His voice has helped define the morning and the music tastes of thousands of radio listeners in Southern California and around the world.
Nic Harcourt, who has been described by music writers as “the most influential DJ in America,” marks his 25th anniversary on the region’s radio airwaves this month, and his colleagues at 88.5-FM, The SoCal Sound, are celebrating.
“Nic Harcourt is a regional treasure,” said Patrick Osburn, general manager of 88.5-FM, Southern California’s leading triple-A (adult album alternative) rock station. “Nic has always been an expert and wonderful advocate for public/member-supported radio. We are very fortunate to have him.”
Harcourt, who has been called by members of the news media as an ultimate “tastemaker” in music, started his tenure on Southern California’s airwaves in 1998 at Santa Monica-based public radio station KCRW. For the past 10 years, he has been hosting the morning drive time at 88.5-FM and, since 2020, “The Morning Show with Nic Harcourt and Jet.”
“Nic Harcourt is as passionate as ever,” said Marc “Mookie” Kaczor, 88.5-FM’s program director and the SoCal Sound’s evening DJ. “Nic is a great broadcaster, music journalist and mentor. This radio station has hit milestone after milestone, and Nic has been an integral part of 88.5’s growth.”
Born in Birmingham England, Harcourt’s life and travels took him all over the world before he landed at WDST in Woodstock, New York, where he served as show host, news and music director, and program director.
His next stop was KCRW where he spent a decade as the music director and host of “Morning Becomes Eclectic” before going, 88.5-FM in 2012.
Harcourt’s innovative efforts have transformed radio, whether it’s live video sessions of performances in a station’s studio or being the first public radio broadcaster to hit the road with live radio and video performances from CMJ in New York, South by Southwest in Texas and the BBC’s legendary Maida Vale studios in London, and the first public radio programmer to champion Latin alternative music. He has also provided music supervision on numerable television shows and hosted 100 episodes of the interview/music performance show “Guitar Center Sessions’ on DirecTV.
New York Times has called him “the country’s most important disc jockey.” The Wall Street Journal has said “Harcourt hosts the most interesting and influential radio shows in the U.S.” He is widely credited with launching the careers of Adele, Coldplay, The Black Keys, M.I.A., Norah Jones, Florence and The Machine, Arcade Fire and countless others.
In addition to his work with KCSN and KCRW, Harcourt has served as music and culture editor for the Los Angeles Times Magazine and was MTV’s first music supervisor in residence.
Coincidentally, Harcourt’s 25th year celebration comes the week of April 17, during 88.5-FM, The SoCal Sound’s April membership drive.
“I’ve worked around 60 pledge drives through the years,” Harcourt said. “They’re an opportunity to connect directly with the audience, a crucial part of keeping public media in business, and an incredibly important part of the gig. Don’t tell anybody, but I actually enjoy them”.
88.5-FM, The SoCal Sound, is a combined effort of California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and Saddleback College, which began simulcasting as 88.5-FM in October 2017, linking the Los Angeles County- and Orange County-based signals. The station’s Triple-A programming is available on the KCSN and KSBR 88.5 HD1 channels, via the 88.5 app and online at www.TheSoCalSound.org.