UW Today

June 3, 2011

University of Washington and KEXP sign new 30-year management agreement

News and Information

The University of Washington and KEXP Radio have entered into a new management agreement for KEXP to continue operating the Universitys broadcast service at 90.3 FM for the next 30 years.

“The University of Washington is pleased to have come to an agreement to have Friends of KEXP continue to operate the station on the Universitys behalf,” said Randy Hodgins, UW Vice President for External Affairs. “KEXP shares the Universitys mission of providing the city, region and the world with access to the arts. The station is a centerpiece of this effort with its eclectic mix of artists and music and its outreach goals spanning the globe.”

“This partnership is a tremendous endorsement for music curated by independent and expert DJs, and a prodigious commitment by the University of Washington to champion artists and their work,” said Tom Mara, executive director of Friends of KEXP, the non-profit organization that began operating the station on behalf of the University in 2001. “We look forward to being the place ‘where the music matters, both on the dial and online at KEXP.org, for the next three decades.”

The renewed partnership will enable the UW and KEXP to better achieve their public service, non-commercial missions of extended and enriched outreach, education, music appreciation and related technological innovation. The agreement also calls for other partnerships between the University and Friends including the possibility of internships for UW students and on-air and on-line collaborations.

The new agreement means listeners can count on KEXP to bring them innovative programming through 2041. Artists can continue to rely on KEXP as a groundbreaking outlet, relentless in helping people discover music. The partnership between KEXP and UW has produced numerous successes in its first decade, including the immensely popular webcast with NPR of the 2011 Sasquatch! Festival.  “One of our core values is all good music deserves to be heard,” Mara said. “This agreement ensures cultural benefits for the community for years to come.”

Online, KEXP.org has been a pioneer in providing features such as real-time playlists, uncompressed streaming, full-song radio podcasts and an interactive archive of broadcasts and in-studio performances, all with technological and engineering support from the University. Each year, more than one million people visit KEXP.org and more than one million KEXP-produced videos are viewed monthly.

The station, licensed by the FCC to the UW Board of Regents, was launched in 1972 as KCMU, a 10-watt station for students on the UW campus. In 2001, it changed call letters to KEXP. Today, it transmits at 4,700 watts and is regularly hailed as one of the top stations in the country.