Nic Harcourt hosted KCRW's flagship music program Morning Becomes Eclectic for over a decade beginning in 1998 and also acted as musical director of that station. He now hosts a new weekly radio show, Connections Made by Guitar Center, which runs from 4-5 pm Saturdays on 88.5 FM (KCSN). “[It's] new music from across the musical spectrum,” he imparted as the show kicked off. “Signed or unsigned it doesn't matter to us.”
Born in England but a prolific traveler, Harcourt has been working with Guitar Center for about a year and a half. He's hosted many episodes of a show the retailer produced on DirecTV, Guitar Center Sessions, which have featured everyone from Peter Frampton to Buddy Guy. Though legends are all well and good, Harcout wants Connections to focus more on independent artists, recognizing that it “often it's hard for indie artists to be heard, especially on the radio.”
Harcourt played several self-released singles in the first episode — which aired June 2 — and indeed unsigned bands have good reason to covet a spot on the show. Over the years, everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Coldplay has credited him with recognizing their talent early on. In fact, anyone can submit music to the program, and as a bonus to stations that syndicate Connections, he's leaving a spot open in the broadcast where they can play local acts.
Of course, the potential audience for a program on the California State University, Northridge station is much smaller than for Morning Becomes Eclectic, which is now hosted by Jason Bentley. But Harcout says he's enjoying his creative freedom, saying KCRW has “become this monster in its own way through their success.”
When asked if he listens to his old show Harcourt replies, “It's like dating your ex-girlfriend — its not really a good idea. I did that show for ten years. I consider myself extremely fortunate. Things change.”
Harcourt says his departure from KCRW after ten yeas was amicable enough, but that they “got weird” on him after he discussed hosting a show on KCSN in addition to his once a week Sunday night KCRW program.
“I'm not good at having people tell me what to do,” he says. The fact that the station would want Harcourt exclusively is understandable, but he claims they never promoted his Sunday night show. So he left KCRW completely in the summer of 2011. (KCRW's music publicity director Rachel Reynolds declined to respond to Harcourt's comments.)
In any case, Harcourt's new show is all music, with no interviews or filler of any sort. It's not an L.A.-centric program (though you will hear lots of L.A. bands) but rather an open-ended collection of music that draws from various genres.
“We can all go on blogs. The idea of Connections isn't to tell you what's hip,” Harcourt says. “It is a curated experience to an extent, but it's about discovery.” At the end of the day, Harcourt approaches his show as a fan — he's just lucky, or talented, enough to have a platform that allows him to indulge his passions.
Harcourt's first show can be streamed here: Connections: Episode 1