.
I also found her affable and very easy to get along, having shared coffee and numerous conversations about improving APEX and general issues.
The last I saw her was 3 weeks ago when I hosted a show with her.
This is a grave and irreplaceable loss of a person truly committed to betterment of the community and a friend.
My prayers and best wishes again to her family and all her friends to sustain through this tough time.

2 10 2009
Mitch Jeserich

Very nice tribute show. Thank you for doing it.

2 10 2009
Ova Saopeng

I am so deeply saddened by the death of Gina. I am utmost shocked to hear of this news as Gina was an incredible voice for all of Asian American communities. I had the honor several times to be in the booth with her during her radio show educating, engaging, enlightening listeners about the Laotian community and the importance of our stories. She is an amazing story in her own right and deserves accolades for all her efforts and hard work in service of the people. Gina we will miss you dearly.

1 10 2009

I’m still reeling from Gina’s death….we had our last recording session at the BLC on Monday – the very day she died. For over six years, she’s been the recording engineer for a UC radio program I produce for CBS radio. She really made it look easy. Her death is a huge loss. I am grateful that we got to spend part of her last day on Earth together…and we shared laughs. My Friday afternoons will never be the same. RIP, Gina. You will be sorely missed.

1 10 2009
Bea Dong

I will deeply miss working with Gina. Gina was a pioneer for Asian American women along with the women warriors of APEX Express, speaking out on the air every week, giving voice to the people from the community, producing a show that kept us current and informed. I don’t know of another radio show other than APEX that has Asian women DJ’s taking on controversial issues without missing a beat, asking questions that make us think about our world. I will always admire Gina for her outspoken courage and love for the people. We have lost a beautiful soul.

1 10 2009
Ali Budner

I was introduced to Gina Hotta by Amelia Barili, mother of another First Voice graduate. One day last year, Amelia led me through the underground maze of hallways connecting the rooms of UC Berkeley’s language department–to Gina’s humble and incredible office. It was full of old analog audio machines that only Gina knew how to operate and fix. She showed me the shelves stacked high with old tape reels full of obscure bird calls and endangered languages. She had been entrusted with archiving sounds on the verge of extinction. How beautiful and noble, I thought. And simultaneously, I thought, this is no job for a novice. I remember feeling that we were all so lucky–without even knowing we were so lucky–to have someone like Gina in the depths of this building each day preserving knowledge and sounds for the rest of the world and for the future. Gina herself seemed to be a living archive of knowledge about the underground world of sound and the mechanical transformations of its capture. She treated me that afternoon as a kind and wise elder would–answering all my questions about her life in music and radio and how I could approach a life in the audio world too. Without knowing me at all, she took more than an hour from her busy day just to show me around, give me suggestions, ideas and encouragement. It wasn’t until the end of our meeting that I discovered she not only co-produced APEX express at KPFA, not only was she a First Voice graduate (from group 3!), but she was also married to the man who I believe is the silent pillar of the whole station, Michael Yoshida. And then I thought, well, of course. They are so perfectly matched. I feel blessed to have met Gina that day. My heart goes out to Michael and his family for their loss, to the whole UC Berkeley and KPFA communities, and to all the communities both human and animal, whose voices she listened to, recorded, broadcasted, archived and preserved for the world as a gift.

1 10 2009
Harvey Dong


Gina Hotta was a wonderful person who used her skills to keep all of us informed about issues
relating to the Asian American community. She was a regular customer and supporter of
Eastwind Books of Berkeley. Between her campus job and the Thursday night Apex Express radio show,
she often dropped by to browse books and talk. At Gina’s suggestion, we’ve been conducting cooperative
book events at the store and other places that were also aired on KPFA. She did a fantastic job
to bring world events to her Apex Express listeners and was inclusive in her coverage of Asian Pacific Islander
issues here and overseas. She was a fighter on her job and helped make the recent UPTE-faculty-
student walkout last week September 24, 2009 a historic success. We will deeply miss her.

Harvey Dong
Eastwind Books of Berkeley

1 10 2009
Robynn Takayama

Thanks for getting the word out to our community about Gina’s passing. I first tracked Gina Hotta down when I was attempting to make a radio documentary in college. I found her documentary on Asian American Vietnam vets at the Berkeley public library and trekked up from UCSC.

Later I met her in person when she was performing jazz for the Asian Heritage Foundation where I worked.

It was only later that I came to know her as a dedicated radio producer, opening up the airwaves to all the different community events and issues that arose. She worked hard to develop APEX and to bring in the young bloods.

We are so luck to have had her leadership and guideance.

1 10 2009
Joy Moore

Thank you Renee, I can’t believe she’s gone. Now she’s of us! I trust she’s in a good place and at peace. I hope and pray so. I send my love, prayers and thoughts out to Michael Yoshida. RIP Gina we love you!

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