By Jenny Peters and Andy J. Gordon
Fans of public radio in Southern California got good news recently as KCSN, based in Northridge, and KSBR, based in Mission Viejo, have teamed up to become The New 88.5FM. That partnership marks the largest coverage expansion in public radio history.
On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, at 10 a.m. Pacific time, on-air morning host Nic Harcourt flipped the switch and both station’s signals became one – broadcasting in unison to a potential audience of 11.5 million.
The New 88.5FM celebrated the occasion at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles on September 14. A cocktail party and special concert took place, with several of the talented and dedicated staff of 88.5FM, including program director, Sky Daniels, rejoicing at the new partnership. To cap off the celebration, Gary Clark Jr. and his band put on a brief but electrifying performance in the small studio space.
Daniels was thrilled about the new development for SoCal music radio. He said, “Programming will remain our ‘smart rock’ approach based on Adult Album Alternative (Triple A) format. We provide a much deeper and uniquely curated version than commercial Triple A stations. We respond to our listeners needs, they are our ‘shareholders.’ We measure our success by if we inspire them enough to become donors, even though it is an ‘honor system.’ We will recognize the preferences and needs of our expanded Orange County listener base as they discover us.”
The new station plans to host live music shows to raise funds in the future. Their Launch Benefit Concert will be a Sheryl Crow show at Fonda Theater on October 23. Daniels said that many more shows are planned, some with Hall of Fame superstars, some with developing artists. Concert promoters and venues in Orange County have enthusiastically welcomed the newly combined station. The station will be presenting a multitude of additional shows in October and November.
It was great timing to have Gary Clark Jr. in town during the celebration on September 14. He was on the bill for a performance at the Forum as an opening act and collaborator with Eric Clapton – Clapton and Clark Jr. did four Forum shows, with Thursday being his night off. Clark Jr. and his band put on an excellent mini-set at The Village Studios, playing a few of their more popular tunes as well as Clark Jr.’s new single, a blistering cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” It was an awesome way to kick off The New 88.5FM in our humble opinion!