Fred Munroe

Host of Central Coast Voices

Along with hosting Central Coast Voices, Fred Munroe can be heard guest-hosting other programs like the “Evening Blues”, “Basically Bluegrass” and “The Broken Spoke Folk Show”

Fred has successfully divided his time as a local entrepreneur, political leader, and communicator.  He owns and manages two local firms addressing personal travel planning and public transportation; Travel With Fred and Ridership Development Consultants.

Fred is a former City Council Member and Mayor of Grover Beach.  He has served on the San Luis Obispo County Council of Governments and the Coastal Rail Coordinating Council.  Fred currently serves on the Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee for SLOCOG and is a member of ACTION for Healthy Communities.

He also co-hosted a program on KJDJ with insights on travel and leisure pursuits.  His travel column “Let’s Get Outta Here!” appeared in newspapers and on the Internet for many years.

Fred has been writing and offering commentary since he first volunteered at KPFK in Los Angeles in 1972.  His involvement with KCBX began as a volunteer for the Live Oak Music Festival almost 20 years ago.

Fred and his wife Sharon, also produce and host an Americana music, house concert series known as Musica Del Rio; www.MusicaDelRio.org, in Atascadero.  This series is now in its eighth season, having presented artists as diverse as Chad & Jeremy, Joe Craven, Blame Sally, Steve Gillette, Gilles Apap, The Waymores, and The Cache Valley Drifters.

Ways to Connect

Scientists around the world agree that pollution, habitat destruction, and over-exploitation of natural resources have created a climate emergency that threatens great harm to human health, wellbeing, and livelihoods. Here at home in California and on the Central Coast, we are experiencing those effects first hand. The U.S. drought monitor reports approximately more than half of California is already experiencing a severe drought, and that we are primed for a severe 2021 fire season. And while climate change is a threat to everyone’s health and well-being, some groups—socially and economically disadvantaged ones—face the greatest risks. So, what can we do?

Join us as we continue our celebration of Earth Month! Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with an array of Central Coast organizations working on ways to protect and restore the environment, combat the climate crisis, and pursue environmental justice for communities that are most vulnerable. Fred will talk with Mary Ciesinski with EcoSLO, Lexi Bell with The Morro Bay National Estuary Program, Eric Veium with The San Luis Obispo Climate Coalition, and Lucas Zucker and Rebeca Garcia with Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) about the important work they are doing around these issues and how you can help create a better future and save the earth. 

 In 2020 while navigating the COVID pandemic, El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) successfully expanded homeless services in Northern San Luis Obispo County where they had been much needed for years. In one year, the organization grew from 50 beds and a small handful of staff to more than 100 beds and three shelters, and almost two dozen staff members.  How did this expansion come about? And how is it being managed? What other plans does the non-profit have to tackle the communities’ homeless issues?

Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with guests with El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), Wendy Lewis, President & CEO, and Jeff Al-mashat, Director of Homeless Services in Paso Robles as they discuss their expansion and how the program, in addition to providing shelter, offers services for these individuals to secure a job and find permanent and sustainable housing and how the community can help in these efforts. 

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 8th leading cause of death in San Luis Obispo County. This past week the County of San Luis Obispo, in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Council, made its draft Suicide Prevention Plan available for public review and comment. The Plan’s release comes at a critical time for promoting mental health and wellness after a year of COVID-19–associated stress. This Plan is the result of years of collaboration among community members, government agencies, and private and public organizations. It provides a framework of strategic aims, goals, and objectives that will work to guide prevention, intervention, and postvention support for those affected by suicide.

What is fentanyl? It is powerful synthetic opioid, similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl was originally used as an anesthetic. It is approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. The CDC reports that rates of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, have increased substantially in the last few years and that most of these recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, including overdose, and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. What is the reason for this deadly increase? And what can be done about it?

The goal of Harvestly is to empower local vendors. To disrupt the global food system by creating a more efficient economy. Centered around health, sustainability, and the local economy, Harvestly aims to change the current food system and its devastating impacts on communities.

While the COVID-19 pandemic had changed lives across the world, numerous studies have shown that certain groups have been disproportionally affected by the crisis, among this woman. A recent report shows that a staggering 87% of women business owners say they have been adversely affected by the pandemic. What have been some of the greatest challenges for women business owners during the pandemic and why, and how have women managed to innovate, and find support during these difficult times?


In November, Americans overwhelmingly elected Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. The new administration inherits multiple crisis. A crumbling democracy, a devastating health crises, which has fueled an economic crisis, and a country with deep cultural and bipartisan divides.

The 2017 Women’s March prompted 5-million-plus people around the world to hit the streets, in response to the then newly-elected President Trump and his administration. The moment quickly turned into an important worldwide effort, focusing on human rights and social and environmental justice issues. Four years later, what has this movement accomplished? And what more does it have planned? Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Dawn Addis, Rita Casaverde and Andrea Chmelik, organizers of Women’s March San Luis Obispo (SLO), as they talk about their work over the past four years, their future objectives and their upcoming annual (virtual) rally—Power Up Democracy.

For 11 years, the dream of The San Luis Obispo (SLO) Jewish Film Festival has been to share with the community a broad spectrum of movies that celebrate the diversity of the Jewish experience.  Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with co-directors of the SLO Jewish Film Festival—Lauren Bandara, executive director of The Jewish Community Center (JCC)-Federation of and SLO, and Muara Johnston—as well as filmmaker Jody Belsher, director of Summer in the Country, as they talk about the upcoming SLO Jewish Film Festival, a unique cultural experience on California’s Central Coast celebrating Jewish life, community, and films.

COVID-19 is currently surging across the United States, including the Central Coast. As cases explode, communities are grappling with another lockdown and the economic and psychological impacts of the pandemic. While hope is on the horizon, with vaccines looking to be out soon, what can the community and individuals do in the meantime to protect ourselves and others from this deadly disease? Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with San Luis Obispo County public health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, as she provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic response in the county, including information on new and expanded testing opportunities, and why testing is so important to fighting the pandemic. And we hear from local COVID-19 survivor John Porter, who will share his story and concerns as cases continue to rise throughout the Central Coast.

The mission of ACTION for Healthy Communities is to identify and address community needs to improve health and well-being in San Luis Obispo County. ACTION is a cooperative, collaborative effort of individual agencies and organizations, public and private, that are committed to improving the overall quality of life in SLO County. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with members of the ACTION for Healthy Communities steering committee—Jason Wells,  associate director of First 5 SLO County and new ACTION chair, and past chair Susan Hughes—as they discuss ACTION’s eighth benchmark study of community issues since 1999. 

The coronavirus crisis has made both businesses and individuals rethink the way they do things, and also what they do. While many businesses and employees are struggling to survive COVID-19 and may just be looking to adapt, for others the crisis is an opportunity to reinvent themselves. Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Central Coast organizations that are working to meet these needs. In our first half-hour, Fred speaks with mentors from SCORE of San Luis Obispo—Horace Morana and Carol Kerwin. SCORE of San Luis Obispo has been helping small businesses start and grow for over 30 years and are working to address concerns during this difficult time. In the second half -hour, Fred speaks with SLO Partners' Paula Mathias-Fryer and Luke Wallace. SLO Partners is taking the lead in creating upskilling opportunities for our local workforce by supporting those looking for new career opportunities by training them with skills in demand by local businesses. 

While we know that COVID-19 and school closures have been a hardship for parents and children, what has been the impact on teachers? After quickly pivoting to distance learning this spring and fall, local teachers face continued Covid-19 fears as school districts decide whether to reopen in person in coming weeks and months, while many juggle their own family’s well-being. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with the president of the Atascadero District Teachers Association and full time Atascadero High School teacher at Christine Williams and Emily Cappellano, president of the San Luis Coastal Teachers Association and a 3rd grade teacher, as they discuss how classroom educators are coping during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as their thoughts on upcoming plans to return to the classroom. 

Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Joel Peterson, executive director with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance; Jason Haas, partner and general manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard; and Adrienne Ferarra, co-owner of Clesi Wines and professor in the Department of Wine & Viticulture at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, as they discuss how the Central Coast wine industry is coping with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Domestic violence is an alarming and pervasive problem in our country. On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. And while a the COVID-19 pandemic or a bad economy does not cause domestic violence, it can and has made it worse. Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with RISE SLO education and communications director Christina Kaviani, PhD., and Vivien Devaney-Frice, director of In-Custody & Reentry Programs with Restorative Partners, Inc.,  about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the impact of current events on the movement to end gender-based violence, and how restorative practices can support the healing journey of families who have suffered from violence.

There have been record-setting hurricanes, floods and a pandemic. And this year in California six of the 20 largest wildfires in the state’s history have occurred, many of which are still burning.  News of mass evacuations are heard daily, often with little or no time at all to prepare. These hardships clearly illustrate the importance of emergency preparedness. If a disaster hits, will you be prepared? Would you be ready to go? Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Paul Deis, Red Cross disaster volunteer, and Dan McGauley, retired firefighter and paramedic with the city of Atascadero, as they discuss the importance of being disaster ready.

Marking 36 years of insightful dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access, the Central Coast Writers Conference was named the “Best Conference in the West” by Writers Magazine. An essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors and publishers, this year’s three-day event will have 40 presenters offering over 100 classes—all available virtually. Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with  conference director Teri Bayus; Phil Cousineau, an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer and travel leader, storyteller; and TV host, author and freelance manuscript editor Jordan Rosenfeld, as they discuss plans for this year’s conference and the artist's responsibility to create and heal in a pandemic and world at unrest.

With the rise of COVID-19, aging and isolation are more prevalent than ever. This year’s Aging Project aims provide an understanding of the aging process through a new lens, navigate social isolation versus loneliness and address wellness and mental health through the scope of aging. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Steve Willey, director of volunteer and community education at Wilshire Hospice and Community Services; Denise LaRosa, Wilshire Hospice’s bereavement manager; and Kelly Donohue, Wilshire Health and Community Services's public relations specialist as they discuss what the Aging Project is and it's goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected day-to-day life for nearly everyone around the world, and negatively affected many people’s mental health. For people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders, it has created new barriers to care and treatment. Behavioral health clinicians have found and are continuing to look for new ways to access and work with these individuals during this time of social distancing, and many of have found that this creative hard work is beginning to pay off, evidenced by client buy-in to treatment and anecdotal stories of personal success, improved relationships, etc.

For 30 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has transformed the landscape of our nation and created opportunities for the more than 60 million Americans. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Jerry Mihaic, advocate with the Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC); John Lee, assistive technology specialist with the Cal Poly Disability Resource Center; and Susan Chandler, president of Californians for Disability Rights, as we recognize and commemorate this important milestone, while also discussing how we can continue to advocate for a more equitable and inclusive communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than five million Americans who make their living in the arts and cultural sector across the U.S. Cancellation of gigs, concerts, openings and engagements to quell the spread of the virus is wreaking havoc on artists, businesses, nonprofits, institutions and individuals of all types. As with other industries, the pandemic is bound to have a severe impact on the financial health of our local arts organizations and individual artists.

California faced a crisis in affordable housing even before COVID-19, so how has the pandemic affected the situation? During shelter at home orders, and the continued restrictions, many low-income tenants have faced job and income loss that have prevented them from paying rent, buying food and accessing health care.  Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with John Fowler, president and CEO with Peoples’ Self-Help Housing (PSHH) and Morgen Benevedo, PSHH's director of multifamily housing, as they discuss how COVID-19 is affecting affordable housing, including issues such as increase in need, resident safety, a decrease in production and capitalization problems for the future. Plus, what role the government has, and strategies for increasing affordable housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the effects of COVID-19 are felt around the world, the real estate and development industry are being impacted in different ways. Interest rates are at a historic low, yet fewer homes are on the market

Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with experts from the Central Coast housing and real estate industry—Chris Richardson, president of Richardson Properties; Mary Trudeau, SLO division manager at the Mortgage House; and Lindy Hatcher, executive director of the Home Builders Association on the Central Coast—as they discuss how the global pandemic could reshape the U.S. real estate industry.

In a statement issued in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, NAACP's president said, “What we must do now is protest peacefully, demand persistently and fight politically.” Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Cheryl Vines, local business owner of Mesa Design Group and co-founder, secretary and chair of WIN, and Stephen Vines, president of NAACP San Luis Obispo County and an area director for Central California. They will discuss the events surrounding George Floyd’s death, and issues of race, racism and police violence, and talk about suggestions for action.

 

Santa Barbara County’s COVID-19 cases now total 1,376, including 895 cases from the  correctional complex in Lompoc, a federal prison. The northern part of the county continues to be the hardest hit by the virus, with 190 cases in the city of Santa Maria, compared to just 69 case within the city of Santa Barbara. As we have also seen nationally, the virus has had a disproportionate impact on the county’s racial and ethnic minorities. According to a recent presentation by the Santa Barbara Public Health Department, Hispanics make up less than half of the county’s population, but account for over 60% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases. What is the county doing to control the spread of the virus? Are their efforts to flatten the curve working? What is being done to assist the Latino community to prevent virus spread, access health care and care for basic needs?

UNESCO recently reported 192 countries had closed schools and colleges around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting more than 90% of the world’s learners; around 1.6 billion children and young people.

Current data as of today shows California has a reported 27,097 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 889 people have died from the virus, 101 yesterday alone. What is the latest on the pandemic across the state and locally? Have we flattened the curve? What is the availability of testing and care for those that are ill with the virus? Are our healthcare workers prepared? When can we expect a re-opening of the state? Our counties?

Last year California’s homeless population climbed to 150,000, the most in the nation. Already communities have been struggling throughout the state to deal with this crisis. Now with the outbreak of COVID-19, there are fears that many in this vulnerable population could become infected with the virus. One projection suggests that up to 60,000 homeless in the state could become infected. How can you shelter-at-home when you have no home?

Host Fred Munroe speaks with guests from the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation. They discuss their work of providing children access to a variety of arts programs, an opportunity for students to find their voices and selves in a sometimes unstable world.

The arts are often the first to be cut from public school budgets and sadly, they are simply out of reach for many low-income families. The cost of private lessons can mean the difference between a guitar lesson and having food on the table. It is so important to the cognitive development of our young people and especially those who do not learn well in traditional settings to be able to express themselves through song, dance, art or acting. When young people are enriched by the arts, they do better in their regular school classes, they make like-minded friends, they find mentors and look forward to higher education goals. They learn to collaborate and reach for the stars. This is why Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation (PRYAF) was created with a mission to enrich the lives of area youth with free classes in the visual and performing arts in a safe, nurturing environment. They provide over 300 students ages 5–18 with over fifty weekly classes and serve over 1,200 students annually on the Central Coast.

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