Media In San Luis Obispo, CA

San Luis Obispo, California is a medium-sized city on the Central Coast of California. It has a vibrant local media scene that includes newspapers, radio, television, online news, and more. Here is an overview of the major media outlets in San Luis Obispo.


The main daily newspaper in San Luis Obispo is The Tribune.

The Tribune

The Tribune is published 7 days a week and has a daily circulation of about 15,000. It covers local news, sports, business, and entertainment. Some of the topics regularly covered include:

  • City government and politics
  • Cal Poly campus news
  • High school and youth sports
  • Local business openings and developments
  • Arts and entertainment calendar

The Tribune has been published since 1869 and is owned by McClatchy. In addition to the daily paper, The Tribune publishes a free weekly called The New Times that focuses more on arts, entertainment, and opinion.

Some of the popular columns and sections in The Tribune include:

  • Names & Faces – short blurbs on local people and happenings
  • Business – highlights local companies and business news
  • Sports – covers local high school, Cal Poly, and community sports
  • Weekend! – entertainment calendar and previews
  • Opinions – op-eds and letters to the editor

Overall, The Tribune is a high-quality local newspaper that thoroughly covers San Luis Obispo community news.


San Luis Obispo has one local television station:


KSBY is the local NBC affiliate on channel 6. The station has been broadcasting since 1953 and its transmitter is located on TV Hill in San Luis Obispo.

KSBY airs local news programming including:

  • KSBY News at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11 – daily local newscasts
  • Central Coast Living – lifestyle and entertainment program
  • Sports Central – nightly local sports wrap-up

Popular anchors and reporters on KSBY include Lauren Martinez, Brooke Martell, Carson Johnson, Hayley Watts, and more.

In addition to NBC network programming, KSBY provides important local alerts and information for San Luis Obispo County residents.


San Luis Obispo has a variety of local radio stations that cover news, music, and sports.

News/Talk Radio

The major local news/talk radio stations are:

  • KVEC 920 AM – conservative talk radio station covering local news and politics. Popular programs include The Dave Congalton Show and First Look with Andy Morris.
  • KCBX 90.1 FM – NPR affiliate with national and local news plus variety of music programming
  • KSLY 96.1 FM – Fox News Radio affiliate with syndicated conservative talk shows

Music Radio

Top local music and entertainment stations include:

  • Z93 – 93.3 FM – contemporary hit radio playing the latest pop/top 40 music
  • The Krush – 92.5 FM – modern rock and alternative station
  • 98.1 KJUG – country music station
  • Q104.5 – 104.5 – classic rock music
  • K-OTTER 94.9 FM – popular hip-hop and R&B station

Public/College Radio

  • KCPR 91.3 FM – Cal Poly college radio station run by students, wide variety of indie, folk, electronic, and other genres
  • KCBX 90.1 FM – NPR and classical music station

Online News

In addition to traditional media, San Luis Obispo has several popular local news and information websites.

  • SLO Tribune – website of The Tribune newspaper, has constantly updated local news and e-edition of the print paper
  • Mustang News – affiliated with Cal Poly, news site by journalism students covering Cal Poly and SLO
  • New Times SLO – weekly publication focusing on arts, food, and culture – publishes content online
  • Cal Coast News – online-only local news site with investigative reporting and crime coverage
  • SLO County News – online newspaper with community news and information
  • Visit SLO CAL – website of the San Luis Obispo County tourism board, listings of local events and things to do
  • Edhat SLO – community discussion forums for San Luis Obispo residents

These websites provide additional options for staying current on local happenings. Many also incorporate social media and email newsletters.


Several print magazines serve the San Luis Obispo community:

  • SLO Health Magazine – focuses on health, wellness, nutrition and active lifestyles
  • SLO Home Magazine – covers home design, architecture, and real estate
  • SLO Life Magazine – highlights people, culture, arts, and events
  • Central Coast Magazine – covers food, wine, travel, and lifestyle
  • Standby SLO – arts and entertainment guide

Business and Trade Publications

For the business community, there are several publications covering local companies and industries:

  • Pacific Coast Business Times – weekly business news covering SLO and Santa Barbara counties
  • SLO Chamber Business Matters – publication of SLO Chamber of Commerce
  • The Tribune’s Top 20 Under 40 – annual list of rising young professionals

Cal Poly Student Media

Cal Poly has an active student-run media environment including:


  • Cal Poly’s student-run TV channel available on campus cable
  • Produces news, sports, entertainment and special event programming


  • Cal Poly college radio station playing indie, electronic, folk and other genres
  • Run by students with specialty music shows

Mustang News

  • Award-winning digital newspaper covering Cal Poly and SLO news
  • Published by journalism students

Mural Magazine

  • Annual arts and literature journal published by Liberal Arts students

In summary, San Luis Obispo enjoys diverse media offerings including newspapers, TV, radio, magazines, trade publications and online news sources. From investigative reporting to music and entertainment, local media provides important information and culture. Media helps connect the residents of San Luis Obispo and keeps citizens informed and engaged.

Key People in San Luis Obispo Media

San Luis Obispo has many talented media personalities that make local news and information entertaining and impactful. Here are some of the key people in different media sectors:

Newspaper Journalists

  • Sandra Duerr – Executive Editor of The Tribune
  • Melissa Caskey – Tribune lifestyles reporter and columnist
  • Nick Wilson – Tribune courts and crime reporter
  • Kaytlyn Leslie – Tribune Cal Poly and education reporter

TV News Anchors & Reporters

  • Scott Daniels – KSBY News anchor
  • Brooke Martell – KSBY morning anchor
  • Neil Hebert – KSBY sports director
  • Lauren Martinez – KSBY reporter

Radio Personalities

  • Dave Congalton – Host of The Dave Congalton Show on 920 KVEC
  • Andy Morris – Co-host of First Look with Andy Morris on 920 KVEC
  • Mark Richardson – DJ on Z93
  • Katie Callahan – Music Director at KCPR

Online Media Figures

  • Aaron Ochs – Co-founder and editor of Cal Coast News
  • Emma Franco – Editor-in-Chief of Mustang News

Entertainment Executives

  • Heather Luna – CEO of Luna Red nightclub and restaurant
  • Sheri Wilson – GM of Sunset Honda Center concert venue

Influential Past Media Figures

Over the years, many notable journalists, publishers and broadcasters have left their mark on San Luis Obispo. Here are a few of the most influential historical media figures locally:

Walter Murray – Founded The Tribune in 1869 and served as owner and editor for decades. Called the “Dean of California Journalists.”

Thomas Mott Osborne – Owned and published The Tribune 1920-1923. A famed prison reformer and activist.

John FitzRandolph – Tribune publisher from 1926-1956 who modernized printing and grew circulation.

Alec Trebach – Colorful publisher of The Telegram-Tribune in 1950s known for bold headlines.

Julia Dana Adkins – Longtime society columnist for The Telegram-Tribune starting 1918. Chronicled SLO’s social life.

Jeff Fairbanks – Prominent KSBY anchor and news director for 30+ years until 2004.

Emerald Bay – Popular Z93 radio DJ in the 1990s with over 20 years at the station.

Irving Martin – Founder and owner of KSLY radio and cable TV in SLO from 1957 onward. Major local media presence.

The contributions of earlier publishers, editors, reporters, anchors and radio personalities established the landscape for today’s media. Their work informing and connecting with the community over the decades has helped create a savvy local audience with high expectations.

Media Trends and Changes

Like all local media markets, San Luis Obispo has had to adapt to major technology shifts and trends in recent decades. Here are some of the biggest changes that have impacted SLO media:

  • Transition from print to digital – The Tribune has reduced print frequency and circulation amidst a move towards online news and mobile delivery. Providing quality digital presence is now imperative.
  • Rise of online news and social media – Many residents, especially youth, rely more on websites, apps and social media for news. Speed and engagement are more important.
  • Decline of local TV and radio – Stations like KSBY face more competition from national cable channels and streaming entertainment. Radio listening has also declined.
  • Consolidation and cutbacks – McClatchy and other chains have instituted cost reductions, staff downsizing, furloughs and other belt-tightening measures.
  • 24/7 news cycle – Digital platforms have increased demands for constant new content and faster reporting. News organizations are expected to add value in real-time.
  • Income and paywalls – Newspapers and other outlets explore new revenue options like subscriptions and memberships to support reporting.
  • Misinformation concerns – There is more wariness about ensuring accuracy, truthfulness and transparency in news reporting. Maintaining standards is critical.

By adapting to the changing conditions and audience preferences, San Luis Obispo media continues serving local needs for information, connection and empowerment. Maintaining quality while embracing innovation will be key.

Notable Media Stories and Investigations

Here are some of the most memorable news stories and investigative reports published or broadcast by San Luis Obispo media outlets over the years:

  • Diablo Canyon protests – The Tribune and KSBY covered the major protests and controversy around the construction of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in the 1970s.
  • Delta King scandal – In 1996, reporter Melanie Marshall uncovered the criminal record of the Delta King riverboat casino owner, leading him to sell the operation.
  • Kristin Smart disappearance – The Telegram Tribune doggedly investigated the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, keeping her case in the spotlight.
  • Rex Krebs murder spree – Extensive coverage of serial killer Rex Krebs who murdered two local college students in 1998.
  • Poly Royal riots – KSBY’s live reporting of the chaotic 1990 riots on Cal Poly’s annual Poly Royal open house. The event was cancelled afterward.
  • SLO County Jail – In 2018, The Tribune exposed dangerous overcrowding conditions in the jail leading to changes.
  • SLO High racism – Reporting in 2019-20 on multiple racist incidents involving SLO High students. Led to community discussions on privilege.
  • COVID-19 pandemic – Ongoing reporting by all media on the local impacts of COVID, including case rates, business closures, vaccine rollout and more.

The diligent reporting by SLO media on major issues has led to transparency, reform, policy changes and justice. It highlights the critical watchdog role media plays locally.

Media Perspectives on San Luis Obispo

Outside media often portray San Luis Obispo in certain ways that shape broader perceptions of the city nationally. Here are some common media themes and descriptions of SLO:

Idyllic small town – Travel magazines and blogs praise SLO’s charming downtown, scenic landscapes, and laidback vibe. Described as an appealing escape from city life.

Outdoor recreation hub – Feature stories highlight the abundance of hiking, biking, surfing, kayaking and other outdoor activities in SLO’s temperate climate.

Surprisingly sophisticated – Food and wine writers rave about SLO’s many excellent restaurants, cafes, breweries and wineries for a smaller city.

College town – Coverage of Cal Poly emphasizes SLO’s youthful, intellectual college town culture driven by the large student population.

Retirement haven – Rankings tout SLO as an ideal place to retire thanks to scenery, low crime, weather and healthcare access.

Expensive housing market – Financial media point to SLO’s high home prices and cost of living compared to the national average. Supply/demand imbalance.

Conservative bastion – Some left-leaning outlets portray SLO as more conservative than coastal CA due to demographics, North County politics, and Roger Freberg.

Boring and sterile – A critique is that SLO lacks diversity and excitement. Derided by Vice as “Neverland for Olds.”

Overall, media depictions celebrate San Luis Obispo’s rich quality of life. But growing publicity has also fueled tourism, housing costs, and stereotypes. The real SLO experience lies deeper beneath the surface.

Prominent Local Media Figures on Social Media

Social media provides opportunities for local journalists, publishers and radio personalities to directly engage with their audiences. Here are some of SLO’s top media voices on social platforms:


  • @TribuneSLO (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
  • @Sandra_Duerr (Sandra Duerr – Tribune editor)
  • @ArroeCollins (Arroyo Grande reporter)
  • @NickWilsonSLO (Nick Wilson – Tribune courts)
  • @muyemma (Emma Franco – Mustang News editor)
  • @ConnieCoyne (KSBY anchor)


  • KSBY News
  • Z93.3 FM
  • KCPR 91.3 FM
  • Access Publishing (SLO mag publisher)
  • KCBX Central Coast Public Radio


  • @tribuneslo (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
  • @slomag (SLO Life magazine)
  • @kcpr919 (KCPR Cal Poly radio)
  • @z933fm (Z93 music station)
  • @standbymag (Standby arts magazine)


  • GoSLO TV tourism channel
  • Visit San Luis Obispo CA

Following these accounts is a great way to stay connected to local issues, events, personalities and happenings in San Luis Obispo from journalistic sources.

Community Media Literacy Programs and Initiatives

To foster stronger news literacy among residents, several initiatives in San Luis Obispo aim to promote critical thinking about local media and improve access to information:

Cal Poly Journalism Department – Trains future journalists in ethics, verification, interviewing, credibility evaluation and more. Offers local media internships.

SLO Library media literacy – Workshops on analyzing news sources, identifying mis/disinformation, understanding media bias, and protecting privacy.

Cal Poly student fact-checking – Mustang News and other CP outlets teach fact-checking skills and standards for accuracy.

Media expert speakers – Lectures/panels by industry experts about changes in media landscape, social media impacts, etc.

High school broadcast programs – SLOHS, Arroyo Grande HS, and other schools have student broadcast and journalism programs to gain hands-on skills.

Public forums and debates – Community dialogues and open mics facilitate public discourse and engagement.

Media literacy nonprofits – Groups like the News Literacy Project provide local resources on news and information literacy.

Strong media literacy aids the public in navigating today’s complex info environment. SLO offers opportunities to sharpen critical thinking and empower individuals of all ages.


In conclusion, San Luis Obispo enjoys a rich variety of local media that keeps citizens informed, connects the community, supports local businesses, and provides valuable public service journalism. Media in SLO has adapted to major technology shifts and changing reader/viewer habits over the past decades.

Dedicated journalists continue serving the public good by spotlighting issues, telling compelling stories, and monitoring those in power despite economic challenges. With support from the community, local media will keep strengthening civic life, democracy, and the marketplace of ideas in San Luis Obispo for years to come.

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  • Take US-101 N 10 miles. Exit LOVR, turn left. Drive 3 miles, turn right on Prefumo Canyon. After 2 miles turn left to Squire Canyon. 300 Squire Canyon is on the right after 0.3 miles.
  • Take Monterey to Santa Rosa. Get on US-101 N, then CA-1 N toward Morro Bay. Exit Prefumo Canyon, turn right. Turn right to Squire Canyon. 300 Squire Canyon is on the right.
  • Head west on Monterey. Turn right Santa Rosa. Left on CA-1 N. Take Price Canyon exit to Prefumo Canyon. Turn right then left to Squire Canyon. 300 Squire Canyon on the right just past Dahlia Court.