KPCC ends 'Off-Ramp' and gives host John Rabe new role

rabe-egg-lao.jpgJohn Rabe doing science on a Sherwood Forest driveway in 2012. LA Observed photo.

KPCC and longtime host John Rabe announced on Monday that the weekend show he created 11 years ago, Off-Ramp, will end its run on July 2. Rabe will become KPCC's production and promotions director, a new post. "The new role will allow the station to integrate more of John's aesthetic throughout the program schedule," the station's web story says.

Wow. "Off-Ramp" is a one of a kind program in Southern California media, airing slices of life, conversations and feature stories that don't otherwise make it onto the air at KPCC or at any other radio or TV station, or in the newspapers and blogs. I don't just say that because I have been on a few times, most notably (I suppose) when John enticed me out to my old neighborhood in the Valley in summer to try to fry an egg on the driveway of the late actor Jim Davis (Jock Ewing on "Dallas.") On last weekend's show, historian Robert Petersen explained how a concrete marker along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena was a physical relic of early 20th-century Los Angeles — while frequent listeners would have recognized Rabe doing 30 seconds in the voice of an old-timey denizen of "Hog Hollow."

In the same episode, "Off-Ramp" had segments on Jim Henson's son Brian, the meaning of the old "Twilight Zone" TV show and the possible revival of the once-classic Hollywood watering hole the Formosa Cafe. Recent shows have included lengthy bits of time with LA music legend Big Jay McNeely and actor George Taeki, the zine collection at the Long Beach Public Library, and an exit interview with LA Chamber Orchestra conductor Jeffrey Kahane. Plus a half-dozen other stories every Saturday at noon.

KPCC hasn't said how it plans to use the hour on Saturdays (repeated on Sunday nights.)

Here's the official word:

"John embraces Southern California and its amazing diversity," says Kristen Muller, Head of Programming and Content Innovation. "He brings the region’s people, places and stories to life like nobody else. As KPCC strives to improve its service, it makes sense to put our strongest broadcasting foot forward. That’s John."

John first joined KPCC as the host of “All Things Considered” in March 2000. For the last 11 years, he’s hosted “Off-Ramp,” where he’s displayed a unique ability to connect Southern Californians through sound. The show has won many awards (including ‘Best Public Affairs Show’ from the RTNDA) and has been a launch pad for talented producers and reporters including "The Dinner Party Download," Queena Kim, Kevin Ferguson, and James Kim.

In his new role, John will work with Sal LoCurto, Director of Programming, to bring a more creative approach to all our on-air promotion. He will also work closely with our locally produced shows, especially with reporters and producers new to the medium, helping them to capture the fun and flavor of radio.

“This is a change I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” said John. “Frankly, when Steve Julian died, I questioned if I was challenging myself enough, if I was doing what I really wanted to do. This new role will be a little bit scary and very exciting, and while I’ve loved helping Southern Californians tell their stories on Off-Ramp, I look forward to working with my colleagues to help them have the fun I’ve had on Off-Ramp.”

Previously on LA Observed:
KPCC's John Rabe makes the Weekly's Couples Issue
More palm trees - and the topic moves to 'Off-Ramp'
LA's last gay piano bar
Campanile's Mark (The Voice) Peel joins 'Off-Ramp'
LA Observed Script Project gets a reading

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