Why I Didn't Donate to KCRW (or KPCC)

In an area that's over 45% Latino, no Latinos among KCRW's commentators & only 2 Latino KPCC reporters

By El Los Angelino
Published on LatinoLA: October 22, 2010

Why I Didn't Donate to KCRW (or KPCC)

Originally published at:

I can honestly say that I'm a PRJ (Public Radio Junkie).

I love to listen to Jason Bentley in the mornings. His Metropolis show was a great way to get home from long nights on a production on the Westside (the real Westside) only now I don't have to risk falling asleep at the wheel while listening to his show. I still remember the morning that Beck first made an appearance on Morning Becomes Eclectic with Chris Douridas (with Beck spinning some out of this world tales).

I am hoping that Ann Litt doesn't remember that I was the drunk guy at a Julieta Venegas show at the El Rey many years ago; whereby I was going on and on (AND ON) when I discovered that she was married to Scott Litt (producer of The dB's, REM, and of course The Replacements).

I can't remember how many times Tom Schnabel turned me onto some sonero or bachata tune. I still remember KPCC used to have music in the evenings. They used to publish a cool little newsletter when you were a member.

I remember the Sancho Show on Saturday nights (did that guy get out of Folsom?...Just kidding). I can still hear Larry Mantle's voice when he locked himself in the studio to protest a sale that wasn't going to go through to Minnesota Public Radio (of which said sale was probably the catalyst that brought KPCC the ability to explore the great heights that it has).

My wife thinks I'm a dork for listening to Click & Clack talking about car and car repair. I used to pay attention to Ruth Seymour when she would implore you to donate. Public radio has had such a great influence on my life. So, Why Didn't I Donate? Public Radio made me realize that I shouldn't donate.

Throughout most of my entire adult life, I have heard Larry Mantle or Ruth Seymour expound about the need for us to donate to public radio. They've always said that public radio is an incredible resource that would be shameful to be without. Public radio, according to them and many other DJ's and Commentators, is one of the few places to here a diversity of voices. For many years, it was the only place that I heard an eclectic cadre of voices on a constant basis. How cool was it to hear musicians from England to authors from Israel to screenwriters from the Westside speak to their hopes and dreams? So, Why Didn't I Donate? Public Radio made me realize that I shouldn't donate.

So in spite of the great music, engaging interviews, astute & fair news analysis.....I won't donate anymore. If I take to heart the idea Ruth and Larry would expose; that public radio was the marketplace for diverse voices, then I cannot donate.

In a metropolitan area that is over 45% Latino, among the various commentators on KCRW there are NO Latinos, and it would seem that the only two Latinos are DJ's Raul Campos and Anthony Valadez. I guess I'm curious as to how that constitutes a "diversity of voices." I know that MBE features Rock en Espa??ol / Latin Alternative acts and on occasion Elvis Mitchell (one of only four regular African American voices - Aaron Byrd, Mario Cotto and Garth Trinidad the others) has interviewed Mexican or Spanish directors or actors.

These "efforts" though do not represent a consistent Latino perspective or voice. Having Gustavo Arrellano (Ask a Mexican) occasionally on KPCC doesn't cut the mustard either. There's seemingly only two Latino reporters on KPCC. (BTW this isn't a race to see which ethnic or racial group gets more people on the air).

For the folks in Santa Monica and Pasadena running the stations lets go to school for a quick second. By its true definition, the notion of a "Latino" is an uniquely American Experience. There are no Latinos in Mexico; they are Mexicanos. There are no Latinos in Argentina; they are Argentinos. So why is this unique American perspective not important to the management of KPCC or KCRW?

Is it because we Latinos already have over 22 stations playing music in Spanish? For all of the intelligence that exists in that basement in Santa Monica or the Taj Mahal in Pasadena, I hope the preceding statement isn't true. For starters, most studies indicate a 1/3 of the Latino population are monolingual (I know, throwing the polysyllabic words around again) in English and over 50% are Bilingual English Dominant; meaning that over 2.25 MILLION in LA County alone (almost the entire city of St. Louis) can understand the programming on KCRW or KPCC just fine.

Why are Latino voices not important to KCRW or KPCC? I would think that intelligent people of all races, from whatever ethnic or socio-economic strata should hear each other. Wouldn't that make for a diverse marketplace of voices? What's going to happen when we reach 55% of the population (and we will) or (OMG) what about 60%? Will we then get commentators or analyst who can offer a perspective that includes people outside of Santa Monica and Pasadena. It will probably be too late anyway as the Cloud will be the broadcaster. In the meantime, as Cesar proved all to well, boycotts can work I've begun my boycott of KCRW and KPCC.

It's Pandora or Bust Baby!

About El Los Angelino:
Born and raised in the jewel of Northeast Los Angeles (El Sereno)...Husband, Father, Son (and the Holy Spirit), Musician, Comedian, and Criticon!
Author's website

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