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.


Film Week on AirTalk sells-out the Egyptian Theater

Friday morning on “AirTalk,” we’ll broadcast our 10th annual “Film Week on AirTalk Academy Awards Preview.”  All eight of our critics were in fine form, alternately bashing and championing nominees in the major categories.

Prior to taping on Sunday afternoon, I asked our Egyptian audience whether anyone had attended all ten of our shows.  Remarkably, a couple of folks clapped their hands.  That’s real dedication.

I particularly look forward to this event, given that I spent my junior high and high school years living in Hollywood.  I’d walk by the Egyptian almost daily, and considered it one of the great theaters in the city.  Had you told me as a kid that I’d be hosting an annual event there, it would’ve blown my mind. 

If you haven’t been to the annual show, I hope you’ll join us next year.  We tape the weekend prior to each year’s Oscars ceremony.  If you’ve joined us in the past, I hope you’ll continue with us.


Martin Scorsese sounds like a kid

That’s what I discovered when interviewing him for an “AirTalk” segment that airs Wednesday morning in our first hour.  It was infectious to hear his excitement about movies and what he’s continuing to learn about the art form.

Scorsese is well-known for his championing of film preservation and appreciation of silent cinema.  In his current movie, “Hugo,” he’s been able to combine his love of movie history with a family-friendly story he filmed for his 12-year-old daughter.  Though some of our “Film Week” critics thought the film was a cold creampuff, it emotionally connected with me.

As a fan of Scorsese’s earlier films and his latest, hearing his dedication to learning how best to use new technology was a pleasure.  One of the highlights of our conversation was hearing Scorsese laugh as he recounted George Lucas telling him, “this is what I’ve been talking about!” when hearing his friend was finally embracing special effects and 3-D.  We should all be so open to learning new tricks.


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.”