Switching up its regular programming, a team of KCPR producers is scavenging San Luis Obispo County for funny, interesting and sometimes downright random stories from the general public.
“SLObispo” is the latest concoction from KCPR, Cal Poly’s student-run radio station. The show is interview-based and one of only two shows on the station that is talk-format. However, don’t expect typical gossip-style morning drudgery. It is set to air today at 10 a.m. after “Democracy Now” and will continue in that time slot until the end of spring quarter.
And while the show falls into the category of talk radio, it’s a little different than what you might expect.
“I think people have perceptions of talk radio,” said Carl Richetti, one of the show’s producers. “This show is in a lot of ways not that. It’s not like we’re bringing people into the studio to talk. A lot of the stories that we’re doing are things that would otherwise be under the radar. They’re kind of quirky little stories from around town.”
SLObispo is primarily concerned with the local community, but broadens to cover the entire Central Coast. A team of five producers plays the role of investigative reporters without a specific assignment. Their goal is to hunt down crazy, unexpected and off-the-wall stories by talking to as many people as possible.
“It’s the old cliché: Stories are everywhere you look,” said architectural engineering senior Jesse Widmark, SLObispo’s production coordinator. “We go out and we tell people’s stories and in that way they’re putting a lot of trust in us. There’s a certain amount of responsibility for making someone’s story interesting without bending the truth.”
SLObispo is KCPR’s first ever completely pre-produced radio show. For a typical story, the producers will go out and record multiple people, then edit in the studio. However, they plan to mix up the format by bringing people to record short stories and poems.
Each episode will revolve around a theme. For today’s inaugural airing, the producers spent almost 24 hours at Uptown Espresso, a coffee shop on Higuera Street. Working in shifts, they hung out and made an effort to talk to every person that came through.
“The first show is really kind of a microcosm of the show at large,” said Richetti. “You’ve got all these people that we talked to and you really wouldn’t expect them to have these stories that are so interesting. Once we sat down with these dozens of people, they are all pretty compelling.”
One man they talked to knew of someone who burrowed a system of tunnels underneath Uptown Espresso and Firestone Grill and actually lived down there for two years.
“It’s the kind of story you wouldn’t know unless you asked people,” said Richetti. “There are a lot of stories that kind of open up this quiet town and there’s all this stuff that you didn’t even know was around you. I think that is representative of most of our stories.”
KCPR 91.3 airs throughout San Luis Obispo County and can be heard north past the Chicago Grade and as far south as Pismo Beach. Keeping this in mind, the producers are catering SLObispo to a larger audience than just Cal Poly students. Richetti assumes SLObispo will appeal mostly to fans of talk-radio, but is confident that anybody can tune in and be entertained.
There are many ways to tune in to SLObispo. Apart from being aired weekly, it will be podcasted via iTunes. Content will also be posted on the show’s Web site slobisposhow.com.
“This is completely different than anything we’ve done in the past,” said English senior Brian Hildebrand, a SLObispo producer. “We’ve had over a dozen shows a piece in our time at KCPR and this is a completely different experiment for us and we hope it’s successful.”