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Russ Stanton, head of news at KPCC, to step down

Former L.A. Times Editor Russ Stanton leaving KPCC
Southern Calif. Public Radio head of news steps down amid KPCC funding gap
'This is an excellent time to pass the baton to Melanie [Sill],' says SCPR Vice President of Content Stanton

Former Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton is leaving Southern California Public Radio, where he oversees the newsroom that produces content for KPCC-FM (89.3) and other nonprofit stations.

The newsroom was told Wednesday afternoon that Stanton would leave at the end of the month, after more than two years at the Pasadena organization. Stanton did not say what his next job would be, but Southern California Public Radio said in a statement that he planned to "pursue a communications career in the commercial, for-profit space."

Melanie Sill, now executive editor for the station, was named to succeed him as vice president of content. She previously held senior editing positions at the Sacramento Bee and the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer. The company said she had been key in expanding its content division and launching its daily newsmagazine "Take Two."

"Given that we are humming on all cylinders, this is an excellent time to pass the baton to Melanie and her team," Stanton said.

Stanton joined KPCC in 2012 after a 30-year run in the newspaper business. He stepped down as editor of The Times in late 2011 after four years in the position. He had joined The Times in 1997 as a business reporter in Orange County.

In addition to KPCC in Los Angeles and Orange counties, SCPR produces content for KUOR-FM (89.1) in the Inland Empire and KVLA-FM (90.3) in the Coachella Valley and for its website, which it says receives more than 1 million unique visitors a month.

Ben Bergman, a KPCC business reporter, said in a tweet during a newsroom meeting that Stanton noted "in 30 months he hired more than 40 people, nearly half the newsroom."

The management change comes shortly after KPCC told listeners it faces a substantial funding gap. The organization has spent the past two years ramping up to establish itself as a major news source in Los Angeles.

In April, SCPR President Bill Davis urged more listeners to start donating to the station. Davis said the station had been hurt by the spate of credit card security breaches during the Christmas shopping season, which resulted in lapsed donations after recurring donors canceled their cards and didn't give the radio station updated payment information.

For the month of May, KPCC drew roughly 750,000 listeners tuning in for at least five minutes each week according to Nielsen Audio. Rival NPR affiliate station KCRW-FM (89.9) drew about 482,000 listeners.

lauren.raab@latimes.com

ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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