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Randall Roberts Named LA Times Pop Music Critic

Current LA Times Pop Music Editor Randall Roberts is taking on a new job — that of Pop Music Critic. The post was vacated by Ann Powers in February, nearly two years after she moved to Alabama and began telecommuting.

Roberts was the LA Weekly music editor until last year, when the LAT hired him away to become Pop Music Editor. He’ll continue with his editorial duties until a replacement is found.

Pictured: Randall Roberts, right, looking vaguely like a serial killer, with FishbowlLA editors Matt Fleischer and Pandora Young.

Memo from the LAT after the jump.

Colleagues:

We’re pleased to announce that Randall Roberts will succeed Ann Powers as pop music critic. Since joining the newsroom early last year as pop music editor, Randall has reinvigorated our coverage, refocused the daily music blog and launched the new Pop & Hiss page in the Tuesday Calendar section. He has been a regular contributor to the Pop & Hiss blog and has written dozens of pieces for the paper. As we searched for someone with the knowledge, writing flair and digital sensibilities to take the critic’s spot, it became clear that Randall was the best choice.

His recent review of Paul Simon’s concert shows his insight and encyclopedic knowledge of music, his piece on the Belle Brigade demonstrates his ability to identify sparkling new acts and his review of Lady Gaga’s new CD proves that he’s not afraid of offending even the biggest names in the business. Randall’s understanding of the local nightlife and music scene and the changing nature of the music industry will add dimension to his criticism.

As pop music critic, Randall will review live concerts and CDs, and he will write blog posts, notebooks, essays and profiles that include a critical perspective. Given the huge volume of pop music, we will augment Randall’s reviews with others by selected freelancers and staffers.

Until his replacement as editor can be found, Randall will do double duty as critic and pop music editor. After that, he will focus largely on his critic responsibilities, although he will continue to have a hand in shaping coverage.
Randall joined The Times from LA Weekly, where, as music editor for three years, he established the paper as a rollicking authority on local music both online and in print through a freelance network as well as with his own blog posts, stories and columns. Randall moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis, where he spent nine years as music editor, then as staff writer and beat reporter at the city’s alternative weekly.

A graduate of the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and creative writing, Randall is a 2009 USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism fellow. His articles on music, history, food and cocktails have been honored by the Assn. of Food Journalists, the James Beard Foundation, the National Assn. of Black Journalists and the L.A. Press Club.

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