New Beginnings: The New Rhythm Planet Program

Tom at the Mic (1980)

After being with you for over 20 years on Sundays—and for 34 years since I began producing radio shows for KCRW—today will be my last live broadcast show. It’s been a joy and incredibly rewarding for me to share my favorite music with you over this long stretch of time. That’s me in the old John Adams Middle School studio back in the early days of Morning Becomes Eclectic, probably around 1980. How time flies!

I’m actually not leaving KCRW, just making a transition to our new digital platform, where I’ll be hosting a new online show that I’m very excited to share with you called Rhythm Planet. This new show will be a companion to my ongoing KCRW blog which I’ve been writing for the past couple of years.

On Rhythm Planet, I’ll produce a weekly feature with jazz, world, and latin music, exclusive interviews and live sessions. Mining from my MBE archive, I will be presenting rare interviews with many of the legendary musical heroes and giants. I’ll also appear monthly with Jason on Morning Becomes Eclectic to showcase my latest world music recommendations.

KCRW will soon launch a Rhythm Planet CD Club where I pick my favorite jazz and world music titles as premiums for members. I’m also hosting KCRW’s Up Close program with jazz pianist Alan Pasqua on May 20 at the Jerry and Anne Moss Stage in Santa Monica. Alan will join me in presenting a live history of jazz piano from honky tonk to Keith Jarrett, Cecil Taylor, and beyond. I’m absolutely thrilled about this upcoming event and look forward to seeing many of you there!

The first new Rhythm Planet feature is already up and running so be sure to check it out. Finally, for the first time since it aired on Morning Becomes Eclectic in June of 1986, you can now hear my interview with the legendary Nigerian afrobeat superstar Fela Kuti.

This is especially timely because Fela! The Musical has returned by popular demand to LA for its second big run at the Ahmanson Theatre, but also because Fela Kuti had always been a constant musical presence here on KCRW since I first played his rebellious music 30 years ago. The Fela feature is just a prelude to much more to come on my new Rhythm Planet program. I’ve got many other musical immortals in the pipeline too:   interviews with Peter Tosh, Alice Coltrane, Ibrahim Ferrer and many more are coming soon!

I want to thank my great production assistants Bob Werne—who’s been with me since 1993—as well as Mary Falcone and Camellia Tse, who’ve helped me so much in producing my live shows and enjoying them even more.

Please stay in touch and follow me as I embark on this new venture. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Of course I’ll miss doing live radio, being an old-time deejay, but this is not an ending—just a transition and a new beginning.

So please do listen online, become members of the KCRW Rhythm Planet CD Club and come out on May 20 for Up Close with pianist Alan Pasqua. As always, feel free to contact me directly through the station or at tomschnabel.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks so much for your support…and for listening!

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