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 and to KCBX News.
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.