Monday, May 12, 2008

May 13, 2008


Alan Rich reports this to his email list:
So I hear: In an ominous move officials at Cal State Northridge have taken the unprecedented step of cancelling the Pledge Drive of KCSN-FM, the feisty little public radio station for which they hold the license. The station, which was awarded “Best of LA” by Los Angeles Magazine in 2006… offers the most exciting classical music programming in the city (and maybe the country) – often presenting music by living composers as well as an unusually generous amount of 20th century music (as well as ancient music, rare and ‘difficult’ music) and daily chats with a broad group of members of the Arts community (cutting-edge composers, musicians, writers, choreographers, filmmakers, playwrights, jazz players, etc.) by acclaimed interviewer Martin Perlich (author of The Art of the Interview).

While classical music is presented every weekday 6am – 6pm, weekends are occupied by unique “Roots” programming: “Bluegrass, classical country, singer-songwriter, world music, blues, a 2-hour program devoted to Bob Dylan and more.

Recently University Management, through KCSN’s GM Fred Johnson, fired Les Perry, the station’s best programmer and fundraiser… The subsequent outcry from listeners and members -- 90% of the station’s operating budget is provided by listener-members -- has caused new Dean Robert Bucker (backed up by CSUN president Jolene Kester and Provost Harry Hellenbrand) to cancel the Pledge Drive out of “sensitivity to ‘the community” which, responding negatively to the program changes, will negatively affect progress on CSUN’s new $125 million-dollar Valley Performing Arts Center whose groundbreaking was celebrated last week.

Observers believe that in cutting off funding through cancelling the Drive, the University higher-ups have signaled their long-expressed desire to change KCSN’s format – possibily handing off (as KPCC recently did) to large national pubcasting networks like Minnesota Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio or a similar entity, leaving Los Angeles with one classical station, whose classical programming is far less enterprising than KCSN’s.

To support the invaluable Martin Perlich and classical music at KCSN... write (all at or call:

Jolene M Koester, CSUN President
818. 677-2121

Wm Robert Bucker, Dean of Arts, Media, and Communication
818. 677.2426

Harry Hellenbrand, CSUN Provost & VP of Academic Affairs

Thanks to Larry Mayer, Program Director at WETS 89.5, for passing on some of this information.

And thanks to Vanessa Butler for letting us know that Alan’s site,, makes its debut in early June. Can’t wait!


Sorry that I repeated an incorrect title for OC Register’s recently departed Steve Plesa. I appreciate this note -- subject line: Not Dead (yet) -- from Travel Editor Gary Warner with clarifications:

Hi Laura.

Unfortunately, one erroneous listing in the OC Weekly has spread like kudzu.

The travel editor of the Orange County Register was not laid off. I am still here.

Unfortunately, my good friend and boss, Steve Plesa, the team leader for food, travel and new products, was laid off.

OC Weekly also misspelled the name of the designer who was laid off. It is Neil Pinchin.

Gary Warner
Travel Editor
The Orange County Register

May I add that I happen to know what kudzu is because my husband is an REM fan.

Jasmine. Not kudzu.
Photo by Hugh Stegman


Thanks to the ever-alert Lucy Pollak for reporting that Melissa Masatani has returned her post as What’s On editor at the Argonaut. They ask that we send listing submissions, story ideas, photos, etc. to her at whatson@ (see rest below). 310.822.1629, x 118. Rest of address is


In contrast to the welcoming Argonaut, here’s my rant on the topic of listings submissions. How annoying is it to have to fill out online forms in order to submit events to certain newspapers? Especially when, for many of them, it’s not like you just type in the event name and then paste in the press release. Got an email yesterday from a weekly newspaper that shall remain nameless, which now insists that it will only accept event listings via an online form, and the calendar editor asks that her address be taken off email lists. I checked out the form and it’s pretty cumbersome and time-consuming. Even the LA Times form for such listings is simple and takes about a minute or less to complete. I wonder if this policy will result in this “shall remain nameless” newspaper – and others like it – not getting press releases via email that they might actually want to know about? I doubt very much that the Jerusalem Symphony, for example, would know of, much less abide by, this policy. For example, of course. I am removing this contact from my email list to comply with her request, but I’m not going to deal with the form. I just don’t have the time.


Not sure when this happened, but La Opinion's Alicia Morandi is now editor of the weekly Contigo section ("a practical how-to guide for the Latino family”), which includes “health advice, tips on jobs and education, advice on personal finance, a Women’s Page (beauty, health, recipes, children), a Men’s Page (gadgets, autos) and a community events calendar.” Morandi’s replacement as the newspaper's lifestyle editor is Virgina Gaglianone, overseeing features, religion, food and health and medicine.


The Times' Readers Representative blog also announced that long-time staffer Connie Stewart has joined the National Desk as night editor.

Media Bistro reports that OC Register home improvement columnist Jennifer Bush writes her first column for the OC Register under her new married name, Jennifer Meyer, only to announce that it's the last column she'll ever write for the paper.

Cision's The Navagator announced this about a week ago:

Ben Sisario has been named culture reporter at The New York Times. Most recently, he served as the music listings editor, a position now filled by Sunita Reddy.

Also about a week ago (hey, I’m supposed to be on vacation!), LA Observed reported these moves and changes:

The LA Times:
is moving California political writer Phil Willon onto the Los Angeles City Hall beat.
Staff memo here.

The Daily News:
is losing LAUSD beat reporter Naush Boghossian, the type of aggressive reporter the DN needs to cultivate. She gave notice last week, the same day that Carolina Garcia reported in as the new editor. Boghossian is leaving the news business for PR, I'm told at Larson Communications, which has education clients.

The Los Angeles Daily Journal
[loses] Ryan Oliver… for public relations, taking on the Police Protective League and U.S. Army accounts for Weber Shandwick Worldwide's Los Angeles office. He used to cover City Hall and more recently was on the criminal courts beat.


Media Bistro’s PR Newser reports on some good reasons to avoid mass media emails. It’s an interesting read. I’ll just add that my little blog actually gets some of that un-tailored kind of mail, apparently from PR folks who haven’t taken the time to read it. Not that I mind being offered free CDs!


... a shout out to the cool folks at The Donahue Group. Nice to meet you all!!