In a recent edition of The KCSBeat, the Santa Barbara Independent column covering all things KCSB, Colin Marshall returns to the 1990s, a time when KCSB’s various musical and ideological blocs made peace and created the more open, all-accommodating sensibility the station has today after finding themselves united in a series of common causes:
Only when KCSB’s various factions met and talked through their grievances did the fog begin to clear, producing by the end of the ’90s the more conciliatory model that any listener can hear in action even today when they tune in to 91.9. The station could, as it happened, accommodate more or less any programming philosophy a volunteer could bring to it, and it can now make room for all voices without angrying up anyone’s blood. But how did this transformation come about?
Though this question has no cut-and-dried answers, the revitalized culture of student activism that characterized the early ’90s surely played a part. Movements against 1990’s Persian Gulf War began the renewal, and the reaction to 1992’s Los Angeles riots continued it. KCSB organized clothing and food drives, as well as a caravan to go work in South Central L.A. in the weekend following the riots. Protesting a 1991 attempt to abolish “safe harbor” — the overnight hours when broadcasters are allowed to legally transmit material, such as explicit song lyrics, considered by the FCC to be “indecent” during the daytime — KCSB’s population banded together with 12 other California college stations for the “Day of Decency,” an 18-hour block of programming meant to educate listeners about the dangers of censorship.
Read all about it here.