Marisa Waddell

Director of Programming and New Media, Co-host of The Road Home and Issues & Ideas

Marisa Waddell has had a life-long love affair with public radio. Her mom tells her that she was listening to Chicago's WFMT in the womb.  As a child she listened to KPFK in Los Angeles and then KCBX from about the 6th grade on.  Marisa began as a volunteer classical music host  and weekend announcer on KCBX at age 19, while studying broadcasting at Cuesta Community College.  She worked at commercial station KKUS in San Luis Obispo and then received her bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and Film from San Diego State University.  While in San Diego Marisa was the weekday afternoon classical music announcer at KPBS FM. On her return to San Luis Obispo in 1990, she became the Classical Music Director at KCBX . She also produced, wrote, edited and hosted a local issues radio magazine, "Audio Excursions," and contributed news stories to the statewide news program, "The California Report."

In 2006 Marisa left KCBX to pursue her Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism at California State University Fresno. She then worked in film and television production and international educational media as a producer, writer, director and editor of video documentaries, digital content and educational material.

Now Marisa coordinates the radio programming on KCBX's network of FM broadcast frequencies. In addition, she leads efforts to develop new content on digital media.  Marisa also co-hosts the Thursday night Americana music program The Road Home, and contributes interviews to Wednesday afternoon public affairs program Issues and Ideas.

Marisa has played a vital role in the success of KCBX's Live Oak Music Festival. She has been a member of the Booking and Programming Committee since 1992, and has chaired the committee since 2003, assembling outstanding lineups of musical acts that have delighted and surprised audiences.

Marisa is an amateur percussionist, enjoys cooking, watching movies and attending live concerts, and lives in Los Osos with her partner Patti and Chihuahua-terrier mix, Lily.

Ways To Connect


Jake Shimabukuro has taken his instrument, the ukulele, to a level of virtuosity that is sometimes astounding.

The KCBX website has a new format that is now more mobile-friendly, so that all the features available on can go with you wherever you go! This new "responsive" design optimizes the layout of each webpage according to the size of the your screen, whether you're on a phone, a tablet or a desktop computer.

Marisa Waddell chats with Michael Nowak, the music director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, about the orchestra's upcoming "Subscriber's Choice" concert, featuring the Candide Overture by Leonard Bernstein, Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland and the "Organ" Symphony No. 3 by Camille Saint-Saens. Hear excerpts from the music, and commentary from Nowak about each work.

KSBX, the signal for KCBX at 89.5  in Santa Barbara, is operating at low power due to a power supply problem. An engineer is working on a permanent fix within the week.

You can stream KCBX by clicking the "Listen Now" button at the top left of this page. Thank you for your patience. If you have any questions, call us during business hours at 800-549-8855, or email us at


  Did you know that every public radio program has a clock? Broadcast clocks are set templates that stations like KCBX use to track the timing of a show's stories and interviews, newscasts, and funding credits each day.

Starting Monday, November 17, NPR is making some changes to its newsmagazine clocks, in partnership with member stations across the country. This will help align programs with the way people listen to radio today, and provide stations with more flexibility to include the local news and info that's important to their audiences.

Starting on Monday, September 22, American Public Media's Marketplace Morning Report will be featured daily as part of Morning Edition, broadening the reach of this robust business segment.

Broadcast date: 9/10/14

Marisa Waddell talks with author, business coach and inspirational speaker Don Maruska, who will give a presentation at the upcoming Central Coast Writers Conference.  Don reveals three keys to help us take charge of our talent, and thrive in our businesses, organizations and lives.

Broadcast date: 8/27/14

We’ll learn about San Luis Obispo’s annual sidewalk chalk art festival held in Mission Plaza. Long known as the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival… this year it has a new name Via Dei Colori. We’ll hear a bit about its history and also how local architects and children benefit from the event.

Hank Hadley

For listeners in the Lompoc area, our translator at 95.1 was silent, from approximately 5:00 p.m. Friday, August 15th until about noon Saturday, August 16th.  

We moved the translator to a new location that will provide better coverage to Lompoc/Vandenburg, and surrounding areas.

Family Care Network

Aug 4, 2014

Broadcast date: 8/6/14

Over a quarter century ago, the non-profit Family Care Network started as a program to offer foster care services in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.  Since then the organization has expanded to provide family support, transitional and independent living services, early intervention to keep children and youth out of the foster system, educational and mental health support, and much more.  Marisa Waddell talks with the Family Care Network's CEO about how the non-profit is making a difference in our local communities.

Broadcast date: 7/30/2014

The Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club has had an important presence on the Central Coast since 1962. The group has been influential  preserving local lands, including Montana de Oro State Park and the Santa Lucia Wilderness Area.  Marisa Waddell talks with the chapter’s director and a member of its executive committee about current efforts, like the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act now before Congress, and a campaign for a national marine sanctuary that would extend from Cambria to Santa Barbara.

Festival Mozaic Facebook Page

One of the Central Coast’s biggest music events starts Thursday.  The Festival Mozaic presents ten days of

world-class performers playing everything from orchestral works by Beethoven to gypsy music and interpretations of the Grateful Dead.  Marisa Waddell talks with the festival’s music director, executive director, and principal flutist.

The Central Coast Wine Classic celebrates its 30th anniversary this week with dinners, symposiums, tastings and auctions all benefitting local non-profits.  Marisa Waddell talks with the Wine Classic’s founder and chairman, Archie McLaren about the festivities and the mission of the venerable wine event.

 The Community Counseling Center of San Luis Obispo County is a non-profit organization that provides short-term, low-cost, professional counseling for people who would not otherwise be able to afford therapy.  The counselors are state licensed, insured professionals who volunteer their time and services.  Marisa Waddell talks with the center's executive director about what's available to Central Coast Residents.  

Cuesta Community College has served San Luis Obispo County for over 50 years.  Marisa Waddell talks with Vice President Toni Sommer about the college’s plan for fulfilling community needs going forward, recent gifts, growth, and promise to offer a free first fall semester for every high school graduate in the county.