Santa Monica-based public radio station KCRW has announced that longtime evening host Jason Bentley (right) will be taking over for Nic Harcourt as Music Director and host of the influential “Morning Becomes Eclectic” when Harcourt leaves on December 1. Harcourt’s exit was just announced last week, and included a vague notion of “expanding on other activities” which to me seems code for “I didn’t have anything else lined up,” but what do I know.
Harcourt came to KCRW from Woodstock, New York’s WDST in 1998, and over the past ten years used the morning show to introduce artists like Coldplay, Dido and Franz Ferdinand. Bentley’s promotion will excite fans of groovy beats, as the DJ and producer has focused much of his career on electronic music, with his KCRW show “Metropolis” and a long-running Saturday night show on Los Angeles alternative juggernaut KROQ. We’ll see how well his laid-back late-night DJ persona translates to 9am.
KCRW broadcasts on no less than 12 frequencies and translators across southern California, and over the years its mix of progressive (but not too crazy) music and NPR news has become one of the symbolic cultural pillars of Los Angeles. For non-Angelenos, KCRW has also established itself on the forefront of online streaming, with three internet channels: the live simulcast, an all-music stream, and an all-news channel. Their focus on new music tends to make them a better online choice than other public music stations like Seattle’s slightly-too-eclectic KEXP or Minnesota’s not-quite-current-enough The Current. Before you decide your writer has drunk the KCRW Kool-aid, there are annoying parts as well: the music often defaults to vaguely-worldly Thievery Corporation-style dinner party beats, and their hosts’ chilled-out style sounds a lot like that parody of FM radio Larry did on “Three’s Company.” However, while their introduction of Coldplay and Dido to America doesn’t exactly make them my heroes, I’ll freely admit that I’ve heard much of my favorite music for the first time on their airwaves, and for introducing me to J Dilla, KCRW will always have a place in my heart.