A three-way transaction involving Los Angeles pubcasters KCRW and KUSC will bring more public radio options to listeners in Santa Barbara, Calif. Under a deal announced Feb. 18, KCRW will buy 93.7 KDB-FM, a commercial classical station for 88 years, but will not broadcast on the frequency. Instead, all-classical KUSC will move to the channel and transfer its 88.7 FM signal in Santa Barbara to KCRW. KCRW will turn its new acquisition into an outlet for its hybrid format of news and contemporary music, with localized content within NPR newsmagazines.
Select musical performances from KCRW-FM’s signature show Morning Becomes Eclectic are now streaming live on YouTube. The Los Angeles station kicked off the new feature Sept. 17 with a six-minute song from the U.K. buzz band King Krule; until this month, KCRW posted only prerecorded performances on its channel. Created in September 2006, KCRW’s YouTube page has 44,000 subscribers and has received more than 35 million views worldwide — including four from within Vatican City. The most popular single video, Gotye’s live version of “Somebody That I Used to Know,” has about 16 million views.
Former KPCC host Madeleine Brand, who left the Los Angeles station in September 2012, will host a new midday show on competitor KCRW. Brand will join the station in mid-September to begin work on the hourlong program, which will begin airing shortly thereafter, she told Current. “I’m really excited and I love KCRW,” she said. “I’ve been a big fan for many years, so I’m really happy to work with them.”
Brand’s show, yet to be named, will be a host-driven, “news-based cultural show” in the vein of the show she hosted on KPCC, she said. She’ll return to the air as a solo host, as she was before the addition of a co-host to her KPCC show.
Los Angeles radio station KCRW is offering special programming and music downloads in conjunction with the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York City, July 9–13. DJ Raul Campos, host of a weeknight show on KCRW, will broadcast from New York July 11 and 12, bringing “the sights and sounds of New York” to his listeners. The LAMC, he said, “is where it’s at” for people who enjoy Latin alternative music. The LAMC has grown since it started 14 years ago, according to Campos. “It’s getting bigger, stronger, more diverse,” he said.
Matt Miller, host of KCRW's weekly news-analysis show Left, Right & Center in Santa Monica, now also hosts the biweekly This . . . Is Interesting, 15 to 20 minutes of conversations with thinkers and public figures about ideas in politics, economics and culture.
The National Endowment of the Arts announced $4.68 million in funding to 76 media-arts projects April 23, including new grantees such as the Online Video Engagement Experience (OVEE) developed with CPB funding, a new initiative from the Association of Independents in Radio called Spectrum America and Sonic Trace, a multimedia production at KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., that was created through AIR’s recently concluded Localore project. For a second year, the NEA will continue to support projects that use digital technologies to go beyond traditional broadcasting platforms. In its announcement, the endowment highlighted a $100,000 grant to OVEE, a digital platform that allows web users to interact while watching PBS and local station content. The Independent Television Service developed the technology with support from CPB. AIR also received $100,000 for Spectrum America, a project that will pair media artists with public stations as they experiment with “new approaches to storytelling.”
Sonic Trace, a co-production at KCRW initiated through AIR’s 2012–2013 Localore initiative, received a direct NEA grant of $75,000 to continue exploring the experience of Latino immigrants. NEA also backed digital media projects at NPR, providing $100,000 for music programming and multimedia content.
Public radio will be well-represented at the musical portion of the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, March 13–16. The NPR Music showcase March 13 will feature the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performing new songs from their forthcoming album Mosquito, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Mexican rockers Café Tacvba and others. Audio of the live set at 8 p.m. Eastern will be offered for station broadcast and distributed online; NPR Music will also offer a live video stream through its website and mobile apps. Café Tacvba will put in double duty and appear in a March 14 showcase arranged by NPR Music’s Alt.Latino channel, along with Molotov, also from Mexico. Rounding out the lineup is Bajofondo, a band led by Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who has scored films including Brokeback Mountain and The Motorcycle Diaries.
If you’re a public radio station without a plan for how to take advantage of the remarkably flexible and creative platform of podcasting — a platform that leverages your existing skills better than anything else in new media — you need to think again.