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Bettina Swigger

Host of "Around Downtown" on Issues & Ideas

Bettina Swigger hosts the Around Downtown segment of our weekly radio magazine Issues & Ideas. Around Downtown features the happenings and people of Downtown San Luis Obispo and other downtown areas on the Central Coast. Bettina formerly co-hosted KCBX In Concert, our weekly classical music program that highlights the musicians, music organizations and music presenters of the Central Coast.

Bettina has been a public radio superfan since she was a small child. She spent the first 16 years of her life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, listening to KUNM, where she developed a love of reading, writing, music and the arts (and Hatch green chile). Bettina spent her gap year living in Durango, Colorado, where she volunteered at KDUR. In 1998, she moved to Colorado Springs to attend Colorado College and she began her career in arts administration there stage managing the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, a pre-professional training program for college-aged musicians. Also in college she founded and lived in the High Life House, an underground venue whose basement hosted hundreds of touring punk and indie bands. Bettina loves all music and embraces extremes of the spectrums.

After graduating from college with a degree in Comparative Literature, Bettina acted as manager of the Colorado College Summer Festival of the Arts from 2003-2007. As a musician (she considers herself a rank amateur), she has played viola in community orchestras, string quartets and rock’n’roll bands. She coordinated a Colorado Springs citywide celebration of Mozart’s 250th birthday in 2006, which included the installation of a permanent mural celebrating Mozart in downtown Colorado Springs. Bettina served as the first executive director of COPPeR, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. While she was there, she curated a local music showcase CD and performance series called The Sounds of the Pikes Peak Region in collaboration with KRCC.

Bettina moved to San Luis Obispo to become executive director of Festival Mozaic in 2011, where she worked until 2018 with Music Director Scott Yoo to design and develop orchestral, chamber, fringe and educational programs featuring an array of exemplary visiting artists in venues all over San Luis Obispo County. She was voted one of the Top 20 under 40 by the SLO Tribune in 2012 and she serves on the boards of Arts Obispo and Leadership San Luis Obispo.

In September of 2018, Bettina became CEO of Downtown SLO, the nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster an economically vibrant downtown. Among many other efforts, Bettina coordinates the Thursday Night Farmers Market, Concerts in the Plaza, and the Downtown Ambassadors program.

You can find Bettina at concerts and performing arts events all around the Central Coast or enjoying the great outdoors in beautiful natural locations throughout our region. She would like to be Nina Totenberg when she grows up.