Jan 27, 2010

Seymour sings her own song in farewell interview

KCRW's Ruth Seymour offers some advice to her yet-to-be-named successor in next month's edition of Los Angeles Magazine: stay focused on creating great programming for radio listeners. "[T]he reason people listen is that they’re intrigued or fascinated or interested in the content," she says in an extended Q & A to be published on the eve of her retirement. "That’s the most important thing to remember, and it is the thing that increasingly concerns me—that independent producers, the people who are the creative types, are marginalized today in favor of the technology people. It’s a real failure not to understand that the business you’re in is programming." NPR itself would benefit from shifting its focus back to creating new programming, she adds. "It cannot simply invest in Morning Edition and All Things Considered. It must be seen—and it isn’t now—as a place that welcomes independent productions. NPR doesn’t have a program director right now who listens to new stuff....Instead the focus at NPR is online. The Internet gives NPR a voice to go over the heads of the local stations, OK? That’s the big danger." With its eclectic mix of contemporary music and news programming, KCRW has built a radio and web service that reaches far beyond the Los Angeles market; Seymour dismisses the notion that stations would benefit from uniting online behind NPR's brand. "We are not interested. We want to sing our own song."

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