Inside NPR

Ten Years In Tinsel Town: NPR West Celebrates A Decade

  • The entrance to NPR West, which is often confusing to visitors considering its location at the back of the building.
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    The entrance to NPR West, which is often confusing to visitors considering its location at the back of the building.
    Melissa Kuypers/NPR
  • Recognize this entryway? It's where many of the I Heart NPR campaign photos are snapped.
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    Recognize this entryway? It's where many of the I Heart NPR campaign photos are snapped.
    Melissa Kuypers/NPR
  • The lobby at NPR West, where photos from the I Heart NPR campaign are displayed for visiting guests (NPR HQ in Washington, D.C., now sports a similar reel).
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    The lobby at NPR West, where photos from the I Heart NPR campaign are displayed for visiting guests (NPR HQ in Washington, D.C., now sports a similar reel).
    Melissa Kuypers/NPR
  • The "Signature Wall," where interview guests and notable NPR West visitors passing through leave notes... and the occasional doodle.
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    The "Signature Wall," where interview guests and notable NPR West visitors passing through leave notes... and the occasional doodle.
    Melissa Kuypers/NPR
  • Studio B at NPR West, where most mornings, Host Renee Montagne broadcasts the west coast voice of 'Morning Edition.' See the red phone? That's a direct line to co-host Steve Inskeep at NPR HQ in Washington, D.C.
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    Studio B at NPR West, where most mornings, Host Renee Montagne broadcasts the west coast voice of 'Morning Edition.' See the red phone? That's a direct line to co-host Steve Inskeep at NPR HQ in Washington, D.C.
    Melissa Kuypers/NPR
  • Studio A, where NPR Correspondent Ina Jaffe (who calls NPR West home) recently hosted a pre-election event.
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    Studio A, where NPR Correspondent Ina Jaffe (who calls NPR West home) recently hosted a pre-election event.
    Melissa Kuypers/NPR
  • The silo sign at the front of NPR West.
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    The silo sign at the front of NPR West.
    Sandy Huffaker/NPR

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The first thing a lot of people say when they walk into NPR West is "I didn't know there was an NPR out here!" But in fact, as of November 5, we've been here for 10 years.

The studios at NPR West were opened as a response to 9/11, to be a backup facility able to continue NPR program distribution to Member Stations if something were to happen to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NPR West is located in Culver City, CA, which like Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, is part of Los Angeles, but also its own city. Our colleagues back in DC (which we call the "mothership") often refer to NPR West as the "NPR Resort" or "NPR Beach House." And not surprisingly, a lot of them come visit us when it's coldest back east.

This graphic was originally displayed in the lobby of NPR West and has since been replaced by photos from the I Heart NPR campaign. i i

hide captionThis graphic was originally displayed in the lobby of NPR West and has since been replaced by photos from the I Heart NPR campaign.

NPR
This graphic was originally displayed in the lobby of NPR West and has since been replaced by photos from the I Heart NPR campaign.

This graphic was originally displayed in the lobby of NPR West and has since been replaced by photos from the I Heart NPR campaign.

NPR

On any given day, there are about 30 staffers at NPR West. Renee Montagne hosts Morning Edition from Studio B. (True story: she gets to work around 11 p.m. to go on the air at 2 a.m., local time.) National Desk Correspondents Karen Grigsby Bates, Mandalit del Barco, Ina Jaffe, and Carrie Kahn along with NPR Diplomatic Correspondent Mike Shuster are all based here. The rest of the staff are on the Morning Edition team, some engineers, one producer, three editors, and a handful of Development and Corporate Sponsorship staff.

John C. Reilly at NPR West.
Melissa Kuypers/NPR

Many of the popular I Heart NPR photos are snapped at NPR West (all the photos with a gray backdrop). Check out all the photos from the series here and on the This is NPR Facebook page.

Because NPR West is located near Tinsel Town, much of what we do is remote interviews. If All Things Considered wants to talk to a movie director, or Terry Gross wants to interview to television actor, there's a good chance those guests are LA-based. Rather than fly the person out to the East Coast, or conduct a sub-par-sounding phone interview, the guest is invited to come into NPR West for an interview over an ISDN line in one of our two studios. In addition there are five production rooms often used by the correspondents when recording their pieces.

The building itself is a gorgeous mix of practicality and industrial charm. In this part of Los Angeles buildings are required to maintain a part of the facilities original use. Outside of the building, there are giant funnels that were once used to expel sawdust because the space was originally built for a furniture manufacturing company. The owners before us (a dotcom startup that didn't survive the tech bubble) made some lovely renovations including (my favorite) planters in the polished concrete floors.

Between guests and reporters, every day for the last ten years has brought something new here at NPR West. Here's to the next decade.

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