KX FM founder will exit, all-women team to lead Laguna Beach radio station

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Tyler Russell McCusker, founder and general manager of KX FM, will step down after leading the nonprofit radio station for nine years. Photo by Candice Dartez.

KX FM 104.7 announced Tuesday that its founder and general manager, Tyler Russell McCusker, will step away from the station’s daily operations after a nine-year run.

Former KX FM music director Alyssa Hayek will succeed McCusker, who will serve as a consultant for the remainder of the year and then be considered for an advisory role on the Board of Directors.

“I was a bright-eyed 23-year-old when I started the station alongside my dad,” McCusker said in a prepared statement. “I knew it was something Laguna needed, but I never could have imagined how much. This many years later, I am beyond proud we are still standing and have cemented ourselves as an indispensable part of this community.”

Hayek has 15 years of experience working in top 50 markets in the radio industry. She moved to Orange County from New Jersey more than two years ago, after she was hired as the KX FM music director.

“I am so humbled and honored to be given this opportunity with KX FM,” Hayek said in a prepared statement. “I know I have big shoes to fill and I look forward to taking this next step in my career. I want every Laguna resident to know that I am here for them because that is what community radio is all about: the people.”

McCusker plans to launch a new Podcast network called Snippet, which will produce and curate short-form on-demand audio shows on music, lifestyle, and audio drama. He is hopeful to launch the site in May.

During her time as president of the Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club, Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold appreciated McCusker’s openness to invite club leaders on the radio for up to 30 minutes to promote their latest fundraising event.

KX FM has become a source of information on local events like the Art Walk and weekly local government updates with Mayor Bob Whalen.

“It’s really become very much a local radio station,” Hornbuckle-Arnold said. “He’s definitely brought a level of altruism to Laguna that didn’t exist.”

Monica Silva-McCusker, McCusker’s spouse, will also step down as development director after nearly seven years. She’ll be replaced by Jayne Herring.

Herring moved to Laguna Beach in 2014. She is the mother of two young daughters, one at Anneliese Schools and the other at Thurston Middle School. In New York and Dallas, Herring worked in event planning, hospitality management and public relations, before attending Southern Methodist University to study Human Rights and International Studies.

Erica Delamare, a San Juan Capistrano native who started two years ago at KX FM as an intern, will be promoted to music director. The UC Santa Barbara alumna previously interned for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and also worked as a DJ, producer, singer, and jingle-writer.

Ed Steinfeld, KX FM’s morning show host, will now be on the air from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in addition to his usual 7 to 10 a.m. show, followed by Hayek in the afternoons.

(From left) Incoming KXFM music director Erica Delamare, general manager Alyssa Hayek, and development director Jayne Herring. Photo by Candice Dartez

McCusker decided to scale down his station role because he now feels he could be successfully replaced.

“Thanks to KX FM, I met my wife, I had my first child and I have worked with countless individuals, organizations, and artists who are so special and that I am honored to know,” he said in a statement. “The station is my life’s work (so far!), and I have it to thank for everything I am today.”

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I listened. It’s absolutely unlistenable. It’s a mediocre effort with nice people I’m sure, with the right intentions, but a flat, dull vision. This is generic music that all sounds like a Skyrizi commercial. Laguna Beach at it’s heart is vintage Kroq and vintage Reggae with a touch of Yacht Rock. What is this stuff you are playing? Free music left over from MP3.com? It’s like you don’t want to pay licensing fees or something.

  2. Well it appears that the senior population that Tyler McCusker was trying so hard to silence and get rid of in Laguna Beach through his public remarks and social media efforts have more staying power than he did. Pleased to hear that this community public radio station has made this positive management change. Hopefully, offending longtime locals for developer alliances and political positioning will be a thing of the past. Smart move. Good luck lady leaders!

  3. MJ, Your comment is utterly ridiculous. LOL. I cannot stop laughing. You are seriously WORSE than Trump with your inflated accusations. SMH

  4. Actually Tyler’s public remarks were documented and became quite controversial. Maybe you missed them? His position seemed quite clear and not funny at all.

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