2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

KCRW cares about diversity of thought, of voices both inside KCRW and what we put out as a media organization. These are the actions we are taking to continue building a better, more equitable organization and make an impact on public radio as a whole.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

KCRW creates and curates a unique mix of content centered around music discovery, NPR news, cultural exploration, and informed public affairs. KCRW is driven by the spirit of Los Angeles and delivers in innovative ways – on the radio, digitally and in person – to diverse, curious communities around the corner and around the world. A community service of Santa Monica College, KCRW can be found on the air in LA, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Mojave, Palm Springs, San Luis Obispo, via the KCRW-developed smart phone app, and online at kcrw.com.

Introduction: Letters to Our Community

Last summer, KCRW continued our commitment to better reflect the diversity of the community we serve, both within our organization and in the stories and content we put out into the world. Since then, we have been working from top to bottom and inside out, to fulfill the KCRW Pledge for Equity.

Over the past year, we have thoroughly reexamined every facet of our operations to ensure we are embracing and showcasing diversity of voices and diversity of thought. We have formed dedicated task forces and engaged leading experts to guide us in these efforts. We have made critical new hires, invested in new tools and welcomed new faces to our Board. We are also taking a detailed look at the voices we feature and the news that we cover.

This is the first of what we intend to be an annual report to the community. It provides a snapshot of where we are today and outlines the path forward. As you will see, we are making meaningful progress toward each of our Pledge for Equity goals. And while there will always be more work to do, we are already seeing the positive impact of these ongoing efforts to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.

KCRW is a special place with deep connections to the communities we serve. We are sharing this update with you because we believe this work is essential to fulfilling KCRW’s mission as a public radio station, and we know it is important to be honest and transparent about what we have accomplished so far as well as the work that lies ahead.

Transforming an organization not only takes time, it takes deliberate commitment. This is my commitment and KCRW’s.

We are grateful for your continued support. Sincerely,

Jennifer Ferro President, KCRW

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Dear Members of the KCRW Community,

As KCRW’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, we strive to set the pace for and model a more supportive and just workplace. We take seriously our role as ambassadors and have made substantial progress toward mapping KCRW’s current diversity landscape and identifying strengths and areas for growth. In keeping with our commitment to promoting trust and transparency, we are sharing the first annual KCRW Pledge for Equity Community Report. 

Significant findings regarding the diversity of KCRW’s staff and leadership, as well as the first concrete steps toward greater equity, are included in this document. Our task force was specifically responsible for KCRW's Community Agreements, based on the three principles of keeping perspective, actively engaging, and building relationships. We feel strongly that the agreements—and all of the activities outlined in the report—demonstrate the deep investment we have in listening, learning, and collectively enacting change at KCRW. 

The DEI Taskforce

KCRW Pledge for Equity Annual Report:
August 2021

KCRW Pledge for Equity

KCRW cares about diversity of thought, of voices both inside KCRW and what we put out as a media organization.

These are the actions we are taking to continue building a better, more equitable organization and make an impact on public radio as a whole.

KCRW Pledge for Equity Quarterly Report:
February 2021

Our goals:

  1. Build a diverse workforce and audience that reflects the racial, ethnic, LGBTQIA and gender make-up of Los Angeles
  2. Foster an anti-racist culture within KCRW

Jan-March 2021 Progress Update:

DEI Trainings for All Staff

  • We held 5 DEI education workshops for staff in 2020 on Unconscious Bias
  • We have engaged Gamal Palmer from Conscious Builders as a facilitator to lead quarterly workshops in 2021 and work with the two task forces to execute community action plans for KCRW.
  • Annual DEI workshops and trainings for all staff will be committed to our budget going forward.

Task Forces

Language and Framing Task Force: Content diversity

  • The task force has created a sub-committee which will receive and respond to queries, flagged issues, complaints, and praise.
  • The subcommittee will design a process for how to handle flagged issues that involves how teams are consulted and how to routinely report back to the larger group. And to potentially revise a style guide entry or provide guidance. An update on this process will be shared at the March staff meeting.
  • The task force is brainstorming new media subscriptions for KCRW to subscribe to that could broaden the research and sources that our producers use for daily story pitches.
  • We are also looking at compiling a ‘best practices’ memo for how to use translations and voice over in audio pieces. We will build off the best practices of others in the industry.
  • The task force also brainstormed ways for all staff to feel more comfortable bringing up story ideas or sending along pitches to the content teams. We gave an explainer at the Feb 9, 2021 staff meeting on how to reach out to the newsroom with an idea, and to welcome that input.

Workplace Diversity Task Force

  • We built relationships with representative groups to help diversify our pool of applicants, including:
    • National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures
    • PRADO
    • Latino Journalists of California
    • Latino Multimedia Communicators FB Page
    • Young Black Journalists FB Page
    • Journalists of Color in Public Media Slack Page
    • Diverse Social Media Editors & Digital Journalists FB Page
    • National Association of Hispanic Journalists
    • National Association of Black Journalists
    • Professional Diversity Network
    • CA diversity
  • We implemented Jobvite as our applicant tracking system to track the sources/representative groups through which candidates were referred to KCRW in order to ensure, to the best of our ability and before moving forward, the candidate pool for all jobs is representative of diversity
  • We share all job opportunities internally first
  • We are continuing to implement improvements to our hiring processes to promote conscious inclusion and ensure an equitable candidate experience
  • Each team, led by their manager, created a roadmap with goals to contribute to the diversity and inclusion of KCRW.

Source tracking

  • As of Tuesday Jan 26, a diversity tracker was rolled out for use by Press Play, Greater LA, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Left Right & Center.
  • We gave a tutorial to those news teams during the week of February 1 to help provide language tips and best practices.
  • The task force has made changes to the tracker and will continue to make tweaks and use this data as they continue to set diversity goals. A summary of the initial data was shared at the February Staff Meeting including a geographic map of stories covered on Greater LA.

Pay equity study

  • KCRW hired an independent third party to conduct a pay equity study, a statistical analysis of pay to evaluate pay equity across race and sex, controlling for seniority, education level, number of direct reports and job groupings.
  • In the regression and rank-sum analysis, no statistically significant disparities were identified for race or sex.
  • Race was analyzed both by white/non-white, as well as by race classes African American, American Indian, Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic or two or more races.
  • While the analysis results were statistically neutral, KCRW further reviewed the regression outliers and made adjustments to two individuals.
  • KCRW commits to performing equity audits every two years.

Updates to Style Guide

  • The KCRW Style Guide is a living document that is updated as issues arise, as language evolves, and as NPR and AP change their own guidance.
  • The guide was overhauled in June 2020 and can be found on the Intranet.
  • News staff use the style guide when editing issues arise.
  • The Language and Framing Task force will play a support role in identifying possible revisions or additions. Significant updates, like urging the avoidance of a term or phrase, will be sent out to content teams via email and/or Chat room threads.

Fellowship/Training diversity of voices


  • KCRW News is excited to welcome two new interns for remote internships this season, as of Feb 1.
  • This program continues to enlist journalism students and young professionals from diverse backgrounds who can learn what we do on newscasts and news programs, as well as teach us and become future public radio leaders.
  • The USC-Luminary Fellowship is also back for a second year. This program pairs a graduate from USC-Annenberg with KCRW shows and podcasts.

Trainings for Report LA Fellows

  • Established two, full time, paid, two year long fellowships to train new journalists of color in public radio reporting and producing;
  • Created opportunities to do breaking news reporting that turned into a substantial, on-air Q&A segments (not just a soundbite for newscasts);
  • Utilized Hearken, a listener engagement software that allows easy solicitation of feedback and outreach to respondents. This is being used to create a fast, responsive segment on-air and digitally;
  • Ongoing work on strong first-draft writing: polished, dynamic, well-organized and writing to time;
  • Learning daily show production, working in-studio and remotely with the Greater LA team to produce interviews on deadline.

New Opportunities

  • Completed two audience engagement/listening sessions with the Snap Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee. Bringing young diverse voices to the table for active engagement on KCRW’s content and platforms.
  • Forming partnerships with diverse private and corporate foundations, as well as city agencies.

Engage with SMC's diverse community

  • SMC’s Center of Media & Design (CMD) campus Dean and discipline leaders will convene a roundtable with KCRW to integrate KCRW into their curriculum in Spring and Fall 2021.
  • KCRW will hold two open houses designed around specific job areas to show the diverse student body what kinds of career opportunities exist at KCRW and how to prepare for employment in those job types.

Diversify our audience

  • Our goal is for our total audience to reflect the demographics of Los Angeles.
  • We are in the process of collecting all audience data on audience -- radio, streaming, socials, podcasts - and identifying audience where we can.
  • These quarterly metrics will be contained in a dashboard for us to track.
  • We will build audience research into our FY22 budget that includes surveys and other information gathering to understand the habits of the audience we are lacking.
  • This process will take a few quarters to both establish a baseline and then a re-survey period.
  • Next steps are to quantify our budget for this and then identify and choose a vendor to work with.
  • In the meantime, as detailed above, our content department is collecting information on who we give the mic to, what stories we feature and which part of Los Angeles we talk about. We are collecting this in a map and the Source Tracker, a tool being rolled out to each program this year.

Quarterly Reporting on Pledge for Equity

  • To ensure accountability, KCRW will provide progress reports quarterly to our staff