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Friday, February 8, 2008

I Anonymous, Line Out Edition

posted by on February 8 at 9:20 AM

An anonymous letter writer has some rumors and gripes about KEXP and John Richards (surprise, surprise, right?):

Now KEXP has given John Richards a big raise and he was able to sell his house here and buy a new big house in New York. He’s going to “split his time” between NY and Seattle? Are my membership dollars going to support this? How much is one DJ worth? Why is my membership money going to support them doing a broadcast in New York?

I can’t understand how asking people for a donation can be justified when they are paying a DJ to live in New York. Please DON’T use my name, because I volunteer at the station and really love KEXP, but I don’t make alot of money, and when I give to them I don’t want it to go to a raise. And he’s not even the best DJ.

Update: KEXP has declined to comment at this time.

RSS icon Comments

1

Well, to be fair, there are plenty of donor dollars coming in from NYC as well. But I do wish the station would focus more on Seattle and split its time less. (Insert plug for Hollow Earth Radio as truly local alternative deserving of support.)

As to the first two sentences, what's the basis for that? Is this acknowledged fact that I've missed, or just another rumor?

Posted by local guy | February 8, 2008 9:38 AM
2

replace 'new york' with 'kirkland' or 'bothell' to see how dumb this rant is. dude wants to spend the money he earned to do something he wants, why does anon care? isn't there an entire government infrastructure doing a shitty job to tear apart before a dude who is doing a good job?

Posted by cosby | February 8, 2008 9:55 AM
3

I have calls and e-mails into the station to confirm whether or not this is true. We'll keep you posted.

Posted by Megan Seling | February 8, 2008 10:02 AM
4

Why is this news? Who cares where John lives or how he choses to spend the money he earned.

This reaks of childish jealousy on some spurned volunteers part.

He runs a label, does consulting and manages bands. KEXP is not his sole source of income.

Besides, eveyone already know Kid Hops is the best DJ on the station.

Posted by Jeff | February 8, 2008 10:09 AM
5

@4 - People care because they give their own money to support the station and the music it plays, not the multiple houses of one personality and broadcasts 3000 miles away. Yeah, he has other sources of income, but he gets a huge chunk of it from KEXP. I'm not saying I agree completely with the original complaint, but I do understand where he's coming from.

Posted by local guy | February 8, 2008 10:18 AM
6

IT IS NOT TRUE. KEXP is adding a show that will air in NYC. There will be a different DJ.

Posted by not true | February 8, 2008 10:22 AM
7

I guess the best option for this guy is to stop pledging if he is so concerned with what part of the organization his money is going toward. Geez.

Posted by blip | February 8, 2008 10:25 AM
8

@6 - will it air on the dial?? KEXP has been very strategically moving into the NYC market - sponsoring shows and events there, buddying up with recording studios, and even taking over a station on the dial for a week last year. New York really, really needs a KEXP. The music scene there is so huge, anything that could make it more cohesive, and give music fans a way to find out more about local bands would be welcome.

At the same time, it's going to take a lot of money and marketing to make that station succeed. FM radio stations have trouble because no one in NYC really drives, so there isn't a whole lot of opportunity to turn on the radio. Also, in Manhattan, the tall buildings interfere with reception. So even if you had an FM radio in your apartment or at work, you might have trouble getting it to come in clearly.

Hopefully, they'll spare the expense of having an address on the FM dial and just do an online NYC broadcast and have an NYC website/ calendar listings. That would be really cool.

Posted by Gem | February 8, 2008 10:33 AM
9

@4: Kid Hops murders it on a regular basis. He is right up at the very tip top of great KEXP DJs

Gotta add Riz and Masa in there, too. Also Greg Vandy and Johnny Horn. Seriously good stuff.

As for where John Richards lives, who gives a fuck? Technology has made it possible for many to do the same thing. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Posted by kerri harrop | February 8, 2008 10:45 AM
10

As a longtime KEXP and KCMU listener, I've found John Richards to be overrated (and overpaid) for years now. KEXP should dump him entirely. The celebrity status he has achieved, especially in this city but beyond as well, has eclipsed what made KEXP so great - fresh, cutting edge, unexpected and wonderful music. John Richard's own morning tune choices have become predictable and banal.

KEXP needs new blood.

On a personal note, I have not made a donation to the station since two years ago after learning of Richard's highly over-inflated salary. I don't even want to know what he's making now.

Posted by fullon | February 8, 2008 11:01 AM
11

OK, I like KEXP. But New York does NOT need a KEXP. They already have something nearby that's much better: WFMU.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 8, 2008 11:02 AM
12

I wish Seattle had a WFMU.

Can we donate to KAOS in Olympia so they can get a megatransmitter so we can get them up here?

Posted by mackro mackro | February 8, 2008 11:03 AM
13

WFMU is by far more eclectic and free-from radio, this is true.

The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling is audio gold.

Posted by Jeff | February 8, 2008 11:09 AM
14

other facts about him:
-he employs illegal aliens, paying them sub-minimum wage to wash his cars (he has seven)
-he made high five-figure donations to both mccain & hilary
-he is in on the group that is buying the crocodile, and plans to build a live-in loft/recording studio
-he's a member of NRA

Posted by juan richards | February 8, 2008 11:13 AM
15

Who? What I want to know is when Robin and Maynard and Pat Cashman will be back on the air.

Posted by Seattle Radio Fan from Way Back | February 8, 2008 11:18 AM
16

According to The Stranger, Richards made $90K last year, maybe $120K in bonuses. That's BARELY enough to buy an APARTMENT in New York, let alone a "house"...let alone a "big house"...let alone a "new big house."

Posted by Seth | February 8, 2008 11:23 AM
17

@14

he is a member of the national restaurant association?

whoa. dudes got his finger in all kinds of pies...

Posted by markle | February 8, 2008 11:25 AM
18

@14

he is a member of the national restaurant association?

whoa. dudes got his finger in all kinds of pies...

Posted by markle | February 8, 2008 11:25 AM
19

Kevin Cole and Stevie Zoom are strong DJs without all the ego. If John leaves, it would mean opportunity for all the other talented DJs and it would give a fresh breath to the music choices at KEXP. John is OK, but he seems like the Little Prince of the station. Seems like his 15 minutes are up.

Posted by KEXP is Great | February 8, 2008 11:36 AM
20

Kevin Cole and Stevie Zoom are strong DJs without all the ego. If John leaves, it would mean opportunity for all the other talented DJs and it would give a fresh breath to the music choices at KEXP. John is OK, but he seems like the Little Prince of the station. Seems like his 15 minutes are up.

Posted by KEXP is Great | February 8, 2008 11:36 AM
21

Kevin Cole and Stevie Zoom are strong DJs without all the ego. If John leaves, it would mean opportunity for all the other talented DJs and it would give a fresh breath to the music choices at KEXP. John is OK, but he seems like the Little Prince of the station. Seems like his 15 minutes are up.

Posted by KEXP is Great | February 8, 2008 11:37 AM
22

Kevin Cole and Stevie Zoom are strong DJs without all the ego. If John leaves, it would mean opportunity for all the other talented DJs and it would give a fresh breath to the music choices at KEXP. John is OK, but he seems like the Little Prince of the station. Seems like his 15 minutes are up.

Posted by KEXP is Great | February 8, 2008 11:37 AM
23

btw - his salary is public information as he is technically an employee of the University of Washington.

Posted by KEXP is Great | February 8, 2008 11:41 AM
24

Oops - I was wrong. John is paid by Friends of KEXP, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Their Form 990 shows his comp $109K in 2005. They have not yet filed their 2006 tax return, yet (even though it was due by 11/15/07 at the latest). You can view all 990s at www.guidestar.org.

Posted by KEXP is Great | February 8, 2008 12:03 PM
25

well, i liked that he was in seattle -- though he could technically spin from anywhere -- because you know what's going on around you. sure, other people can keep you informed. but when you go out to shows, and meet people, you have a better change of representing that region.

Posted by infrequent | February 8, 2008 12:28 PM
26

If this is true, I think it would only mean good things for KEXP.

KEXP is not "paying a DJ to live in New York," or Seattle for that matter -- they're paying a DJ to do a job. If he can do his job from New York (which he certainly can) more power to him and more to the station, with more access to East Coast and European artists for in-studio performances and interviews, as is frequently the case when they broadcast from the Museum of TV & Radio there.

Posted by Explorer | February 8, 2008 12:46 PM
27

@26 eh... i still want seattle radio. i can get international arts anywhere.

Posted by infrequent | February 8, 2008 12:58 PM
28

@27, if it's true that he's splitting his time, you'll get both. Even if he's only going to be in NYC, you'll still get both.

Posted by Explorer | February 8, 2008 1:06 PM
29

Hey anonymous volunteer...
Get your facts straight.
John has not had a raise in several years and has not received one recently in conjunction with his move to NYC. Also, the "big house" was paid for with the money that John's mom left him when she passed away from lung cancer 4 years ago. Oh, and it's an 1,100 SF condo in Brooklyn.

Posted by Christine | February 8, 2008 2:53 PM
30

John the Morning Yapper is moving to NYC??? Thank Christ!! (Or the Friends of KEXP, whoever put in the most $$$. Hey, can I donate to them?)

Anyone who wants to listen to real music instead of whoever JTMY is making money off of this month can listen to WFMU at: http://wfmu.org/wfmu.pls.

Posted by MadDogM13 | February 8, 2008 3:22 PM
31

@ 15

What about Chet Buchanan?

Posted by lar | February 8, 2008 3:37 PM
32

@30:
i'll be sure to listen to wfmu during drive time by getting a laptop, getting a broadband card, going to the wfmu homepage, clicking on their online broadcast, and hooking it up to a wireless fm transmitter instead of pressing a button to listen to kexp.


* disclosure: i've donated to, have been featured on, have had friends at, and all around like wfmu. also, i don't drive to work.

Posted by cosby | February 8, 2008 4:14 PM
33

@10

Like you, my donations to KEXP ceased after a Weekly article several years ago exposed his six digit salary. I mean, geez, I thought I was supporting a bunch of starving students, not luxury amenities. He doesn't exactly come across as a sympathetic character anyways...

Posted by shotsix | February 8, 2008 4:24 PM
34

John is way over paid. I have thought it was lame for a while now that they have been doing live shows in Chicago and NY, and then begging for money. They need more money, let Paul Allen give it to them. I am tired of them playing the same old indie rock shit over and over any way.

Posted by justin | February 8, 2008 4:45 PM
35

It's true.

Posted by anon | February 8, 2008 4:51 PM
36

uh...hello? Since when is a six digit salary 'overpaid' in a city with such a high cost of living? Like him or don't (and i don't) he's a cultural asset to the city. Yes he's a bit of a prince of the station but he sort of built something out of nothing. People who start shit should get paid a lot more than people who carry it on.

Posted by some girl | February 8, 2008 6:52 PM
37

Since when is 109k overpaid in Seattle or NYC? He raises the most money for the station, he deserves what he gets. In fact, I bet he could do a whole lot better if he moved on. And if he moved on, KEXP would be in financial trouble. Be careful for what you ask for haters.

Posted by Bob Dobolina | February 8, 2008 7:29 PM
38

any idea what the other Cheryl and Kevin make? Keven dj'd for prince, daaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmnnnnn.

Posted by mark | February 8, 2008 7:50 PM
39

I'm totally fine with what he makes. When it comes to having any kind of reasonable home and lifestyle as an adult in this city, having a six-figure income definitely helps. I don't think he's overpaid, given his stature and that of KEXP.

It would be unfortunate, though, if he is indeed permanently and full time moving to NYC. I think it will tend to shift his perspective and that of KEXP away from Seattle.

Posted by rk | February 8, 2008 9:12 PM
40

On the other hand, I think KEXP continuing to ask for public donations, as if their very existence depends on it, is totally ridiculous.

Posted by rk | February 8, 2008 9:18 PM
41

In 2005 (3 years ago), Kevin Cole made $70K. Tom Mara made $119K. The other highly paid folks were "account executives".

Also, in 2005, contributions to KEXP were $2.7 million. (The station operated at a $200K net loss in 2005.)

Posted by KEXP is Great | February 8, 2008 10:01 PM
42

Let him go to NY. Maybe we won't be subjected to stories about his kid any more.

Posted by no kidding | February 8, 2008 10:10 PM
43

@36
Yah, John is solely responsible for what KEXP is today, are you kidding me? What about the dozens of volunteers who have slaved away to be part of the station, only to have him take most of the credit? He's getting old and stale. But it's time we share all of this with KEXP, starting out by filling out their listener survey, www.kexp.org

Posted by huh | February 8, 2008 10:22 PM
44

@43 Some people are leaders. Some people are followers. No disrespect to the volunteers at KEXP but he blazed the trail. Trailblazers deserve to be compensated because they have a more significant impact on the world.

Posted by some girl | February 9, 2008 1:40 AM
45

Let him go, maybe then they'll stop force feeding us the same jingly jangly recycled emo crap that's been slowly taking over at KEXP. And the very strangely WRONG, almost on the verge of Payola, pimping of The Blakes, John's little emo pets.

Posted by some other girl | February 9, 2008 8:44 AM
46

@44. trailblazers and leaders do deserve to be compensated me. but when many of your listers are poor, and when you live in such a liberal place, one cannot help but make the comparisons to the capitalist machine. this does not reflect the values of the community, where the workers should be treated well, and where the supporters should be asked for less if possible.

Posted by geoffrey | February 9, 2008 11:18 AM
47

i agree with the anti-John rants. He's a lame dj, he's ruined the best station in Seattle and he's clearly pushing his interest conflicts. But the Kexp-lemmings are programmed to think he's great or cutting-edge, so they'll keep coming to suckle his tit everytime he gets exposed as the con his is.

Posted by lame | February 9, 2008 12:33 PM
48

yes the self-promotion of his bands bites and the lame recycled emo sucks too. but his compensation is not an issue to me. Don't we want people in nonprofit arts orgs to be well-compensated?

Posted by some girl | February 9, 2008 12:53 PM
49

@48 translated: Yeah, JR possesses dubious ethics and foists lame music on his listeners, but, holy cow, he sure does bring in the $ from his legions of loyal suckers.

Posted by dark&long | February 9, 2008 1:04 PM
50

John is a terrible DJ. Not even close to being worth the premium they pay for him.

Posted by KEN | February 9, 2008 2:44 PM
51

#48 - Yes, people in non-profit arts should be well compensated. The people who make the art - the musicians and the DJs who play them. All of the DJs who do their part should be paid fairly. Not just management and account executives and the Prince (who really is not a leader - not sure where you see him as a leader compared with others at the station). Do you also believe that CEOs should make $20 million while competent, innovative workers should make under $50K?

Posted by some other girl, too | February 9, 2008 3:10 PM
52

John as leader? Have you ever met him? He makes me want to run the other way. I support the station because I believe in it, and a lot of the other dj's are wonderful. If he left, KEXP would still be amazing, even if that meant it had a couple extra thousand lesss, which by the way is being put into a bank account so that they can go to New York.

Posted by huh | February 9, 2008 4:18 PM
53

The Seattle Times has the story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004175984_kexpstory.html

This is a partnership with a for-profit radio station.

Posted by update | February 11, 2008 9:01 AM
54
Posted by update | February 11, 2008 9:06 AM
55

i think we need to give don slack a shot at the 6 to 10 am slot. he's long over due.

Posted by Billy Guns | February 11, 2008 2:32 PM
56

Yeah! I think we need a Slack Attack!! Some honky tonk mixed w/western swing would get that Radiohead taste out of our mouths.

Posted by K. McAvoy | February 11, 2008 2:41 PM
57

FWIW, John's wife wants to go to school in NYC which is why he's considering the move...

Posted by jstme | February 11, 2008 7:13 PM

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