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.

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Juan Williams on NPR and speaking openly

Tuesday morning on AirTalk, Fox News’ Juan Williams talked about his new book, Muzzled:  the Assault on Honest Debate.  He used his firing from NPR as a springboard for his argument that political correctness on the Left and moral judgments on the Right have shut down honest conversation.  Each side is able to dismiss the other as intellectually or morally deficient, and then ignore what the other has to say.

Juan is particularly critical of NPR’s reaction to his comment about getting nervous when seeing fellow air passengers dressed in Muslim garb.  He claims that NPR executives failed to hear his larger point that public policy shouldn’t be determined by such emotional reactions.

NPR executives, at the time, defended the firing of Williams by saying he crossed the line in talking about his personal prejudicial reaction.  NPR’s top news exec, Ellen Weiss, later resigned following an outside investigation into how the firing was handled.

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L. A. radio's living legend, Michael Jackson

What a pleasure in having the talk radio giant Michael Jackson observing part of AirTalk Thursday morning.  Michael dropped in to check out our studios and watch how we put together our daily program.

One can’t overestimate the impact Jackson had on Los Angeles radio for the decades he was on the air.  His huge ratings spoke to his popularity, but what impressed me most was his energy and passion for talking about the most important topics of the day.  Michael made listeners feel like they were on top of what was happening, right up to the minute.  The big name guests were also a thrill.

The values Michael embodied made a big impact on me as a young listener.  His courtesy, curiosity, and obvious love of his work were infectious.  I could hear his openness and willingness to entertain a wide range of ideas, not just the ones that came from conventional wisdom.

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