KSDS (88.3 FM, "Jazz 88.3") is a full-time mainstream/traditional Jazz radio station, licensed to the San Diego Community College District, broadcasting 24 hours a day from the campus of San Diego City College. The station is owned by City College, although their transmitter and antenna are located near their partner college, Mesa College, located north of City College, in Kearny Mesa.
KSDS, founded in 1951, began programming jazz in 1973 and in 1985 became San Diego's only full-time jazz and blues station. KSDS is licensed by the FCC as a non-commercial, non-profit educational radio station and, for many years, operated with 3,000 watts at 88.3 MHz FM. In 2007, KSDS was granted a Construction Permit by the Federal Communications Commission allowing the station to increase its power to 22,000 watts, greatly improving the signal coverage area. They also feature a live stream and a playlist archive at their website.
In 1992 KSDS/Jazz88 was nominated "Jazz Station of the Year" by the radio industry trade publication The Gavin Report, and in 1993 was named "Jazz Station of the Year" by the National Association of Broadcasters, receiving the prestigious Marconi Award. Numerous nominations and awards have followed, including finalist nominations for "Jazz Station of the Year" in both 2004 and 2005. KSDS/Jazz88 won the JazzWeek "Jazz Station of the Year" award in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
The programming on KSDS/Jazz88 concentrates on blending the new and upcoming artists with the great performers of the past who have given jazz its identity. They play music from artists like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jelly Roll Morton to Rob McConnell, Bobby Watson, Herbie Hancock, and Wynton Marsalis.
KSDS/Jazz88 features specialty programs that concentrate on various subgenres of the music, such as Dixieland, Latin jazz, swing, big band, free jazz, world music, vocalists, all-female artists, and exclusively guitar music. There are also several programs that highlight the rich pool of local talent, and it is KSDS that gives both the many great San Diego musicians their greatest exposure and the local audience information about where they can be seen performing around the county. Additionally, KSDS offers a full Saturday night of blues programming and special blues segments throughout the week.
KSDS has two HD Radio channels. KSDS-HD1 simulcasts the analog stereo channel. KSDS-HD2 carries "Student Designed Sound", with both spoken word and music programs produced by students in City College's broadcasting program.