According to the KZSC Mission Statement, the station is "dedicated to airing alternative viewpoints that often differ from the broadcasts found on many commercial stations. As such, the station has over 60 different shows that vary widely in genre, including sports, reggae, indie, folk, electronica, hip-hop, and a wide variety of world music, as well as a number of talk radio and public affairs programs. Approximately 70% of those shows are helmed by UCSC students,along with evening KPFA news broadcasts. It is also largely student run in administrative matters. With a large following in the Santa Cruz and surrounding Counties, KZSC also has a good name amongst online listeners all over the world. The station has an iphone app as well as online streaming from the official website and other online radio streaming sites, such as Tunein. The college radio station is an important part of the University of California-Santa Cruz campus and Santa Cruz community for new music, news and emergency updates. Though it is under the university jurisdiction, it is not funded by the university, being largely independent and listener sponsored.
Students that have gone into media after KZSC include the founder of Santa Cruz local loud rock promoter Bane Shows, and Comedy Central writer Jesse Thorn.
The station was founded in 1967 as KRUZ, broadcasting a very low-power signal from the basement of the Stevenson College dorms. In 1974, the station officially changed its name to KZSC and began to broadcast at 10 watts. In 1980, the station moved to its current "cabin" facilities above Crown College and the signal's power was raised to 1,250 watts. In 2002, KZSC upgraded its signal to 10,000 watts to broadcast to listeners throughout Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterrey counties. In 2007, KZSC again raised its signal power, doubling their strength to 20,000 watts and extending its reach to the Central Coast of California.