Wednesday, September 6, 2017


KCSN [link], the homegrown Triple A music station based in Northridge, has announced a new partnership with KSBR, based in Mission Viejo, to create a new full-market station.  

According to an exclusive report in Billboard [link] the new station is being branded as The New 88.5. Programming will originate from both stations plus KCSN’s remote studio at The Village at Westfield Topanga. The New 88.5 simulcast will debut on September 12th.

KCSN's Coverage Area

Both stations broadcast at 88.5 FM on the dial but operate from opposite points in the LA area.   

KCSN broadcasts from Cal State Northridge in the San Fernando Valley. 

KSBR's Coverage Area

KSBR broadcasts from Saddleback College in southern Orange County. 

By combining the carriage areas for both stations, the estimated audience reach will expand from 3 million to 11.5 million.

KCSN’s GM and PD Sky Daniels told Billboard:

Sky Daniels
“We’ve been saying that one plus one equals eleven. We were literally the lowest powered FM station in L.A. I realized we didn’t have enough scale in terms of the signal imprint to compete in what is a very competitive market.”

Reportedly Daniels had been pursuing an agreement with KSBR the past four years. 

Because both stations broadcast on 88.5 FM, neither of the stations could expand their coverage area.  For many years KSBR spurned KCSN’s offers to sell or lease their facilities. 

According to people close to the deal, new management at KSBR laid the groundwork for the programming merger.

Jim Rondeau

Daniels will program The New 88.5 plus he will be “co-manger” of the operation along with KSBR's director of Broadcast Operations Jim Rondeau. Rondeau is known in LA for his work expanding the impact of KCLU, located just west of Los Angeles.

Under the arrangement, KCSN’s format will not change but KSBR will discontinue its smooth jazz format during weekdays. According to reports, KSBR will originate some weekend programming.

To celebrate the launch of The New 88.5, the new “super station” will present Sheryl Crow in concert on October 23rd at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood.

KEN SAYS: I managed KCSN in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A merger with KSBR to achieve full market coverage was only a dream. At that time KSBR was probably more successful of the two stations.

Congratulations to Sky Daniels and Jim Rondeau for making this dream become true.  Congratulations also to Mike Worrall, KCSN’s Chief Engineer (who I hired in 1991) who has played a major role in improving KCSN. Also, thank you to Karen Kearns, Mass Comm professor at CSUN. who literally saved KCSN from oblivion a decade ago.


Michael Arnold, Chief Operating Officer for Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) posted an announcement on several sites promoting an opening for a Radio Engineer. Engineering openings at WPR because of the organization’s reputation as a world-class shop in one of most livable cities in America.

Arnold’s announcement was made with special flair. He wrote:

Michael Arnold
100 years ago, Wisconsin Public Radio engineers built their own tubes.    So glass blowing was one of the required skills.

These days, the job of a WPR engineer is much easier... but it can still be a lot of fun.

WPR has a long history of innovation.  Some people even say public radio was created here.  Our present and future looks pretty good, too, with a strong base of listeners and supporters and exciting plans for the future.   I hope you can help us find somebody to add to our great engineering team!

More information is available at this link:


  1. Does this mean the stations will be able to "sacrifice" one 88.5 signal to expand the other to cover the whole market? I know LA is a pretty crowded radio market so I wouldn't be surprised if there are other adjacent channel stations that would prevent such a move.

    1. I don't think that's what it says. Both stations will continue to exist as licensees of their respective transmitters. It's just that both transmitters will broadcast the same program simultaneously. Nothing the adjacents can do about that, since there no change in trasmitter location, height, power, etc.

    2. Right, no I understand that's not what they're saying now. I'm asking if anyone knows if such a move would be A: possible and B: beneficial.

      If KSBR was the only thing keeping KCSN from moving to Mount Wilson, for example, they'd be crazy not to make that leap.

      Heck, it's possible the FCC would even allow a share time on the frequency to allow each owner to still have legal "skin in the game". That might be a bit weird and ultimately foolish, but it might be possible if both owners want to maintain a legal right to the frequency for themselves.

      It might all be moot, too. I don't know the LA market well enough to know if this is even engineeringly possible.