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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Administrative History
  • Collection Description
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Which Way, LA? collection
    Dates: 1992-2000
    Collection number: CSLA-20
    Creator: KCRW (Radio station : Santa Monica, Calif.)
    Collection Size: 598 programs, 124 transcripts now open to researchers
    Repository: Loyola Marymount University. Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90045-2659
    Abstract: The Which Way, LA? Collection consists of audiotapes, with some transcripts, of the major public affairs program in Los Angeles, "Which Way, LA?."
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open to research under the terms of use of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in the Department of Archives and Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, Loyola Marymount University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Loyola Marymount University does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or executors.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Series number, Box and Casenumber, Which Way, LA? Collection, CSLA-20, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of radio station KCRW. Accession number: 2001.36

    Processing Information

    The first four years of the program (1992-1995) are open to researchers, with transcripts available for the first year. Processing of this immense collection is a work in progress; as programs in the collection are processed the program information will be added to the on-line collection guide.

    Administrative History

    "Which Way, LA?" is a public service radio program of KCRW, the National Public Radio station of Santa Monica Junior College, Santa Monica, California. "Which Way, LA? began in 1992 as a weekday program examining the state of Los Angeles after the civil calamity that were the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. Under the guidance of host Warren Olney and producer Ruth Seymour, "Which Way, LA?" was originally intended only as a temporary program, but its depth and relevance to Los Angeles social and political events resulted in the show's becoming part of KCRW's regular programming. Now publicized by KCRW as the program "on the issues Southern Californians care about," "Which Way, LA?" is a fixture on the city's air waves and stands as a landmark program in the history of Los Angeles broadcast journalism.

    Collection Description

    "Which Way, LA?" is a landmark public service radio program of the National Public Radio station KCRW, of Santa Monica Junior College. Using the format of a talk show, "Which Way, LA?" debuted on 1 June as a response to the great civil riot of April 1992, and from this starting point branched out into other, but often related, issues vital in the Los Angeles of the 1990s. In general, these include public education, crime and criminal justice, ethnic relations, city and state government, and urban policy and renewal. Particular programs covered such pivotal Los Angeles moments and issues as the O. J. Simpson trial, the end of Mayor Tom Bradley's tenure, the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots, the resignation of Police Chief Daryl Gates and his subsequent replacement by Willie Williams, and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The highly-respected host of "Which Way, LA?" was, and remains, Los Angeles news icon Warren Olney, whose intelligent moderating of the program insured its high quality and subsequent reputation for even-handed exploration of often divisive issues in Los Angeles. By 1994, though, "Which Way, LA?" had begun to examine national and international issues not possessing direct local impact but with a strong potential audience in the city. Such topics included the Middle East, Mexican politics and elections, and presidential politics in the United States.
    The chronological span of the "Which Way LA?" program tapes donated to the Center for the Study of Los Angeles Research Collection runs from 1 June 1992 (the debut program) through December 2000. "Which Way, LA" originally had five weekday programs, although not for every one of the full fifty-two weeks of the year. Breaks were taken for holidays or vacations by the host of the program, for example, leading to interruptions in programs. Undoubtedly programs are missing in the run of programs that KCRW donated to the Research Collection, although no program logs or other records are available from KCRW to determine how large the lacuna is. Thus, the holdings of our collection are incomplete, stemming not only from the fact that KCRW has continued to broadcast the program after 2000, but also because of programs missing from the records of this NPR station itself. Only the first three years of the program have been fully processed and opened to researchers.
    The format of the original "Which Way, LA?" program tapes is Digital Audio Tape (DAT). For use by researchers, programs were duplicated on CD-Roms.
    Each program usually runs approximately one hour; if a program occurred during a KCRW pledge week, then it is usually only forty-five minutes in length. "Special Edition" Which Way, LA? programs are present, although infrequent, and may run up to two hours. There are usually four to five guests per show, who are interviewed by program host Warren Olney by phone. A call-in segment occurring in the last ten or fifteen minutes usually concludes the program. Unless otherwise noted, the program moderator is Warren Olney. Guests' names are indexed along with the individual program in which they appeared. Program guests have been identified whenever possible; names that cannot be verified are so indicated either by a question mark in parentheses or the word phonetic in parentheses following the name. The names of guests for each program recorded in the index are those given by the moderator for that program. A sampling of the personages who have been guests on the program include Richard Riordan, Tom Hayden, Jackie Goldberg, Earl Ofari Hutchison, Reverend Cecil Murray, and Kevin Starr.
    The index to the processed holdings of the Which Way LA? Collection provides the box and case number in which each program CD-Rom is stored. Within each year's index, programs are also arranged chronologically, with date coming first in the index, then program title as recorded by KCRW, then box and case number, and finally the names of guests. It should be assumed that Warren Olney is the moderator, unless the name of a guest host is provided along with the names of guests.
    Researchers should also note that some programs for 1992, the first year of the program, and the first six months of the second year of the program (1993) have been recorded only on audiocassette and are stored in boxes separate from those with programs on CD-Roms. These boxes must be paged separately. For the first year of the program (1992), there is a listing of the box and folder numbers for program transcripts, which, presently, are available only for this year.


    The Which Way, LA? Collection has been divided into series arranged chronologically by year: Series 1: 1992, Series 2: 1993, Series 3: 1994, Series 4: 1995. Presently only the first three years of the program have been fully processed and available to researchers; other programs are being processed and will be made as soon as possible. This preserves the original order of the program and provides witness to the issues that mass media in Los Angeles like KCRW considered topical.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    KCRW (Radio station : Santa Monica, Calif.)
    National Public Radio (U.S.) -- Archives
    Radio journalism -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- Sources
    Interviewing on radio
    Public radio -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- Sources
    Riots -- California -- Los Angeles
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Social conditions -- 20th century -- Sources
    Public service radio programs