KCRW Names New Music Director as Search for ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’ Host Intensifies
Anne Litt is KCRW's new program director of music, the Los Angeles radio station announced Thursday (Jan. 23).
Anne Litt is KCRW’s new program director of music, the Los Angeles radio station announced Thursday (Jan. 23).
Litt — who has been serving as interim music director since Jason Bentley stepped down from the position in August — is the fifth person to fill the role after Bentley, Nic Harcourt, Chris Douridas and Tom Schnabel. She joins two additional executive hires at the NPR affiliate: Paul Bennun, who was recently tapped as the station’s chief content officer; and director of digital content Drew Tewksbury, who previously served as book editor at the Los Angeles Times.
“I’m thrilled to have Anne Litt as the new Program Director for Music,” said KCRW president Jennifer Ferro in a statement. “Anne has been finding and cultivating talent inside and outside KCRW for years. She’s primed to move KCRW and our signature music programming into the next era.”
Litt is a KCRW veteran, having joined the station in 1996. She currently hosts KCRW’s weekend afternoon music program and is also serving as interim host of the station’s flagship music show Morning Becomes Eclectic while the search for Bentley’s permanent replacement continues.
It’s worth noting that Litt is the first KCRW music director who will not also serve as permanent host of Morning Becomes Eclectic, a move she chalks up to the station’s rapid growth. In March, KCRW moved into a brand new, state-of-the-art $21.7 million building on the campus of Santa Monica College, and it now boasts north of 100 employees.
“This sounds so trite, but we’re more than just a radio station now,” Litt tells Billboard, noting that since taking over as interim music director she’s been tweaking the station’s music programming, including pre-recording more artist sessions (real-time footage is still available via Facebook Live) and allowing listeners to send in questions. With even bigger changes coming down the pike, she adds, “I do think the jobs [of music director and Morning Becomes Eclectic host] need to be separated out.”
In her new role, Litt is also intent on expanding the station’s reach, taking better advantage of the myriad number of platforms that are now available. “I feel like we’re putting a team in place that’s going to enable us to find listeners where they live, whether that’s on air, online, on Spotify — we’re really committed,” she says, adding that she’s also looking to “diversify” the artists KCRW books, with a greater focus on local acts. “That’s really, really important to me,” she adds.
It’s difficult to ignore one historic fact: After more than 40 years, Litt is the first woman to fill the role of KCRW music director. “Believe me, it’s not lost on me,” she says of the milestone, before hastening to add that unlike many organizations, the station features a number of women in positions of power, including Ferro, chief operating officer Jill Smayo and hosts Chery Glaser and Madeleine Brand. “I feel like I’m joining a lot of really strong, amazing women over here,” she continues. “It’s different than probably other places in the music business, so I’m grateful for that.”
In a press release announcing Litt’s new role, KCRW notes that the nationwide search for a permanent Morning Becomes Eclectic host “will now intensify,” with Litt — who estimates there are “about nine people” in-house who are interested in the job — continuing to host the show until the position gets filled. So where exactly does the search stand today?
“I honestly don’t know the answer to that,” she tells us. “Because I was also sort of up for the job.”
She adds, “Do I want to [permanently host] Morning Becomes Eclectic? Yes, I have in the past. But maybe this is a better way for me to serve KCRW right now.”
Whoever the permanent Morning Becomes Eclectic anchor ends up being, Litt agrees that after a litany of exclusively male hosts over four decades, it’s about time a woman filled the role.
“I would love to hear a woman hosting Morning Becomes Eclectic, whether it’s me or somebody else,” she said. “I mean, it’s time, you know? There’s no reason for it not to be.”