Press Play with Madeleine Brand


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.




The ‘big one’ is coming. Make plans with friends and family now

California is susceptible to the earthquakes that recently devastated Turkey and Syria. Seismologist Lucy Jones gives tips on preparing. Mount Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains is a popular destination for Angelenos and tourists. But it’s also deadly, even for experienced hikers, especially in the winter. During President Joe Biden’s annual State of the Union address tonight, he’s expected to defend his infrastructure and manufacturing record, and reassure Americans on their economic...


Bone music: Using X-ray film to make records of government-banned songs

After World War II, the Soviet Union officially banned rock, jazz, and blues music. But people made bootleg versions of that music — recorded onto thin sheets of X-Ray film. Two devastating earthquakes rocked the border region between Turkey and Syria this morning. The recovery will be particularly difficult in war-torn Syria. Abortion opponents celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and now they’re looking for other ways to undo federal and state regulations around the ability to...


Water cuts are coming to CA and 6 nearby states. How will they be distributed?

Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new concealed carry bill this week, banning guns in public places. It’s a response to the latest California mass shootings. For months, seven states that rely on the Colorado River have been debating how to reduce their water use — because the river is nearing critically-low levels. Other states, including Massachusetts and New York, are taking a page out of the California playbook and are working to improve and protect abortion access. Critics review the...


‘Critical history’ has been cut from AP African American course: UCLA professor

The College Board has revised some of its new AP African American studies curriculum following criticism from Governor Ron DeSantis and other conservatives. After taking over Twitter, Elon Musk now faces a roughly $300 million interest payment on the company’s debt. “The Quiet Epidemic” examines the spread of Lyme disease and the medical establishment’s reluctance to acknowledge its seriousness. For years in San Francisco, wetsuit-wearing members of a swim club have been shamed by those...


Earthlings can see a green-tailed comet for first time in 50,000 years

A comet with a green tail will be the most visible in tonight's sky. It last passed through our solar system 50,000 years ago. The government has asked California and six other states to reach an agreement on drastic cuts for water use, or it would make the decision itself. Today is the deadline. Starting May 11, the U.S. government will no longer fully pay for COVID testing, treatment, and vaccines for people who don’t have health insurance. Since July, a new law has required the...


Police brutality video footage: Does the public need to see it?

Following the violent beating and death of Tyre Nichols, retired LAPD Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey looks at the Memphis police department and what went wrong. Is there a benefit to watching videos of police brutality? Do they galvanize people to fight for change or do they numb viewers to trauma? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could face a lawsuit over the state's decision to reject a new Advanced Placement class on African American studies. The Academy is investigating the promotional campaign...


Lisa Marie Presley’s death is a heart health wake-up call for women

Lisa Marie’s sudden death, at age 54, has more women thinking about heart health. The CDC says heart disease is now the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter are running for Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, and Barbara Lee is expected to officially join the race too. Critics review the latest films: “Infinity Pool,” “The Man in the Basement,” You People,” and “Close.” Make a porridge from semolina with milk and parmesan, and add an egg for richness. It’s...


Caring less will liberate you, says ‘Subtle Art of Not Giving a F’ author

Amid the drama in the Kevin McCarthy speakership fight, Rep. Katie Porter sat cooly reading Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” KCRW speaks to the book’s author. KCRW remembers each of the 11 people who died during the mass shooting in Monterey Park after the city’s Lunar New Year celebration. All of them were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. The U.S. Justice Department, California, and seven other states are suing Google over its digital advertising business. At the center of...


Back-to-back mass shootings in CA: What to do about sense of futility?

Deadly mass shootings occurred in Half Moon Bay and Oakland on Monday, following Saturday’s massacre in Monterey Park. What roles do California laws and everyday residents play in these incidents? A lawsuit claims the Getty family has avoided paying up to $300 million in California taxes. The story reveals how ultra rich people’s tactics widen the U.S. wealth gap. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” leads the 2023 Oscar nominations. It joins “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Women Talking,”...


What’s next for Monterey Park’s AAPI residents after mass shooting?

Monterey Park, the site of a mass shooting on Saturday after the city’s annual Lunar New Year ended, is home to Asian immigrants and mom-and-pop businesses. The anti-abortion movement has struggled to form the same unity and cohesion it once had. Activists in favor of abortion access have gained their own victories. Investigators have found no conclusive evidence of who leaked the draft of summer’s Dobbs decision, or how it ended up in the hands of the Politico reporters who published...


More scammers are targeting job seekers, especially in tech

Scammers are posing as recruiters and hiring managers, holding interviews, and making offers. Prospective tech workers are the main victims now, but everyone is vulnerable. California companies must include salary ranges in their job postings under a new state law. But some companies appear to have found a loophole. Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed face involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the fatal shooting on the “Rust” movie set. Critics review the latest film...


Director Sarah Polley finds hope for democracy in ‘Women Talking’

In the film “Women Talking,” Mennonite women were drugged and raped by men in their community, and they’re debating whether to fight or leave. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar were previously kicked off House committees for making violent or extreme statements. Now they’re expected to serve on the House Oversight Committee. Over the weekend, people in Israel were protesting Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judicial system. He formed the most right-wing government in...


Most Californians lack flood insurance. Here’s how to get it

California is assessing the damage from weeks of severe storms. How many residents have flood insurance, and how do you get it? White House and Department of Justice officials found extra documents from Joe Biden’s Delaware home on the same day that Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate. House Republicans want to look into Hunter Biden’s past business dealings and how he ended up on the board of a Ukrainian oil company while his father was vice president. The new...


Classified papers at homes of Biden and Trump: Comparing 2 cases

Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced he’s appointing a special counsel to look into the handling of classified documents tied to President Joe Biden. Guitarist Jeff Beck died on Tuesday at age 78. Known best for his work with London band The Yardbirds, he was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Critics review the latest film releases: “Skinamarink,” “Plane,” “Broker,” and “No Bears.” What should you do with leftover holiday panettone? Make a rich French toast or...


How sex transformed the internet and vice versa

Author Samantha Cole explains how a Playboy centerfold became the standard for image processing, porn sites show innate human problems, and A.I. is developing faster than people can grasp. California is projected to see a $22 billion budget deficit this year, so Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing big cuts to the state’s climate and transportation programs. The FAA delayed some 7,000 flights this morning after it experienced a tech glitch. The incident comes after tens of thousands were...


Brian Tyree Henry on ‘Causeway,’ letting down your guard, starting anew

Brian Tyree Henry breaks down his lead role in “Causeway,” the grief and healing process, and his approach to acting. As consecutive storms hit California, at least 16 people are dead and tens of thousands are under evacuation orders, including all of Montecito. Comedy can be a useful way to understand and maybe cope with Earth’s bleak future, says Kasha Patel, who writes the Washington Post’s “Hidden Planet” column. Biden recently made the first visit by a U.S. president to Mexico in...


Why folk musician Judy Collins debuted her original album at 82

Folk singer-songwriter Judy Collins talks about her new album, addiction, and her friendship with Leonard Cohen, which helped shape her musical career. LA officials are searching for unhoused residents in areas at risk of flooding and are warning them of the coming storms. Next week in San Francisco, a trial is supposed to get underway to settle a dispute between Tesla shareholders and the company’s CEO. Elon Musk argues he can’t get a fair court case there. Protestors in Brazil stormed...


What’s bringing so much rain and flooding to CA?

Several storms are rolling across California, bringing intense wind and flooding. They’ll replenish but not totally fill reservoirs due to long-standing drought. California Congressman Kevin McCarthy has lost eight bids for House speaker in three days. The gridlock has thrown Congress into disarray. Liberal cities in blue states are the epicenters of the country's growing homelessness crisis because not enough affordable housing is being built, says one Atlantic staff writer. Critics...


Everyone is heartbroken — you can find connection and joy through pain, says poet

Can happiness come from life’s biggest sorrows? Poet Ross Gay explores the idea in his new book called “Inciting Joy.” People can now get mifepristone, the drug that induces abortion, from big chain pharmacies. If you’re in a state that bans the health procedure, you can get the drugs delivered via USPS. Twitter is reinstating the account of Andrew Tate, dubbed by some as the king of toxic masculinity. He was arrested recently on suspicion of human trafficking, rape, and forming a criminal...


‘Screaming on the Inside’ author on unfairness of parenting ideals in US

Unrealistic norms and expectations surrounding parenting, exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, are destroying moms. That’s the argument in the book “Screaming On The Inside.” Freshman Republican Congressman George Santos is owning up to making “mistakes” as he faces accusations of fabricating parts of his life. NFL player Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition after he collapsed during a match on Monday. The incident raises new questions about player safety. Looking for a new show to...