The troubles of KCRW

16 thoughts on “The troubles of KCRW”

  1. I miss the KCRW Tim Hauser and Billy Vera Sunday afternoons… and Deidre O’Donohue weeknights.And the weekend’s Sancho Show on KPCC was unrivaledBut alas, things change. Love the blog

  2. Jim, nice to hear from you — I’ve gotta put a resedaweb link on this page.All those shows were great. Deidre O’Donohue’s being dead probably means she won’t be returing to the air, but I certainly enjoyed “Snap.”Loved the doo-wop of Tim Hauser … now it’s KKJZ on weekend mornings — cool jazz/bop substitutes quite nicely.KCSN is probably the only real public-radio station in the L.A. area — it’s got that campus/community feel that none of the others have. And it could stand to have more of a CSUN component. I remember the UC Santa Cruz station as being VERY student-oriented.

  3. I miss Joe Frank. I do not miss the Honda Civic Deathrattle with the worn weatherstripping that rattled over the canyon while we listened to Mr. Frank through a radio dial tone created by the car on the way to Gorky’s. Well, I sort of do. Remember his whole thing about Barry Manilow’s Mandy? Man. Dei. Man. God. You came without taking. We couldn’t get out of the car we were laughing so hard.

  4. KCSN picked up Ann the Raven which is cool, but where did the 3hrs of German Beer Garden music go???? Thanks for the link: Reseda, it’s the center of the universe!The Joe Frank Rent-a-family episode w/ the series of 3 fone calls from the exwife… frightening… As Harry Shearer said about Frank’s program, “It’s like a fist coming through the radio.”BTW, Hope all is peaceful at that place there. Hi to all

  5. the whole operation is basically Seymour’s personal fiefdom. this is absolutely true, and there is no control or oversight of ruth at all. she has _absolute_ power.One thing’s for sure, the station’s profile has risen tremendously under her tenure. It’s a big business that drags in a lot of money from listeners and corporations.—-and it brings otherwise obscure or never-to-be-found artists and thinkers to a wider audience—which is good. Thank god for it! And as the station never lets you forget, there’s all that green stuff that goes to NPR–which is without equal in radio reporting. It is a true phenomenon. KCRW is a good thing—and without Ruth it would not be there at all. But it’s confounding the way she treats the very people who make KCRW great. These are the people who channel pure magic, like Joe Frank; who bring a fascinating musical landscape to the nights like O’Donoghue did; and many others below the radar in less glamorous but essential positions you’ll never hear about. (Like a senior employee told by Ruth to ‘shut the fuck up’ during a big donor meeting last year, for example.)You don’t just get fired–you get told what a miserable failure you’ve become, and cast out in an incredibly heartless way; or, it’s just “goodbye” without warning, and Ruth will refuse to meet with you, or even discuss whatever the matter might be. THAT’S what deserves oversight. Where’s the KCRW board of directors? (The Santa Monica College board of directors is not the same thing, at least I don’t think it is.) There is a “KCRW Foundation.” They’re shadowy. Try to find current foundation members….they must be out there somewhere….and write them, if any of this matters to you. Or, write letters to the station.Does anyone know Tom Hanks? He’s a big supporter. Maybe he should say something to Ruth. He seems like a decent sort who would be appalled at some of the things that happen at KCRW. I bet Ruth would listen if Tom Hanks said something like, “Hey, this stuff is really uncool.” The only things that impress Ruth are money, fame and ….yep….the opinions of others, -if- she deems them worthy. Which seems to be a pretty arbitrary designation. What really sucks is lying to the public—- for example, telling people Sandra Loh said “fuck” on the air on purpose, that it was her “Janet Jackson moment.” And carrying out a myth that Joe Frank was just laying low and all was cozy and well with him and the station, when in fact he’d been brutally cut loose. There may have been a window of opportunity there—if Joe came crawling to Ruth within a certain amount of time, groveling, she might have magnanimously worked out another future comeback. But he didn’t. Submitting to humiliation is required if you’re to get back into Ruth’s good graces, and stay on. At some point, those with any sense of self at all decide it’s not worth it to roll over and pretend she’s absolutely right, that they basically do suck, and are lucky just to be anywhere near KCRW. KCRW is not that unique; most workplaces have tyrants, petty tyrants, evil honchos with friendly faces (think Ken Lay) and so on. But usually there’s some sort of check-and-balance system, even if (think Ken Lay) it has to be the law. Not at KCRW.

  6. I don’t think KCRW’s existence was or is dependent on Ruth Seymour. And I don’t think a station has to be as successful as KCRW is to fulfill its mission, which is to entertain and inform. The major public radio stations in L.A. are quite “professional,” and I think a little more community-oriented vibe would be welcome. And when it comes to local news, KPCC does a better job than KCRW.That said, Seymour has certainly been successful at increasing the station’s profile, audience and budget. And if that isn’t the bottom line, I don’t know what is.

  7. I’m new to the area and may stay here indefinitely if for no other reason than to satisfy my addiction to KKJZ. Wow! Imagine an all-jazz-all-the-time (with blues mixed in on weekends) radio station! Very nice to this newbie to the big city.

  8. KCSN is probably the only real public-radio station in the L.A. area — it’s got that campus/community feel that none of the others have.KCSN also has a couple of former KCRW people still on its DJ staff, if you’re fond of the olden days at KCRW …

  9. It’s been months, but the topic is still relevant. I really miss all the things KCRW had, and no longer has. Rene Engel and Matt Wright, Joe Frank, Bob Claster, and so many others… I was introduced to so many of my favorite musicians and bands by Rene and Matt: Tish Hinojosa and Sarah Hickman, among others. I first heard Lyle Lovett when he appeared on Deidre O’Donahue’s show. I miss them all, and with all of them gone, I no longer listen to KCRW…

  10. yeah, sarah hickman…i don’t think anyone on kcrw has played her for, maybe, 10 years. electronic beats with all their sonic uniformity are much more hip. at least we can listen to tom schnabel on demand, thank god for the internet!

  11. I lived in LA 17 years ago and the only thing I miss is the radio. Sunday Sings Jazz, Jonny Otis, The Car Show (cars bore me, but the show was interesting anyway),Joe Frank, Harlan Ellison/replaced by two “speculative fiction” guys (same story). I also miss a clever and amusing show called Le Show, which is presently the lamest thing on the air. Come on Harry, try harder or quit! Did you hear the bit where he played the Gary Glitter song and mixed in a baby crying? Is that supposed to be ‘edgy’? Way way far off the mark. That one wouldn’t get a giggle on the worst morning zoo program imaginable because it isn’t the least bit clever.

  12. >I really miss all the things KCRW had, and no longer has. Rene Engel and Matt Wright, Joe Frank, Bob Claster, and so many others… Just a note — Matt and Rene’s “Wednesday Music Magazine” were on KPCC (before it became all talk), and not KCRW. I worked with them both and god it was a blast to be around them. I really miss the music that you used to hear in the evenings on KPCC …

  13. Music in the evenings was the main reason I listened to KPCC during the week (it was clear the student DJs loved the hand-picked music they played), and the TRULY eclectic (KCRW’s uber-trendy MBE be damned!) mix of styles and genres they brought to weekends (who rememebers Chuck Cecil’s The Swingin’ Years, Gee Dad, It’s A Wurlitzer or Tibor Paul’s European Sunday Concert?) was magical. The Sancho Show was this amazing weekly anarchical Latino event that is much missed! KPCC has become a very classy news organization, perhaps the best on LA radio, but a lot of charm and character was lost along the way!

  14. As for KCRW, I abandoned that station a long time ago… they no longer get my money or my ears. So VERY pretentious, musically, and a pathetic also-ran as an NPR news station. Retire Ruth! Let your people GO!

  15. I quit KCRW a number of years ago and it was not a happy parting. Still can't listen to the station. Thankfully there's some excellent programming on the other public stations in town, KPFK, KPCC, KCSN. We in LA are truly blessed to have such an offering of cool radio programs.

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