THE THOMAS AND DOROTHY LEAVEY CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF LOS ANGELES RESEARCH COLLECTION
WHICH WAY, LA? COLLECTION (CSLA-20):Collection and Series Descriptions
Collection Title and Number: Which Way, LA? Collection, 1992-2000. CSLA-20Accession Number: 2001.36
COLLECTION DESCRIPTION | SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
Collection Description back to top
"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, with some programs from the first year of "Which Way, LA" on audio cassette. In addition, for the first year of the program (1992) there are transcripts available for each show. In a trial run of a future on-line project, the transcripts of the first four programs of 1992 are available on-line in Adobe PDF.
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.
Series Descriptions back to top
The Which Way, LA? Collection has been divided into series arranged chronologically by year: Series 1: 1992, Series 2: 1993, Series 3: 1994. For programs after 1992, the on-line indices to the programs have been divided into half years for ease of navigation through the web pages. 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.
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. Plans exist to provide transcripts for programs of topical Los Angeles interest after 1992.
INDEX TO PROGRAMS back to topTo view the index to the programs by year, select the following links:
Series 1. 1992Series 2. 1993: January-June 1993 | July-December 1993Series 3. 1994: January-June 1994 | July-December 1994Series 4. 1995: January-June 1995 | July-December 1995
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