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JD McPherson to ‘Let The Good Times Roll’ at KUSP


JDMcPhersonHear JD McPherson and band play live on KUSP 88.9 this Saturday afternoon, January 16 at 3 pm in conjunction with his evening performance at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz at 8 pm.

From KUSP’s BergAlert | By Eric Berg

Vintage Tones

Americana songwriter and  rocker, JD McPherson has new album called  Let The Good Times Roll. It’s a smokin’ sophomoric follow up to his Signs and Signifiers debut that ‘s made it on to several best of 2015 lists including mine.

A former art teacher and Oklahoma native turned singer-songwriter, McPherson skirts the “retro” pigeonhole with his uncanny knack of successfully mixing vintage tones with rock n roll and making it all seem…uh…modern.  He takes just the right amount of traditional Americana roots– particularly country blues and knockdown rockabilly and lately, soul – and adds a few twists of infectious contemporary rock that’s impossible to ignore or remain seated.


New GM Blog Post (December 14, 2015)

This past week we implemented the final programming revisions at KUSP and a few people have asked how decisions are made about what programming to put on a particular day and time.

To arrive at our new program schedule that, first and foremost, underscores the need to build a sustainable service, we held a meeting with representatives from KUSP’s Community Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and radio staff.

Our discussions were guided by three wisdoms of radio success:

  • Programming creates audience
  • Radio stations succeed when they have a clear identity with a distinct appeal
  • Continuity, consistency and character contribute to identity and trust

Thus a diverse music format must have consistent hosts and be available as often, or better yet, whenever listeners want it. So KUSP’s music mixes, our main format, needs to be broadcast regularly seven days a week. To augment our unique mixes we aimed to align affinity programs that would attract many daytime mix listeners as well as draw new listeners. Additionally, respecting the music legacy of KUSP and the Monterey Bay region were high, internal priorities.


New GM Blog Post

By Lee Ferraro, KUSP Interim General Manager -

November was a very eventful month at KUSP. My kudos to the staff, my thanks to the community (including the KUSP Community Advisory Board) and my appreciation to the Board of Directors for their unwavering support. The switch over from a mixed NPR news/info/volunteer music format to a format centered around music discovery is one month old today!

Initial feedback from the community about the music programming has been very positive. Comments emailed to us about the music mixes have been running nearly three to one in favor. The staff and I truly appreciate all feedback, both positive and less so. We want the station to be reflective of the region, so your input truly matters — please keep it coming to musicmatters@kusp.org.

The next phase of programming changes is expected early this month, tentatively December 7. Phase One launched on November 1 and focused on the “dayparts” affected by the move away from NPR programming. Phase Two will address changes to the evenings and weekends to better align these “dayparts” with the weekday schedule. The guiding principal here is that more consistent adherence to an overall format will give KUSP its best chance at long-term sustainability.


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.


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.