Lauren Walike

News Manager

Lauren Walike joined KCBX as its news manager in February 2021. In addition to her KCBX work, Lauren also serves as news director for KCPR-FM, Cal Poly’s student-run radio station, and digital director of Mustang Media Group, Cal Poly’s student-run news organization. She will graduate from Cal Poly’s Honors Program in June 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in journalism with minors in Integrated Marketing Communications and Media Arts, Society and Technology.

During her tenure as KCPR News Director, Lauren oversaw more than 20 reporters in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, assisting the news team in reporting remotely from home. She was part of a broadcasting team that won first place at the 2020 Pinnacle College Media Awards for its special audio coverage of California’s March 2020 primaries. In addition, Lauren’s reporting for Mustang Media Group on Kristin Smart’s disappearance has been nationally recognized by college media organizations. 

Lauren is a Sacramento area native. In her free time, Lauren enjoys painting, baking, and enjoying the Central Coast’s many natural offerings.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of Serrano Photography

When you think of ballet, you probably think of a major company like the Bolshoi Ballet or the New York City Ballet Company — but one dancer from King City in Monterey County is proving you can start in a small town if you have the dedication.

Courtesy of Kylee Sullivan | ARIEL Theatrical

When you look at a performing arts program, there are some things you can expect to learn such as singing, dancing or acting – but at ARIEL Theatrical, kids learn so much more.

Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management California

With temperatures rising around the Central Coast, fire experts say it’s important to be prepared for wildfires and have a plan in place in case you need to evacuate.

Courtesy of Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Recent reopenings across California have left some people feeling relieved. But, others are experiencing a very different response.

Transitions-Mental Health Association (TMHA) is a local nonprofit that provides services to promote recovery and wellness for people with mental illness.

Michael Kaplan is the community engagement director at TMHA. He said people can be affected differently by the reopenings.

Courtesy of RISE and Stand Strong

RISE and Stand Strong, two local nonprofits providing services for sexual and intimate partner violence, have merged.

Courtesy of Ciro Coelho

The Alma Rosa Winery in Santa Barbara is hosting its second annual fundraising event on July 24 to raise funds for two mental health nonprofits: Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara and One Mind.

Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

San Luis Obispo County Public Health announced June 29 that the County Public Health laboratory identified the first local case of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Courtesy of Pixabay

California is in peak wildfire season and with higher temperatures, vegetation gets drier and is more prone to burning. Weather conditions, especially winds, means there’s a higher risk of a fire starting and spreading.

When a fire breaks out, containment is often the percentage that goes along with it. But, a higher percentage doesn’t mean a fire isn’t still burning.

Lauren Walike

During a pre-preliminary hearing for the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart on June 21, Judge Craig van Rooyen confirmed a 12-day preliminary hearing will start next month.

However, Judge van Rooyen said this hearing will be different from proceedings up to this point because it will not be live-streamed and there will be limited media coverage.

Courtesy of San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre

San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre (SLO REP) is opening its doors June 18 for the first time since it closed for the pandemic in March 2020. The theater will present The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged], a fast-paced comedy featuring three actors who weave their way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories.


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.

Lauren Walike

Even if you’re familiar with downtown San Luis Obispo, there’s an art gallery you might have missed on a stroll down Higuera Street.

Courtesy of: San Luis Obispo County Public Health

San Luis Obispo County announced it is moving into the least restrictive yellow tier of the state’s color-coded reopening system June 9 at 8 a.m.

Moving to the least restrictive tier means a larger capacity for many businesses including gyms, movie theaters, wineries, breweries and more.

“I commend everyone who has worked hard to help us reach this milestone, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated so we can put this pandemic fully in the past,” Dr. Penny Borenstein, public health officer said in a press release.

Courtesy of David Weisman

The Central Coast celebrated virtual Pride from May 16-23 and included some of the stories from Central Coast Queer Archive Project. The Central Coast Queer Archive Project collects oral and video histories of the LGBTQ community to preserve them in a historical archive.

Marcus Cocova

Chancellor for the California State University (CSU), Joseph Castro, visited Cal Poly San Luis Obispo over Zoom May 25.

Denise Smart

Kristin Smart, the Cal Poly freshman whose case has drawn national attention, disappeared 25 years ago on May 25, 1996. Now, her family is honoring the anniversary of her disappearance and is celebrating her memory with a 60-day push to raise money for the Kristin Smart scholarship.

Lauren Walike

Paul and Ruben Flores appeared over Zoom in San Luis Obispo Superior court May 17 to confirm future hearing dates in the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart.

Judge Craig van Rooyen said a pre-preliminary hearing for both men will take place June 21st and a preliminary hearing will be on July 6.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who is leading the prosecution, says the July 6 preliminary hearing will take 12 full days.

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.

Rachel Showalter

San Luis Obispo County announced it will close the three mass vaccination clinics in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande on June 4.

Lauren Walike

San Luis Obispo County Public Health announced May 5 it is now offering walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations without an appointment at the vaccination clinics in Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande.

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department has announced the county will move into the less restrictive orange tier of the COVID-19 tiered reopening system effective 8 a.m. on April 28, 2021.

Lauren Walike

Hearings continued April 21 to determine a bail amount for Ruben Flores, who San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow charged with accessory to murder in the suspected killing of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart in 1996.

Rachel Showalter

Paul and Ruben Flores were arraigned April 19 in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court in connection with the suspected killing of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart nearly 25 years ago.

Rachel Showalter / via Zoom

Paul and Ruben Flores appeared remotely in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on April 15. They both face charges in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

Courtesy of the SLO County Clerk-Recorders Office

County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong is asking voters to participate in his San Luis Obispo County 2021 Voter Survey so he can make recommendations, informed by voter input, to the County Board of Supervisors about future county election processes.

Rachel Showalter

In a press briefing Tuesday, April 13, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced Paul Flores has been arrested for the murder of Kristin Smart, a former Cal Poly student who disappeared nearly 25 years ago.

Paul Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, has been arrested as an accessory to her murder.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein announced April 7 that people who are 16 and older can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health is opening up COVID-19 vaccine appointments to those affiliated with the judiciary system including judges, public defenders, bailiffs and jurors.

Courtesy of California State Parks Oceano Dunes District - Pismo Beach

Update March 18 10:00p.m.

The California Coastal Commission unanimously voted to end the use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area during a 12-hour meeting Thursday, March 18.

Courtesy of SLO County Sheriff's Department

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office served a new search warrant in the ongoing Kristin Smart investigation March 15 at the Arroyo Grande home of Ruben Flores, Paul Flores’ father.