KUSP Latest

Lianne La Havas, Green & Gold

KUSP added a wonderful new solo version of Green and Gold last week. While we couldn’t yet find a video featuring that solo performance, this one comes closest.

In 2012, KUSP posted this Black Cab Sessions video:

Lianne La Havas from Black Cab Sessions on Vimeo.

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River Cleanup – Part 1


Miles Davis With/By/Remixed by Robert Glasper

Pianist/composer Robert Glasper with Ambrose Akinmusire. Photo: Steve Laufer / KUSP

Pianist/composer Robert Glasper with Ambrose Akinmusire. Photo: Steve Laufer / KUSP

Would Miles Davis be working today with Erykah Badu? Grammy-winning pianist /composer Robert Glasper says yes.

Glasper is involved with two major music projects related to the feature film by Don Cheadle, all arriving this year. Listen to new preview track:

KUSP’s ‘Evening of Ideas’,
Monday-Thursday, 7-8 p.m.

Evening of Ideas are four thought provoking programs you can hear Monday-Thursday at 7-8 p.m. on 88.9 KUSP and KUSP.org.

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Monday: The Agony Column, with Rick Kleffel (Locally produced)
Tuesday: The 7th Avenue Project, with Robert Pollie (Locally produced)
Wednesday: The Moth
Thursday: This American Life

James Hunter Hits His Soul Stride With New Album: ‘Hold On!’


james-hunter-sixBy Eric Berg | KUSP’s BergAlert  -

On the cover of his latest recording, there’s British R&B singer James Hunter standing an urban rooftop with one heck of a grin. And with good reason.  He just delivered the goods.

Look No further

Hold On! the new 4th album by the James Hunter 6 is destined to be classic. Now signed to Daptone Records, this is the exhilarating breakthrough Hunter’s been looking for. IF he isn’t currently the UK’s greatest soul singer, I don’t know who is. Look no further.

A one time bricklayer who became a background singer for Van Morrison in the 90’’s Hunter fell on hard times put his music career on hold, Hunter’s been slogging away for the last ten years, writing four album’s worth of original material and touring non stop trying to make his voice heard above the pretenders. Now on a new label and with Daptone Records producer Bosco Mann of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at the helm who recorded it live on 8 track tape totally in mono.  This new set up has paid off well because Hunter and his longtime band sound totally recharged in the style of Ray Charles and Arthur Alexander right from the get go with “If That Don’t Tell You”.

Masterful Voice

Possessing a masterful voice, Hunter also wears his heart on his sleeve and he pours it out to a new love on “Satchel Foot” and the title song.

Hold On! by the James Hunter 6 is solid dynamite soul and the singers best album yet. You’ll have to hold on just listening to it. –Eric Berg


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: