KPCC's 'Take Two' is now minus one

alex-cohen-kpcc.jpgKPCC has announced a revamp of its four-year morning experiment to go big and beyond LA with the "Take Two" show, hosted by Alex Cohen and A Martinez. Cohen will leave the show to become the station's local host of "Morning Edition." Martinez will remain as host of a one-hour show airing at 9 a.m. Larry Mantle's venerable "Airtalk" will move back to its old 10 a.m. slot (10 to noon) and KPCC will slide "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross into the noon hour. It has not been on KPCC until 8 p.m. in recent years.

Cohen, who used to be with NPR, originally joined KPCC as afternoon news host. This is closer to that than hosting an interview show, and comes with a spiffed up title and role. KPCC is calling her "the voice of "Morning Edition." Sounds like it will be beyond what the late Steve Julian did as morning news anchor on KPCC. Here's Cohen on Twitter:

Here's what KPCC has to say:

Cohen is well known to KPCC listeners, having served as co-host of the station's award-winning morning news magazine, "Take Two," for the past four years. A native Angeleno, she first joined the station as host of "All Things Considered" after working as a host and reporter for NPR and the former national program "Day to Day." Before that she worked for KQED.

Cohen will host from the Steve Julian Studio, named for the much-loved KPCC host who passed away in April after 15 years as local "Morning Edition" anchor. She will join NPR's new "Morning Edition" host lineup of David Greene in Culver City and Rachel Martin and Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C.

Cohen will be KPCC's first morning voice for a news day anchored during "All Things Considered" by veteran journalist and broadcaster Nick Roman and a news schedule that has made KPCC the top NPR news station in the market and one of the largest in the nation in terms of weekly audience.

"The role of public service journalism has never been more vital. Innovation is at the core of that service," said Kristen Muller, KPCC's content innovation chief and head of broadcast and digital platforms. "Alex Cohen and the KPCC team will focus on developing new ways to reach our audience in the critical morning hours."

The move is part of broader program changes that will sharpen KPCC's morning news focus and broaden its reach through the lunchtime hour. Those changes include:

"Take Two" will become a one-hour morning program from 9-10 a.m., with A Martínez as host. Martínez's journalism, broadcast and host skills, rapport with audiences, knowledge and love of Southern California and established success at KPCC and ESPN equip him well to be the voice of a program built for audiences who care about what makes this place tick and want to be involved in its conversations, culture and civic life.

"AirTalk" with Larry Mantle, KPCC's signature news and talk program, will move up an hour and will air from 10 a.m. to noon daily.

"Fresh Air" with Terry Gross will add a noon airing, moving the award-winning national interview program to a prime spot. "Fresh Air" will repeat in its current slot nightly at 8 p.m.

These moves strengthen KPCC's morning and midday programming and reflect Southern California Public Radio's commitment to top-quality news coverage and civic engagement in today's intense news environment. KPCC integrates its award-winning regional and state news reporting and programs with national and international programming from NPR, the BBC, American Public Media and Public Radio International.

In moving to the "Morning Edition" host chair, Alex Cohen brings deep journalistic experience, versatile host skills, market knowledge and a strong rapport with the KPCC audience to one of the station's most important day parts. As the first voice of the morning, she will help KPCC's audiences navigate the day's news and add her interviewing skills and news judgment. Cohen will remain involved in other KPCC initiatives, including live events, new podcasts and specials.

KPCC will remain among the top public radio stations in the nation in hours of locally produced weekday programming, which will include the updated "Take Two," "AirTalk" and "The Frame," hosted by John Horn, which airs at 3:30 p.m. and repeats at 7 p.m. daily.

Launched in fall 2012, "Take Two" has brought new voices and deeper connections for public radio to the dynamic, diverse people and issues that make up Los Angeles, Orange County and Southern California.

The program staff and hosts have won numerous awards, including a 2015 Golden Mike for Cohen's profile of Van Dyke Parks and a Golden Mike the same year for the show's special broadcast from Watts marking the 50th anniversary of the Watts riots through community voices.

As part of KPCC's nationally recognized "One Nation" effort, "Take Two" took a bold and engaging approach to expand public radio's constituency — most notably among Latino audiences. Host A Martínez, also a native Angeleno, has been a transformative figure in this effort. The next iteration of "Take Two" as a one-hour program will build on these successes.

"AirTalk" returns to its former time slot from 10-noon, carrying the news forward with Larry Mantle's signature approach of informed guests and callers in "Southern California's most interesting conversation."

"Fresh Air," which now airs at 8 p.m. on KPCC, will offer listeners a lunch-hour seat at the table of one of America's best interviewers, Terry Gross, along with guest host Dave Davies and an award-winning lineup of voices on culture and politics.

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