KCRW unveils new website; invests $10M in technology and programming

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Los Angeles radio station KCRW has launched a newly designed website containing archived and feature content in addition to a live webcast stream. the new site kicks off a $10-million initiative that will invest the money in technology and programming.

Founded in 1945, KCRW is a local station affiliated with Santa Monica College, and it attracts a global audience with an ambitious slate of original programming, some of which has been in the schedule for decades. KCRW enjoys a far-flung reputation as a musical tastemaker.

The new website functions as an ideal online-listening destination, and its most important technical update is an always-on-top player which controls the stream without interruption as the user moves about the site. (A spokesperson told RAIN that the player is built in HTML5, and therefore works in iOS and Android devices more reliably than a Flash player would.)

Anchoring the programming day is a three-hour morning show called Morning Becomes Eclectic, which was created in 1978. Featuring interviews and in-studio performances, the program is presented on the site in the live stream, with synchronized video.

Most of KCRW’s original programs are archived, podcast-like, on the site. Activating one of those streams takes over the on-top player, continuing the nonstop listening even if you click away from the show page.

The new site is decidedly mobile-first, meaning that it works well in a phone browser (for those who choose not to download a dedicated KCRW app), and even uses standard app iconography for menus. This site is designed for the digital lifestyle that moves smoothly from computer to phone to tablet.

KCRW told RAIN that the $10-million investment is the first major capital campaign in its 75-year history, raised mostly from foundations and private donors. On the balance sheet, this piece of fundraising is layered atop the station’s operating budget, which depends on underwriting, grants, and listener-members.


Brad Hill