Malibu Tunes into KBU Radio

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Hans Laetz at KBU's Studio

Malibu’s KBU 97.5 is on the air in western Malibu and available via a live stream anywhere around the world. Those living in the western parts of the City can hear a signal loud and clear along Pacific Coast Highway, from Trancas to Escondido Beach. The station can also be picked up in Malibu Park, Point Dume, Paradise Cove and Kanan-Dume Road to the first tunnel.

But KBU is available everywhere; just set your phone, computer or tablet to kbu.fm and you’ll hear it all, including a full slate of new music programs.

The man behind the station is longtime Malibu resident Hans Laetz who is off to a good start.

“We have trained four people now to do their own music shows,” Laetz told The Malibu Times. “Our morning, midday and nighttime rock music is really cool. We are playing more alt-rock than Alt 98.7, more new music than KROQ and it sounds great.”

So far, the newcomer has had a lot of positive feedback, especially for “Come Together with Brooke Halpin and The Beatles.” Malibu Beatles expert and author Halpin airs Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 2 p.m. with trivia, seldom heard tracks and old 45s. Laetz says he has received numerous emails from Malibu and even overseas.

“Enjoyed your hip broadcast this morning. The eclectic selection of songs was cool. Each and every song brought back specific times, places and memories, as Beatles songs will invariably do. Thanx!” Ed from Malibu wrote. From Jean-Philippe in France, “Fantastic show, I’m happy for my first time here. Thank you so much, Brooke.”

Halpin is thrilled.

“It’s just so great,” the Beatles expert said. “As you know, The Beatles are worldwide and they all go back to ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1964.”

Still, that doesn’t mean the upstart station isn’t facing challenges. The station aims to bring NPR programming to KBU and, while the process is moving forward, it’s taking a little longer than the station had hoped.

“NPR is a bit harder than we thought,” Laetz explained. “We need to build a satellite dish before we can pick up ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘All Things Considered,’ but we’re working on that.”

They are also trying to beef up the signal on PCH from Malibu Seafood to Bluffs Park, which Laetz describes as “fair.”

There is even some very limited reception in eastern Malibu. It can sometimes be briefly picked up from Carbon Canyon to Las Flores.

That may not seem like much for the eastern part of town, but Laetz has plans to cover all of Malibu. By the end of the year, he hopes to have an affiliated simulcast station, 107.9, up and running so all parts of the City can tune in.

Also on the music line up, there’s “Off the Lip with Sandy Bottoms,” featuring the best of the ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s and today. It can be heard Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Then there is “The Americana Music Series” with Michael ONeill. Laetz describes it as “music from the country side of rock, from Dwight Yoakum to Willie and Stevie Ray.” That show airs Wednesday nights from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.

“Joyriding the Coast with a Global Vibe” featuring Lisa Cypers Kamen is coming soon. That show will air 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. All programs air without commercials.

Any motorist stuck in a Malibu traffic nightmare knows the importance of traffic updates. KBU brings that, too, with news, surf reports and road conditions every weekday morning. There is also a variety of public affairs programs.

For now, Laetz is operating the station out of his home but is working on an outside facility. First and foremost, a new satellite dish must be in place which will cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Laetz hopes to turn to fundraising as that money was not in the original budget. Once that happens, along with NPR programming and the new eastern Malibu affiliate, the major hurdles will be out of the way and everyone can enjoy KBU 97.5 anytime, anywhere.