KCRW Annual Giving Report 2020-2021

How we kept people informed

As our listeners needed up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic, KCRW produced over 100 Daily Dose segments daily and then weekly over the course of 15 months.

In response to the challenges of physical social distancing brought on by a global pandemic, KCRW sought to strengthen our connections with our community and expand our reach to new audiences during a difficult time.

To keep our listeners informed throughout the rapidly changing crisis, KCRW created new programming including Daily Dose with KCRW contributor, Dr. Michael Wilkes who has spent years distilling complex medical issues for our listeners. This segment was hosted daily through early summer 2020, and then weekly on Wednesdays during “Morning Edition” through summer 2021. Dr. Wilkes provided up-to-date medical and sociological analysis of the pandemic on topics including the spread of COVID-19 misinformation, stigmas and hate-crimes motivated by the pandemic, and widespread financial hardship. 

KCRW also launched Life Examined, a brand new program hosted by Jonathan Bastian in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests against racial injustice. Each week, Jonathan and his guests explore the intersections of science, philosophy, and faith in our daily lives. Our listeners turn to us during difficult times, and compelling and thoughtful programming such as Life Examined uplifts and inspires our audience. 

In our endeavor to serve the whole person and provide our audience with bold programming, KCRW Music created Private Playlist. This series of intimate listening sessions connected our audience with Southern California’s musical figures, including Thundercat, Mia Doi Todd, and Topaz Faerie. These personal song picks and anecdotes bridged the gap between our listeners and emerging artists during a time of isolation. KCRW Music also launched In Residence, transporting our audience into the private creative spaces of some of KCRW’s favorite artists through storytelling, performances, and commentary. Featured artists included Yuna, Norah Jones, and Raphael Saadiq. Through these programs, KCRW became a conduit for the creative exchange between artists and listeners.

We also brought KCRW right to our listeners through virtual events including Trivia Nights with KCRW DJs and hosts and our first ever 24-Hours of Serenity. This free, all-day event gave participants access to guided meditation with Valerie June, kitten cams, art classes with Self Help Graphics, baguette shaping with Bub and Grandma’s, the soothing sounds of dublab artists, and comforting home haircuts with ProjectQ. These virtual events were not only safe for our Los Angeles community, but also provided access to our supporters around the country and around the world.

People listened longer

From February to May 2020, the weekly average time spent listening of our audience increased 30% as our listeners turned to us for up-to-date news and company during a time of isolation.

As many companies pivoted to remote work, our radio listenership decreased along with the drop in daily commutes. However, the amount of time people listened to KCRW across radio and digital streams grew exponentially and strengthened our relationship with our audience. Listeners were spending a significant portion of their days with us and benefited from the variety of our programming — news, entertainment, wellness, culture, and music. Through this extended time together we also exchanged new ideas, lent a supportive hand, and helped each other grow. 

People donated more

It truly takes a village. Our May 2020 pledge drive, aptly named KCRW’s Mission Critical Fundraiser, lived up to its name and brought a 74% increase in the number of supporters compared with Spring 2019. 

Our success over the past two years would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors. Not only did many listeners make a financial commitment for the first time, but so many of our longtime members increased their support during a time of economic uncertainty. This allowed us to continue creating innovative content and operate with confidence in the midst of a global pandemic. We so appreciate our members for sharing in our mission and believing in the future of public radio. Together we adapted to this new normal.

Member Quotes

  • I love how all of you fill the silence with words and energy, questions and viewpoints, lightness and darkness. I love how you always make me feel that I'm never really alone - especially now. - Elaine (Redondo Beach, CA)

  • KCRW helps make LA feel small, local and home-like. Since the stay at home orders went in place I've been listening all day every day, instead of each night or during my commute. You all have helped me stay sane, informed and entertained. Anne Litt has been my guiding light every morning. Thank you for all that you do and for being such an important part of my life in LA. - Matt (Los Angeles, CA)

  • I cannot express the gratitude I have for the companionship of KCRW. The DJ's, the music, the news, the culture (both near and far) have been so comforting during this "stay-at-home" year. My radio is on pretty much on all day, and only tuned to 89.9 FM. KCRW makes me hip, makes me move, makes me smart, makes me laugh, and sometimes makes me cry. The good kind. :) Keep on doin' what you do!
    - Your friend, David (Sherman Village, CA)

  • "I have always wanted to be a member!!! I love everything about this station. You have made me laugh, cry and everything in between. Thank you for reminding me that I’m human. It’s been a hard year" - Sandra (Torrance, CA)


KCRW Board Members list can be found here.

Champion & Guardian list can be found here.

Foundations list can be found here.

Learn more about KCRW financials in our KCRW Public Files here.