Holzman was widely respected as a tireless booster of KCRW, a mentor and generous co-worker. A KCRW spokesperson said he died of stage 4 metastatic cancer, which was diagnosed at stage 4.
Born in Long Beach, Calif., he studied computer science at UC Santa Barbara and started out as a consultant before landing at the public radio powerhouse when it was a much smaller operation.
He launched the underwriting department that raised money for the station, presiding over the pledge drives with enthusiasm and humor. But he also wanted to tell stories, so he left the fundraising side.
As KCRW president Jennifer Ferro wrote on the KCRW website, “I remember when Matt fired himself from that job. He wanted to be a radio producer. So he quit and after a few days was rehired, at a much lower salary, to become an audio storyteller.”
In one of his early broadcast stories, Holzman talked about receiving a kidney transplant, which gave him a new lease on life and allowed him to travel.
A passionate movie lover, he was the first producer of “The Business,” KCRW’s weekly show about the entertainment industry. He also created the Matt’s Movies film screening series at which he interviewed directors and producers onstage.
Holzman was the founding producer of “Press Play” with Madeleine Brand, who remembered him in a tweet, saying, “He embodied the spirit of KCRW.”
I will miss my friend and @KCRW colleague Matt Holzman very much. A funny, fiercely smart, sensitive, generous man- he embodied the spirit of @kcrw. Los Angeles has lost a bright light tonight pic.twitter.com/osqTz7voHd
— Madeleine Brand (@TheMadBrand) April 13, 2020
A longtime lover of documentaries, Holzman created “The Document” podcast, interviewing prominent documentarians, and then turned the podcast into a documentary screening series.
Writer-producer and friend Jenni Konner remembered him on Instagram, saying, “Matt Holzman was one of the top humans. People climbed over each other to get the chair next to Matt at a dinner party. Matt was the most curious person I have met. He was warm. He was kind. He was so smart. If you’ve ever listened to KCRW, you’ve heard his voice asking you for money. He was so f—ing funny.”
He is survived by sisters Stefanie, Janet and Lisa, and his partner Adria Kloke, who said, “He died peacefully and painlessly at home surrounded by love.”
Donations may be made to KCRW.