Benjamin Purper

News Director

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.

He attended the University of Redlands, where he studied International Relations with minors in Instrumental Performance and Latin American Studies, and studied abroad in Mexico and Argentina.

Benjamin's journalism career started in college, when his university’s newspaper was abruptly shut down and defunded. He and the newspaper staff raised money and started a new, independent online newspaper, of which he became Editor-in-Chief for two years. After college, he completed an internship with NPR in their Culver City office.

Besides public radio, Benjamin enjoys music (he plays bass), writing and travelling, and is looking forward to working on the Central Coast.

Ways to Connect


In this edition of Issues & Ideas, researchers at UCSB have made a breakthrough in using gene-editing technology to create sterile male mosquitoes. We’ll visit Edna Contemporary, a fine art gallery tucked behind Basalt Interiors in downtown SLO; as part of KCBX's Arts Beat, Lauren Walike talks to owner Sheryl Daane Chestnut. It’s time for summer camp, and experts say that in addition to COVID-19, racial justice movements of the past year could lead to a revamping of current camp culture. U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett in southern Monterey County is on target to reach their goal of Net-Zero energy resiliency to critical facilities by 2022 via a new micro-grid. The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce's Jim Dantona speaks with Mark Lisa, CEO of Tenet Health Central Coast, about how healthcare on the Central Coast is changing as a result of Covid-19. Note: Tenet Health is a financial supporter of KCBX. And finally, we’ll learn about the Coastal Dunes California Writers’ Club, which brings together published and yet-to-be published authors so they can share knowledge and encouragement.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have made a breakthrough in using gene-editing CRISPR-Cas9 technology to create sterile male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Honor Flight Central Coast California

The Central Coast Queer Archive Project collects oral and video histories of the local LGBTQ community and you’ll hear about the current state of the project. The EPA has awarded the Santa Barbara City College Foundation a grant for a project that will connect students and residents to a network of edible gardens. You’ll hear from local experts about vaccine hesitancy and how to talk to friends and family who are still undecided about the vaccine. Dr. Consuelo Meux has a conversation with the founder of Honor Flight Central Coast California, which takes veterans to Washington D.C. And finally, you’ll learn about the work done by the El Camino Homeless Coalition.

Twitter / Cal Fire SLO

Cal Fire SLO is reporting a vegetation fire on the Cuesta Grade in San Luis Obispo County on Saturday, June 5.

In a tweet around 2p.m., Cal Fire SLO said the fire is holding at 20 acres and aircraft have put retardant around the fire.

No structures are threatened and the number three lane halfway up the Cuesta Grade will be closed for approximately six hours, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

The fire is 0% contained as of 2p.m. Saturday. 

Credit NIH / Flickr

The Census Bureau estimates that just over 17% of U.S. adults aged 18 and older are unsure about or have already decided against receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Experts say that level of vaccine hesitancy could make it difficult for the country to reach herd immunity.

With that in mind, KCBX News spoke to local experts about vaccine hesitancy and how to talk to friends and family who are still undecided about the vaccine.

Courtesy of Esri

San Luis Obispo County has uploaded imagery to the Community Maps Program hosted by geographical information systems company Esri. Local officials, students and mapping experts say that will allow better maps of the county.

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based mapping platform created by Southern California-based Esri.

Tenet Health

Central Coast medical provider Tenet Health announced May 25 a new partnership with University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to provide neurosurgical services to patients at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.

Courtesy of White Buffalo Land Trust

Environmental nonprofit White Buffalo Land Trust acquired a 1,000-acre ranch in Santa Barbara that it will use to create a research and education center focused on regenerative agriculture.

City of Santa Barbara, Police Department

Update 5/24 5p.m.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department reports that the Loma Fire is now 100% contained.

However, Alta Loma Drive will likely remain closed to vehicle traffic until Monday, May 31, according to the department.

Officials also advise residents of the area to "please use extreme caution in the area as rolling debris and rocks continue to fall onto the roadway."

Integrated Waste Management Agency

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday, May 18 to spend $32,000 on a cost-benefit analysis of the county’s regional waste management agency.

The three conservative supervisors on the board are considering putting the county Public Works Department in charge of waste management instead of the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA).

The IWMA was formed in 1994 to handle SLO County’s waste management and ensure compliance with state policy.

Benjamin Purper

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson and District Attorney Dan Dow announced three arrests May 17 in connection with the death of 7-month-old Lilith Luhm who they said ingested fentanyl and methamphetamine.

At a Monday press conference in San Luis Obispo, Parkinson announced his department arrested Shawn Luhm and his wife Kayla Luhm for “willful cruelty to a child with possible injury or death.”

They also arrested Melissa Currie of Atascadero as an accessory for willful cruelty to a child.

Benjamin Purper

More than 1,600 people have donated to an online fundraiser for the San Luis Obispo Police Department officer killed while serving a search warrant the evening of May 10 – raising more than $226,000 in fewer than 24 hours.


Benjamin Purper



Update: 05/11/21 12:30p.m.

San Luis Obispo Police have released the names of the officers involved in an active shooting incident on Monday, May 10.