KCRW music programming upgrade

A little more than a  month ago, Jason Bentley became the host of KCRW’s flagship music program, Morning Becomes Eclectic, (9 AM to noon, weekdays,) also taking over as music director of the public radio station that makes its home at Santa Monic College. It was only by chance that I heard the announcement in mid-November from the morning DJ/music director he replaced, Nik Harcourt. (Harcourt still has a Sunday evening slot.)

I’ll be honest; even though Harcourt’s passion for music was obvious, I was not a fan of most of what he played and I was not a regular MBE listener. But Bentley’s eponymous evening KCRW program (nee Metropolis) was a favorite, and when he sat in occasionally for Harcourt I found myself repeatedly checking the real time playlist on their site to get the artists’ names. Whenever he subbed on MBE, he didn’t play the same sort of music that he played at night (it had a dark, electronic slant,) but I was definitely more attuned to his taste than I was to Harcourt’s.

December 1st was day one for Bentley, and the entire feel of MBE changed radically at the very beginning as he cued up the hauntingly beautiful “Sense of Touch” from Mark Isham’s soundtrack for the movie Crash. I was immediately hooked and since then, I’ve been tuning in regularly; if I miss the morning broadcast, I can listen in the evening on KCRW’s online station, although it’s trimmed to a two-hour version of the original three-hour program. All past programs are also streamable from the KCRW archives.

10 thoughts on “KCRW music programming upgrade”

  1. Ya, I was never to fond of Harcourt. He always seemed a bit full of himself. Personally, my glory days were when Chris Douridas had mornings and Tom Schnabel evenings. I’ll have to check out Bentley and see how he sits with me.

  2. Sad to see Nick go, but thrilled Jason is on now! I love his music selections on Metropolis. I’ve never heard him in the morning, so I can’t wait to tune in! Thanks Chal!

  3. Yeah, i was never a big fan of Nick’s. The music was iffy (he could never seem to put together a good set. I mean, just give me 5 good songs in a row) and he always seemed way too into himself. Jason has definitely stepped it up. And now that Garth is back on weekdays, I will actually listen to KCRW’s music during the week!

  4. Well, call me a curmudgeon, but I haven’t noticed a big difference in Bentley’s music selections. It sounds to me like he’s “dumbed down” his Metropolis playlists for the coffee crowd. Nic Harcourt got boring, but he was an institution (esp. in their fundraising – apparently Morning Becomes Eclectic is THE cash cow during their pledge drives), so KCRW is probably afraid of losing their subscriber base if Jason plays too much “edgy” stuff. Hopefully he’ll work it in slowly, but honestly I haven’t heard much difference. Just look at the live guests – same old.

    Also, has anyone else noticed that all the other music shows on the station lost their names? It’s no longer Chocolate City or Cafe LA or whatever – it’s just Garth or Tom. Only MBE has a name now. That along shows you the power of the MBE “brand” that Jason inherited.

  5. I feel pretty much the same way. Used to love Chris Douridas, and although I occasionally liked something that Harcourt played, it was rare (and getting rarer.) I just never connected with him. On the other hand, I’ve been a fan of Metropolis for years, and would frequently find myself checking the website for playlist info. Now that Bentley is handling MBE, I’ll make more of an effort to tune in in the a.m.

  6. Maybe I won’t change the dial the second I hear “morning becom…………..” Even the morning show on Indie 103 was better than the Grays Anatomy Music Hour.

  7. Jason is a fine evening music programmer. But MBE remains a boring, rather generic “alternative” music show. Perhaps better than Nik, but hardly groundbreaking. Instead MBE is now just Morning Metropolis.

  8. Allow me to be one of the few voices of dissent and say that, while I haven’t heard much of Jason on MBE yet, Metropolis bored me to tears. Harcourt’s MBE may not have been everybody’s cup of tea, but it was far and away the preferable alternative to the other local station’s “Wacky Morning Zoo” offerings.

    That said, Jason is an acquaintance of mine and is a nice guy so I’m glad to see him moving up.

  9. I’m just so happy to HAVE a music alternative to the other “wacky morning zoo” programming that Spencer mentions. I do find myself trying to remember (though I usually don’t) to check the playlist and look up a track or two. I especially love it when I hear something I already know, love, and never thought I’d hear on the radio given a spin.

    Best of luck to Jason and thanks, Chal, for giving more people a reason to try tuning in. Support public broadcasting!! :)

  10. The music from Metropolis has been completely wiped off of the station. Jason Bentley would occasionally play a slow song on Metropolis but mostly stuck to great electronic, jazz, indie rock and trance. All of that has disappeared with the Garth Trinidad whose show is way to similar to Raul Campos’s. Scott Silva should be brought back to replace Bentley on Metropolis. His show Connections was phenomenal.

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