Press Play with Madeleine Brand-logo

Press Play with Madeleine Brand


Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.

Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.


Santa Monica, CA




Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.




Amid baby formula shortage, how can stressed parents feed infants?

It could take two months until grocery shelves are restocked with infant formula. A pediatrician advises parents on how to feed their little ones in the meantime. “Domestic terrorism” is what Biden calls the May 14 shooting at a NY supermarket. Federal lawmakers have said that the U.S. faces a great domestic threat from extremists motivated by white supremacy. Nearly 108,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2021, according to preliminary CDC data. Meth and fentanyl are driving the surge....


Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh always looked for human side of stories

This past weekend, six mass shootings rocked communities across the U.S. What’s causing the rise in gun violence? Today the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a 20-year-old campaign finance law that limits how much money candidates can loan to their own campaigns. Israeli police say they plan to investigate how the funeral of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh turned violent. Two journalists who knew her explain why she was so revered. Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, is out...


Cutting abortion rights could roll back women’s economic gains

Gov. Newsom’s proposed $125 million legislation would expand abortion access in California, budgeting for more than 1 million abortion seekers traveling to the state per year. Abortion access translates to big economic gains for pregnant people. How will that change if Roe v. Wade is overturned? Five of California’s largest law enforcement agencies have serious issues with bias, according to the state auditor. Some police trainers are tied to far-right extremists. Critics review new film...


How OB/GYN education could be affected by fall of Roe v. Wade

Starting this August, performing an abortion in Oklahoma will be a felony. KCRW checks in with Dr. Rebecca Taub, an OB/GYN who regularly travels to Oklahoma, and now Kansas, to relieve overburdened physicians. Nearly half of all U.S. OB/GYN residency programs are in states that could ban abortions if Roe v. Wade falls. But abortion care can be applied to other specialties. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been surveilling anyone living in the U.S., from immigrants to citizens, and...


How abortion became the only political issue that mattered in 1990s

Abortions were considered common in the 19th century. How did the medical procedure become so politicized today? How abortion plays out in the Supreme Court and California — and how Democrats respond to it — will drive voters to the midterm polls and inform their decisions, says Politico’s Jeremy White. Comedian Ziwe says her show is “uncomfortable conversations with iconic people.” She likes to “play up that chaos,” asking guests about race, politics, gender, culture, and class. A...


Smartphone apps could be used to prosecute abortion seekers

Some people use smartphone apps to track their menstrual cycles. If abortion is outlawed in certain states, is their data safe? Abortion would become a homicide and constitutional rights would apply “from the moment of fertilization” — if Louisiana passes a new proposed bill. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to discourage people from buying more things because supply is low. But when rates are too high, a recession can happen. The Spice Girls’ messages of girl power,...


Not enough water for basic needs: Black farming communities struggle amid drought

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the Ukraine-Russia conflict as a proxy war between Russia and NATO. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on that characterization. Critics review new film releases: “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “The Twin,” “Marmaduke,” and “Happening.” Want to do a taco crawl but not drive all over SoCal? Get Evan Kleiman’s taco trifecta from Mercado la Paloma, a food hall in Historic South Central near USC.


Residents of color feel left out of West Adams’ transformation

Long-term residents of West Adams, a historically Black and Latino neighborhood, say they don’t fit into one real estate firm’s vision for making the area trendier. Thirteen states have laws that would restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Utah would severely limit the situations where someone could get the procedure. Although countless people travel to California for abortion services each year, the state’s own residents don’t all have easy access to abortions. TV has...


If Roe v. Wade falls, what’s next?

Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson breaks down the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court opinion draft leak on Roe v. Wade and the intentions behind it. While the leak is shocking, the opinion itself has been predicted since Justice Barrett cemented the court’s 6-3 conversative majority in 2020. California elected officials are proposing a constitutional amendment that could make abortion access permanent. Variants of COVID variants now exist, and the virus’ genetic changes...


Firefighter shortage hits US Forest Service ahead of grim fire season

The U.S. Forest Service is struggling to hire enough firefighters to handle what’s expected to be a brutal wildfire season. This summer, the Supreme Court will likely gut the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent or overturn it entirely. Democratic states are preparing for their own post-Roe reality. Tucker Carlson has strategically stoked the fears of white America to become the most-watched news show on cable TV. Danielle Ponder’s music reflects her time defending poor clients in court. She...


Rick Caruso wants to build 30,000 beds for LA’s unhoused

LA mayoral candidate Rick Caruso wants to build 30,000 shelter beds for unhoused people and hire 1,500 police officers to combat crime. Moderna is asking the CDC to authorize a COVID vaccine for children under 6 years old. Meanwhile, kids are experiencing new hepatitis cases in Alabama. Critics review new film releases: “Memory,” “Hatching,” “Navalny,” and “The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe.” Japanese okonomiyaki and Korean jeon are satisfying pancakes, perfect for customization and...


Elite college admissions are tougher than ever, perfect grades don’t suffice

This has been a record year for elite college applications and rejection letters. That’s partly because many institutions no longer require SATs/ACTs scores, so more kids think they have a shot. The GOP will likely retake the U.S. House during the midterm elections. Democrats worry that the next few months will be their last shot at passing climate change legislation. Extreme drought is forcing millions of Southern Californians to cut their water use starting June 1. How could LA’s future...


Gina Viola: Defund LAPD and raise minimum wage to $39 an hour

Community organizer Gina Viola says she would abolish the LAPD and invest in communities to reduce crime, if elected as next mayor of Los Angeles. Twitter has accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy the social media platform. What does it mean for the future of influential app? Actor Johnny Depp wrapped up his testimony in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, claiming he was the victim of her aggression and violence. The FX series “Better Things” stars Pamela Adlon...


Successful revolutions are slow and quiet, not fast and loud

The book “The Quiet Before” is about big social movements and what shaped them, from the 16th century Scientific Revolution to today’s Black Lives Matter protests. The Supreme Court considers a case about a football coach who led a prayer on the field, and Donald Trump is held in contempt of court for refusing to hand over business records. Emmanuel Macron has been reelected as France’s president. But far-right challenger Marine Le Pen got more support than in the 2017 race. Are voters...


Food costs take bigger bite out of Americans’ wallets

How long will food prices continue to surge? They’ve been going up due to pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. More people are turning to food banks due to higher costs of groceries and gas. They’re also weighing what to prioritize first — food or bills. Nearly half of the top 25 most polluted cities in the U.S. are in California, according to The American Lung Association. What’s causing the bad air quality? Critics review the latest film releases:...


Karen Bass: Homelessness is a life-or-death emergency

California Congresswoman Karen Bass talks about her plan to house 15,000 homeless Angelenos, and why LA needs a nonviolent approach to alleviate crime. Netflix’s shares dropped by nearly 40% today, and on Tuesday, the company announced it lost subscribers for the first time in more than a decade. “Troublemaker,” a new novel by actor John Cho, follows a 12-year-old Korean immigrant and his parents on the first day of the 1992 LA riots. Cannabis edibles are on track to outsell smokeables....


Ditching the mask on public transit? Make sure area is ventilated

A Florida federal judge has struck down the mask mandate for public transportation riders. But in certain situations when traveling, it’s recommended to keep your face covering on, says one doctor. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking state lawmakers to strip Disney of special self-governing power that’s been in place since the 1960s. Showtime’s “The First Lady” reveals the private lives of Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Betty Ford, and how they navigated expectations in the White...


Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha tours US, sings for peace and justice

The Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha is touring the U.S. “It's very important for us to play a lot because Ukraine can disappear from the newspaper,” says member Marko Halanevych. Mariupol appears to be on the brink of falling to Russia. Ukrainian forces there refuse to surrender, and local officials say over 100,000 civilians are trapped in the city. Tom Girardi was accused of pressuring the California Bar Association to preserve his legal reputation despite lawsuits against him. Lawmakers...


Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter could get ugly, says journalist

Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter for $43 billion and make it more open toward free speech. He’ll likely have to borrow billions to complete the transaction. Overdose deaths among teens are rising because the drugs available today can be more dangerous. “Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home” includes recipes that author Eric Kim’s mom cooked for him when he was a kid, plus new ones they developed together. Critics review new film releases: “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of...


Michelle Yeoh on proving her worth, staying in top shape

“I am physically very fit at the moment,” says Michelle Yeoh, who’s nearly age 60. She shares how she became an action movie star, and why her latest role is the heroine she’s long waited for. Both Deaf and hearing performers will bring Beethoven’s only opera, “Fidelio,” to life this week. The LA Phil is collaborating with Deaf West Theatre. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, 67, died on Tuesday of myotonic dystrophy. KCRW reairs an interview with him about the 2017 documentary “Gilbert.” More...