Events to mark KCLU's 25th anniversary

The KCLU staff includes Willa Sandmeyer, Lance Orozco, Mary Olson, Duncan Lively and Mia Karnatz-Shifflett.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Sept. 30, 2019) KCLU Radio will mark the 25th anniversary of its launch with events in Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks.

The celebration will kick off with a live edition of the NPR show “Ask Me Another” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. As always, the show will feature the wit of host Ophira Eisenberg, the music of Jonathan Coulton and rambunctious trivia and puzzle games played in front of an audience. This edition will also feature special guest Michael McDonald, a five-time Grammy Award winner and Santa Barbara resident.

The anniversary celebration will continue with a live taping of the “NPR Politics Podcast” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Four NPR political reporters will discuss the latest on the 2020 presidential campaign. Audience members will get a behind-the-scenes look at how the podcast is made and the opportunity to ask questions. 

The events commemorate KCLU’s debut on Oct. 20, 1994, when it began broadcasting from a tiny studio inside a residence hall on the Thousand Oaks campus of California Lutheran University. Mary Olson, who helped launch the station as its director of marketing and development, became general manager in 1996 and has guided it into its third decade of growth. 

KCLU began as the first and only public radio station headquartered in Ventura County. It expanded its reach to Santa Barbara and part of Montecito four years later, and to Goleta, Isla Vista and Ventura County’s Rincon in 2008. In 2013, KCLU began broadcasting in northern Santa Barbara County and southern San Luis Obispo County. Now based in the two-story KCLU Broadcast Center that opened in 2011 on Cal Lutheran’s campus, the station provides NPR and local news programming in Ventura County at 88.3 FM, southern Santa Barbara County at 1340 AM and 102.3 FM, Santa Maria at 89.7 FM, San Luis Obispo at 92.1 and online at

The station’s audience has grown from a few thousand weekly listeners to 130,000 today. A community service of Cal Lutheran, KCLU is supported primarily by its contributing listeners with help from regional and national corporations and nonprofits.

The station’s local news coverage has garnered more than 300 journalism awards through the years. News Director Lance Orozco has received five national journalism awards and been named the Associated Press Small-Market Reporter of the Year in the western United States 11 times. 

A limited number of tickets to the anniversary events are available with donations to KCLU. To make a donation or for more information, go to or call 805-493-3471.