KCRW Moves Into New Headquarters as DJ Jason Bentley Mulls His Future


KCRW Moves Into New Headquarters as DJ Jason Bentley Mulls His Future

Persuasive open radio station KCRW has at long last left the storm cellar and entered its new home: a shimmering, 34,000-square-foot, three-story $21.7 million glass structure on the grounds of Santa Monica College. Some portion of a $115 million improvement of its Center for Media and Design, it’s a sparkling, glossy and enormous advance up from its past studio — lovingly alluded to as the cell — not exactly a mile away.

A radiating station President/GM Jennifer Ferro drives Variety on a voyage through the new office, planned by Clive Wilkinson, the South African-brought into the world engineer whose eminent work incorporates some of the insides at Googlepex, Google’s Silicon Valley home. Ferro is a 25-year KCRW veteran who began as an assistant at the station, at that point took in the ropes from her incredible ancestor, Ruth Seymour (whom she prevailing in 2010), and she drove the charge to adapt the new structure. By adding high-ticket benefactors to the typical fundraiser, she figured out how to raise more than $50 million, with almost half going to development, and the rest dispensed to new programming, conveyance and mechanical updates. The names of the structure’s real recipients line the means to the second floor — each and every supporter is engraved on a divider that takes after the Vietnam War Memorial.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Gina Clyne Photography

“There are just a bunch of open radio stations that have made this sort of interest in making a network focus this way,” says Ferro. “What’s more, when you’ve tripled your studio spaces, you need to make programming to fill them.”

The greater part of KCRW’s 105 workers have been in the new workplaces for barely seven days, however certain deals and showcasing faculty have been tucked away for a year. Like every other person, KCRW music chief and “Morning Becomes Eclectic” have Jason Bentley, who simply communicated his first show, is as yet becoming accustomed to the extravagance of their new environment.

“You become acclimated with where everything was in the old studio,” says Bentley, a Boston local who has been at the station since 1992, facilitating the EDM show “City,” at that point taking over as MD and morning host after Nic Harcourt left in December 2008. “My mind is working twice as hard reasoning about where my back-up to the back-up is.”

KCRW’s turn comes at a vital time for earthbound radio, which ends up maneuvering for consideration as new, shrewd vehicle dashboards highlight such additional items as satellite radio, voice acknowledgment and membership spilling administrations like Spotify multiply the car showcase. The station is likewise in a fight with contending NPR fortress KPCC, which, with its everything talk group, drives KCRW in week after week crowd (800,000 to 540,000) and individuals (73,000 to 45,000).

CREDIT: Michael Moran/Courtesy of Clive Wilkinson Architects

“As the financial plans get greater, the weight feels progressively serious,” recognizes Ferro. “The one thing we as a whole need is to remain pertinent and keep on finding new wellsprings of funding.  We’ve all observed each arm of media get upset. It’s an exceptionally aggressive market out there.”

With its 26 singular account studios and a completely prepared auditorium committed to live exhibitions and discourses (plentiful stopping and legitimate burden ins are a noteworthy reward and a long ways from roadies compelled to haul amps over the grounds and down the lift), the KCRW Media Center is multiplying down on its duty to music, even as it includes a variety of strength appears.

“Open radio used to be a most loved thing for lawmakers to assault, returning to Newt Gingrich calling us ‘a mouthpiece of the left,’ yet things are changing,” says Ferro. “Since the posts are so wide separated, Public Radio is presently in the center, something even Republicans can bolster. It addresses the job we play in our networks. We’re not only a paper or a jukebox. We mirror our audience members’ interests, with shows about books, nourishment, film, media outlets. Also, we presently have the ability to work in any advanced arrangement.”

KCRW was established in 1945 as an approach to prepare World War II veterans in the then-new innovation of FM broadcasting — its call letters represent College Radio Workshop. The station turned into a sanction individual from NPR in 1970, making Santa Monica College simply the second junior college to claim an open radio station.

Bentley gauges he’s been broadcasting live for 12 to 17 hours out of every week on KCRW throughout the previous 27 years, so while he’s tickled to work in another structure, it’s likewise been an opportunity to evaluate his own vocation goals. “It’s pleasant, brilliant and radiant here,” he says. “Extremely noteworthy, exceptionally energizing… By far the greatest change for this station in its history.”


Bentley has been associated with making arrangements for this minute for over 10 years, and the previous summer started some tinkering on the ability side, with the exit of long-lasting Sunday night benefactor Gary Calamar, who joined another individual KCRW alum Harcourt at Cal State Northridge’s KCSN.

The progressions made Bentley consider his very own future, regardless of whether he has no prompt plans. “Partially, my central goal has been practiced here,” he says. “The noteworthiness of the move to this new physical space isn’t lost on me personally.  It’s only a decent time to consider my own development direction. With this new part, it might be the ideal opportunity for another perspective here. It sounds self-assertive however I’ve generally had a ten-year outline as a primary concern, and I recently denoted that achievement.”

Obviously, there’s still a great deal on his plate right now to try and mull over anything else. “The key is building extensions to networks outside of our air pocket,” he says about adding supporters and audience members to the station. “Now and again I feel we invest a lot of energy wasting time going on and on in our very own reverberation chamber. We have to work more earnestly to contact new groups of onlookers in this city by being crude, on the ground.  We’re in excess of a radio station. We are a piece of the texture of this city.”

Bentley’s next request of business is to tie down a booking to dispatch the station’s shimmering new execution space at a “virtual strip cutting” in May. “Being here has been a mind-blowing benefit,” he includes. “I welcome everything. I would prefer not to remove anything from this feeling of achievement we’re all getting a charge out of the present moment. Yet, I must speak the truth about what’s happening in my psyche about what’s to come.”

CREDIT: Courtesy of KCRW

Ferro is as yet squeezing herself, the summit of a long, much-deferred voyage to her new surroundings.  She calls the new open structure of the fresh out of the box new KCRW Media Center a gesture to the days of yore of working in one room, where on the off chance that one of the 30 or so representatives had something to report, they’d just yell it out for everybody to hear.

“After everybody had unloaded their containers and sat at their work areas, that is the point at which the tears began to stream,” she says. “The best part for me is the point at which I can catch individuals cooperating and teaming up.”

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