Madeleine Brand, who quit KPCC Sept. 21, told Current that “outside offers just became too attractive” for her to remain at the Pasadena station.
Her hourlong morning Madeleine Brand show, which premiered on KPCC in September 2010, morphed last month into Brand & Martinez, when former ESPN sportscaster A Martinez signed on as co-host. The show also grew into a two-hour program for national distribution and will include a mix of segments intended to appeal to minority audiences.
The changes were backed by a $1.8 million CPB grant to Southern California Public Radio in December 2011 as part of the One Nation Media Project, bolstering reporting and programming for and about Latinos and other people of color in the diverse Los Angeles area.
“I am totally in favor of those goals,” Brand said. “I think it’s a great idea to increase minority audiences that are not being served by public radio. Two thumbs up for that. It’s great to have resources to make the show more appealing to more people.”
Brand said she remains proud of the program; she cites a 2.6 ratings share for the last three months, topping the station’s numbers for Morning Edition and All Things Considered. During its run, The Madeleine Brand Show won awards for reporting, writing, features and use of sound, including the 2012 Golden Mike award for best news and public affairs program from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.
“The station gave us absolute freedom to do what we wanted to do,” Brand said. “They let me create what I wanted to, and it worked. And we had a staff that worked well together.”
Brand declined to discuss specifics of her next gig, but did say it will be in Los Angeles, her hometown. “I’m going to be doing stuff I’ve never done before,” she said. “I’m excited to try new things.”
Replacing her on KPCC is Alex Cohen, the station’s local anchor for All Things Considered and Marketplace. KPCC has yet to officially announce the new name of the show, which is currently known as Alex Cohen & A Martinez.
The Brand & Martinez revamp isn’t CPB’s first effort to reach more Latinos in Los Angeles with public media. In 2006, CPB funded SCPR research into creating a Latino-focused service. The broadcaster then competed with Radio Bilingüe, a Spanish-language service based in Fresno, for CPB’s backing in developing the service.
The two broadcasters attempted to negotiate a partnership, but SCPR withdrew. Radio Bilingüe went on to start L.A. Public Media, but the web-based service folded after two years when the broadcaster was unable to get onto an FM signal in Los Angeles.