KPCC hires former Times Editor Russ Stanton
Southern California Public Radio President Bill Davis announced the move Tuesday afternoon, saying he hired Stanton as part of a push by the station to improve its quality and extend its reach in Southern California.
While the other top public radio stations in the Los Angeles area focus on music or a combination of music and news, KPCC has carved out a unique niche by focusing almost entirely on news and public affairs. It has become the most listened-to public radio station in the region with that format, according to Arbitron ratings, and is hiring reporters to increase its heft both on the air and on its website.
“As a news organization, all of us here have great respect for the Los Angeles Times — and admiration for the work Russ did there during his tenure as editor,” Davis said in a statement. He added that the hiring reflects a “commitment to journalism and creating a public forum to debate the most important issues of the day.”
Stanton, 53, left The Times last month in what was described as a “mutual decision” between the editor and Times President and Chief Operating Officer Kathy Thomson. Stanton had served as editor for four years, a period during which online readership grew to 17 million readers a month and the paper won three Pulitzer Prizes, including the Public Service award for uncovering corruption in the city of Bell.
“I am very excited to be joining the staff of my favorite radio station,” Stanton said. “In addition to learning a new medium, the fun part of this job will be expanding the news operation to cover urban issues that are important to Southern California, such as education, public safety and immigration.”
While many other news organizations have been hit by the bad economy and the flight of advertising and forced to lay off staff, KPCC has been growing. With the hiring of 20 new producers, editors and reporters over the last year, the station now has a news department of 57. It plans to make more than a dozen additional hires this year, according to the station’s website.
The station has launched blogs on immigration, education and the environment, among other topics — with reporters on those beats also contributing to KPCC’s signature on-air program, such as “The Madeleine Brand Show,” “Air Talk” with host Larry Mantle and the “Patt Morrison” show.
-- James Rainey
Photo: Russ Stanton. Credit: Los Angeles Times