KCRW's Jason Bentley Stepping Down as Music Director and 'Morning Becomes Eclectic' Host

Mark Leibowitz
Jason Bentley

The Santa Monica-based station will conduct a nationwide search for Bentley's replacement.

Longtime KCRW music director and Morning Becomes Eclectic host Jason Bentley is leaving the Santa Monica-based public radio station after ten years, it was announced Thursday (June 13). Bentley’s final Eclectic episode behind the mic will air August 30, 2019.

“It’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve this community, working closely with musicians and local arts institutions, and helping shape the sound of the greatest radio station on Earth,” said Bentley in a statement. “Now, I’m excited to explore new directions and make way for KCRW’s continued success.”

KCRW’s Anne Litt will fill in as the station’s interim music director while a nationwide search is conducted for Bentley’s permanent replacement. He will continue to host KCRW’s Saturday-night global electronic mix show Metropolis.

“Every Music Director at KCRW has made their lasting mark on KCRW and Jason is no different,” added KCRW president Jennifer Ferro. “His radio-perfect voice and impeccable music taste has inspired so many. Jason’s attention to detail and programming instinct made a true impact here. I know he leaves KCRW in a better place and am excited to see what else he does next.”

Speaking to Billboard, Ferro characterized Bentley’s coming departure as something of a tradition, noting that all three previous music directors and Eclectic hosts — namely Tom Schnabel, Chris Douridas and Nic Harcourt — served in the role for roughly the same length of time.

“When [Jason] started this role, we had talked about this -- and it's really kind of a ten-year role at the max,” said Ferro, who has worked with Bentley at KCRW for over 25 years. “And then after that, it's time to move aside and let a new kind of tone be set for music at KCRW. We want KCRW to always remain fresh and alive-feeling.”  

Ferro said she isn’t yet certain what the nationwide search for Bentley's replacement will look like, but she wants to make sure that whoever steps into his shoes “reflects Los Angeles and sounds like LA.” That said, the right person won’t necessarily be local. “You can have an LA sensibility and live in New York,” she added.

Past August 30, Ferro expects that a rotating lineup of KCRW’s current DJs (who they'll also be considering for the job) will serve as fill-in Morning Becomes Eclectic hosts until the station finds a suitable replacement.

Bentley began working as a volunteer at KCRW following his graduation from Santa Monica High School in 1988 and earned his first regular weeknight air shift in 1992. He was named music director and Morning Becomes Eclectic host following the departure of Harcourt in 2008.

During his time at Morning Becomes Eclectic, Bentley has hosted countless in-studio performances and A-list guests including Elton John, David Lynch and Jack White. He also spearheaded the station’s Summer Nights concert series as well as its annual Halloween party Masquerade, and consulted on KCRW's World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl.

Outside his role at KCRW, Bentley has worked as an A&R representative, concert promoter and music supervisor for films including the Matrix trilogy and Tron: Legacy. He's also hosted and DJed at events included Coachella, the Electric Daisy Carnival and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Ball.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Jason Bentley "spearheaded" KCRW's World Festival. He is a consultant. 


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