Former ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’ Host Jason Bentley Focuses on Connection for ‘The Backstory’ Podcast

Jason Bentley signed off of KCRW-FM’s popular Morning Becomes Eclectic radio show in 2019 after a decade as host. Also leaving his post as the station’s music director, Bentley decided to enter the podcast genre.

Teaming up with Soho House, Bentley is now at the helm of The Backstory, a podcast pairing people from differing backgrounds to embark on candid conversations.

Jason Bentley at Annenberg Foundation And KCRW's Sound In Focus Concert
Jason Bentley of ‘The Backstory’ | Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Annenberg Foundation

‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’ alum Jason Bentley adjusted his plans for ‘The Backstory’

Premiering in December 2020, The Backstory is the result of a longtime partnership between Bentley and Soho House.

“I’m excited to be launching a new podcast with Soho House, produced by 101 Studios,” Bentley told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in November 2020 before The Backstory’s debut. “It’s been in the works, or at least in conversation, for quite some time. I’ve been a member of Soho House, and part of the founding membership, from about 10 years ago … and just part of that community.”

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) throwing a wrench in the initial plan for The Backstory, Bentley quickly made adjustments in order to get the show underway.

“Originally it was envisioned as an in-person meeting at Soho House,” Bentley said. “I wanted to kind of capture that buzz and excitement of being there, and the kinds of conversations with creative people that you encounter. But, making the best of the situation here during the pandemic, we’re doing it via video chat like everyone else.”

‘The Backstory’ unites varying backgrounds to share in a dialogue

Bringing together two people from different areas of expertise, The Backstory provides an environment for new connections to be formed despite varying backgrounds. With the reconstructed format, Bentley revealed there were some hurdles to cross.

“It’s been challenging,” Bentley shared with Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “Both on the booking side, because you really have to know that there’s a comfort level among the guests — like, they want to engage, they’re excited to be together. But also, finding what their common shared experience is through the conversation. It would be easier to just do a one-on-one traditional interview, which is certainly more my experience.”

Some episodes of The Backstory featured actor Kristen Bell with organizational psychologist Adam Grant, where they talked about parenting and ways to prevent burnout. Another pairing brought together Oscar winner Casey Affleck and author Kathryn Scanlan, who discussed their personal creative processes when tackling a project. The revamped program structure has netted positive results.

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“Having done a handful of them now, it really starts to get interesting when you’re talking about broader universal themes of people’s life experience and creative DNA,” Bentley explained. So I’ve come to appreciate it more …. Originally, I was like, oh my God, this is just making things way more difficult than it used to be. But I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of doing things a little differently.”

Jason Bentley aims to present listeners with ‘insightful conversations’

Interviewing other Hollywood notables such as director Paul Feig and comedian Margaret Cho, as well as The Mandolorian composer and songwriter Ludwig Göransson, Bentley is hoping bring some thoughtful content to listeners.

“I want to inspire insightful conversations,” Bentley explained. “The fervent interest around podcasting, especially these days, just speaks to how people still need to connect and find meaning in their lives and through the stories of others.”

Grateful for his collaboration with Soho House, Bentley strives to create dialogues that will get listeners thinking and talking.

“Personally, I’m looking to continue to expand and grow,” Bentley remarked. “To challenge myself to kind of achieve a different level with partners that I really admire and trust … staying productive and creative and hoping to inspire others along the way.”