Jason Bentley’s Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

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In the last few years, the popular website Reddit has become a way for everyday people to ask figureheads, specialists, and other people in the know questions about what they do. The result is generally a bizarre and memorable experience, with insightful questions paired with goofy fun. For example, recent AMA’s have been done by the likes of Bill Gates, Bill Nye, NPR’s Ira Glass, and even Barack Obama. They all set aside some time to answer questions on Reddit AMA.

This week, KCRW’s own Jason Bentley sat down in the studios to do a Reddit AMA. The result was astounding, and was a blast to read. Fans and newcomers came out of the woodwork to ask all manner of personal and professional questions about the music director and music supervisor’s life.

Did you miss it? You’re not an avid redditor like me? (Yes redditor a real word) Don’t worry, I’ve stepped in to highlight a few special moments in the exchange between Jason and the Reddit community. Check out this rare opportunity to get some one on one time with the man who does so much for KCRW.

There are many more thoughtful and sometimes zany questions available to read, check them out here.


User Debit72 asked:

Jason, hi. Listening to your show on KCRW for a long time … nearly 20 years. I volunteered during a few membership drives during your shift too.

I’m sure you’ve had many offers to accept jobs elsewhere. What’s kept you in the KCRW studio for all this time?

Jason responded:

It’s more of an extended family, and you know, it’s home. It’s like a big house of crazy people and you know the little secret place where you can sneak off and get a little work done, and the place where you’re going to run into somebody, it’s just sort of a touchstone over the years. So I’m just totally a KCRW person, I listen to the radio station when I’m not here, and I’m here every day. I have been here a really long time. It’s really strange, I didn’t think I would be a lifer, but it’s sort of working out that way. As long as I wake up and I’m excited to come here and excited to play that first record and that first set and figure out how I’m going to inspire people and do something special on the radio, I just don’t see a reason to stop. It’s really special to find a purpose and a calling. Not everybody finds that. We all make sacrifices here to do what we do, we take less money than we might make or we have to make other compromises in our life but it’s worth it.


User Doja_ asked:

Jason I’ve been listening to you and KCRW since I was 15-16 and it has become the soundtrack to my life, I’d first off like to thank you and the staff for everything you guys do! 1st question: How is your voice so smooth and soothing? Rumor has it, it sends men and women alike into states of delirium. 2nd question: What is your favorite 90’s 1 hit wonder, I’ll go easy and let you pick 3 :]. Lastly if you were to be stuck with 5 albums to listen for the rest of eternity what would they be?


P.S. You always have the best background tracks/interludes between sets or when you talk, I’m beginning to think you keep all those instrumentals as your own little gems, and are sending me on a musical scavenger hunt. P.P.S. Please start doing audiobooks.

Jason Responded:

1st question: Proximity effect, look it up. 2nd question: Blackstreet’s No Diggity, Eels’ Novocaine for the Soul, The Breeders’ Cannonball. 3: I’ll take a shot. I would say The Who’s Quadrophenia, The Clash London Calling, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, Radiohead OK Computer, and Massive Attack’s Blue Lines.

You’re totally right, I consider those proprietary.


User Lookitscasey asked:

JB! Long time listener/supporter of KCRW and MBE. I have built a lot of my music library around your selections and have a great amount of respect for what you and your KCRW colleagues do for artists. That said, what genre(s), if any, do you have your eye on for 2014 and who’s albums are you anticipating most?

Jason responded:

Good question. New music trends are trancehall and gravewave (a mix of witch house and chill wave, it’s the next thing). No I’m joking I just made that up.

The Beck album is superb. So is the Broken Bells record. Those 2 albums are early candidates for the best of the year when all is said and done.


User Oildig asked:

As the music director for a non-profit public radio station, do you ever feel a duty to expose KCRW’s listeners to “important” music which may not be popular among your listeners? Or does the station’s reliance on listener donations necessitate the dumbing-down of music programming to ensure sufficient funding? Is that why more eclectic, but less popular, DJs such as Tom Schnabel are no longer on the air?

Jason responded:

Well, you always want to strike a balance between things that are familiar, and things that are going to be a new discovery. A lot of our listeners tune in for music discovery specifically, so that’s a priority for us. And over the years, we’ve been able to present many many artists with their first airplay in the states. So whether it’s Adele, or Norah Jones, or whomever, it’s almost like the list runs really long. So that’s an honor and a privilege, but to your question, you want to strike a balance between things that are accessible and things that are just much more progressive. I still think that our sweet spot is pretty far left of center. I mean our world is far more independent and in most cases unfamiliar to the mainstream. Specifically for Tom, he’s still at the station and he hosts an online music blog called Rhythm Planet (http://blogs.kcrw.com/rhythmplanet/) so he is still with us. He was our very first music director in the late 1800s.


User Bwinters asked:

Hi Jason, thanks for coming here. What bands from the past decade or so do you think will hold up as classics of the era? By that I mean the bands that will remain the most culturally and musically important in the coming decades.

Jason replied:

Wow. That is a tough one. I’ll say that it was great to see Daft Punk receive 5 Grammys just a couple weekends ago. That for me was special because i presented their first DJ appearance in Los Angeles and have worked closely with them over the years, specifically on Tron: Legacy, so to see them validated at that level was pretty special. People know me as a real pioneer for electronic dance music, and they are obviously such a part of that too. The EDM movement over the past couple of decades has been my most significant genre and is my sort of “British Invasion” if you will.

As far as other bands, it’s really hard to say who will endure, especially these days it seems like you know pop music and culture moves so quickly now because of digital and the internet, you are just seeing things turning over more rapidly. I think that when record labels were in more of a powerful position, they would really help to refine artists over time, but now when artists break on the internet, it’s a little more disposable.


User Misses_Henderson asked:

Jason! Longtime MBE listener and metropolis fan here 🙂 I wanted to ask you what you think the role of radio will be as people are now using different services such as spotify or pandora. How is KCRW handling the shift? What is the role of KCRW now that so much music is so readily available.

Thank you! Love the show and all of the great music you’ve introduced me to!

Jason replied:

Thanks. Well KCRW is supportive of any emerging platform. Instead of being defensive or fearful, we look to inhabit any new platform. It still feels like a wild west and there is no doubt the streaming services are an exciting innovation, but it also feels a little bit like satellite radio 10 years ago when there was so much hype and expectation of a game changer and then it didn’t quite pan out. So my feeling is the jury is still out with streaming services but it’s definitely buzzing right now with the growth of Spotify, Beats music launched recently, things are just changing so fast and you see these artists like Beyonce (not that we’d play her) but to see her engineer the release of an album pretty much out of nowhere and exclusive to iTunes is pretty remarkable. Our principles have remained much the same but we try to embrace new technologies as they come.