(Originally published in commentary section of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1/17/2016)
By Kelly O’Brien, Charlie Eadie, Matt Farrell, Cathie Royer and Jeffrey Werner
We’ve heard from critics about what KUSP is not. Let us tell you what it is.
We believe KUSP 88.9FM/kusp.org is creating a new public radio station aimed squarely at serving a broad array of music lovers across the greater Monterey Bay area. A station that complements rather than duplicates other public radio offerings in the area. A station that enriches the community with both music discovery and local cultural/public affairs programming.
KUSP’s new 2016 logo
We want to lay this out clearly: Music programming on KUSP is locally produced and hosted by people from the community. It is not piped in from L.A. or anywhere else. The music we’re selecting and broadcasting may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t refer to KUSP’s program hosts as “soulless robots” or “pre-programmed.”
If the new music mix isn’t satisfying your taste, let us know, work with us. We’re getting incrementally better and need you to keep helping us fine tune how we approach the music and build the play lists. Mostly, if we work together to make KUSP successful and sustainable, we’ll have a great mix of noncommercial choices in the region: KKUP, KZSC, KPFA, KUSP and KAZU all providing different formats and offerings!
We are very intentionally listener-focused. We are working to appeal to a listening audience as broad as it is loyal and that audience has already expanded in two short months to include younger listeners willing to support the station financially. We are committed to stabilizing operations to serve this unique community and to innovating the service KUSP provides so that it is relevant and worthy of being treasured and supported.
KUSP’s music mix holds many of the elements management and staff hear people asking about: blues, folk, world, rock and contemporary sounds. We’re highlighting the music of mostly younger artists who strive to combine many influences from all around the world into a new and meaningful sound — a sound that appeals to audiences from their 20s to their 60s. We take all ideas and comments seriously; email us anytime at email@example.com.
KUSP rounds out its daily music mix programming with evening and weekend jazz, classical, world and soul music selected by knowledgeable hosts who bring us a distinctive range of traditions. Long-revered musical specialty shows remain firmly in the program schedule: Charlie Lang’s “Soul Shack,” Papa Sam’s “Crescent City Shuffle,” and Brett Taylor’s “Latin Quarter” are some of the impressive programs with dedicated and knowledgeable local music hosts.
And while KUSP’s new identity is music discovery, we still host the locally produced cultural and public affairs programs we broadcast when the station was predominantly news/talk.” Agony Column” and “The 7th Avenue Project” enjoy new prominence as part of the weekday “Evening of Ideas.” “Dr. Dawn” and “GeekSpeak” continue to educate appreciative listeners every Saturday morning. The “Land Use Report” and “First Person Singular” are heard regularly as part of our Community Voices project and we look forward to these programs expanding with additional locally produced stories and insights.
It’s all right here in one place — a familiar friend with a new voice, new spirit and new dedication to serve the Monterey Bay region in a way it’s never been served before.
Here’s the bottom line: We plan to connect people to their community and culture through music and community voices, with the vast majority of the programming locally produced and locally hosted.
Others have pointed out the truism that “the world has changed.” KUSP is endeavoring to reflect that change and will continue to offer distinct, nonprofit, noncommercial radio programming that will survive and thrive if listeners find value there and choose to support it as contributing members. That much has not changed.
Kelly O’Brien, Charlie Eadie, Matt Farrell, Cathie Royer and Jeffrey Werner are the executive officers of KUSP’s board of directors.