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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Press Clips: A Look Behind the Scenes of Broadcast, as KCSB Celebrates 60 Years on the Air

It was a UCSB undergrad named Bill Harrison who launched KCSB-FM in 1962, a five-watt operation broadcast from his room in the Anacapa Residence Hall.

Then known as "Navajo Radio" (an homage to the name of the dorm wing where Harrison and his buddies bunked) KCSB today beams its rich eclectic mix of music, news and public affairs programming from San Luis Obispo through Santa Barbara County and into Ventura on 91.9 FM, and around the world online via

As KCSB marks its 60th anniversary with a series of events (including a current 10-day fundraising drive - plenty of free parking), four leaders of the 18-member executive committee that manages the student-led community station joined Newsmakers for a conversation about its mission, operations and history -- from its shutdown by the county Sheriff during the bank-burning era to the controversy over erstwhile DJ Sean Hannity's homophobic rantings in the '80s and its pandemic pivot as a crucial source of Covid news for its community of listeners and email subscribers.

General Manager Zena Omar, Program Director Diana Escamilla, Assistant Program Director Al Simpkins and Business Director Marley Calderon dropped in to provide a behind-the-scenes look at this true community treasure. As Santa Barbara writer D.J. Palladino aptly said, "of all the surviving media in this town, KCSB best preserves that dewy-eyed ideal of advancing alternative media."

Check out our special edition look at KCSB as it turns 60, via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here.

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