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KCSN Brings Arts & Roots Music to LA’s Westside


Public radio station KCSN FM (88.5), broadcasting from the campus of California State University, Northridge, since 1963, recently installed an “HD Radio” digital booster transmitter. This extends their broadcast area to include most of Los Angeles’ Westside from the mid-Wilshire area to the ocean. Part of the station’s license area since its inception, the Westside’s potential listening audience of some 400,000 were unable to hear the station without this booster.
The recent expansion was funded by a $109,781 matching grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), as part of a pilot program awarding funding to public radio stations in the top 13 markets to equip them with HD Radio technology. The grant to KCSN is the only one that incorporates broadcast expansion along with the new digital technology and is being used as a landmark test case.
Under the aegis of Dr. William Toutant, CSUN’s Dean of The College of Arts, Media, and Communication, KCSN General Manager Fred Johnson, and its Program Director Martin Perlich, the station’s recently reinvented format, entitled “Arts and Roots Radio,” adds a distinctively unique format to the local airwaves. It offers a mix of classical music “from the last thousand years” (aired weekdays from 6am to 6pm) and a potpourri of programs offering country, bluegrass, movie soundtracks, Beatles, classic R&B, Broadway, folk and more during evening and weekend hours.
A community affairs/talk strip provides news from the student-produced Golden Mic Award-winning KCSN News Department, along with a variety of interesting half hour programs including “The California Report” and “Pacific Time”, as well as “Focus”, a report on current University news. For early morning listeners, KCSN continues to carry the BBC World Service from 2am to 6am daily.
The technology for KCSN’s new HD Radio signal is still in the testing phase, but when fully implemented, it will radically enhance the sound quality for all listeners, eliminating hiss, distortion, and other types of interference. In addition it will permit the utilization of other technologies down the road, such as digital radio tuners at home and in the car.
Information about the station and their program schedule can be obtained from their website at


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