Santa Cruz, CA – The board of Natural Bridges Media announced today it has completed negotiations with UC Santa Cruz to lease space on UCSC’s broadcast tower for its antenna, clearing the way for KSQD, 90.7 FM to go on the air. KSQD has a mission to build community and to support broadcasting and podcasting with a strong emphasis on local issues and culture.

In December, KSQD will begin construction of its on-air studio and office at 399 Encinal Street in the Harvey West neighborhood of Santa Cruz, in space owned by the County Office of Education (COE). The space use agreement between KSQD and COE is a mutually beneficial one which will result in students getting training in broadcasting and podcasting, and KSQD having its studio in a convenient location for community involvement.

“The board is very grateful to Superintendent Michael Watkins and his staff at the COE for this partnership, and we’re very excited to offer experience and training to students wanting to learn radio skills.” said board chair, Rachel Anne Goodman during a recent meeting with COE staff.

Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins adds, “This new and innovative partnership will benefit our community and our students. I look forward to the use of this medium for educational messages to our community, hearing student voices, and providing students with a vehicle to learn about journalism, radio programming and broadcasting”.

Barry Swenson Builders has donated labor to frame the walls in the new studios, and David Rhodes, architect, and retired contractor Tim Shea donated design expertise. Rowland Rebele has underwritten the station’s studio rent for the next two years.

The board of Natural Bridges Media has been planning KSQD for over two years, since KUSP went bankrupt. During that time, the community has donated over $315,000 towards the purchase of the broadcast license for 90.7 FM (from religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation) and other startup costs.

Now that the final contracts have been signed (there were 8 in all), the station is gearing up to go live in February. Before that can happen, equipment will be installed in the new production and air studios by recording engineer, Sandy Stone. There will be community painting parties and those wishing to volunteer can go on the station’s website and sign up. 112 program volunteers will be trained on the new equipment prior to going live.

The KSQD broadcast schedule, which includes a heavy dose of local public affairs and music shows as well as Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!”, “The Thom Hartmann Show” and “Your Call” with Rose Aguilar, has something in it for everybody. The schedule features local hosts presenting Blues, Reggae, Folk, Hawaiian, Jazz, and even Italian. The local talk shows range widely. There is a call-in show about dreams, a poetry show, a show highlighting Watsonville life, and one about Gen Z, plus others covering family histories, health, surf culture, economic development and comedy. Other shows include “Inside Education” hosted by Les Forster, and “The Places You’ll Go” a career show hosted by Mary Gaukel.

And for those who remember KUSP’s local issues show “Talk of the Bay”, it will return in afternoon drive time as will “First Person Singular”, commentaries by local people. Other former KUSP hosts include Dr. Dawn Motyka, Hollywood Al, Rick Kleffel, Nikki Silva and the Kitchen Sisters, and Charlie Lange. New hosts include long time Bay Area DJ and voice-over actress, Cynthia Dee, Jimmie Grimes (formerly of KVMR) and Wallace Baine, arts and culture writer for Good Times weekly.