Marisa Waddell

Director of Programming and Content/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 as a producer, writer, director and editor of video documentaries and commercials; and in international educational media as an implementation specialist and creator of digital content and educational material.

Now Marisa coordinates the radio programming on KCBX and KCBX HD2. 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 weekly KCBX radio magazine Issues and Ideas.

Marisa has played a vital role in the success of KCBX's Live Oak Music Festival. She became a member of the Booking and Programming Committee in 1992, and chaired the committee from 2003 to 2016, assembling outstanding lineups of musical acts that have delighted and surprised audiences. She has been the artistic director of Live Oak since 2017.

Marisa is an amateur percussionist, enjoys cooking, reading, watching movies and attending live concerts. She lives in Los Osos with her wife Patti.

Ways to Connect

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear from local winemaker Neil Collins, named 2019 “Person of the Year” by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Collins visits the KCBX studio to talk about his background, changes he’s seen in the local industry and a coming new certification for products produced by regenerative operations. 

Photo by Zadl Diaz / Flickr

KCBX has piles of gifts for you this holiday season--in the form of great programming. Many of our regular shows will feature holiday music and talk, and we are also offering the following specials.

Friday, 12/20/19

On this week’s Issues & Ideas, one of the Central Coast’s most prominent music festivals starts soon. We chat with Festival Mozaic music director Scott Yoo and new executive director Lloyd Tanner about what to expect this year. 

Thirty years ago, the only Rhône grape most Americans knew about was Syrah. Then a French family and an American family together purchased some land west of Paso Robles, in the Adelaida wine district. They set out to import Rhône grape varieties to the Central Coast, with the aim to grow them using organic, dry farming and other sustainable methods. 

Australian singer-songwriter Sarah McKenzie visits with John Walsh of Pacific Standard Time to chat about her new album, "Secrets of My Heart," her life and studies in France and the U.S., and influences such as Michel Legrand, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. She gives us a peek into her songwriting process, and we hear some tracks from her record.

Judy Philbin talks with the leaders of, and a participant in a new Cuesta College program called Cabaret 805, a singing and performing class where students learn to perform cabaret-style music, work with live instrumentalists, and refine their performance skills before a live audience in a concert setting.

Gilles Toucas

Judy Philbin, host of Pacific Standard Time on KCBX, chats with singer Michael Feinstein, who is considered the Ambassador of the Great American Songbook. Feinstein is coming to San Luis Obispo on January 26th, 2018, and gives us a sneak preview of his upcoming Frank Sinatra tribute at the PAC. Plus, he tells stories about his friendship with Ira Gershwin, and how he fell in love with the great song standards.

Photo by Marisa Waddell

Oregon-based Anna Tivel, and Central Coast performer Chris Beland are kindred spirit singer-songwriters whose music expresses an honesty and depth that resonates with their audiences. They dropped by the KCBX studios to play some music and have a conversation with Marisa Waddell about their craft.

Photo courtesy of the San Luis Obispo Symphony

The San Luis Obispo Symphony has been searching for a new music director since the winter of 2016. After the Symphony narrowed down a list of 130 candidates, this past season the community met each of the five finalists through interviews, concerts, meetings, dinners and more. The selection process is over, and the new music director is New Zealander Andrew Sewell.

This season the San Luis Obispo Symphony is auditioning five candidates for the position of music director. Marisa Waddell spoke with each candidate throughout the concert season and audition process from September 2016 through May 2017. In this conversation, Marisa chats with conductor Rei Hotoda about her vision and ideas for the Symphony, and with David Hamilton, the chairman of the search committee.

Photo by Oleg Nanchinkin

This season the San Luis Obispo Symphony is auditioning five candidates for the position of music director. Marisa Waddell will speak with each one through May 2017. In this conversation, she chats with conductor David Handel about his vision and ideas for the Symphony, and with David Hamilton, the chairman of the search committee.

In advance of her performance at the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo on Saturday, March 4th, 2017, Paula Poundstone chats with Marisa Waddell about touring, pets, kids, libraries and happiness (her forthcoming book is The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness).

This season, the San Luis Obispo Symphony is auditioning five candidates for the position of music director. Marisa Waddell will speak with each one through May 2017. In this conversation, she chats with conductor Nan Washburn about her vision and ideas for the Symphony, and with David Hamilton, the chairman of the search committee.

photo by Vanessa Plakias / SLO Life Magazine

Kristen Hazard, the owner of San Luis Obispo software company, Suntoucher, talks about her shift from consulting to selling her own, self-funded app, and what it took to "bootstrap" a startup product. She shares why helping other women in tech is important, and gives some tips to women who want to enter the industry. And she describes her philosophy of generosity in business and why her company donates one percent of its profits to conserve local land.

This coming season, the San Luis Obispo Symphony will audition five candidates for the position of music director. Marisa Waddell will speak with each one through May 2017. In this conversation, she chats with Maestro José-Luis Novo about his vision and ideas for the Symphony, and with David Hamilton, the chairman of the search committee.

This coming season, the San Luis Obispo Symphony will audition five candidates for the position of music director. Marisa Waddell will speak with each one through May 2017. In this conversation, she chats with Maestro Andrew Sewell about his vision and ideas for the Symphony, and with David Hamilton, the chairman of the search committee.

Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County

We often think of helping out local food pantries during the year-end holiday season...but summertime is when children and families rely on them most. Hear how the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County works to make sure children and other food-insecure groups have enough healthy foods to eat this August and why it’s such a critical time of year.

John Flandrick / Flandricka Photography

Learn how variety makes the Central Coast the perfect place for a 31-year-old wine event. Marisa Waddell talks with Archie McLaren, founder and chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic (Aug. 10-14, 2016), which raises thousands of dollars for area non-profits. The Wine Classic has recently expanded many of its events into Santa Barbara.

Composite by New Times SLO / Screenshots courtesy of Google Earth

KCBX News has been following a controversial Justin Vineyards expansion project near Paso Robles that has now come to a halt, and resulted in an apology from the vineyard owners following a public outcry.

Eccentric socialite Peggy Guggenheim [GOO-gen-hym] had an affair with Samuel Beckett, smuggled art out of Nazi Germany, and introduced Jackson Pollock to the American art scene. A new play about Guggenheim begins its tour with Central Coast performances featuring Cal Poly students and alumni. Marisa Waddell talks with play’s creator, Cal Poly professor Al Schnupp.

There’s a big change going on in the foster care system in California. New reforms aim to get foster children out of group homes and into homes with families. That is creating a need for many more foster families statewide, and here on the Central Coast. Learn how one local agency, the Family Care Network, is adjusting to the requirements to better serve foster children in our community.

Still from Dronesey YouTube video

The owners of Justin Vineyards and Winery are apologizing for a controversial expansion effort that involved clear-cutting an oak woodland in the Paso Robles area, and creating a massive retention pond to be filled with groundwater.

Google Maps

Public meetings are scheduled later this summer to discuss an upcoming change to the 805 area code.

The availability of 805 prefixes is expected to run out by December of 2018. As a result... the California Public Utilities Commission wants to add an area code overlay within the 805 service zone by June of that year, roughly two years from now.

photo by Kris King

After reviewing 134 candidates, the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s selection committee has announced five finalists for Music Director. Hear about the candidates, the selection process, and what we can expect in the coming year, as the Symphony narrows its choices to one.

Glean SLO

About one in six people in San Luis Obispo County are considered to be “food insecure.”  Learn how a local program, Glean SLO, harvests produce from farms, farmers markets, and backyards to feed local people in need. Also meet singer-songwriter Ynana Rose, who gleans, and who will be giving a benefit concert for the organization.

Brittany App

The Central Coast quintet, Café Musique, is about to release its fourth album, Ebb and Flow. Marisa Waddell talks with the band's violinist, Brynn Albanese and accordion player, Duane Inglish, about signing to a label, picking repertoire, the process of recording, and embracing changes in the band.

Jake Shimabukuro is the best known ukulele player in the world. He has brought attention to the instrument through his virtuosic playing and arrangements of popular songs on the instrument. Now he has a new album out, a concerto written for him, and he's on tour through San Luis Obispo. He chats with Marisa Waddell about his playing, writing, traveling and more, in anticipation of his show at the San Luis Obispo Performing Arts Center on August 15, 2015

Listen to a preview of the Festival Mozaic, which features a first-time collaboration with the Bach Collegium San Diego to present Bach's Mass in B minor at this summer' s festival. 

Marisa Waddell chats with Michael Nowak, the music director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, about the orchestra's upcoming "Subscriber's Choice" concert, featuring the Candide Overture by Leonard Bernstein, Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland and the "Organ" Symphony No. 3 by Camille Saint-Saens. Hear excerpts from the music, and commentary from Nowak about each work.

NPR

  Did you know that every public radio program has a clock? Broadcast clocks are set templates that stations like KCBX use to track the timing of a show's stories and interviews, newscasts, and funding credits each day.

Starting Monday, November 17, NPR is making some changes to its newsmagazine clocks, in partnership with member stations across the country. This will help align programs with the way people listen to radio today, and provide stations with more flexibility to include the local news and info that's important to their audiences.

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