KCSB Turns 55

UCSB Station Hosts Fund Drive, Plus the Knocks at SOhO

Mats Bakken

KCSB’s THE PLACE TO BE: Fifty-five years ago, KCSB charged the airwaves with radio programming that was youthful, impactful, underground, exciting, and totally individual. More than half a century later, nothing has changed. Tune in at any odd hour to 91.9 FM, and you’ll hear everything and anything, from ’80s prom classics to cassette-tape indie rock to EDM to Congolese drumming to Brazilian psychedelia to ambient tonal frequencies; whatever surfaces, you can be guaranteed it will be more interesting, and more heartfelt, than anything Clear Channel has cleared.

This month, February 15-24, KCSB celebrates its anniversary with Drive 55, a souped-up version of its annual fundraiser with 10 days of special radio programming and giveaways of CDs, records, event tickets, apparel, and handmade gifts, plus an open mic night at Giovanni’s Isla Vista, a co-hosted campus-wide Battle of the Bands, and, earlier in the month, a Del Pueblo Café open mic. It will be a celebratory February for the station, with radio programming “imbued with KCSB history and stories as well as insight into what it’s like to be involved with such a unique radio station,” said fund drive coordinator Spencer vonHershman.

Monies raised by fund drives help the station purchase and maintain equipment, and also help them expand their community outreach with events like the open mic nights. Last year, funds raised by donors supported events such as the Hello World music festival, the No Body Holy queer prom, plus community political events such as an on-air visit from Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and a district supervisor debate. “KCSB strives to offer as many opportunities for music, art, and performance in the community — not only on the airwaves,” vonHershman said. “We consider these events to be big steps forward in overall community awareness of the station and what we stand for.”

For veteran deejays and longtime listeners, KCSB stands for something very special. “We are a true treasure to the community,” said DJ Darla Bea, who remembers listening to DJ Adam Korn’s Ska La Carte show while a SBHS student and who has since gone on to share the airwaves with big names like Das Williams and John Palminteri. “KCSB has long been recognized as one of the most locally oriented radio stations at any college campus in the entire U.S. — our community-access/community-service model has given KCSB a world-class status,” said advisor Ted Coe, a KCSB staffer for 17 years and listener for more. “And during a time that journalism is under constant attack by demagogues and extremists, it is clear that KCSB’s commitment to amplifying independent, ethical reporting, and oppositional voices, is more important than ever.”

Truly, there’s nothing in town quite like KCSB. Donate now via its website, kcsb.org, or listen in at 91.9.

The Knocks.
Jimmy Fontaine

KNOCK KNOCK: Who’s that at the door? It’s The Knocks, the widely buzzed-about electronic duo who will visit SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) on Sunday, February 12, at 8 p.m. Though SOhO has a knack for bringing booming bass and irresistible beats to the dance floor weekly, the Knocks will deliver a no doubt noteworthy performance as they hit town with material from their new EP, Trouble. “We pride ourselves on making stuff that’s a little different — we’re not stuck on one genre,” said Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner in a recent phone interview, describing the duo’s newer, darker sound. Though they’ve worked with a huge number of collaborators, they’re always striving to preserve that Knocks sound, which draws inspiration more from soul and gospel music than contemporary electronic music trends. Their new live show promises to be “more electronic” than previously band-oriented shows, with a “seamless and light show; it will be way more upbeat and more of a party and dance party than it has been before,” B-Roc said.


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