How race took down one of LA’s most popular public broadcast shows.
The announcement came without fanfare that Friday in August, during the last 10 minutes of one of L.A.’s most popular morning radio shows: This would be the final episode of The Madeleine Brand Show.
Not quite two years before, Brand had premiered her eponymous hourlong show at 9 a.m. on Southern California Public Radio, 89.3 KPCC. “This show is going to be a little different than what you’re used to hearing at this hour,” Brand told listeners that first day.
She was right. Brand’s show was a departure from the stuffy BBC Newshour she replaced. She played Skrillex between segments, featured a regular pop culture segment called “Awesome/Not Awesome” and hosted comedy team the Sklar Brothers. Those items might be interspersed with, say, a dissection of the defense spending bill, or a sound-rich, 12-minute feature about a deadly flash flood on the L.A. River.
In its first 23 months The Madeleine Brand Show gained both listeners and acclaim. It had the highest Arbitron share of any show on KPCC, and in February it added a Golden Mike for “best news and public affairs program” from the Radio and Television Association of Southern California to a trophy case already boasting awards for writing, reporting, features and use of sound.