KCRW (89.9 MHz FM) is a National Public Radio member station broadcasting from the campus of Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, where the station is licensed. KCRW airs original news and music programming in addition to programming from NPR and other affiliates. A network of repeaters and broadcast translators, as well as internet radio, allows the station to serve the Greater Los Angeles area and other communities in Southern California. The station's main transmitter is located in Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon district and broadcasts in the HD radio format.
KCRW was founded in 1945 to train servicemen returning from World War II in the then-new technology, FM broadcasting—hence its call letters, which stand for College Radio Workshop. It was a charter member of NPR in 1970, making Santa Monica College the second community college to own a public radio or television station. Ruth Hirschman, who changed her name to Ruth Seymour, became General Manager in 1978 and developed a mix of music, news, and other spoken-word programming that now attracts over 500,000 listeners each week. Seymour retired in February 2010. The new General Manager is Jennifer Ferro.
Ferro is also the President of the KCRW Foundation. The KCRW Foundation provides financial support and other resources to ensure that KCRW can maintain and expand its mission consistent with economic, social and technological developments. The KCRW Foundation Board of Directors is composed of business and community leaders; Michael Fleming, Executive Director of the David Bohnett Foundation serves as Chairman.
The station airs programs from NPR, Public Radio International (PRI), American Public Media, and the BBC, a range of music programs and live in-studio performances, and locally produced news and culture programs. KCRW also airs programming created through their Independent Producer Project, a project KCRW created to "[support] the work of independent contributors," which includes programs like Strangers, UnFictional, and SoundsLA. The station has three live program streams, "On Air," "Eclectic 24" and "News 24" and on-demand listening through the KCRW apps and podcasts
News and information programs dominate weekday early morning and daytime schedules from 03:00am to 09:00am PST with NPR's Morning Edition, and from 12:00 noon to 8:00pm PST ending with Which Way, L.A.?. Music programming is broadcast from evening to early morning, and again from 09:00am to 12:00 noon PST with the station's signature music program Morning Becomes Eclectic. Weekends feature music from noon to 6 am (noon to 3 am). Both Morning Edition and All Things Considered, along with Weekend Edition and the weekend edition of All Things Considered can be heard on KCRW's 24-hour news channel, which Morning Edition airs weekdays from 2 am to 9 am, while All Things Considered airs weekdays from 2 to 4 pm, and again from 5 to 7 pm, as well as weekends from 2 to 3 pm, and again from 5 to 6 pm, and Weekend Edition airs Saturdays from 5 to 11 am, and Sundays from 5 to 10 am.
Warren Olney hosts the station's signature news and public affairs programs, To the Point (nationally distributed by Public Radio International) and Which Way, L.A.? which began after the riots in response to the Rodney King beating trial verdicts in 1992.
KCRW covers the Southern California film industry with programs including The Business with Kim Masters, The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell, Martini Shot with Rob Long, and film reviews from Pulitzer Prize winning Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern.
From 1986 to 2002 KCRW was the on-air home of Joe Frank, hosting nationally broadcast shows Work in Progress, In The Dark, Somewhere Out There, and The Other Side. Frank produced over 200 radio shows for KCRW, which consisted of a series of monologues. He has been described as:
"one of the greatest-ever purveyors of the postmodern-noir sensibility. He’s spent his career grappling with all the grand topics: sex, love, morality, lust, greed, sin, fear, hatred, the search for meaning."
Music programs feature an eclectic array of music from around the globe, especially on the daytime daily music program Morning Becomes Eclectic and the daytime weekend line-up. At night, music such as house, progressive, and electronic dance music are the main styles on shows formerly known as Metropolis and Nocturna. KCRW dropped all program names except Morning Becomes Eclectic and Strictly Jazz in 2008. Three of the station's previous music directors currently have programs on the air at KCRW.
Local and regional touring artists can send recordings to KCRW for consideration of airplay.
KCRW airs Santa Monica City Council meetings live from 8:00 pm to midnight PST, on the Tuesdays when they are held. Because of the nature of the repeater network, Santa Monica City Council meetings can be heard throughout the Southern California region reaching out to approximately 150 mi (240 km).
|Art Talk||Talk: Art Reviews||Edward Goldman|
|Bookworm||Talk: In-depth author interviews||Michael Silverblatt|
|DnA: Design & Architecture||Talk: culture/civic aesthetics||Frances Anderton|
|Good Food||Talk: cuisine||Evan Kleiman|
|Left, Right & Center||News/talk: analysis and punditry||Josh Barro, Rich Lowry, Robert Scheer|
|News/talk: local news & culture||Madeleine Brand|
|UnFictional||Talk: documentary/storytelling||Bob Carlson|
|Film Reviews||Talk: film reviews||Joe Morgenstern|
|Martini Shot||Talk: Hollywood/pop culture||Rob Long|
|Metropolis||Music: Electronic, Dance||Jason Bentley|
|Morning Becomes Eclectic||Music: adult album alternative||Jason Bentley|
|Garth Trinidad||Music: Electronic||Garth Trinidad|
|Raul Campos||Music: Eclectic||Raul Campos|
|The Business||News/talk: Hollywood/entertainment industry||Kim Masters|
|The Treatment||Talk: Pop culture, film/TV, more||Elvis Mitchell|
|To the Point||News/talk: analysis||Warren Olney|
|Which Way, L.A.?||News/talk: local affairs||Warren Olney|
|Anne Litt||Music: Eclectic||Anne Litt|
|Chris Douridas||Music: New Music||Chris Douridas|
|Liza Richardson||Music: Eclectic||Liza Richardson|
|Gary Calamar||Music: Eclectic||Gary Calamar|
|Henry Rollins||Music: Wild Ride||Henry Rollins|
|Dan Wilcox||Music: Eclectic||Dan Wilcox|
|Jason Kramer||Music: Eclectic||Jason Kramer|
|Eric J. Lawrence||Music: Eclectic||Eric J. Lawrence|
|Mario Cotto||Music: Eclectic||Mario Cotto|
|Anthony Valadez||Music: Eclectic||Anthony Valadez|
|Travis Holcombe||Music: Eclectic||Travis Holcombe|
|Jeremy Sole||Music: Eclectic||Jeremy Sole|
|Aaron Byrd||Music: Eclectic||Aaron Byrd|
|Mathieu Schreyer||Music: Eclectic||Dan Wilcox|
|Strictly Jazz||Music: Jazz||Bo Leibowitz|
|The Lab||Music: Eclectic||Marion Hodges, Valida Carroll, Karene Daniel|
|Regular Guest Hosts||Music: Eclectic||Chris Muckley, Tobi|
Influence and accolades
KCRW's flagship program is Morning Becomes Eclectic, a three-hour daily music program that has been on the air for more than 30 years. Historically, the show host is also the station's music director. Isabel Holt created the show in 1978. Tom Schnabel hosted the show from 1979 to 1990. In November 1990, Chris Douridas took over the show, hosting until April 1998. Nic Harcourt was in the seat from 1998 until December 1, 2008, coming from BBC Radio 1. Longtime KCRW DJ Jason Bentley is the current host and music director.
KCRW has given initial exposure to artists such as Coldplay, Norah Jones, Sigur Ros, Damien Rice, and David Gray. KCRW programming has won numerous awards and accolades, including the Golden Pylon Award in 2011 and 2014, a PRNDI Award in 2013 and 2014, The Edward R. Murrow Award in 2014 and 2015, the Webby Award in 2015, an APTRA Award in 2015, The Gracie Award in 2016, and seven first place awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for the year of 2015.
Several hosts have extended their careers into music supervision for both film and television, notably, Chris Douridas (American Beauty (1999 film), Shrek and House of Lies), Liza Richardson (Friday Night Lights and The Kids Are All Right (film)), and Gary Calamar, the music supervisor for HBO's True Blood and Six Feet Under.
Streaming media is now prominent at the station, which streams thousands of hours of content each week. KCRW provides three different live streams: the live broadcast, a 24-hour music service, and a 24-hour news service. Streams are available using Adobe Flash played through web browsers, with alternate streams offered using the PLS file format, which can be played using software such as iTunes, Winamp and RealPlayer. The music service and news service are also included as channels in AOL Radio. The station also archives its talk and music programs for listeners to stream at their convenience, and offers podcasts of in-studio performance and talk programs.
KCRW promotes a great deal of live music events nationally, featuring both established and emerging artists. In April, 2011, KCRW promoted and sponsored the controversial graffiti exhibit entitled "Art in the Streets" at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MoCA). The Los Angeles Times reported an increase in tagging around MoCA after the exhibit opened to the public.
The host of KCRW's The Business, a weekly show focusing on the entertainment industry, was Claude Brodesser-Akner until December 2008. In November, it was publicized that entrepreneur and film producer Rich Raddon had contributed $1,500 to the Yes on 8 Campaign, which sought to ban same-sex marriages in California. In response to an outcry from the community, Raddon resigned from his position as head of the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Soon after, Brodesser-Akner delivered a "rant" during an episode of The Business, purporting to speak for the staff of the program. He said:
- Personally we think that Raddon’s support of the campaign was wrongheaded and donating to the campaign, given the nature of his job, was naive but we also think that the real issue is how his personal views affected or didn’t affect the films that he chose for the festival. In fact, by all accounts it’s been the very model of inclusion and open-mindedness under his stewardship.
- Raddon’s censure feels an awful lot we’re headed back to a time in Hollywood none of us should want to revisit. It was called the Black List. Let’s not shame ourselves with a Pink List to go with it.
This rant was met with an outcry, and soon after, Ruth Seymour, the general manager of KCRW, issued an apology, which she read on the air.. Her letter said:
- Last week listeners to this program heard an announcement by host Claude Brodesser-Akner purporting to be a (quote) “rant on behalf of the entire editorial staff of The Business.
- Well, a “rant” is certainly what it was, in all the pejorative meanings of that term.
- The management of KCRW takes editorial positions on very rare occasions.
- Management alone has that prerogative. In this instance, management was neither consulted nor informed.
- KCRW regrets airing this out-of-the-blue opinion and has made it clear to those involved that it is unacceptable. On behalf of the station and its commitment to fairness and accuracy, please accept our apologies and regrets.
Kim Masters was named as Brodesser-Akner's replacement in February 2009.
KCRW programming is relayed by four full-power stations.
|Indio/Palm Springs||KCRI||89.3 FM|
|Mojave/Antelope Valley||KCRY||88.1 FM|
|Santa Barbara||KDRW||88.7 FM|
The call letters of KCRI, KCRU, KCRY, and KDRW are identified at the top of each hour alongside those of KCRW, as are the frequencies of those stations and their transmitters.
KCRW also directly feeds five low-power translators .
|City of license||ERP|
|K209CN||89.7 FM||Gorman, California||10 watts|
|K210CL||89.9 FM||Lemon Grove, California||1 watts|
|K207FA||89.3 FM||Twentynine Palms, California||10 watts|
|K215BA||90.9 FM||Beaumont, California||10 watts|
|K295AH||106.9 FM||Goleta, California||10 watts|
In addition, the other four stations collectively feed four more translators.
|K225BA||92.9 FM||Borrego Springs, California|
|K272DI||102.3 FM||Fillmore, California|
|K271AC||102.1 FM||Ojai, California|
|K261AC||100.1 FM||China Lake, California|
Previous translators (now off the air and licenses returned to the FCC) operated on 88.3 FM in Palmdale, 89.1 FM in Camarillo, 90.9 FM in Palm Springs, and 100.1 in China Lake. Another former translator, K296AI, was the only KCRW translator not owned by the station. It is operated by Indian Wells Valley TV Booster, Inc., which also operates translators that rebroadcast Los Angeles-area television stations in the Ridgecrest area. That translator currently rebroadcasts KBOQ.
In February 2014, KCRW announced that it would buy Santa Barbara station KDB (93.7 FM), currently a classical music station, for $1 million. The transaction will allow KCRW to begin using another Santa Barbara station, KQSC (88.7 FM) as a repeater for KCRW's programming, while transferring KUSC's classical programming from KQSC to KDB, thereby preserving KDB's role as Santa Barbara's classical station.