Starting later, but not sleeping in

We started our new schedule for "AirTalk" this week. With the expansion of "Brand & Martinez" to two hours, we're now on from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday's Film Week on AirTalk moves into the noon hour.

I’ve been asked many times in the past couple of days how I feel about the shift. My answer is that it’s working out great for our “AirTalk” team.  We still get in at 8 each morning, but now have three hours to prepare our timeliest topics. It also puts us into the noon hour, where we have the chance to connect with folks heading to lunch. 

I know it’s not all good for some listeners, who might have a harder time listening an hour later. There are also, undoubtedly, fans of “The World” who would’ve rather had it stay at noon instead of moving to 2 p.m. I hope you’ll give us a chance in the new slot and that you find the new lineup still fits your schedule. 


A wild morning at KPCC

I got the first word of a problem from “AirTalk” senior producer Linda Othenin-Girard shortly after 7 this morning.  Her text message alerted me to the likelihood that we wouldn’t be able to do a live show today.

Like every other weekday, I was geared up and excited to talk about our segments for the morning.  Our centerpiece was President Obama’s meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, and what it means for ongoing debate about Iran’s nuclear program.

However, that would have to wait.  Our first priority was to come up with previously aired hours that we could rebroadcast this morning, given our technical inability to do a live show.

As best I understand it, our digital audio system completely crashed around 5 this morning.  We had no ability to pull audio from our storage system, severely limiting Steve Julian’s ability to gather local news stories for “Morning Edition.”  However, given Steve’s, and his producer’s, resourcefulness, they were able to transfer a limited number of stories to a portable hard drive from which they could be aired.


Former L. A. Times Editor Russ Stanton is SCPR's new VP of Content

For once I guessed right!  I was getting ready for work this morning telling my wife, Kristen, about our afternoon staff meeting to announce who would be taking this important editorial leadership position for KPCC.  I hadn’t heard any rumors, and hadn’t received any inside word.

I told Kristen about my lack of info on the hire, but told her Russ Stanton was my guess.  I’m happy to know I was correct and look forward to working with him.


The best listeners in radio support us in many ways

Sunday morning, over 200 members of KPCC’s Leadership Circle gathered for our annual brunch at the Museum of Latin-American Art in Long Beach.  It’s an event I look forward to, as it gives those of us on the air a chance to talk about the process of doing our shows with  some of our most loyal and generous listeners.

Every year, I’m particularly struck by how knowledgeable these listeners are about the evolution of KPCC over the past few years.  They remember things I’d forgotten, such as how I used to talk about running down the hall to share an idea with the “AirTalk” production team, as we didn’t even work in the same area. A lot has changed since we moved into our new building less than two years ago.

Madeleine Brand and NPR Political Editor Ken Rudin were terrific – talking about the stunning performance by Newt Gingrich at last Saturday’s South Carolina primary, and looking ahead to next week’s Florida primary.  Ken and I picked up that theme on Monday’s “AirTalk.”


Early KPCC General Manager passes away

John Gregory was the General Manager of KPCC back in the 1970s and early 80s, when several important events occurred in the station’s history.  He oversaw the change of 89.3’s call letters from KPCS to KPCC, established 89.3 as one of the first member stations of National Public Radio, and hired a full-time staff of five to qualify for federal funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Gregory hired me as News Director of KPCC in 1983, after I had briefly worked for a CBS news/talk station in Riverside (where I met our Morning Edition host Steve Julian).  Earlier, I had worked for John as Morning Edition local host, interim News Director, and play-by-play sports announcer. 

Gregory spent all or part of five decades at PCC, and his dynamic teaching style was particularly popular with students.  His tenure at KPCC was more tumultuous, with frequent clashes between Gregory and PCC administration.  He was eventually removed as KPCC General Manager and went back to the classroom for the rest of his career.  It was clear that he loved teaching, given that he continued working as an instructor on a part-time basis for years after his formal retirement.