NPR will air special programming next month to break in NPR West, its new Los Angeles production center celebrating its grand opening Nov. 2 .
The Culver City facility is the network's first large-scale production center outside of Washington, D.C., and will eventually host up to 90 employees in its 25,000 square feet of offices and studios. It will host NPR's Los Angeles bureau, the staff of The Tavis Smiley Show, and NPR's new midday show, slated to start next year.
Special programming starts Nov. 1 with "I'd Rather Eat Pants," a radio drama produced by LA Theatre Works starring Ed Asner, Anne Meara, Ed Begley Jr. and two wannabe thespians, Bob Edwards and Susan Stamberg. Talk of the Nation's Neal Conan and Weekend Edition's Scott Simon will anchor live election coverage Nov. 5 from Los Angeles. And TOTN and Morning Edition will focus on people, locations and issues of the West with a week of special coverage starting Nov. 11.
NPR closed a deal April 16  on its West Coast Production Center, a two-building, 25,000-square-foot complex in Culver City, Calif. The facility is NPR's first large-scale production center outside Washington, D.C.
The network will use the center to broaden its coverage of the western United States, in part to balance a "Beltway bias" some find in its reporting.
"The West Coast Production Center will deepen NPR's connection to the creativity, thought, diversity and trends that are hallmarks of the American West, bringing listeners a broader world of ideas, events and culture," said NPR President Kevin Klose.
The $12 million project opens in September, when NPR's eight-person Los Angeles bureau and the seven-member staff of The Tavis Smiley Show move in. Eventually, the center will accommodate 90 employees, including the staff of NPR's upcoming midday show and reporters and editors covering the entertainment business.
NPR paid $8 million for the property, previously owned by the Welk Group Inc., which holds the family interests of entertainer Lawrence Welk. Defunct webcaster Digital Planet vacated the building that NPR will occupy first. Another dot-com, MusicPlex.com, will keep its offices in the other building.
Foundations contributed $6 million towards the purchase. Tax-exempt bonds and a commercial loan cover the rest of the price.
Web page posted May 8, 2006
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