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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.




UC strike continues. How will students’ final exams and grades be affected?

The University of California has reached a tentative deal with striking workers on higher wages and cost-of-living increases. But other demands have yet to be met. Nancy Pelosi says she’ll bring a bill to the House floor on Wednesday to force a deal to prevent a massive railroad worker strike. Kevin McCarthy criticized the Biden administration for letting it come to this. Haiti is unraveling amid escalating gang violence and a growing humanitarian crisis. The Biden administration is...


Constance Wu opens up about sexual harassment, owns up to past mistakes

Actress Constance Wu’s new memoir, “Making a Scene,” is about growing up in Virginia and transitioning from theater, to TV, to film. In a few weeks, COVID will likely rise nationwide due to holiday travel and gatherings. Teams are working on a universal COVID vaccine, but funding is in short supply. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a New York law that required people to have a good reason to carry a gun in public. Could that impact strict gun laws in other states? Actress Brooke Smith...


Qatari government controls World Cup, shows it can ‘move the goalposts’

An American journalist says he was detained by security at a FIFA World Cup match in Qatar. He was wearing a shirt with a soccer ball surrounded by a rainbow. This year, many Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday deals have already started. What’s going on, and are they any good? Some of the country’s top law schools are pulling out of U.S. News and World Report’s rankings, which critics say penalize schools. The winners of this year’s KCRW Radio Race: Team Phantom...


NASA scientists had unexpected connection with Mars rovers. See it in new film

A new documentary tells the story of Opportunity, a NASA rover that exceeded expectations, and explored and analyzed the planet’s surface for nearly 15 years. As home cooks know, there will likely be hiccups and frustration when putting together a masterful Thanksgiving spread. Good Food host Evan Kleiman shares last-minute hacks. On Saturday, a gunman burst into LGBTQ bar Club Q and killed five people and injured 17 others. The suspect has a history with law enforcement, including a 2021...


Can Bob Iger right the Disney ship?

Disney’s board of directors has ousted Bob Chapek. Former CEO and Executive Chairman Bob Iger will replace him. Taylor Swift fans are devastated after major glitches crashed the Ticketmaster sale for her upcoming tour. The company is now under intense scrutiny. Another famous U.S. Supreme Court ruling was leaked in 2014. It was written by Justice Samuel Alito. Disgraced FTX leader Sam Bankman-Fried is considered one of the founders of the effective altruism movement. Has it ever been...


Mayor-elect Karen Bass brings coalition-building track record to LA City Hall

As Congresswoman Karen Bass is officially announced as LA’s next mayor, the homelessness crisis here keeps growing, and Angelenos are losing trust in City Hall. Billions will watch the World Cup as kicks off on Sunday. But this year’s event is plagued with scandals and allegations of human rights abuses. Critics review the latest film releases: “The Menu,” “She Said,” “The Inspection,” “Bones and All.” William Kentridge is best known for his charcoal illustrations and unique animation...


Can Trump win over GOP in 2024 presidential bid?

Donald Trump is running for president for the third time. His Tuesday announcement is widely seen as an attempt to shield himself from criminal and civil investigations. After the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, the government fell to the Taliban. “Retrograde” documents Afghan forces’ last battles against the Taliban. Jennifer Siebel Newsom delivered graphic testimony this week in Harvey Weinstein’s trial. She detailed an alleged 2005 sexual assault. If you’re going to bake a pie...


Penn Jillette on new novel ‘Random,’ religion, Trump

Magician Penn Jillette’s new novel “Random” is about a son who inherits his father’s crippling gambling debt and must repay it if he wants to live. The U.S. is seeing a wave of job cuts at some of the biggest tech companies, including Amazon, Meta, Twitter, Salesforce, Stripe, Redfin, and Lyft. The U.S. is shifting towards electric cars, and some gas stations are preparing now by building charging ports. But the transition is financially tough.


UC strike: Workers say their wages are at poverty level

Nearly 50,000 academic workers from the University of California are on strike. They want more than double their salaries, plus subsidies for housing, child care, and transportation. Which party will control the House? It could be affected by a Supreme Court decision to let stand legislative maps that were racially discriminatory. A new podcast explores the death of rising art star Ana Mendieta and sculptor Carl Andre, her then-husband who was accused and acquitted of her murder. Musician...


Weird Al and Daniel Radcliffe on new biopic: ‘2 huge nerds doing what we love’

Daniel Radcliffe plays Weird Al Yankovic in a new parody biopic. “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” is filled with events that did and did not happen. Ron DeSantis won reelection as Florida’s governor, but his supporters want him to pursue the Republican nomination for president in two years. One obstacle could be Donald Trump. Critics review the latest film releases: “The Fabelmans,” “Sam & Kate,” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” A turkey shortage is happening now because of the avian...


Are midterm voters punishing GOP for their positions on abortion?

Voters in California, Vermont, and Michigan enshrined the right to an abortion in their state constitutions. Kentucky residents said no to amending their constitution to deny abortion protections. Many of LA’s midterm races are still too close to call. That includes the mayoral face-off between Rep. Karen Bass and Rick Caruso. Results won’t be known for days. Historically, most Latinos voted for Democrats, and they still do. But in recent years, Republicans started cutting into those...


Inside the chaos at Twitter under Elon Musk’s new leadership

Under Elon Musk’s new leadership, Twitter has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and has introduced new changes. Some users are leaving the platform in response. Californians could decide which party controls the U.S. House, due to key races in Orange and LA Counties. That includes the fight between Jimmy Gomez and David Kim, plus Michelle Steel and Jay Chen. Many races in the 2022 midterm elections might not be called for days. It could lead to another replay of the 2020...


Bob Hertzberg v. Lindsey Horvath: What separates each Democrat?

Ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, Georgia and Pennsylvania have lawsuits over who is allowed to vote. The fight has gotten intense for Sheila Kuehl’s LA County supervisor seat. Democrats Bob Hertzberg and Lindsey Horvath have accused the other of being closet Republicans. The modern Republican Party was created in the image of Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, and Rush Limbaugh, says Vanderbilt University’s Nicole Hemmer, author of “Partisans.” The Sonoran Desert Toad’s glands secrete a...


How Tim Robbins brings theater to people who are incarcerated

Actor Tim Robbins has been a champion of people who are incarcerated for decades, by bringing theater to prisons and juvenile detention centers. Right-wing politicians are gaining power in countries such as Israel, Sweden, and Italy. Plane ticket prices are expected to reach an all-time high this holiday season. On average, domestic flights during Thanksgiving cost about $468. Critics review the latest film releases: “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” “Next Exit,” “Something...


All friendships change us, says ‘Stay True’ author

Hua Hsu and his college friend Ken were both Asian American but opposites. A few years after they met, Ken died in a carjacking. Their bond is the focus of Hsu’s new memoir. Orange County health officials have declared a state of emergency over a serious rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which disproportionately affects kids. Prisons have long relied on inmate labor, usually paying them very little or not at all. Next week, voters in five states will decide whether to prohibit...


Karen Bass on healing the rift caused by leaked council audio

Rep. Karen Bass is running against Rick Caruso in the race for LA mayor. She talks about how she’d alleviate crime and homelessness, and why Black and Brown relations are not broken. Many LA County residents could be inundated by at least a foot of flood water — should a once-in-a-100-year storm hit the area, according to UCI researchers. With shows like “East New York” and “The Rookie: Feds,” Hollywood is telling a new narrative about law enforcement following George Floyd’s murder. All...


Scott Wiener: Threatening elected officials degrades democracy

State Senator Scot Wiener has received thousands of death threats over the last few years. He says there’s little security for the majority of Congress members. The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in two big affirmative action cases, including one from the University of North Carolina, where plaintiffs allege the school discriminated against Asian and white applicants. The new opera “Omar” tells the real story of Omar ibn Said, a man who was taken in 1807 from what’s now...


On ‘Masked Singer,’ Tim Chappel tailors each costume to the contestant

Costumes on “The Masked Singer” include a pink dragon in a wedding dress, a colorful hummingbird with a giant prosthetic head, and more. Tim Chappel shares his design process. I bonds keep pace with inflation, and right now they’re paying at 9.62%. The money must be parked for a while, and it could be a good option to pay for your kids’ college. Congressional progressives are calling on the Biden administration to negotiate an end to the Russia-Ukraine war. What could that look...


Remembering Mike Davis: ‘LA’s dark prophet’ loved his city

Protests continue in Iran and worldwide after Mahsa Amini died in police custody. Her death coincides with a massive fire that reportedly killed eight people. Mike Davis, 76, died on Tuesday. In his book “City of Quartz,” he accused politicians of working with real estate developers to the detriment of the city, the working class, and people of color. The race for Pennsylvania’s next senator could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate. Candidates John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz met...


Amid Ye’s antisemitism, it’s our job to root out hate, says rabbi

Artist Ye has been spouting conspiracy theories and antisemitic rants. But that’s galvanized people who believe in goodness, love, and understanding, says LA Rabbi Steve Lede More than 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2021, according to the CDC. The new book “Raising Lazarus” follows the people saving the lives of those struggling with drug addiction. A new PBS film looks at how people are finding a voice and income stream on TikTok, but also harassment and censorship. Its...