To those of us here in the basement, and to his many, many fans, Tom Schnabel is pretty much the “godfather.”

As KCRW’s first music director, he broke the rules of traditional public radio (jazz and classical ONLY!) to play something that, at the time, was considered much edgier: world music. He thereby cemented KCRW‘s place as a radio station that would always break new ground.

He’s a traveler who gathered records in each country he visited, bringing them back to his home base in Venice, where he worked as a lifeguard until he retired just a few years back. He played those records on the air for rabid fans excited about being exposed to Afrobeat, Latin music and beyond.

His expertise is mind boggling, and truly there is no way a two-hour, once-a-week show can even come close to capturing it.

So as Tom led us into the future before, he leads us again – this time into the digital realm. His enthusiasm is infectious and his knowledge is vast so we wanted to figure out a way to properly share it with the world.

Tom has helmed an incredible blog called Rhythm Planet for the last few years (sample headlines: Apollonian v. Dionysian Music Experience, The Vatican vs. Rhythm and (specifically) Tango and, his all-time most popular, Steve Jobs at Home: Only Vinyl, Please).

The blog is an education from one of the world’s authorities on music and it will now be the core of a larger platform including a weekly audio show, live music events and a membership club.

We’re really excited for Tom’s new ventures. Tune in for his last on air show this Sunday and leave a comment of congratulations below! I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.


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  • BetsyKCRW said:

    Congratulations Tom! So looking forward to more from you and Rhythm Planet! I love your blog and that it kinda lets the world get a glimpse into what is the most incredible pleasure of knowing you! <3 Betsy

  • Bob Wisdom said:

    Whats Up Buddy… I’m down here in Nashville and just heard my old friends show is going off the air… Man THIS IS SAD NEWS… much of the quality of LA life world music style was fostered in the community that came together around your show… I’ll catch up on this digital and blog stuff but … you will be missed !!!! Living on the road the past several years … I could bring my Sunday’s home by listening to you online… Keep Rocking Tom…. you’ll always find me in the park with my Hang :) or with the Gnawa someplace… keep having BIG fun !!!! Bob

  • Harriet Brwon said:

    Oh, no, no, no, no, no!!!! Tom – there is NO ONE WHO COMPARES TO YOU! So sad. Thank you for the many years of enlightenment. Will try to follow online, but huge loss to those who truly treasure the best Sunday afternoons with true eclectic treasures. much love -

  • Stefanie Falco said:

    This really is a bummer. Tom’s show on Sundays was the highlight and comfort of my weekend. I loved KCRW but in the past couple of years it has become more and more boring and less unique. First Nick Harcourt leaves and now this. After listening to the new lineup this weekend, I shut off my radio because all the shows sound the same. And many of those shows play good, but depressing music. Tom’s show had life and energy. It made me happy. I always associated and loved KCRW with world music. Now they play mostly what any other indie station plays. Too bad…

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