Residents ‘Takeover’ airwaves to raise funds for Laguna Beach radio station

Barbara McMurray, left, and Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf host a show for the KX Takeover fundraiser event.
Barbara McMurray, left and Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf take their seats as they host a show for the KX Takeover fundraiser event for KX FM Radio 104.7 on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Pamela Knudsen jumped on the air at 9 a.m. and announced what regular listeners of KX FM already knew.

“You all might not recognize my voice because I’m not Ed,” Knudsen said for those expecting to tune into 104.7 FM for the Mornings with Ed show, hosted by Ed Steinfeld.

Community members once again are gracing the airwaves, as the Laguna Beach radio station brings back its popular fundraising event. KX Takeover is back this week with a full lineup of guests running the station’s programming between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Guest hosts compete for a trophy, known as the Silver Tongue Award, that goes to the person who secures the most donations for the station during Takeover week. Pledges are taken over the phone during the individual shows at (949) 715-4859, or they can be taken online at The scheduled guests are available at that site.

Host Ed Steinfeld, Barbara McMurray and Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf, from left, during KX Takeover on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Those who participate in KX Takeover become the DJs of the day, assembling custom playlists to be shared with the residents and visitors of Laguna Beach.

The radio station was born in 2012, and since then has become a staple in the coastal community.

Alyssa Hayek stepped into her role as general manager of KX FM on April 26 to replace founder Tyler McCusker.

“It was just a brilliant idea 10 years ago by [station founder] Tyler [Russell McCusker] to put it together to begin with,” Steinfeld said of the station’s origins. “… They did everything possible to introduce the city to the radio station. … We’re looking forward to the next 10 years.”

The personalities of KX FM have touched some in ways they weren’t personally aware of. To borrow from the Beatles, Knudsen shared that it was with a little help from her friends that she got by in one of the toughest times of her life.

Host Ed Steinfeld and Barbara McMurray take their seats as they host a segment for the KX Takeover.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“I have cancer and went through treatments, and it was horrible,” Knudsen said in a phone interview Wednesday. “When all my friends and family were gone [after] taking care of me at the end of the day and I was alone with my cat, I would turn on KX FM, and I felt so connected to the community because I was extra isolated at that time.

“These hosts, I became friends with some of them, but just to hear them, I felt like I was still part of the community, and I wasn’t so alone, and that was huge. It just really, truly got me through a really rough time.”

In an attempt to show her passion for the radio station, Knudsen prepared a playlist of songs that were about the radio, with some songs thrown in that were released in 2012, the year the station came into existence.

The coveted Silver Tongue Award is being prepared by Art-A-Fair exhibiting artist Heather Reichard, according to Steinfeld. Art-A-Fair will soon open its doors for the summer from July 1 to Sept. 4.

Barbara McMurray, center, and Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf, right, prepare to host a show with Ed Steinfeld on the board.
Barbara McMurray, center, and Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf, right, prepare to host a show with Ed Steinfeld on the board for the KX Takeover fundraiser event.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

With weekly appearances on Thursday mornings at the radio station and her time spent on the Laguna Beach City Chats podcast, Mayor Sue Kempf is no stranger to being on the air. She decided to share a time slot with Barbara McMurray for the second consecutive year.

Kempf, who said this will be her fourth time participating in the Takeover, said she appreciates the extent to which the radio station is involved in community events.

“More importantly, for me, especially as mayor now, since we’ve had two fires in two or three months … they’re on the radio, and they’re communicating to residents what’s happening,” Kempf said. “Sometimes, I’ll call into the radio and let Ed know, and he also gets our Nixle alerts, so he’ll call or he’ll ask me questions about it. In an emergency, it’s fantastic to have a community radio station. It’s a fast way to get information out to people.”

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