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Monday, February 11, 2008

KEXP Partners with Radio New York

posted by on February 11 at 10:33 AM


KEXP and Radio New York - WNYE 91.5 FM, a NY public radio station, announce today that they are joining forces to create a partnership called Radio Liberation:

Beginning March 24, 2008, Radio Liberation will air KEXP-produced programming Monday through Friday on WNYE. The programming will feature a three-hour drive-time music show followed by three simulcast hours of The Morning Show with John Richards, a nightly world music show and a weekly variety show hosted by KEXP DJ and senior director of programming, Kevin Cole.

Through the Radio Liberation partnership, KEXP will be able to reach another 14 million terrestrial listeners in New York, sharing Seattle’s unique music community with New Yorkers who are seeking an alternative to commercial radio.

As part of the partnership, KEXP and Radio New York will produce hundreds of live performances a year. With increased access to New York bands and touring artists, Radio Liberation will also bring additional in-studio performances to listeners on both costs.

For more info visit

That’s MILLIONS of more listeners. Not thousands. Now that is extra terrestrial. This is huge. And great. Your band, that you recorded in your basement, will now potentially be heard by MILLIONS more people.

In the face of today’s Clear Channel brain washing regime, KEXP has struck a blow for independent music. People are going to bitch and moan about this I’m sure, but to those people I ask:

If you’re against KEXP, are you for Clear Channel? If you’re against KEXP, what are you for? You don’t have to give your money to KEXP, but have fun listening to Avril Lavigne, Incubus, and Fall Out Boy all day.

** Update: John will be effectively splitting his time between cities and broadcasting his show live from both locations throughout the year.

RSS icon Comments



I am by no means against KEXP, but I must say the "you're with us or against us" mentality does nobody any good. I do not accept the "it's KEXP or Clear Channel" dichotomy, and I don't think KEXP would necessarily phrase it that way either. Or I hope they wouldn't.

That said, I think this will be cool for the citizens of NYC and bands of Seattle.

Posted by Levislade | February 11, 2008 10:42 AM

Hey Levi,

I just get sick of people bitching about John and KEXP, that's all. Are you not sick of that?

I didn't say 'it's KEXP or Clear Channel', I asked a question to the people that seem so against KEXP.

I'm confused, I'm trying to champion John and his contribution to music, and you're giving me shit for it?

Posted by trent moorman | February 11, 2008 10:49 AM

KEXP is following along the same path as A-Rod, Olerud, Randy Johnson, etc. Seattle discovers and creates and NY comes along and gobbles it up. Oh well!!!

Posted by speedsloth | February 11, 2008 10:56 AM

You could be for WFMU. That's how I feel, anyhow.

Posted by Ari Spool | February 11, 2008 10:59 AM

This agreement sounds very promising. My only concern is that New York City bands may start getting more attention than the Pacific Northwest bands. As long as KEXP recommits itself to the regional scene, I'll be happy.

Posted by Bub | February 11, 2008 11:00 AM

i like my local radio, local. it's more of a warm fuzzy feeling i can't describe.

but don't you think that all of that access to new york bands will be at the expense of our local band's air time? or are they going to squeeze them all in there?

i'm for KCMU BTW.

KCMU = warm fuzzy satisfied
KEXP = ehhh

Posted by cochise. | February 11, 2008 11:07 AM

I'm sick of that whining too. It's just your pre-emptive strike against the haters, while understandable, came across as combative. Sorry if I came across as "giving you shit"; it wasn't my intention.

I'm for KEXP, as I said, but I'm also for other things (Clear Channel not being among them): Hollow Earth Radio, dingy little college radio stations in cities across the country,, etc., etc.

Posted by Levislade | February 11, 2008 11:08 AM

I'm also for KBCS and Rainy Dawg, big time.

But in the face of Clear Channel and Wallmart Nation, this move by KEXP is a move for independent music, on a much larger scale. I support that.

Posted by trent moorman | February 11, 2008 11:12 AM

This partnership is the beginning of the end for KEXP in Seattle. Eventually KEXP will follow the money and will move all operations to NYC. Seattle's focus by KEXP will fade away to nothing.

Posted by Bran | February 11, 2008 11:12 AM

this looks more like the NY station saving money than any sort of "infiltration" of KEXP.

Posted by Matos W.K. | February 11, 2008 11:14 AM

Lest we forget that there are other independent radio stations in the area, KBCS 91.3fm has been around for 35 years with ALL volunteer programmers, ecclectic music shows and very left of center public affairs programming --- all without the big $$ that KEXP has behind it. I don't fault them their success (hell, I listen to them too) but there are choices out for you to listen -and pledge- to.

Posted by Peaches | February 11, 2008 11:17 AM

On the face of it, I mean--I only know what's on this post.

Posted by Matos W.K. | February 11, 2008 11:18 AM

I still like KEXP and all, but if you are truly looking for someone to root for you can't beat these guys!

Posted by Clint | February 11, 2008 11:20 AM

First of all, long-time KEXP listener and contributor. I think it's going to be hard for KEXP to maintain its Seattle flavor, and that's what I love about it. My fear is that either the local content will get toned down to make it more national-friendly or it will be overwhelmed by the NY content.

I'm also having trouble understanding why KEXP feels the need to get BIGGER. First with the expansion to Tacoma that failed and now with this. Why is not good enough to be the best station in the Seattle area?

Posted by kexpfan | February 11, 2008 11:23 AM

You can already hear KEXP in New York and, well... everywhere else. Thanks to the internet, there's no excuse for anyone not to listen to what they like.

Posted by Jason Josephes | February 11, 2008 11:27 AM

I'm for local radio supporting local bands.

Posted by Tiktok | February 11, 2008 11:31 AM

I don't know, it just feels sad for me. It feels like everything that touts itself on the importance of "local" this "local" that is just using it as a marketing tool to make more money. In little ways, and big ways, Seattle is selling itself out. Top Pot doughnuts at every Starbucks in the country comes to mind too. It just feels like we want to eat local, listen local, shop local, but local keeps getting "bigger". You know? What does it mean anymore, and how do you put a value on "local" if it extends and extends and extends?

Posted by Local Schmokal | February 11, 2008 11:39 AM

Excuse the crude phrasing, but KEXP has had its tongue up New York bands moreso than Seattle bands since 2001.

That's not KEXP's fault. Seattle listeners like NYC bands! They get requested all the time, and KEXP honors the requests. *shrug* NYC bands usually get obsequious treatment in Seattle.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 11:40 AM

I second Ari: you have to really root for WFMU in all of this. Their programming is hands down much more interesting and diverse than the indie rock / pitchfork-laden stuff that usually gets played on KEXP.

Posted by poplar | February 11, 2008 11:41 AM

i think the concerns that there will be less focus on seattle music are valid. it's a concern. but if the changes are subtle, then this will be wonderful indeed.

as for the john haters, this just gives them more ammunition... they thought he was a money grubbing no talent, and now he gives them this.

as for clear channel... it is scary to see kexp grow larger and appear more like clear channel. you get the lame, same acts when you try to be a national station that appeals to more people.

kexp is amazing, and has been for some time. some people are afraid of losing what is amazing.

Posted by infrequent | February 11, 2008 11:42 AM

Also, as someone who started listening to KEXP right when they became KEXP (and yes, I'm kinda sad I missed the KCMU era pre-1993, oh well), the station has improved a lot since Kevin Cole got his hand into programming duties, as far as the weekday programming.

To me, KEXP will be lost once "Positive Vibrations", "Preachin' The Blues", "Sonic Reducer", and other great weekend shows get kicked off the air -- which I doubt will happen, as I've heard John Richards pledge *with* Kid Hops on during fund drives.

..which is a segue to my question about the NYC simulcast. Will NYC get the *weekend shows*? If so, this is really great news.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 11:46 AM

@18 @19 true true! that's why it's kind of scary. i don't want pitchfork radio. but i do want good music.

another way of looking at it is from NY's perspective, where KEXP is the outside source coming in. we might be excited about a NY station, so i hope they are excited for a seattle station. can it stay a seattle station? please?

Posted by infrequent | February 11, 2008 11:48 AM

The dream scenario would have been if KEXP and WFMU had worked out a trade deal such that Seattle gets a WFMU simulcast in return. Ah well.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 11:49 AM

Also, at the risk of a great debate: what is "Seattle music" today (besides the obvious technical definition)? There are a lot of artists in Seattle doing a variety of things, sure, but is it doing something that similarly sized cities like Portland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Austin, etc. *aren't* doing quite the same?

I'm not sure what you guys mean by "Seattle music". Does that exist as some grand abstract anymore?

Or the grander point:
What does " music" mean? I thought blogs, Myspace, etc. supposedly neutralized the 'local' aspect of any band with a following outside its own metro limits.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 11:54 AM

Slog comments ate my fake tags

What does "[Insert city here] music" mean?

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 11:55 AM

Trent's first bad post? I agree with Levi that his "with us or against us" spin is borderline offensive. Actually, it IS offensive. It's just lame to dismiss the dissatisfaction of where the station is heading as bitching or whining is petty.

I, for one, don't give my money to KEXP so it can promote NYC-based music. I'm a member specifically for it's support of local music and if NYC-based music begins to edge out PacNW-based music, I will definitely reconsider my membership.

I'm guessing KEXP has thought of this, however, and just figures it will make up any money it loses with new members in the new market. And if that's true, it's really a shame.

Posted by eric w. | February 11, 2008 11:56 AM

@24 - I'm not really sure what you're getting at. Seattle music is music made by people who live in Seattle. I think most people would agree that there is something inherently good in supporting your local community, whether it be music, independent stores, bakers, and so on.

Posted by Levislade | February 11, 2008 11:58 AM

The pledge drive starts next week. Vote with your checkbook if you feel strongly.

Why isn't the 2006 Friends of KEXP tax return (Form 990) available? (

Posted by KEXP fan | February 11, 2008 12:02 PM

I'm getting at a couple of points, first:

* KEXP hasn't been exclusively flying the flag for "Seattle music" for almost a decade.

* What's the difference between "Seattle music" and "Portland music" and "NYC music" and "Austin music" aesthetically? Is there a strong sense of regionalism that makes city-based bands sound like they come from their city anymore? If not, then "Seattle music" will mean less by proxy if we get a repeat of the early 90s non-Seattle flights to Seattle just for fame, in the wake of getting exposure in NYC -- which is seen by many as The Gates Of Music Success.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 12:04 PM

@29 - I still think you're missing the point of playing local music (or I still don't understand what you're talking about). Obviously people are influenced by music from all over the place, and there are tons of sounds, genres, styles represented in Seattle. I maintain that Seattle music is music made by people who live in Seattle, Northwest music is made by people who live in the Northwest, and there is value in highlighting these things regardless of any overarching sound or lack thereof - which KEXP continues to do, although not, of course, exclusively. (Although one of my dreams is for them to have an HDFM channel dedicated entirely to local music.)

Posted by Levislade | February 11, 2008 12:10 PM

I agree, JITM has become predictable and repetitive. And Cheryl is bocoming JITM lite. wfmu is where music still creatively challenges the listener. Good luck in nyc... all the best

Posted by jim | February 11, 2008 12:14 PM

Levis@30: You're right, but I'm making a different point, and failing to make myself clearer, which is my fault. I'll try again.

I contend that KEXP is planning to de-localize itself. It did when it was still KCMU, with the whole Chris Knab thing in the early 90s. KEXP has been slipping away from being a "Seattle music" station slowly but surely over the years.

So, what's the big shock about worrying about KEXP losing its focus on "Seattle music", when that's been happening already.

I think the confusion came when I brought in a parallel point at the same time. While I do support and rep for many Seattle bands, rarely are they the ones that KEXP are known for repping. "Sonic Reducer" is the most important show on KEXP as far as playing out the Seattle punk/hardcore bands that would otherwise be ignored. Otherwise, Band Of Horses? Harvey Danger? These aren't bad bands at all, but they do each have an assemblance of national recognition over, say, Sean, or Sex Vid, or Tractor Sex Fatality, or Caro, or Jerry Abstract, or Climax Golden Twins, etc etc. I could go.

My point is, KEXP's showcasing of "Seattle music" isn't nearly as "Seattle" as they say it is, and it was becoming less so over a decade ago, and I'm sure it will continue to do so.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 12:22 PM

Yes, "local" music is made by people who live in the "local" area, i.e. within radio broadcast range of the KEXP signal. For a given music scene to thrive, it is essential that it receive strong, even preferential treatment from the local media--radio, print, T.V., etc. KEXP should have a requirement that 50% of all music played be produced by bands residing within a hundred miles of Seattle. That's local, and serves to promote shows at local clubs, which lead s to local bands selling more music, and then it snowballs.

Posted by Tiktok | February 11, 2008 12:24 PM

I still don't understand how this is supposed to be a blow for independent music against Clear Channel. I'm with Ari, WFMU is a much better and diverse station.
Who cares anyway. I don't even listen to the radio much anymore.

Posted by Biggie J | February 11, 2008 12:39 PM

How does the UW feel about this? They own the license for 90.3.

I can bet that there's a bunch of really good, committed DJs in the basement of the HUB who are pissed that they are stuck broadcasting online when their University-owned broadcast frequency is being squatted upon by a station that couldn't care what city they're based in.

University of WASHINGTON, not New York.

Posted by boyd main | February 11, 2008 12:43 PM

No matter how you crack it. KCMU-KEXP is losing a bit of it's local flavor to NY. How can this even be argued! It is completely obvious. "J-Rich" started this ball rolling over the past couple of years. He should get the credit. New Yorkers love him, Seattle listeners will feel cheated by him. Let's get over it and start fresh. I only wish I had seen this coming before I donated to the station.

Posted by s | February 11, 2008 1:00 PM

"I still don't understand how this is supposed to be a blow for independent music against Clear Channel. "

Biggie J,

Clear channel pumps shitty shitty music into the minds of kids across the country. They are mass commercialization of commercialized music.

KEXP is for independent music. Or if you disagree with that, they are for much more independent music than Clear Channel is for. I don't think you can argue with that. There will now be 14 million potential new terrestrial listeners in one of the biggest cities of the world.

Even if you don't like what KEXP plays, this move is beneficial for bands, musicians, and people involved with music that isn't put out by a major label.

Ask any musician in this town if they'd like to have their music heard by 14 MILLION people. KEXP gives them that chance. It may be a small chance, but it's a realistic chance.

I care because I care about the music industry.

Posted by trent moorman | February 11, 2008 1:03 PM

Trent -

But if the Seattle content gets tuned down in favor of NY content is it really an overall good move for Seattle bands?

Look, it's clear this is good for KEXP - potential for a lot more money, a lot more exposure for the station and DJs, gives them the glamor of playing in the most important music city in the world, meet more bands, etc etc.

But how does this move help Seattle listeners who have supported KEXP for years? What do we get in return? More interviews with NY bands? More chatter about the hot new area of Brooklyn? No thanks. I'm just not convinced this is a win for Seattle.

Posted by mrobvious | February 11, 2008 1:10 PM

The grand irony in this debate over 'local' is that many of the stakeholders in this entire debate are not originally from Seattle nor New York.

I'm not trying to be provincial with that comment. Quite the opposite. The debate seems to act on a provincial pedestal, when in fact, many of the listeners, band members, etc. probably treat Seattle and New York as transitional cities. Just sayin'.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 1:19 PM

who cares where you are from? we understand it to mean supporting local music. by local we mean local, and by music we mean music. if you just moved from ohio or new york, fine, you are in seattle now. say hi to your mom. by the way, i'm born and raised seattle, if that makes my opinion any more relevant on the matter. providence hospital.

this will probably be good for kexp either way. it will be good for seattle iff kexp keeps as much of a focus on seattle music as they do now. anything else, and it loses the local flair. either way, it will still be better than clear channel.

Posted by infrequent | February 11, 2008 1:37 PM

I would prefer to see KEXP doing even more than they do now to engage the community here in Seattle and the PNW. I don't care about NYC. It's an exciting place but I live here, not there. Why is KEXP crawling to NYC? Is this somehow meant to legitimize Seattle or KEXP - now that we're partnered with NYC - we're official or something? I see how there could be positives but I don't like this it feels counter to the DIY/Indie/Punk vibe that KEXP could/should have. C-89 is a much better model of totally amazing (and truly valuable as a teaching tool for kids) listener powered radio.

Posted by BenskiBeat | February 11, 2008 1:42 PM

Where is the money coming from for this. Oh yeah, Seattle members.

Why do they insist on using our pledge dollars to support projects that won't benefit our community in any way.

Posted by popular | February 11, 2008 1:45 PM

I agree with you Trent, Clear Channel is evil and has to be stopped. It's important to take extra care of our special independent music performers and listeners. Give them a chance to be heard by a wider audience . 14 million possible listeners is a large demographic. However you could also say that KEXP pumps plenty of shitty and or good music into the minds of indie kids everywhere.
I guess I see it more as an opportunity to cut into a piece of pie rather than a blow against Clear Channel.

Posted by Biggie J | February 11, 2008 2:03 PM

When I was a kid my parents had baked a cake and put it on top of the refrigerator so nobody would eat it right away. I climbed up on the counter top and looked down at the cake on top of the refrigerator. For some odd reason, I was compelled to press my face into the cake. My Mom walked into the kitchen at just that moment and yelled, "TROY!" I pulled my face out of the cake and looked at her with white frosting all over my face. I didn't know what to say, so I just climbed down and walked to the bathroom and cleaned up. She never said anything about it since.
I know this has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I just remembered that the other day.

Posted by Troy | February 11, 2008 2:09 PM

That has to be DJ Troy. We need more Troy.

Posted by Listener 21 | February 11, 2008 2:18 PM

Hey Troy, will you be taking up the slack now that John is in NYC?

Will you please promise to play more Peruvian Death Metal?

Posted by Jeff | February 11, 2008 2:22 PM

I have to ask, as a non-band member, what the fuck is this going to do for Seattle listeners?

Fuck all, that's what. Our station becomes a little less local (not that it's terribly focused on the local anymore anyway) and John, who used to be totally tied into this city, will now be a part-time bi-coastal jet setter flitting in and out on OUR dimes.

As for the whole clear channel thing, this might be a blow at their hegemony if WNYE had not already been a public station.

Posted by Charlie | February 11, 2008 2:30 PM

"As part of the partnership, KEXP and Radio New York will produce hundreds of live performances a year. With increased access to New York bands and touring artists, Radio Liberation will also bring additional in-studio performances to listeners on both costs."

This is huge for people in bands and the music scene in BOTH cities.. More seattle bands in New York? Sweet.. More Bands FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, who happen to be in NY on the air live on KEXP? RAD. Local bands in KEXP Studios live? RAD.

And Popular, you are wrong, my friend. It's a joint venture, so money is from both places..

All y'all are speculating... Seattle has way too many haters... Just enjoy the big exposure for your favorite local band..


Posted by Nikko | February 11, 2008 2:34 PM

Charlie, What the fuck do YOU do for Seattle Listeners? Except, that you are one of the many seattlites who constantly complain, but never take any action.. JOIN A BAND AND MAKE SOME NOISE!

Posted by Nikko | February 11, 2008 2:36 PM

Charlie - Don't donate then. Listen to Rainy Dawg. Listen to KBCS.

What's 'hegemony'?

Posted by Listener 21 | February 11, 2008 2:37 PM

get off his back ya whiny haters, he's a cool dood and plays some great jams -- also for his fans who are interested, in NY he will be known as DJ Johnny R to avoid confusion

Posted by defender | February 11, 2008 2:45 PM

Word up, Defender. I'm with you.

Posted by Nikko | February 11, 2008 2:47 PM

@49: You don't want me in a band, I don't play music.
As for not taking action, you're wrong, but you probably don't want to hear that because it threatens your holier than thou attitude. I do plenty besides complain and have the right to complain anyway, because this affects me.
Bookmark this thread because when the quality of KEXP suffers because they;ve realized they can blow off our dink-shit little city thanks to the extreme wealth they can now tap more easily in NYC, you'll be bitching too.

@50, I don't give to to KEXP (and don't anyone tell me that means I don't have the right to complain. I used to donate and I still listen. I can complain).

hegemony=preeminence of one group over others

Posted by Charlie | February 11, 2008 2:50 PM

Uh, no Chuck, you can't complain. No donate, no complain. No woman, no cry.

Posted by Listener 21 | February 11, 2008 2:53 PM

Sorry Charlie. I am the President of PWDWCC (People Who Decide Who Can Complain)and our shareholders have voted 99 to 1 in favor of you not being able to complain anymore. For now forward you are not allowed to complain.

Posted by President PWDWCC | February 11, 2008 3:02 PM

It's funny to hear people whining about the whiners. We "whiners" have something important to say, and that is KEXP support for local music has been diminishing for years. Slowly, but surely. Does anyone remember the dead air when KCMU DJs were locked out because they protested the management’s decision to move in this direction? If you don't, then please do some research before you complain about ‘whiners’.
I have witnessed way too many good bands and musicians get sidestepped by KEXP over the years to believe that they really support local music. I really like the DJs at KEXP, and think that they are doing a great job under the circumstances, but if you’re in a band that doesn’t appeal to them, too bad. I’m sure they will protest this point, but how else can you explain it? They support the local music that they like, or see, whatever. They’ve been there for 15+ years or something. Why are they going to NYC to find more music? There's plenty here that the listeners don't get to hear ...

Posted by KCMU fan | February 11, 2008 3:05 PM

I like 98.1.

Posted by Mr. Eric | February 11, 2008 3:14 PM

Joint venture? I'm sure KEXP is paying big $$$ to be on the air in NYC and I'm sure that it John's airfare won't be covered by WNYE ... it'll be covered by you and me ... well not me anymore.

I choose to not support KEXP until I see more transparency in their practices and their actions. What are the numbers and why the continued secrecy in their projects?

Here's what the Q&A at says:

Does this mean that Seattle listeners are paying for programming in New York?

Every single person who gives a financial gift to KEXP is a part of our community. Those gifts support all the work we do as an organization, including this initiative. As we extend into New York we will reach out to new supporters who believe in our work, just like our existing members do. We already benefit tremendously from a passionate, established base of listeners and supporters in New York. In fact, outside of Seattle, New York has been leading the way as our strongest donor base for several years now.

How much is this going to cost KEXP?

The station is not taking on debt or outlaying any substantial amounts of cash to make this happen. We expect it to begin providing KEXP net income in approximately two years.

Summary: KEXP members, you get to pay for another boondoggle for the next two years. thx, mgmt

Posted by popular | February 11, 2008 3:16 PM

I hope no doubt that in time the NYC donations will outpace the Seattle ones and as the money shifts the programming will shift as well. You think if NYC is bringing in 2/3rds of the money they won't have 2/3rds of the local programming?

Again, why this need to get BIGGER (rather than just better). KEXP is a non-profit that is acting a lot like a multinational obsessed with growth.

Posted by kexpfan | February 11, 2008 3:30 PM

I hope no one above took all my comments as complaints per se.

But the writing's on the wall. Radio is dying. KEXP is an anomaly, but they're a anomaly because -- while it's not cool to say in public -- they know radio is dying too. The only way KEXP can survive doing what they do is by de-localizing.

Seattle is not a selfish city, but Seattle alone can't support KEXP. The only way you guys are going to get something like WFMU in Seattle is if you guys build it from scratch. More on that later.

Again, I'm keeping in mind the non-weekday programming here as my beacon for the survival of the station. There is definitely very public-service oriented programming outside the weekday "Indie Lite" that sounds like a more adventurous commercial radio station. The latter is the key to paying for the former. It's not my thing, but I'm happy to see it going.

Meanwhile, if you guys only realized how expensive it is to keep even a tiny FM station afloat, you'd be zipped up. I was a DJ/member of KUCI in Orange County for close to a decade, and even getting up to 200 watts stereo (which isn't big at all, but others BEGGED for this in highly populous O.C.) was a HUGE project.

Radio/broadcasting is just getting waaay too expensive, even on the internet, given current FCC trends, and less and less people are listening to the radio overall, hence less donations. so while KEXP's actions seem disingenous, I think they're just afraid to tell the truth, which is that they need to expand out of the NW a bit and tap into bigger money to keep itself alive.

ANYWAY, about that idea to make an WFMU station in Seattle. Well? Should it be radio? What's the plan? If someone has a feasible idea, I'm in! I'm brainstorming right now.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 11, 2008 3:39 PM

That should have been "I have no doubt.." not "hope". In fact I hope the opposite.

Posted by kexpfan | February 11, 2008 3:40 PM

I wouldn't say i'm whining about whiners. Makin' an observation...

"I really like the DJs at KEXP, and think that they are doing a great job under the circumstances, but if you’re in a band that doesn’t appeal to them, too bad."

That's the truth. And that's their right, as a dj. If they don't like it, they don't have to play it. So if a band is good, but the djs don't like them and in turn don't play them, is that sidestepping or the djs doing their job?

If i don't like your music, i'm not going to listen to it.. And DJs shouldn't have to either..

Posted by Nikko | February 11, 2008 3:42 PM

Here’s why some of us “whiners” whine as we do: back in 1992-3, we had to fight to keep KCMU from replacing local DJs with ultra-bland canned national programming like “World Café,” which I hope you were never force to listen to, even if you spent time in prison.

Great local DJs were fired and replaced with people who obviously knew next to nothing about local—or any—music. I’ll never forget the DJ who clearly needed to read from a script to report that he’d just played a record by Beat Happening, the most prominent Oly band at a time when Oly damn near ruled the underground world.

You want to know how ridiculous it was? Station bigwig Chris Knab went on the air to explain his changes with new age pablum about the need to be a “Media Warrior” (Steve Fisk made this into a funny 12” dance mix).

If we hadn’t won that battle, there likely wouldn’t be any local programming left at all, and John Richards—for example—never would’ve gotten on the air in the first place.

We saved the damn station, so no, it’s not fun to see the station veer away from its local focus.

Posted by BB | February 11, 2008 3:54 PM

BB, that was 15 years ago. Things change. KEXP isn't half as evil as these people make them out to be.

Posted by Listener 21 | February 11, 2008 4:20 PM

Thanks, BB.
And, Nikko@62 -
You underscore my point, the same DJs 'doing their job' for 15+ years have done us a disservice. Before we paid them, they were volunteers, they didn’t depend on getting a paycheck. They were young and in touch with lots of alternative music. Once we stopped that influx of ideas, we got stuck with the same old, some old. So much for Listener Powered. If we’re given choice A and B and nothing else but commercial radio, then yeah, we’ll say, thank the gods for KEXP! And never know that we were missing choices C – Z. I say this knowing that I would have fallen into the same trap, trying to do the best for the community … and still pay my bills doing something I love. And although it will never happen, the best thing for Seattle would be to get volunteer DJs back.

‘If i don't like your music, i'm not going to listen to it.. And DJs shouldn't have to either..’

The Listeners in Listener Powered are not, by the way, the DJs.
Remember – it’s “Where the music matters”

Posted by KCMU fan | February 11, 2008 4:22 PM

mackro -

So you're claiming the move is necessitated by financial circumstances. Do you have any proof of this?

I'm looking at the KEXP annual report, in 2005 they brought in $2.9 million, in 2006 they brought in $3.2 million, I haven't seen the 2007 numbers but I keep hearing about how they're breaking records on contributions (individual contributions are more than half their revenue).

Now I'm sure the Tacoma experiment cost them a lot of money and hurt their cash reserves. But I haven't seen any evidence that the station, absent expensive experiments, can't raise the money needed to support itself.

You want to know the problem? Check out the January 22nd email sent out by Tom Mara. It references how they brought in McKinsey (the consultants) to help plot the future of the "company". Guess what, McKinsey's idea of a good station isn't anything like mine.

I have no doubt McKinsey said "You need to get bigger quick to take advantage of the revenue opportunities out there!" and the KEXP board, seeing dollar-signs, agreed. Just the fact that they brought in McKinsey says a lot about the mindset of the KEXP management.

Posted by kexpfan | February 11, 2008 4:32 PM

Why does everyone thing WFMU is so amazing? Talk to the New Yorkers that you know and see what they say about the state of the radio dial over there. WFMU isn't mentioned in the equation. They seem genuinely excited to have KEXP come to thier city.

Most people who have a business want to grow and expand. Why is this wrong for KEXP??? I've lived in Seattle my whole life and have grown up listening to 90.3 (KCMU and KEXP) and I can honestly say that it's only gotten better over the years. People in this town need to have a more progressive attitude. If WFMU/Rainy Dog Radio is so amazing then why aren't you listening to it instead of bitching about KEXP? Why do you care?

Posted by Christine | February 11, 2008 4:36 PM

I feel like such a sucker for falling for the emotional outbursts during the pledge drives. My money is not going to pay for airline tickets for a narcissist DJ - hell no.

Posted by Marie | February 11, 2008 4:55 PM

i listen to pirate radio and community radio stations online and on my box. i dj'ed for community radio for ten years and currently have a radio show on a local RAD online station.

this idea that kexp is some bastion saint of radio liberation! tschua.


kcmu? probably. kexp? not so much. or at all.

Posted by futures | February 11, 2008 6:27 PM

Just be glad we even have these things to debate and bitch about. Whichever side you fall on, one thing to keep in mind: even with the proliferation of internet radio and your ability to find a station that suits you, many people do not have ANY choices, either due to lack of internet access on a regular basis (hard to listen to internet radio when you're working outdoors, or being a nurse or whatever)or being someplace that has crap choices for terrestrial radio. There's a lot of whining and bitching going on because something isn't exactly the way you want it, but at least you have something to raise your voice about. That is a privilege, whether you like it or not.

Posted by jet city girl | February 11, 2008 6:42 PM

Peruvian Death Metal?

Posted by Troy | February 11, 2008 7:00 PM

Keep on pledging suckas!!!

All your hard-earned money now goes to John Richard's plane fare to NYC!!!

Keep on pledging suckas!!!

I predicted this months ago on:

Posted by Shitoshinola | February 11, 2008 7:04 PM

Wow! I've been tracking down SHITOSHINOLA's past research and posts about kexp. What I've found is, not only does he love the word "suckas", but it is equally hilarious how much time he has devoted to sending out his anti-kexp message!
Truly sad.
But keep it coming, you are entertaining as hell!

Posted by Hybridcar | February 11, 2008 7:55 PM


Posted by Shitoshinola | February 12, 2008 4:39 AM

This is AWESOME news. Kexp already has a global audience online, so this seems like a logical step.

I imagine if this works in NYC, it opens a door to a model that could work in several cities. Think about all of the listeners they have online that would be stoked to be able to hear it on the dial. I love the idea of a global music community.

There are a lot of cities out there who, sadly, have nothing but the pre-programmed crap that is being fed by the Clear Channels, Entercom's and CBS clusters. I'm sure they'd welcome Kexp on the dial.

It's not Kexp "dying off" at all, it's Kexp bringing a fucking awesome radio station to more and more people.

I say hell yea!

Posted by stoked | February 12, 2008 7:51 AM

I look forward to KEXP expanding into Baghdad. It's an untapped market.

Posted by dark&long | February 12, 2008 8:48 AM

Horah! The wonderful music we hear on KEXP, whether by local Northwest bands or from the around the world will now have a HUGE audience...much larger than Seattle or the internet can currently provide.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with this development, except that I might not get to spot John in Ballard much anymore. Afterall, it is the music that matters, right?

BTW, KEXP is SO much better than WFMU. If you are a WFMU fan, then you can listed to THEM online.

Posted by Ann | February 12, 2008 10:56 AM

so does this mean they'll be giving two weather reports? man that will be confusing.

Posted by toby | February 12, 2008 4:21 PM

For me the real story is the continued death of public and community radio. We've all noticed a shift away from local radio djs given free reign over their playlists despite an increase in rhetoric from KEXP trying to draw attention away from this fact. Clearly there is a large portion of the city that has been brainwashed to believe that KEXP djs are tastesitters beholden only to themselves. These types of deals show this belief is 100% false.

Posted by due | February 13, 2008 6:19 PM

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