Monday, May 2, 2016


Just seven months after KUSP changed its format to Triple A, the end of the station may be near. KUSP GM Bonnie Primbsch says it is up to KUSP’s Board to decide what happens next.

We covered the saga of the community station extensively in 2015.  In November we reported [link] that KUSP, in an effort to save itself, dropped NPR News and switched to Triple A music guided by folks from the Public Media Company (PMC). The format change came after years of infighting and denial by a dithering, dysfunctional Board of Directors.

As respected blogger Michael Lazar correctly observed last week on Radio Survivor [link]:

In a sense, KUSP’s biggest problem isn’t money, it’s time. The question is how long would it take to convince Santa Cruz and the Monterey region of the obvious: that this is a great thing…this idea totally works. The problem is how to get enough people to figure that out, and very soon

 Lazar knows a lot about KUSP and community radio.  He is a longtime resident of Santa Cruz who saw KUSP’s neo-Pacifica format and governance crumble under its own weight. Lazar became a believer in the new indie music approach as a way to save the station:

Lazar: KUSP has become a really nice contemporary rock/pop signal, with live deejays playing all kinds of cool music I’ve never heard of. I listen to it all the time. I’ve also given money.

True enough.  But has the new sound had enough time to establish itself and become sustainable? We will let you know what happens.


Bonnie Primbsch
 In March, KUSP GM Bonnie Primbsch sent out a MAYDAY! alert. She said if KUSP is unable to reach a fundraising goal of $300,000 by the end of April, the station will be forced to shut down.

As Saturday, April 30, KUSP announced on its Facebook page that is has raised about a third of the goal:

Mayday update: $110,000 from 1,043 contributions. So many thanks! KUSP's board and foundation will determine what options are now available to us. Stay tuned to see what happens.

Last week Primbsch told KION-TV News [link]:

"There are no reserves. The reason why we did this drive is because we are facing the real possibility of being at cash zero at the end of this month. [Then] our best hope [will be] to sell the signal to pay off our debts — then what listeners will hear is not likely to be indie or local, but something piped in from elsewhere.”



I appreciate your comments about last week’s five part series about public radio talk and interview programs.  Last Friday [link] we published a list of talk programs on 61 stations. We asked for listings of additional shows that met our criteria: Station-based talk and interview programs that air “between the tent poles” for at least three days a week.  We received info about three shows and a handful of corrections for programs on our list.

If you are associated with a talk program that meets our criteria, please let us know at We will publish the updated list soon as well as more discussion and research on these programs.



 College Broadcasters, Inc. (CBI), the nations most respected college radio organization, has posted information about this year’s National Student Production Awards [link].  The annual competition is a showcase for student work in 24 categories in audio, video and multimedia - including promos, news reporting, comedy, entertainment, sports, best DJ, station imaging and website design.  

Up to four Finalists will be chosen for each category. Winners and Finalists will be announced at CBI’s National Student Electronic Media Convention in Philadelphia October 20 – 22, 2016.  Convention details are at [link]. If have questions about the Awards, please contact Steven Hames, Awards Coordinator, at

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