Marisa Waddell

Director of Programming and Content/Host of The Road Home/Contributor KCBX News and 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, as director of programming and content, Marisa coordinates the radio programming on KCBX and KCBX HD2 and 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. She manages the KCBX on-air staff, including the newsroom, music hosts, continuity announcers and on-air volunteers.

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

Marisa Waddell

Whether it's an owl, a deer or even a possum in distress, Pacific Wildlife Care is there to help. The group is dedicated to rehabilitating wildlife, and returning orphaned and injured animals back to their natural habitat. Marisa Waddell talks with Pacific Wildlife Care about how they help animals on the Central Coast.

  • There's a conference coming this month that will feature social, scientific, and environmental innovators from many disciplines to share breakthrough solutions to environmental, scientific and social challenges. It's the Central Coast Bioneers Conference, coming at the end of October.

  • Fine wine, iconic opera, and sleek bicycles are among the topics on this week's "Issues and Ideas." Guests include Jim Cooper, head of Cal Poly's Viticulture department,
  • and Brian Asher Alhadeff, who conductors and directs Opera San Luis Obispo's upcoming production of "Carmen."

  • Alzheimer's Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 5-million Americans are living with the disease. Marisa Waddell talks with two experts about the disease, its warning signs, and what resources are available if you or a loved one has Alzheimer's.
  • Also, there's an agriculture company in Salinas known as "Andy Boy," named after a toddler in the 1920's who is now 89 years old. Andrew D'Arrigo's family is credited with introducing broccoli and green celery as a commercial crop to America.

  • September is National Preparedness Month. Marisa Waddell talks with local Red Cross Executive Director Loren Avila about what we can do in our own homes and businesses to be ready for emergencies and disasters.
  • A best-kept-secret on the Central Coast is King City's San Lorenzo County Park. Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a visit with Jessica Potts, Executive Director of the park's Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum.

Issues & Ideas: air date 08-28-2013

Aug 28, 2013

  • There's a new federally-mandated fishery management system on the west coast called Catch Shares -- and it's making both fishermen and environmentalists happy.

Issues & Ideas: air date 08-21-2013

Aug 21, 2013

  • Karen Pelland has a story about a Santa Barbara County non-profit that helps women get out of and recover from domestic violence.
  • Marisa Waddell talks with the director of the Central Coast Writer's Conference and a literary agent about the world of publishing and writing in the digital age,
  • and Leslie Westbrook takes us on a tour of Santa Barbara's Funk Zone -- a longtime haven for artists that is being gentrified, and transforming into a hip place to hang out, drink wine and beer, and listen to music.

Marisa Waddell talks with young author, Dori Stone, about her new novel, Growing Home, and her vision for a rural community farm and urban garden center on the Central Coast. Dori has been named Author of the Year by Common Ground Worldwide.

Also, Travel Correspondent, Tom Wilmer, gets tips from third generation Californian Leslie Westbrook, whose latest book is the Insider's Guide to Santa Barbara.

Marisa Waddell has a preview of the Festival Mozaic with Music Director, Scott Yoo, and Executive Director, Bettina Swigger. We’ll hear about the wide variety of concerts, special events, a world premier, and how the festival is using social media.

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