Local radio listeners now have a new station for Central Coast news, traffic reports and weather forecasts, along with national and international public broadcast shows.
NPR affiliate KCLU officially went live Tuesday and is now serving listeners in the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Nipomo, Guadalupe and southern San Luis Obispo County at 89.7-FM.
Later this summer, city of San Luis Obispo residents also will be able to tune in at 92.1-FM.
“We are trying to provide a new resource for the community,” said News Director Lance Orozco, shortly after ceremonies at the 510 Media Center in Santa Maria, where officials marked the station’s debut with the flip of a ceremonial switch.
The station will air local news in addition to syndicated programs from NPR, Public Radio International and the BBC. It will air news shows at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., Orozco said. Also offered will be such well-known NPR shows as “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” “On Point” and “Fresh Air.”
He said much of the focus will community-service oriented programming. That will be backed up by the station’s website and its Datebook section, which posts local happenings around the community.
KCLU’s website is www.kclu.org.
A community service of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, KCLU debuted in Ventura County in 1994, and the signal was expanded to include Santa Barbara and part of Montecito four years later.
The purchase of a station in 2008 increased KCLU’s signal strength in the Santa Barbara area and expanded its reach to include Goleta, Isla Vista and Ventura County’s Rincon. The station now serves more than 90,000 listeners in the two counties, officials said.
Orozco and Jim Rondeau, director of operations and programming, have garnered more than 200 awards for their local news coverage and public affairs programming.
Orozco won a 2010 National Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and will receive a 2012 Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists on June 21 in Washington, D.C.
The station has a staff of six, but Orozco said he hopes to expand with time. General Manager Mary Olson has been with the station since its debut.
Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino, Cal Lutheran President Chris Kimball and other officials also attended ceremonies marking the station’s debut.