Monday, November 2, 2015


On Sunday, November 1, 2015, KUSP, Santa Cruz, activated its new music-intensive format.  It is terrific! Take a few minutes and listen at [link].

KUSP’s new sound has smooth momentum and pacing, tight execution and hosts who are unobtrusive and informed. The vibe is confident. During the first hour I heard newish tunes from Calexico, Bhi Bhiman and Gary Clark, Jr. and tasty blasts from past by Amy Winehouse and Shuggie Otis.

When we first began covering KUSP earlier this year, I recommended that they switch to Triple A. I  said then the Triple A music community would rally to support it.  It appears this has happened.

Here is the new KUSP program schedule:


• KUSP’s music is on when people are the most apt to be listening to radio: Weekdays 6am – 7pm and Saturday morning and midday.

• KUSP kept the best volunteer-hosted weekly programs such as Ask Dr. Dawn [link], Geek Speak [link] and the 7th Avenue Project [link].

• There is ample classical and jazz music during evening and weekend hours.  The programs are connected to the local music community and are involved in their events.

• KUSP’S new schedule respects budget constraints.  As KUSP works to satisfy its creditors, I can see only one national program that requires a carriage free: This American Life. Smart and frugal.

• Their isn’t a single old-school Pacifica/NFCB program such as Democracy Now. KUSP has become a no whining zone.


One of the biggest improvements at KUSP is a new, realistic system of governance. This allows folks at the station to concentrate on serving listeners, not fighting endless in-house turf battles. KUSP has only TWO (2) official committees: the Board of Directors for the 501c3 that owns the station and a Community Advisory Board. Note: There is no programming committee.

KUSP’s new self-description, KUSP’s Story [link], tells about the station’s founding but quickly turns the page to 2015. I like the way they handle Lorenzo Milam’s role in the context to history:

KUSP’s origins spring from the community radio movement instigated by Lorenzo Milam and Jeremy Lansman, among others. Milam and Lansman worked to start stations in communities all over the country during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, a time when FM frequencies were comparatively easy to obtain. Santa Cruz was fertile ground for grassroots radio. With a six hundred dollar budget to get on the air, KUSP was born.

Milam was a truly a visionary in the 1960s and 70s but he and followers never grew up. Bygones!

Here is how they explain KUSP's transition to now:

USP’s programming evolved through the years, reflecting changes in the communities we broadcast to, changes in the creative community of programmers who work at the station, and changes in the media landscape...

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