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Interview: Jason Bentley's First Day on the Job at KCRW

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Photo by Drew Ressler/Rukes.com

Jason Bentley began his journey at KCRW 89.9 FM in 1988 as a volunteer. Today he takes the helm with the one of the most important jobs at the radio station: Music Director. He succeeds Nic Hartcourt who announced that he was stepping down earlier this month. That means Bentley leaves his weeknight show, Metropolis, for the popular Morning Becomes Eclectic, which airs this morning at 9 a.m. We shot over a handful questions, thanks to LAist staff and readers, to ask him about the changes, local bands and more.

One of the biggest issues on listeners' minds is the direction you'll take KCRW. They wonder how much like Nic Hartcourt you'll be and how your electronic influences will affect the morning slot. What say you?

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My responsibility in this position is to integrate the influences of all the Music Directors before me, and take it to another place altogether--which means all genres of music from all over the world.

Besides a reverence of Joe Strummer and The Clash and a good ear for underground bands that could appeal to a wider audience, I don't have that much in common with Nic musically. Nic's been great at the helm of MBE, but I'm going to bring my own music experience to the program with an appreciation of where it's been. Yes, that does mean an affinity for Electronic music and global club culture, but that's not all and I certainly will consider what works best during the morning hours.

Will you start focusing locally?

I feel like I do already to a great extent. I've been producing events locally for nearly two decades. I'm very involved in the LA scene, and KCRW is totally invested in local music, while at the same time actively making connections abroad. Personally, Silversun Pickups and Morgan Page are among my favorite local artists.