- For 88.5 FM in Orange County, see KSBR
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Branding||KCSN 88.5 FM|
|Frequency||88.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Format||Adult Alternative (Public)|
|Callsign meaning||California State University Northridge|
|Owner||California State University, Northridge|
KCSN is an FM radio station licensed to Northridge, Los Angeles, California, and a service of California State University, Northridge. Broadcasting at 88.5 MHz, KCSN previously featured classical music, AAA and Americana music, and in-house news broadcasts by students in the university's journalism program. The station has a transmitter near O'Melveny Park.
KCSN aired an all-country format, "Kissin' Country" (a play on how the call letters "KCSN" might be pronounced) until 1989. When classical music KFAC-FM (92.3) was sold to Evergreen Media and flipped to a "Rock with a Beat" format, KCSN made a play for those listeners, and went all-classical.
KCSN also aired specialty shows on weekends and in late night. As the "Best of Public Radio," KCSN's specialty shows were devoted to German music, Broadway showtunes, children's music, soundtrack music, hip-hop, Hawaiian music, blues, folk, the Beatles, surf music, cocktail tunes, electronic music, and much more.
KCSN went to an automated adult album alternative format from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in 2008, removing most of the specialty shows. On March 1, 2010, KCSN moved all classical music from its primary FM signal to its HD2 channel. The main FM (HD1) channel was switched to an all-AAA programming format without news. In October 2013, the HD2 channel dropped classical and launched a new format known as Latin Alternative, which includes Latin pop, modern rock, classic rock, hip-hop, dance music and salsoul.
Under the guidance of radio and record company veteran Sky Daniels, some of Los Angeles radio's legendary hosts were hired to host shows on KCSN, including former KCRW host Nic Harcourt; long-time KROQ host Jed the Fish; and Robert Hilburn, the thirty-year Music Editor for the Los Angeles Times.
In the same time period, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played two small-hall Benefit Concerts for the station. Subsequently, Jackson Browne, The Rides, Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst, David Gray, Sarah McLachlan, and Bonnie Raitt performed at the station's annual Benefit Concerts.
Harcourt, who stewarded KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic to international recognition, hosted the morning show at KCSN from 2012 until September 2015, when he was moved to the midday slot. Jim Nelson, host of the Saturday "Music Mix" program, now hosts the morning show. KCSN also is the L.A. radio partner of World Cafe, the program hosted by David Dye of WXPN/Philadelphia.
KCSN also supports local music in the Los Angeles market. Kevin Bronson, the director of Buzzbands L.A.; has a show devoted to supporting local musicians. The station's new music library typically is represented with local artists by upwards of 30% of the playlist. KCSN has a roster of shows that include AAA, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, and Latin Alternative genres.
KCSN also supports music by hosting live music sessions and interviews with new, local, and legendary artists, the majority recorded by audio engineers Tristan Dolce and Matt Blake.
KCSN also mentors California State University Northridge students in broadcasting, music industry, audio engineering and news production. Students produce six-minute morning news segments that air at 6:30am and 7:30am and three-minute segments at 7am and 8am. A nightly half-hour news program called the "Evening Update" airs at 6pm. The news department received more than 400 awards under KCSN news director Keith Goldstein. These news programs are heard on the secondary HD2 channel.
KCSN's studios are located in the Valley Performing Arts Center on the CSUN campus. The station also opened a satellite studio at The Village At Westfield Topanga in October 2015.