Return of the KCSB-FM Alumni Hosts
91.9 KCSB-FM in Santa Barbara recently launched its new Summer Schedule, which features programming created remotely by former KCSB DJs and other producers. These radio hosts are producing fresh shows from as far away as Peru and Japan, and from throughout the U.S., marking a departure from the freeform station’s usual hyper-localism of on-site production.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of KCSB’s student and non-student broadcasters have been working remotely. Without the Spring Quarter training of new radio recruits, and with many students graduating or leaving their shows behind for a variety of reasons, KCSB looked to recent graduates and others to help fill the gap.
According to KCSB-FM General Manager Emma Mesches (a UCSB Biology major and Spanish minor graduating in 2021): “The Summer 2020 schedule is one like no other, it is filled with so many fantastic programs! This situation has proved that we can make the most out of remote programming.”
Twenty-five UC Santa Barbara Gaucho alumni from as far back as the late 1980s are in KCSB’s current summer mix. Most are graduates from the early 2000s on. A number were former student Executive Committee members at KCSB (the governing body of the station). Seven more programs are being beamed to area listeners courtesy of other veteran hosts and DJs.
So listeners who tune-in to 91.9 FM this summer will hear some familiar voices, as several popular programs have returned to our local airwaves.
Josh “Hoshwa” Redman (Class of 2008) revived his longrunning DIY music show, “5...4...3...2...Fun!!,” in the spring. Former KCSB General Manage Josh recently relocated to Davis, CA, where he works as the leasing manager for a nonprofit housing cooperative.
More recent graduates on the airwaves include Nkechi Ikem (2018), a USC law student who was a KCSB Associate News Director for two years. She has revived her African-influenced program, “african+esoteric.” A duo of graduates from 2017, Allyson Gonzalez and Joaquin Peres (a former GM and Music Director respectively), are hosting “Literally a Book Club,” from the Southland. Their program reviews and discusses “free literature that provides an open-access gateway to radical thought and action.” Manuel Sanchez-Palacios (a former KCSB Assistant Engineer who graduated in 2019), is creating a new eclectic music program, “Long Distance,” from Lima, Peru, where he’s pursuing graduate studies.
Also far afield, Jesse Fuller (2003), an IT infrastructure engineer, web developer, and restaurateur living in the mountains of the Gunma prefecture of Japan, revives his old show “Itadakimasu,” which features a wide range of Japanese music of all genres. Another IT professional, Bryan Brown (1999), who worked for over a decade as KCSB’s Chief Engineer, brings us “The Return of CoolMojo” from Long Island, NY. (This show primarily consists of “lesser known jazz, soul and R&B.”)
Jamie “Lady J” Bender (2000), who works with justice-involved youth in Los Angeles County, revives her long-running KCSB reggae program “Fire Pon Rome.” Other show names that also might ring a bell include: “Smooooothe Beatzzz,” “Secondhand Sounds,” “Radio Causeway,” “The Ecstatic Dance Revolution,” “Blood Moon,” “2% Jazz,” “The Best Music You’ve Never Heard,” “reDISCOvery,” and “Smiley Smile.”
KCSB’s shows also include public affairs and cultural arts content. Maiya Lanae Evans – another former KCSB GM, from the Class of 2005, who is now a health educator, entrepreneur, and DJ in the Bay Area in Northern California – blends her interest in music and wellness in the new production, "The Hey Girl Health Show.” “Last Refuge of the Incompetent” is a science-fiction literature themed program hosted by Gahl Shotttan (a former KJUC-AM Program Director, among other KCSB roles), Moses Marsh, and Ted Howard, a trio of grads from 2009. Erin Fleming (2009) – also a former KCSB GM, who now works as Content Producer in Interpretive Media (including podcasting) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – brings us “Ribbon Around a Bomb,” a show that she originated on Radio Valencia, which features rare new wave and experimental '80s music by femme, trans, and genderqueer artists, and reflections on contemporary art.
New shows include “C-90! Go!,” which is focused on unearthed mixtapes (courtesy of UCSB staffer George Yatchisin, formerly of “Frank N George”), while the playlists of Ryan Ealum (2012) on “The Occurrence” are entirely comprised of “Astrobilly, Crypto Country, UFOlk, Space Funk, and Paranormal Punk.” (Ryan had served as a KCSB Program Director and Music Director and now works in music licensing in Los Angeles.)
What’s more, KCSB’s Sports Department is even live streaming the entire season of the Santa Barbara Foresters independent baseball team, with play-by-play courtesy of Max Kelton (a 2020 graduate who was KCSB’s Sports Director last year).
Besides highlighting what “life after college radio” looks and sounds like, KCSB’s current lineup is (re)connecting alumni, students, and longtime listeners – a virtual “family reunion” on the air – while also entertaining and informing our entire community, both at the local level and for those living far away.