So much for all those pretended sounds of happiness from KPCC over the forced merger of morning show host Madeleine Brand with newcomer A Martinez. The station announced today that Brand is leaving and the station's afternoon news anchor, Alex Cohen, will take over as the co-host with Martinez.
Cohen replaces Madeleine Brand, who said Friday that she is leaving KPCC's morning line-up in order to pursue other career opportunities.
Cohen is a familiar voice to KPCC listeners as the station's anchor for "All Things Considered," NPR's afternoon news magazine, and "Marketplace," a half-hour business program that, like Southern California Public Radio, is owned by Minnesota-based American Public Media. Before joining Southern California Public Radio in 20009, Cohen was a host and reporter for NPR's "Day to Day" weekday news magazine. She also has reported for NPR's "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered" and "Marketplace."
"We are very fortunate to have in Alex a co-host with the combination of news judgment, experience and a lively, energetic on-air presence," Stanton said. "She has a range of experience in public broadcasting and journalism that few can match; she is smart, tenacious and insightful. "
Born in New York, Cohen moved to Los Angeles with her family at age 2. She earned her undergraduate degree at Brown University and a master's in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
Cohen began her professional career as a producer and director at NPR in Washington and returned to California as Los Angeles bureau chief for KQED FM, the leading public radio station in San Francisco. She has won several journalism awards including the LA Press Club's Best Radio Anchor prize.
Cohen, of course, has also played roller derby as "Axles of Evil" and co-authored the book "Down and Derby: The Insider's Guide to Roller Derby."
The Brand episode likely won't go down as a brilliant move by KPCC. Brand joined KPCC after NPR canceled "Day to Day," the national show she had co-hosted. The Madeleine Brand show was successful in the ratings and brought KPCC some NPR style not always as present in its other shows. Somewhere along the way KPCC decided the show should have a Latino co-host and after a lengthy search Martinez was hired a few weeks ago. The move has received a lot of criticism from KPCC listeners, and there's been a lot of talk that Brand was not happy. I don't think there's much surprise that a change of some kind was made, but it did occur quicker than some might have expected.
According to some Arbitron numbers that came in over the transom, Brand's show in August drew a 2.6 share, giving it higher per-hour ratings than "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered," "Marketplace," "Fresh Air" or "Talk of the Nation." No comparison was immediately available to the local KPCC shows.
Meanwhile, KPCC also dropped the Patt Morrison afternoon show. That's a lot of marquee name turnover on the schedule in just a few weeks.
Update: It's *not* going over well in the comments on KPCC's story.
Edited slightly after posting