After a year of altered programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, KCRW (89.9) is back to its regular schedule with busy music weekends, late-night sets and a handful of new voices on air. The station recently announced that DJs Tyler Boudreaux, Francesca Harding, Rocio “Wyldeflower” Contreras, Candace “SiLVA” Silva-Torres and Nassir Nassirzadeh will join KCRW’s talent roster in the coming weeks.
“It’s amazing and I’m so happy,” Anne Litt, KCRW’s music program director and longtime DJ, said in a recent phone interview. “After being in this dark and strange hole, it’s like suddenly the sun is coming out. I was at the station yesterday to train a new DJ and just be there when there were other humans there. It was kind of a revelation. “
The station, which is located on the Santa Monica College campus, was a ghost town during most of the pandemic. The regular crew split into two, one group working two weeks, then moving away with the second group. Litt said it was a confusing process for staff and listeners, but it was the only way to keep things on the air and comply with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
The pandemic began right after it was announced that Litt would officially take over the helm of KCRW’s music program, despite being a voice at the station and known for curating eclectic and thoughtful playlists for two decades.
“When I started it was amazing,” she said. “Then in about six weeks we all got home and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t sign up for this. What is that?’ We kind of had to reinvent the wheel to keep this going. “
Now, as area restrictions have eased and Santa Monica College requires people to be vaccinated to be on campus, the KCRW team are able to return to the studio and resume their regular schedule. The station even announced a new show, “Freaks Only,” hosted by DJ Travis Holcombe from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. every weekday evening. Litt said she was excited about what Holcombe is bringing to the table, calling her “a talented, human picker” in her KCRW Music Insider newsletter.
“Travis was born for this show,” she said. “He has an amazing combination of being on top of what’s new – but also being on top of what’s new to him. So if he finds a cool R&B album from 1973 and it’s new to him, he’ll share it and it might be new to us. The way he composes music is just pretty and it’s a pleasure to listen to it. We have ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’, but I started to think, ‘How does KCRW sound at night?’ It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and we finally got the green light and it’s so exciting I’ve had butterflies in my stomach for about two weeks.
Boudreaux, Harding, Wyldeflower, Silva and Nassirzadeh will soon join Litt and other DJs, including the hosts of “Morning Becomes Eclectic ‘” Anthony Valadez and Carmel Novena, Jason bentley, Henry Rollins, LeRoy Downs and more. Litt said she wanted to add new voices, perspectives and musical tastes, but that was unceremoniously suspended by the pandemic.
“Now we just deploy everyone when they’re ready,” she said. Litt said she worked all week with Boudreaux, who started her night shift from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursday, September 23.
Boudreaux, who had started at KCRW as an intern and volunteer, worked at the station full-time for four years before making a buyout last year. In February 2021, she was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article saying the station did not reflect Los Angeles and “needed more black creatives and more black producers in higher leadership roles at KCRW.”
In an email, Boudreaux said his experience with the pandemic and his involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement allowed him to take a break and reconnect with his creative passions and storytelling activities. “I found my voice. KCRW is my home radio. Coming back as a DJ feels like divine timing.
During the pandemic, Litt said hosting “Morning Becomes Eclectic” before handing it over to Valadez and Carmel, and diving deep into the playlists of some of the station’s other DJs is what kept her sane. of spirit. She fell in love with jazz artist Lady Blackbird and is in heaven The latest from Saint-Vincent, “Daddy’s Home”, as well as local artists like the Latin pop group Inland Empire Quitapenas, the post-punk trio of Los Angeles Automatic and the soul group LA Gabriels. She hung on to new albums from Durand Jones & The Indications and James Blake, but was really excited by the Wet Leg duo from the Isle of Wight in the UK and their song “Chaise Longue”.
“They only have one song that we know of, but it’s pretty much the best song I’ve ever heard,” she said of the track. “Since my childhood, I have always thirsted for new sounds and this job is to share and even educate sometimes. I want a teenage girl, or someone else, to hear something she’s never heard before and be turned on by it. In high school I used to keep notebooks and every time I heard a song that I liked I would write it down and also do it in college. So if I can get anyone excited about anything, that’s the point. Getting back to the new and current DJs here at KCRW, that’s what we all do. There are so many different points of view and each point of view is special in a different way.