Station Announcement

Open Letter from KCRW President Jennifer Ferro

Dear Friends of KCRW:

The past six months have been a test for all of us. Through it all, the KCRW team has worked tirelessly to deliver on our mission to inspire our listeners – across Southern California and across the globe – with the content we put on the air and online. 

I have never met a more talented or more dedicated team of people. And I have never been more honored to work among them.

Unfortunately, like so many media organizations across the country, KCRW cannot escape the long-term effects of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. We are projecting a 30% loss to our operating budget this fiscal year, primarily due to a large dip in sponsorship revenue from categories worst hit by the pandemic. 

Thankfully, our audience is growing. KCRW has moved to become LA’s #1 most listened-to public radio station over these last few months. Our digital traffic has grown as well. More people are connecting with KCRW during this time than ever before. Our membership numbers and dollars are also strong.

Earlier this year, we were able to secure a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the federal government. That, coupled with immediate non-personnel budget cuts, allowed us to keep our staff whole through August. 

However, the extended nature of the economic ramifications of COVID has now required us to take further action to preserve the financial sustainability of the station and the services we provide. 

Several weeks ago, we offered a generous voluntary separation package to all eligible employees. We know the employees of KCRW are the most important asset we have, and we wanted to give people who were interested in this option the chance to make a decision for themselves about their future. 

In the end, 24 KCRW employees took advantage of the voluntary separation program. Their participation helped stave off the need for larger cuts. In order to align ourselves strongly for the future, we made the difficult decision to eliminate four positions.  Affected employees were informed today and will be offered severance and job support, during what we know will be a difficult time. We wish all of our departing team members our gratitude for their time at KCRW. 

In an effort to avoid any further reductions to our staff, the senior leadership team will take an aggregate of 20% salary cuts with me taking the largest portion.

As we look to the future, we will lean into what KCRW is known for – music discovery, vital news and information and cultural programming. We plan to place even greater emphasis on engaging with our digital audience, which has grown significantly since the safer-at-home orders began. 

And, we will continue to advance our programming mission.

On September 9th, along with NPR, we launched Consider This, the nation’s first local/national daily podcast produced in an unprecedented partnership between both major Los Angeles NPR affiliates, KCRW and KPCC. Lost Notes: Season 3, KCRW’s documentary music podcast, launches this month with critic and poet Hanif Abdurraqib as host.

Soon, KCRW will announce our new host for our signature music show, Morning Becomes Eclectic. And later this month, we are looking forward to launching Our Body Politic, a political show by, for and about women of color, with journalist Farai Chideya. KCRW has also had great success with virtual events around music, like This Album Saved My Teenage Years, and virtual events analyzing politics, which we will continue to offer leading into this year’s landmark election.

KCRW is a special place with deep connections to the communities we serve. We remain committed to telling stories that inspire a greater understanding of the institutions and people around us. In the current moment, our mission is more important than ever. 

And while the changes we have announced this week were not easy, we know they are necessary to ensure KCRW remains strong for years to come.

Thank you for your support.

Jennifer Ferro
President, KCRW

Events, KCRW Music Announcement

KCRW Presents Season Three of Lost Notes Music Documentary Podcast, Lost Notes: 1980

KCRW Presents Season Three of Lost Notes Music Documentary Podcast, Lost Notes: 1980

Hosted by Celebrated Poet and Cultural Critic Hanif Abdurraqib, with Episodes on Stevie Wonder, Grace Jones, Ian Curtis, Sugarhill Gang, Darby Crash & John Lennon, Hugh Masekela & Miriam Makeba, and Minnie Riperton

#1 Podcast of 2019 – Vulture

This Album Saved My 1980
Virtual Event, Thursday, October 1, at 7:00 p.m. PDT
Featuring Hanif Abdurraqib, Anne Litt, Eric J. Lawrence and Dart Adams


Santa Monica, CA (September 10, 2020) – KCRW announces today details of the third season of the critically acclaimed music documentary podcast Lost Notes. Season three, Lost Notes: 1980, explores the brilliant, awkward and sometimes heartbreaking opening to a monumental decade in popular music. Hosted by celebrated poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib, all episodes of Lost Notes: 1980 will be released simultaneously on Thursday, September 24.

In 1980, the horizon was bursting with possibility. The Voyager 1 had confirmed a new moon of Saturn. “The Miracle on Ice” saw the US beat the USSR at the Olympics and the country was still buzzing. “The Empire Strikes Back” and Pac Man were released on back-to-back days. 

In the music world, the Sugarhill Gang were riding the success of “Rapper’s Delight” to release a debut album. Siouxsie and the Banshees were ascending to their creative peak, and Elvis Costello, Talking Heads and The Police all released landmark albums. Yet, 1980 also saw tremendous losses, revolutions, redefinitions and reformations. David Bowie got divorced. Lou Reed got married. Ian Curtis died before Joy Division got to touch down on a U.S. Tour. And by the end of the year, John Lennon’s death would signal the end of a rock n’ roll era. 

Lost Notes: 1980 explores the uncovered corners of this storied year. Hosted by Hanif Abdurraqib, a nationally celebrated poet and essayist from Columbus, Ohio, each episode conjures new looks at familiar artists, examining their work and their life through a uniquely personal lens. Topics include: The first full-length album from the Sugarhill Gang which set the stakes for an entirely new genre of music; how record producers set out to bring Minnie Riperton back to life; how Stevie Wonder delivered on the comeback he was due; an Ian Curtis song that the fallen singer’s bandmates used to birth New Order; a reflection on the concert that the South African government never wanted Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba to perform; how punk singer Darby Crash tried to rise to immortality, but was interrupted when John Lennon passed away the very next day; how Grace Jones rose from disco’s death rattle — reinforced and reimagined — into a new decade freshly obsessed with risk. 

Every episode of Lost Notes: 1980 will be released simultaneously on Thursday, September 24, and will be available on all major podcast platforms. 

To help celebrate the launch of the new season of Lost Notes, KCRW presents This Album Saved My 1980, on Thursday, October 1, at 7:00 p.m. PDT. Hosted by KCRW’s Program Director of Music Anne Litt, DJ Eric J. Lawrence, Hanif Abdurraqib, and music journalist/historian Dart Adams, This Album Saved My 1980 is a truly interactive event with hosts and audience alike sharing their essential albums from the decade of decadence.

More About Season Three – Lost Notes: 1980
(All episodes drop September 24, 2020)

Episode 1: Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder released seven albums from 1970 to 1976. It was an impenetrable run of albums and songs, one of the greatest in music history. Then in 1979 he faced his first defeat of the decade. Reviews for The Secret Life of Plants were harshly mixed. In 1980, Stevie was due for a comeback. Enter Hotter Than July

Episode 2: The Sugarhill Gang
In 1979, the Sugarhill Gang released “Rapper’s Delight,” a rap song with the goal of pushing MCs to the forefront. Then, in the early months of 1980, they released the first full-length rap album. The debut self-titled record wasn’t received without controversy, and wasn’t received without skepticism. But, sometimes, legacy is not about the spark itself, but about the flame the spark causes.

Episode 3: Ian Curtis
In May of 1980, Joy Division lost its lead singer, Ian Curtis. The band decided that they would carry on, though not as Joy Division. New Order had great success throughout the 80s with soundtrack-ready songs and rapturous live performances. But the first single, Ceremony, came to life the most. One written by their departed bandmate.

Episode 4: Darby Crash & John Lennon
The punk singer Darby Crash had dreams of immortality. He sought a romantic end. But Darby Crash died on December 7, 1980. The next day, by the time news of his death started circulating and radio stations in Los Angeles began their marathon of Germs songs, John Lennon lay dying in New York. News and radio stations broke away to deliver what must have seemed like a larger, more urgent heartbreak.

Episode 5: Hugh Masekela & Miriam Makeba
In December of 1980, two exiled artists and freedom fighters attempted a return to their home in South Africa for a concert. This is the story of Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba and the new, temporary home they made on a stage, within new borders, in Lesotho. 

Episode 6: Minnie Riperton
Minnie Riperton fashioned her legacy with a single note in 1974, sung at the very peak of the song “Lovin’ You.” The posthumous album is a tricky business, but in 1980, record producers tried to bring her back to life. 

Episode 7: Grace Jones
In 1980, anti-disco sentiment was at a high and Grace Jones was coming off a trilogy of disco albums. If she stayed stagnant, it felt like her career could be swept away. So out of disco’s death rattle – driven by the discomfort of white male tastemakers – Grace Jones rose, reinforced and reimagined in a new decade freshly obsessed with risk. 

More About Hanif Abdurraqib
Host of season three of Lost Notes, Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. He released Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest with University of Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times bestseller, and was met with widespread critical acclaim. His second collection of poems, A Fortune For Your Disaster, was released in 2019 by Tin House. He is a graduate of Beechcroft High School.

More About Lost Notes
Episodes from Lost Notes’ first season were listed among the best podcast episodes of 2018 by Audible Feast, The Bello Collective, and Indiewire, praising its “outside looks at some of the best music-related tales of decades past.” The second season of Lost Notes received additional accolades. Hosted by veteran music journalist and author Jessica Hopper, Lost Notes was deemed among the top podcasts of 2019 by Vulture, IndieWire, Los Angeles Daily News, Stereogum, The Verge, uDiscover Music, and Podcast Review (A Los Angeles Review of Books Channel).


For more information please contact:
Laura Cohen, LC Media,

About KCRW
KCRW creates and curates a unique mix of content centered around music discovery, NPR news, cultural exploration and informed public affairs. We are driven by the spirit of L.A. and deliver in innovative ways – on the radio, digitally and in person – to diverse, curious communities around the corner and around the world. A community service of Santa Monica College, KCRW can be found on the air in L.A., Santa Barbara, Ventura, Mojave, Palm Springs, San Luis Obispo, Berlin (Germany), worldwide via the KCRW-developed smart phone app or online at

Twitter |
Facebook |
Instagram |
YouTube |