KUSP Latest

Donny McCaslin Lands Gig in David Bowie’s New Band

Donny McCaslin, backstage at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Photo: Stephen Laufer / KUSP

Donny McCaslin, backstage at the Monterey Jazz Festival, 2011. Photo: Stephen Laufer / KUSP

Details are emerging about David Bowie’s next album entitled ★ (Blackstar), and it’s being released shortly. The lineup includes saxophonist Donny McCaslin, who is quite a familiar face to jazz fans around the Monterey Bay.

Mojo Magazine reports in an interview with Bowie’s long-time producer Tony Visconti, that the artist turned to jazz players to help steer his project in a new direction.

Visconti said:

“★’s exciting, adventurous vibe – jazz-informed, but rock-intense – is more than partly down to the cast of young musicians Bowie assembled for the New York sessions.”

Donny McCaslin grew up in Santa Cruz county, playing jazz at an early age. The Grammy-nominated artist appeared many time on stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival and Kuumbwa Jazz Center.


Listen to the first released track below. Bowie’s album ‘Blackstar’ is scheduled for release January 16, 2016.

KUSP’s Successful Fall Membership Drive!

white-phone-5412Thanks to more than 740 people who contributed during KUSP’s fall fundraiser.

Your contributions totaled more than $82,000 and will help launch our new music-focused format.

Thank you for supporting independent public radio in the Monterey Bay area!

And for those of you who have not yet donated, you can still give online:


KUSP’s 2015 Fall Fundraising Drive

What you hear on KUSP is about to change. We’re here to ask for your financial support for the new station with a schedule full of music and community voices that we’ll be bringing you in just a couple weeks.


KUSP is becoming more about music. Photo: Laufer









You’ll help us enrich our region’s culture with a new complement to the Monterey Bay area’s public radio offerings.

By supporting KUSP you’re part of a community that believes in independent media and that voluntary contributions from listeners — people just like you — are the key to preserving an independent voice on the media landscape.

KUSP in the News

See the Santa Cruz Sentinel September 29th story about KUSP.

More coming soon!
Email contact for KUSP’s Interim General Manager, Lee Ferraro:
lee [at] kusp [dot] org

Art and Healing at the Tannery


By J.D. Hillard | KUSP – Santa Cruz’s apartment and workspace complex for artists, the Tannery Art Center, has been healing after an eight year old girl who lived there was murdered. Artists at the Tannery say that healing involves continuing to teach classes and host art exhibitions – such as today’s First Friday Art Tour.

In preparation, artist Glenn Carter was putting final touches on Carter’s show, “A Specific Weakness.” The show’s opening takes place as part of First Friday. Carter’s highly complex paintings and assemblage works hang on the walls.

The pieces are all black, gray and white with carefully added instances of red. One series involved three layers of canvas, stitched and glued together with gesso. Carter then applied enough paint so the pieces record the flow of the pooled fluid. He then added ash to the surface and craftsman-like stitching.

“I see these kind of desert ocean expanse landscape horizons with kind of rain of cloud shapes,” he says.


C. J. Sage, Guest Goet



Local poet and animal-rights advocate C. J. Sage visited the Poetry Show on August 2, 2015. She and host Dennis Morton read and discussed poetry primarily about animals. Ms. Sage edits The National Poetry Review, and has five published books:




In addition to poetry, Dennis and C.J. discussed a rescue and sanctuary center for dogs, focused especially on a group of hunting dog breeds known as “sighthounds”.  The center is run by a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Hound Sanctuary Inc. Learn more at houndsanctuary.org.

Why the Civil War Isn’t Over: David Blight and Tony Horwitz

No sooner had the nation finished celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War’s end this past spring than the Charleston massacre and confederate flag fracas reminded us that the past isn’t past and the conflicts at the heart of the war still smolder. Historian David Blight has been pointing that out for years in books such as Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. David says that America dropped the ball when it set aside Reconstruction and set about reconstructing memory itself, embracing some convenient myths and turning its back on civil rights and African Americans in the process. We talked about a legacy of lost opportunities and broken promises, willful forgetting and whitewashed history.

In part 2 of the show, Pulitzer prizewinning writer Tony Horwitz on confederate nostalgia, the “Lost Cause” tradition and Civil War revisionism. Tony explored the ways in which the war is remembered and misremembered in his 1998 bestseller Confederates in the Attic and again in a recent essay, How the South Lost the War but Won the Narrative.

Click the play arrow above to hear the interview, or the download icon on the upper right to get your own mp3. Click the share icon (the box with arrow) to embed the interview in a tweet, Facebook post, etc.

Also of interest: Our 2011 interview with Tony Horwitz, discussing his bookMidnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War.

KUSP Classical Programming: 12 Hours a Week of Remarkable Music

to a remarkable selection of hand-picked Classical programming.






Listen/Stream the full shows for one week (except for OnSite).
Click on an image to get the player on show page.

Monday – Thursday 7-9:30 p.m. / Friday 8-10 p.m.

Monday Night at the OperaMonday / Jim Emdy, Barbara Smythe
20/21 - Tuesday / Joe Truskot
Classical Tune-Up - Wednesday / Christopher Smith
Musical della seraThursday / Nicolas Michell, Meera Collier
KUSP OnSite - Friday / Robin Whitehouse

Sara Solovitch: A History and Memoir of Stage Fright

This program originally aired on The 7th Avenue Project, June 21, 2015.

“If there is an awful, horrible malady in the world,” Mark Twain wrote, “it is stage fright.” Twain is credited with coining the term, though he says he experienced the condition only once, as a fledgling public speaker. Many others haven’t been so lucky, as Sara Solovitch’s new book reminds us. Horowitz and Olivier had to be dragged bodily from their dressing rooms, fighting every inch of the way. Michael Gambon was twice hospitalized from the stress. And countless would-be performers have had careers interrupted or cut short when their nerves became too much.

'Playing Scared. A History and Memoir of Stage Fright', by Sara Solovitch. Photo: Courtesy of the author.

‘Playing Scared. A History and Memoir of Stage Fright’, by Sara Solovitch. Photo: Courtesy of the author.

Sara herself abandoned piano at 19 after years of serious study; chronic stage fright had made every concert and competition a panicky, sweat-soaked ordeal. She became a successful journalist, raised a family, and life was good. But there was still a nagging sense of unfinished business with the piano, and 30 years after running away, she took it up again, resolved to face her fear and maybe brave the stage again. She tells the story in Playing Scared: A History and Memoir of Stage Fright. We talked about Sara’s on-again, off-again affair with the piano, fear of failure, perfectionism and the culture of classical performance, the psychology of stage fright and some useful coping techniques (for a longer list, see Sara’s 12 Ways To Tame Stage Fright).

Kelly O’Brien and Terry Green: Time is Now to Plan KUSP’s Future

This piece also appeared  in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sunday, May 31, 2015.

Meeting in Monterey, May 21, 2015.

Meeting in Monterey, May 21, 2015.

By Kelly O’Brien and Terry Green

Public radio depends on public support — and public participation. In the next few weeks, you will have an exceptional opportunity to shape the future of public radio in the Monterey Bay area.

Only one of the public radio stations in this region is owned by a local nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to serving the community through public media: 88.9 KUSP. And KUSP faces some critical decisions about what that public service will look like in the months and years ahead.

KUSP’s audience size is at its highest level ever, and with a month to go in our current fiscal year we have already broken our all-time record for donations from listeners (which make up about 55% of our overall budget). But these successes can’t mask some uncomfortable truths about what’s happening to the economics of local media in smaller communities like ours.

Competition for listeners’ ears has never been greater — from other AM/FM radio, from podcasts, from satellite radio and from online services like Pandora. Our business supporters have an ever-growing range of options for their marketing dollars. Government support for public broadcasting is stretched thinner every year.

Despite this financial stress, KUSP has continuously searched for ways to bring you better public radio. For many years we have advocated for collaboration among public stations that would improve the service you get by reducing duplication of programming by stations and gaining efficiency through economies of scale. Unfortunately, our efforts at bringing stations together have not been successful, and the time has come to look at a wider range of possible strategies for KUSP.

When we began looking beyond Central California for prospective collaborators, we heard from some unexpected places, including the parent organization of classical stations KDFC in San Francisco and KUSC in Los Angeles. They were interested in seeing if, by working with us, there would be ways to include Monterey Bay area listeners in what they do.

Their interest prompted us to think about whether there might be ways KUSP could meet its mission through approaches we had not seriously considered before. Our Board of Directors, made up of 13 community members from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, believed we should begin by asking our employees and volunteers whether the kind of idea floated by KDFC and KUSC was too “out of the box” for us to consider, or whether we should begin a serious exploration of what might be possible. While 81% of the group supported opening the discussion, there are voices in the community strongly opposed, and we recognize that broaching the idea at all has hit a nerve.

The start of the wider discussion has brought forth a number of interesting ideas for KUSP — some that involve bigger partners in one way or another, and some that the station would do on its own. As we bring these ideas into focus, we want to know what you think. Public meetings to discuss the ideas brought to us so far are going on now; a Santa Cruz County meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, June 2, at the Jack & Peggy Baskin Center for Philanthropy – Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, in Aptos. To learn more about current ideas and to review answers to frequently asked questions, please engage with KUSP at kusp.org/participate.

The time to plan the future is now, and we want your voice to be heard. Please join us.

Kelly O’Brien, KUSP President and Board Chair
Terry Green, KUSP General Manager