Marisa Waddell

Director of Programming and Content/Co-host of The Road Home/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 and KCRW 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 content on digital media.  Marisa also hosts the Thursday night Americana music program The Road Home, and contributes interviews to the 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. She lives in Los Osos with her wife Patti.

Ways to Connect

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.

Whether you're looking for an art class, a music program, swimming and recreation, or a summer program for your kids, Cuesta College Community Programs has much to offer.  Marisa Waddell talks with two of Cuesta's program directors about what's available on campus this summer.

The land is purchased, and the designs are drawn for a Youth Arts Academy on the Central Coast.  Marisa Waddell talks with the academy's CEO, Nikolai Alexandrov about his vision and the timeline for the school's opening.

Marisa Waddell and Mike Nowak chat about the conductor's 30th year with the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the finale concert of the season, and the symphony's education and youth programs.

Marisa Waddell talks with Aline Graham, Director of Path Point for San Luis Obispo County.  The non-profit organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  Path Point provides training and support to empower people with disabilities and disadvantages.  Learn how the organization is making a difference on the Central Coast.

Brian Lanzone, KCBX

Slide guitarist, virtuoso banjo player, and singer-songwriter Tony Furtado makes a visit to the KCBX studios. 

He plays a few songs, and chats with Marisa Waddell about his instruments, the evolution of his musical style, and his other artistic life -- working with clay.  Special thanks to audio engineer Brian Lanzone.

Marisa Waddell gets a sneak preview of the Festival Mozaic's summer season with Artistic Director Scott Yoo, and Executive Director Bettina Swigger.

Marisa Waddell talks with two women who seek the highest potential in themselves and aim to help others find the courage to do the same.

Marisa Waddell talks with local climate change activist Heidi Harmon about what individuals and communities can do to mitigate the negative outcomes of climate change.

Local author Gary Williams has a new book out that recounts his adventures as a horse and dog trainer, and contract cowboy. Marisa Waddell talks with him about the valuable lessons he's learned along the way.

Also, Travel Correspondent Tom Wilmer takes us to the north side of Omaha, Nebraska, a hub of American jazz and blues since the 1920s, where he visits Love's Jazz and Art Center.

  • Correspondent, Tom Wilmer visits with Walter Heath about the Morro Bay In Bloom volunteer project. The program is founded on the concept that a small group of people applying 2 hours of effort every week can make a positive difference in their community. Morro Bay in Bloom is undertaking civic beautification projects and completing them in several two-hour sessions.

Issues & Ideas: air date 11-06-2013

Nov 6, 2013

  • The dwindling groundwater basin in Paso Robles has been big news on the Central Coast, especially after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors extended an emergency ordinance banning new pumping to two years. Some are calling the plight of Paso Robles a good example of what's wrong with California's unregulated groundwater supply. Chris Richard will have the story.
  • Also, the Morro Bay National Estuary Program has just launched a fundraising campaign.

Issues & Ideas: air date 10-30-2013

Oct 30, 2013

  • Donna Cheek talks with the program coordinator of Partners in Equestrian therapy -- a unique riding program located in San Luis Obispo, for children and adults with special needs.

Issues & Ideas: air date 10-23-2013

Oct 23, 2013

  • Fifty-six years ago nine black children attempted to start classes at the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. They were blocked by the national guard, on orders from the state's governor, until President Eisenhower placed the guard under federal command, and ensured those children would be escorted into the school. That was just the beginning of a long and arduous ordeal for the Little Rock Nine.

Marisa Waddell

Whether it's an owl, a deer or even a possum in distress, Pacific Wildlife Care is there to help. The group is dedicated to rehabilitating wildlife, and returning orphaned and injured animals back to their natural habitat. Marisa Waddell talks with Pacific Wildlife Care about how they help animals on the Central Coast.

  • There's a conference coming this month that will feature social, scientific, and environmental innovators from many disciplines to share breakthrough solutions to environmental, scientific and social challenges. It's the Central Coast Bioneers Conference, coming at the end of October.

  • Fine wine, iconic opera, and sleek bicycles are among the topics on this week's "Issues and Ideas." Guests include Jim Cooper, head of Cal Poly's Viticulture department,
  • and Brian Asher Alhadeff, who conductors and directs Opera San Luis Obispo's upcoming production of "Carmen."

  • Alzheimer's Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 5-million Americans are living with the disease. Marisa Waddell talks with two experts about the disease, its warning signs, and what resources are available if you or a loved one has Alzheimer's.
  • Also, there's an agriculture company in Salinas known as "Andy Boy," named after a toddler in the 1920's who is now 89 years old. Andrew D'Arrigo's family is credited with introducing broccoli and green celery as a commercial crop to America.

  • September is National Preparedness Month. Marisa Waddell talks with local Red Cross Executive Director Loren Avila about what we can do in our own homes and businesses to be ready for emergencies and disasters.
  • A best-kept-secret on the Central Coast is King City's San Lorenzo County Park. Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a visit with Jessica Potts, Executive Director of the park's Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum.

Issues & Ideas: air date 08-28-2013

Aug 28, 2013

  • There's a new federally-mandated fishery management system on the west coast called Catch Shares -- and it's making both fishermen and environmentalists happy.

Issues & Ideas: air date 08-21-2013

Aug 21, 2013

  • Karen Pelland has a story about a Santa Barbara County non-profit that helps women get out of and recover from domestic violence.
  • Marisa Waddell talks with the director of the Central Coast Writer's Conference and a literary agent about the world of publishing and writing in the digital age,
  • and Leslie Westbrook takes us on a tour of Santa Barbara's Funk Zone -- a longtime haven for artists that is being gentrified, and transforming into a hip place to hang out, drink wine and beer, and listen to music.

Marisa Waddell talks with young author, Dori Stone, about her new novel, Growing Home, and her vision for a rural community farm and urban garden center on the Central Coast. Dori has been named Author of the Year by Common Ground Worldwide.

Also, Travel Correspondent, Tom Wilmer, gets tips from third generation Californian Leslie Westbrook, whose latest book is the Insider's Guide to Santa Barbara.

Marisa Waddell has a preview of the Festival Mozaic with Music Director, Scott Yoo, and Executive Director, Bettina Swigger. We’ll hear about the wide variety of concerts, special events, a world premier, and how the festival is using social media.

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