Bree Zender

News Reporter, Mid-day Host, Producer

Bree Zender is a reporter, midday host and producer at KCBX.

Bree is originally from Northwest Washington. The fantastic hiking is what drew her to Missoula, Montana, where she attended the University of Montana. She studied journalism and theater, graduating in 2016.

She got her start in radio as an intern at Montana Public Radio, where she hosted Morning Edition and reported the news.

Bree started working at KCBX in July of 2016. She runs the operating board weekdays from noon to 4:00 PM, and reports the news. She's also the creator and producer of the KCBX podcast The Strangers Mixtape.

You may have also heard Bree on NPR News, National Native News, and her two podcasts, Rest Stop Radio and Storytalk: The Conversation You've Never Heard. When she's not at KCBX, she's exploring the Central Coast and its many wonders.

You can reach her at her email, bzender@kcbx.org.

Ways to Connect

Greta Mart/KCBX

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution Tuesday to support California’s “Dreamers” and recipients of the federal Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

Courtesy of SLO County Sheriff's Office

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office has hired its first full-time forensic pathologist. Dr. Joye M. Carter will relocate from the Houston, Texas area to San Luis Obispo to perform autopsies, medical inspections and medical record reviews mandated by the Sheriff-Coroner's Office.

After Santa Maria's Foster Road Jail closed last year, people arrested in northern Santa Barbara County are now taken to the Santa Barbara County Jail - 60 miles away.  The county did have a contract with a cab company to transport those people back to Santa Maria upon release, but the company went out of business. Most detainees simply don't have a way to get to back to North County, especially late at night when the buses aren't running. 

Bob Wick, BLM California

Later this week the U.S. Department of the Interior is expected to announce a recommendation for the status of the Carrizo Plain National Monument

Bree Zender


Ivy Bottini is a feminist, actor, artist and activist. She’s probably best known for designing the logo for the National Organization for Women, or NOW. And now, she’s the subject of a new original play called InclusIVitY: The Ivy Bottini Story.

City of Arroyo Grande

A months-long investigation into Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill found misconduct. The inquiry was paid for by the city of Arroyo Grande and the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District. Besides serving as mayor, Hill is the city's representative on the sanitation district's board of directors. 

Bree Zender/KCBX News

After multiple public records requests from local news agencies, San Luis Obispo County refused to provide any of the 100 hours of video footage related to the death of county jail inmate Andrew Holland, according to County Council Rita Neal

Bree Zender

Local activists took to the front lawn of the San Luis Obispo Veteran’s Hall Monday afternoon to protest President Trump’s tweet suggesting a ban on transgender people serving in the military. 

Bree Zender

San Luis Obispo County announced this week it will pay $5 million dollars to the parents of a 36-year-old man who died while in the custody at the county jail.

Greta Mart/KCBX


Following the death of four inmates in ten months, a San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury said further review is needed of the quote “adequacy and appropriateness of the management structure at the County Jail.”

Cal Fire SLO

A wildfire ignited Monday afternoon near Cholame, east of Paso Robles, burning on both sides of Highway 41, according to CalFire. The blaze, known as the Olive Fire, has burned 150 acres as of Monday evening.

Bree Zender

Firefighters have stopped the Stone Fire that erupted in a rural area east of Santa Margarita. As of Tuesday evening, they had 100 containment and kept the area burned to 340 acres.

Bree Zender

Congressman Salud Carbajal and former Congresswoman Lois Capps attended a rally in San Luis Obispo on Saturday to protect the status of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Carrizo is one of 27 national monuments that may be restricted in size or eliminated entirely after President Trump issued an Executive Order in late April for a review of the monuments. 

Greta Mart

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is encouraging those who have six or more cannabis plants for non-personal use to register the plants online.

The county says it would use the information to collect data for future studies. The registry program asks people to provide information on the scale of their past cannabis growth and plans for the future. 

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America


The US Geological Survey sent out an alert Wednesday afternoon that a 6.8-magnitude earthquake had struck off the coast near Isla Vista--except the earthquake actually occurred in June of 1925.

Wikimedia commons/Basar

San Luis Obispo is named one of the top 25 "Best Towns Ever" by Outside magazine in a recent cover story. Jonah Ogles, an editor for Outside, spoke to KCBX about what gave the SLO the honor.

Greta Mart/KCBX

54 people were arrested last week in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation targeting areas in Central California. ICE officials said over a third of the arrests took place in Monterey County, specifically in communities in the Salinas Valley.

Greta Mart/KCBX

In late May the California Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved an “area code overlay,” meaning phone companies will start issuing numbers with a new area code on the Central Coast - and beyond - starting in the summer of 2018. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

Jails across California are struggling to keep up with inmates who are deemed incompetent to stand trial. Oftentimes, there's not enough space for these inmates in mental health facilities. They're sent to jail instead, because it's the only place left for them.

Jaya Narasimhan

Have you ever thought of the scariest moment of your life? Tobin, who is traveling on his bike along the Pacific Coast Highway, sure has. He tells of his experience missing a bus in Panama in this episode of the Strangers Mixtape.

Courtesy of Denise Smart

Thursday marked the twenty-first anniversary of the disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. Smart, who was a freshman at the time, went missing after walking home from an off-campus party in 1996. She was legally declared dead in 2002. 

Willis Jacobson

The Lompoc Valley Medical Center is at risk of losing its Medicare, Medicaid, and Medi-Cal certifications after a routine review from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found several violations at the facility.

Bree Zender/KCBX

A San Luis Obispo High School special education teacher has resigned after controversy erupted about an anti-LGBT letter he wrote to the school's newspaper editor. Former teacher Michael Stack's letter was in response to the May issue of the high school’s newspaper, SLO Expressions, which contained three articles focusing on LGBT issues. KCBX News spoke with San Luis Obispo Tribune reporter Nick Wilson, who has been covering this story. 

Bree Zender

In late April, the Trump administration announced a new executive order that directs the Interior Department to review the designations of certain national monuments, like the Carrizo Plain National Monument in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. 

NOAA

Two Central Coast environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the Santa Maria Valley Water Conservation District in an effort to improve habitat for local endangered fish.

Bree Zender

Horacio Amezquita has lived at the San Jerardo Cooperative, just southeast of Salinas, since 1979, when he was 18 years old.

He had immigrated to the United States from Mexico about five years earlier. Amezquita, his parents, and his 8 brothers and sisters were excited to move into house that had more than two bedrooms when they moved to San Jerardo. 

Bree Zender

Although the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians succeeded in their efforts to fold the 'Camp 4' property into the Chumash reservation through a federal land trust, opponents throughout the Santa Ynez Valley continue to oppose it.

The March for Science is taking place on Saturday, April 22. In what is now a global event, scientists and those who support science-based evidence will be hitting the streets in mass marches, similar to the Women’s March on January 21. In a mission statement, organizers say the event “champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.” 

Jaya Narasimhan

On this episode of The Strangers Mixtape, we once again grab a microphone, find a stranger, and start asking them questions about their lives. This stranger we talk to today is Amanda, who is struggling with finding her path after some significant life problems.

Jaya Narasimhan

For the past several months, KCBX contributors Rebekah Nolan and Bree Zender have been collecting interview with complete strangers. Like... we just approach them, and start asking questions about their lives. Sometimes we prompt them with cards with questions on them. And some of these stories we heard are hilarious. Some are mundane. And some are sad. But it's just random pieces of these people's lives. And lives are just kind of like that. 

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