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KCRW 89.9FM logo.svg
CitySanta Monica, California
Broadcast area
SloganFor The Curious
  • 89.9 HD-2 for Eclectic-24
  • KCRI 89.3 Indio
  • KCRU 89.1 Oxnard
  • KCRY 88.1 Mojave
  • KDRW 88.7 Santa Barbara
  • KERW 101.3 Los Osos-Baywood Park
  • plus 9 low-power translators
First air date1947
ERP6,900 watts
HAAT338 meters (1,109 ft)
Facility ID59086
Transmitter coordinates34°7′8″N 118°23′30″W / 34.11889°N 118.39167°W / 34.11889; -118.39167Coordinates: 34°7′8″N 118°23′30″W / 34.11889°N 118.39167°W / 34.11889; -118.39167
Call sign meaningCollege Radio Workshop[1]
OwnerSanta Monica College
(Santa Monica Community College District)

KCRW (89.9 MHz FM) is a National Public Radio member station broadcasting from the campus of Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, where the station is licensed. KCRW airs original news and music programming in addition to programming from NPR and other affiliates. A network of repeaters and broadcast translators, as well as internet radio, allows the station to serve the Greater Los Angeles area and other communities in Southern California. The station's main transmitter is located in Los Angeles's Laurel Canyon district and broadcasts in the HD radio format.[2] It is one of two full NPR members in the Los Angeles area; Pasadena-based KPCC is the other.


KCRW was founded in 1945 to train servicemen returning from World War II in the then-new technology, FM broadcasting—hence its call letters, which stand for College Radio Workshop. It was a charter member of NPR in 1970, making Santa Monica College the second community college to own a public radio or television station.

Ruth Seymour[edit]

Former KPFK program director Ruth Seymour became general manager in 1978 and retired in February 2010. Born Ruth Epstein to Russian-Polish Jewish immigrants, she grew up in the East Bronx, studied at Sholem Aleichem Folk School[3] and the City College of New York, and married and divorced Jack Hirschman,[4] adopting the name of her paternal great-grandfather in 1993 to become Ruth Hirschman Seymour.[5] She developed a mix of music, news, and other spoken-word programming that now attracts over 500,000 listeners each week. She was also known for a feisty temperament[6] and a spur-of-the-moment style that led to the nickname "Lady of the Iron Whim."[7][8][9]

Jennifer Ferro[edit]

The current general manager is Jennifer Ferro. Ferro is also the President of the KCRW Foundation, which provides financial support and other resources to ensure that KCRW can maintain and expand its mission consistent with economic, social and technological developments. The KCRW Foundation board of directors is composed of business and community leaders; Monica J. Shilling, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, serves as chair.

The station airs programs from NPR, Public Radio International (PRI), American Public Media, and the BBC, a range of music programs and live in-studio performances, and locally produced news and culture programs.[10] KCRW also airs programming created through their Independent Producer Project, a project KCRW created to support "the work of independent contributors," which includes programs like Strangers,[11] UnFictional,[12] and SoundsLA.[13] The station has three live program streams—"On Air," "Eclectic 24" and "News 24"[14]—and on-demand listening through the KCRW apps[15] and podcasts.[16]

In August 2013, KCRW released a new logo and brand design created by Los Angeles-based branding agency Troika Design Group.[17]


KCRW is an affiliate of NPR. Music programming includes the station's signature music program Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Warren Olney hosts the station's signature news and public affairs programs, To the Point (nationally distributed by Public Radio International).

KCRW covers the Southern California film industry with programs including The Business with Kim Masters, The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell, Martini Shot with Rob Long, and film reviews from Pulitzer Prize winning Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern.

From 1986 to 2002, KCRW was the on-air home of Joe Frank, hosting nationally broadcast shows Work in Progress, In The Dark, Somewhere Out There, and The Other Side. Frank produced over 200 radio shows for KCRW, which consisted of a series of monologues. He has been described as:

one of the greatest-ever purveyors of the postmodern-noir sensibility. He's spent his career grappling with all the grand topics: sex, love, morality, lust, greed, sin, fear, hatred, the search for meaning.[18]

Music programs feature an eclectic array of songs from around the globe, particularly on the daily music program Morning Becomes Eclectic and the daytime weekend line-up. At night, music such as house, progressive, and electronic dance music are the main styles on shows formerly known as Metropolis and Nocturna. KCRW dropped all program names except Morning Becomes Eclectic and Strictly Jazz in 2008. Three of the station's previous music directors currently have programs on the air at KCRW.

Local and regional touring artists can send recordings to KCRW for consideration of airplay.

KCRW airs Santa Monica City Council meetings live when they are held. Because of the nature of the repeater network, Santa Monica City Council meetings can be heard throughout the Southern California region reaching out to approximately 150 mi (240 km).

Before its current host, Evan Kleiman, took over as host, the KCRW show Good Food was parodied on Saturday Night Live in a recurring skit, Delicious Dish, with Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon.

Since 2013, KCRW has put on the annual Radio Race, a 24-hour competition in which participants can write, record, and edit a nonfiction radio story. "Here Be Monsters", a podcast about fears and the unknown, got its start on KCRW after winning Radio Race.

Program Format Host
Art Talk Talk: Art Reviews Edward Goldman
Bookworm Talk: In-depth author interviews Michael Silverblatt
DnA: Design & Architecture Talk: culture/civic aesthetics Frances Anderton
Good Food Talk: cuisine Evan Kleiman
Left, Right & Center News/talk: analysis and punditry Josh Barro, Rich Lowry, Katrina vanden Heuvel
Press Play News/talk: local news & culture Madeleine Brand
UnFictional Talk: documentary/storytelling Bob Carlson
Film Reviews Talk: film reviews Joe Morgenstern
Martini Shot Talk: Hollywood/pop culture Rob Long
Metropolis Music: Electronic, Dance Jason Bentley
Morning Becomes Eclectic Music: adult album alternative Anne Litt
Garth Trinidad Music: Electronic Garth Trinidad
Raul Campos Music: Eclectic Raul Campos
The Business News/talk: Hollywood/entertainment industry Kim Masters
The Treatment Talk: Pop culture, film/TV, more Elvis Mitchell
To the Point News/talk: analysis Warren Olney
Which Way, L.A.? News/talk: local affairs Warren Olney
Anne Litt Music: Eclectic Anne Litt
Chris Douridas Music: New Music Chris Douridas
Liza Richardson Music: Eclectic Liza Richardson
Gary Calamar Music: Eclectic Gary Calamar
Henry Rollins Music: Wild Ride Henry Rollins
Dan Wilcox Music: Eclectic Dan Wilcox
Jason Kramer Music: Eclectic Jason Kramer
Eric J. Lawrence Music: Eclectic Eric J. Lawrence
Mario Cotto Music: Eclectic Mario Cotto
Anthony Valadez Music: Eclectic Anthony Valadez
Travis Holcombe Music: Eclectic Travis Holcombe
Jeremy Sole Music: Eclectic Jeremy Sole
Aaron Byrd Music: Eclectic Aaron Byrd
Mathieu Schreyer Music: Eclectic Dan Wilcox
Strictly Jazz Music: Jazz Bo Leibowitz
The Lab Music: Eclectic Marion Hodges, Valida Carroll, Karene Daniel
Regular Guest Hosts Music: Eclectic Chris Muckley, Tobi

Influence and accolades[edit]

KCRW's flagship program is Morning Becomes Eclectic, a three-hour daily music program that has aired for more than 30 years. Historically, the show host is also the station's music director. Isabel Holt created the show in 1978. Tom Schnabel hosted the show from 1979 to 1990. In November 1990, Chris Douridas took over the show, hosting until April 1998. Nic Harcourt was in the seat from 1998 until December 1, 2008, coming from WDST FM 100.1 in Woodstock, N.Y.. At WDST Harcourt successfully transitioned a traditional Triple A station to a cutting-edge trendsetting Alternative station in the shadow of New York City. Longtime KCRW DJ Jason Bentley, known for his "Metropolis" nighttime avant garde dance program, is the former host and music director. That position (morning host and MD respectively) will be split in two on August 30, 2019, with Bentley relinquishing both duties after 10 years, but will continue hosting Metropolis.[19]

KCRW has given initial exposure to artists such as Coldplay, Norah Jones, Sigur Ros, Damien Rice, and David Gray.[20] KCRW programming has won numerous awards and accolades, including the Golden Pylon Award in 2011[21] and 2014,[22] a PRNDI Award in 2013[23] and 2014,[24] The Edward R. Murrow Award in 2014 and 2015,[25] the Webby Award in 2015,[26] an APTRA Award in 2015,[27] The Gracie Award in 2016,[28] and seven first place awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for the year of 2015.[29]

Several hosts have extended their careers into music supervision for both film and television, including Chris Douridas (American Beauty (1999 film), Shrek and House of Lies), Liza Richardson (Friday Night Lights and The Kids Are All Right (film)), and Gary Calamar, the music supervisor for HBO's True Blood and Six Feet Under.

Streaming media is now prominent at the station, which streams thousands of hours of content each week. KCRW provides three different live streams: the live broadcast, a 24-hour music service, and a 24-hour news service. Streams are available using Adobe Flash played through web browsers, with alternate streams offered using the PLS file format, which can be played using software such as iTunes, Winamp and RealPlayer. The music service and news service are also included as channels in AOL Radio. The station also archives its talk and music programs for listeners to stream at their convenience, and offers podcasts of in-studio performance and talk programs.

KCRW has members across the country and the station regularly sponsors live music events throughout the United States and in Canada.


KCRW promotes a great deal of live music events nationally, featuring both established and emerging artists. In April, 2011, KCRW promoted and sponsored the controversial graffiti exhibit entitled "Art in the Streets" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MoCA). The Los Angeles Times reported an increase in tagging around MoCA after the exhibit opened to the public.


KCRW programming is relayed by five full-power stations. However, KERW—serving San Luis Obispo—is a full-time HD1 simulcast partner with KCRW-HD2's "Eclectic 24" music programming. "Eclectic 24" is heard on the HD2 signals of the four other stations, as it does on KCRW itself.

The RF spectrum occupied by KCRW. The center portion is the analog FM signal, the rectangular portions on the outside are the digital HD radio signal.
Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
(m (ft))
Class FCC info
KCRI 89.3 Indio, California 3,200 174 m (571 ft) B1 FCC
KCRU 89.1 Oxnard, California 850 260 m (850 ft) A FCC
KCRY 88.1 Mojave, California 10,500 −29 m (−95 ft) B1 FCC
KDRW 88.7 Santa Barbara, California 12,000 264 m (866 ft) B FCC
KERW 101.3 Los Osos-Baywood Park, California 3,600 502 m (1,647 ft) B FCC

The call letters of KCRI, KCRU, KCRY, and KDRW are identified at the top of each hour alongside those of KCRW, as are the frequencies of those stations and their transmitters.

KCRW also directly feeds five low-power translators .

Broadcast translators of KCRW
Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
FCC info
K207FA 89.3 Twentynine Palms, California 10 watts FCC
K209CN 89.7 Gorman, California 10 watts FCC
K210CL 89.9 Lemon Grove, California 1 watts FCC
K215BA 90.9 Beaumont, California 10 watts FCC
K295AH 106.9 Goleta, California 10 watts FCC

In addition, the other five stations collectively feed four more translators.

Call sign Frequency
City of license FCC info
K225BA 92.9 Borrego Springs, California FCC
K261AC 100.1 China Lake, California FCC
K271AC 102.1 Ojai, California FCC
K272DI 102.3 Fillmore, California FCC

KCRW also has applications pending for new translators on 88.5 in Mojave, 89.9 in Temecula, 90.1 in Baker, 90.3 FM in Barstow, and 105.7 FM in Julian.

Previous translators (now off the air and licenses returned to the FCC) operated on 88.3 FM in Palmdale, 89.1 FM in Camarillo, 90.9 FM in Palm Springs, and 100.1 in China Lake. Another former translator, K296AI, was the only KCRW translator not owned by the station. It is operated by Indian Wells Valley TV Booster, Inc., which also operates translators that rebroadcast Los Angeles-area television stations in the Ridgecrest area. That translator currently rebroadcasts KSUR.

In February 2014, KCRW announced that it would buy Santa Barbara station KDB (93.7 FM), currently a classical music station, for $1 million. The transaction will allow KCRW to begin using another Santa Barbara station, KQSC (88.7 FM) as a repeater for KCRW's programming, while transferring KUSC's classical programming from KQSC to KDB, thereby preserving KDB's role as Santa Barbara's classical station.[30]

KCRW Berlin[edit]

On September 13, 2017, partner station, KCRW Berlin, was awarded a broadcast license in Berlin, Germany, on 104.1 MHz. This license and frequency had previously been held by NPR Berlin. The station has a website at kcrwberlin.com.


  1. ^ "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web. Archived from the original on 2016-02-18.
  2. ^ https://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?latitude=34.052230834961&longitude=-118.24368286133 Archived 2017-08-08 at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Los Angeles
  3. ^ Tugend, Tom (2010-05-11). "KCRW's Ruth Seymour Offers Rich Legacy to Jewish Community". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  4. ^ https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-10182-2504535/ruth-epstein-in-biographical-summaries-of-notable-people
  5. ^ http://jewishjournal.com/news/los_angeles/la_woman/79288/
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2001-06-07. Retrieved 2001-06-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ https://www.thewrap.com/ruth-seymour-retiring-kcrw-10338/
  8. ^ https://articles.latimes.com/1995-05-21/news/mn-4467_1_public-radio/4
  9. ^ https://articles.latimes.com/1987-03-08/magazine/tm-13260_1_santa-monica-boulevard/5
  10. ^ About KCRW, retrieved on 2016-02-09
  11. ^ Strangers, retrieved on 2016-02-09
  12. ^ UnFictional, retrieved on 2016-02-09
  13. ^ Sounds LA, retrieved on 2016-02-09
  14. ^ KCRW Live Streams, retrieved on 2016-02-09
  15. ^ KCRW Apps, retrieved on 2016-02-09
  16. ^ Podcasts, retrieved on 2016-02-09
  17. ^ KCRW Unveils New Logo, retrieved on 2014-01-15.
  18. ^ Joe Frank, Radio's Brilliant Purveyor of Postmodern Noir, "philosopher, a comedian, a raconteur," -retrieved July 22, 2013
  19. ^ "Jason Bentley To Step Down As KCRW MD/Morning Becomes Eclectic Host" from Radio Insight (June 13, 2019)
  20. ^ Anderson, Tim J. (2013-12-17). Popular Music in a Digital Music Economy: Problems and Practices for an Emerging Service Industry. Routledge. ISBN 9781317914211.
  21. ^ "Transit agencies give frontline traffic reporters a little love". 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  22. ^ "Southland's top traffic reporters honored at this year's Golden Pylon Awards". 2014-09-23. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  23. ^ Corps, Press. "And Now... Your 2013 PRNDI Award Winners!". Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  24. ^ "2014 PRNDI Award Winners Outdo Fierce Competition". Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  25. ^ "RTDNA - Radio Television Digital News Association". www.rtdna.org. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  26. ^ "KCRW Website | The Webby Awards". Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  27. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "2015 APTRA Awards announced". Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  28. ^ "2016 Gracies Winners | Alliance for Women in Media". Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  29. ^ "WINNERS OF THE 58TH ANNUAL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA JOURNALISM AWARDS" (PDF). LA Press Club. LA Press Club. 2016-07-06. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-23. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  30. ^ Ryan Faughnder, "KCRW buying Santa Barbara classical station KDB", Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2014.

External links[edit]