As president of KCRW, Jennifer Ferro has shepherded the transformation of Southern California’s flagship public radio station from a local institution into a globally recognized mecca for music, news, and culture. When she first started working at the station as an assistant to the general manager more than 20 years ago, the station was housed in a basement. It still is. But, under Ferro’s leadership, KCRW will complete a $48 million capital campaign and move into a state-of-the-art facility in 2017.
Before moderating a Zócalo/California Wellness Foundation panel discussion—“Is South L.A. an Urban Success Story?”—the Southern California native talked about playing soccer, the guilty pleasure of Real Housewives, and the joy of folding clothes.
Rumor has it you’re a “goal-hungry striker” on the soccer field. Made any goals lately?
Yes! A couple weeks ago I did.
What’s your guilty TV-watching pleasure?
It’s Real Housewives of anything. I’m not embarrassed to say.
Where would we find you at 9 o’clock on a typical Friday night?
Out to dinner with some KCRW supporters. Or laying on my couch watching Real Housewives.
You’ve lived in the West Adams neighborhood of South L.A. for 16 years. What single word best describes the neighborhood right now?
What would your theme song be?
I’m not sure. Maybe “California” by Joni Mitchell.
What are you most looking forward to about KCRW’s move to a new facility?
I am most looking forward to transforming our institution from a radio station into a true community center.
What’s your hidden talent?
I really enjoy folding clothes.
What keeps you up at night?
I’m a professional worrier— that may be my true hidden talent. Of course I worry about my daughters’ happiness. For KCRW, I want to make sure we make this transition into digital media just as strong as we are in broadcast media.
What is your greatest extravagance?
You’re a native of Torrance. What’s the biggest single change there since your childhood?
What’s your favorite thing about Los Angeles?
The fact that you can drop yourself into a totally different culture that hasn’t been changed very much because of being in Los Angeles, but is relatively intact when it comes to food and culture and religion. You can truly feel like you’re traveling.