KEXP’s 50th Anniversary - Independent Together

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In 1972, four students at the University of Washington in Seattle had an idea. The university -- and the city -- needed a radio station where students could learn the art of broadcasting and listeners could discover music. From that idea, KCMU was born. With an initial signal of only 10 watts, the station was small but mighty. With the support of the UW, a roster of DJs and hosts rotated through the station -- some in advance of long careers in journalism and broadcasting -- and the ethos of KCMU began to form. DJs should be in charge of programming their shows according to their idea of what should be on the air, not according to some playlist. Loving music isn’t about narrowing the scope of what you think sounds good, but rather about expanding it, and seeking out new sounds and new musical ideas with intention and purpose. Music is about connection.

Now, 50 years later, our call letters may have changed, and our audience may be a bit larger and more geographically dispersed, but we still hold on to the central truth that music matters. We work every day to build a community of music lovers and music makers, all focused on celebrating and championing the role that music plays in our lives. For over 50 years, we’ve done things our way by elevating artists from all backgrounds, by encouraging DJs to be their true selves, by speaking up when others go quiet, and by making KEXP a place you gather at not just something you listen to. Now we’re a thriving global community of individuals made stronger by our differences. We embrace uniqueness, allow time for discomfort, and constantly challnge our beliefs, all so we continue evolving together. That’s what drives us forward, as individuals, as a station, as a community.

As we celebrate this milestone, we’ll spend some time looking back, but we’ll also be looking forward. It’s going to be a lot of fun! Join us here for updates and new features throughout the year. Thank you for powering KEXP for 50 years.

KEXP 50 Years of Music Collage

50 Years of Music

It’s KEXP’s 50th anniversary, and to celebrate we’re taking an in-depth look at each year of our history – from 1972 to 2022. All year long we’ll be bouncing around the timeline, pulling out the best music from a different year each week – both the songs we all know and love and music we might’ve missed the first time around. Tune in to hear spotlight features every Wednesday, and highlights from each year throughout the week. Listen live wherever you tune in, and use KEXP's Two-Week Streaming Archive to catch any spotlights you may have missed! 

Made possible in part by Swansons Nursery, Caffe Vita, and The Black Bibs.

Interviews + Features

 

KEXP 50

50 Years of Music: 1979 – Black Flag - "Nervous Breakdown"

As KEXP celebrates its 50th anniversary, we’re looking back at the last half-century of music. Each week in 2022, KEXP pays homage to a different year and our writers are commemorating with one song from that year that resonates with them. This week, Dusty Henry looks back at the title track Black …


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KEXP 50

50 Years of Music: 1997 – White Town - "Your Woman"

As KEXP celebrates its 50th anniversary, we're looking back at the last half-century of music. Each week in 2022, KEXP pays homage to a different year and our writers are commemorating with one song from that year that resonates with them. This week, Emily Fox looks back on White Town's "Your Woman…


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KEXP 50

Looking Back at Phoebe Bridgers’ “Motion Sickness” and the Aftershocks of Love and Manipulation

As we celebrate 2017 this week in ouur 50 years of Music series, Aarin Wright looks back at one of Phoebe Bridgers' most recognizable and stirring songs


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KEXP 50

50 Years of Music: 2017 – Juana Molina - Halo

As KEXP celebrates its 50th anniversary, we're looking back at the last half-century of music. Each week in 2022, KEXP pays homage to a different year and our writers are commemorating with one song from that year that resonates with them. This week, Albina Cabrera looks back at the experimental dr…


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Interviews KEXP 50 Local Music

The Almost Complete History of Kill Rock Stars

To celebrate 1991 Week, Martin Douglas explores the entire three-decade history of the influential indie label and "family business" with Slim Moon and Dr. Portia Sabin.


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KEXP 50

50 Years of Music: 1991 – Slint - "Breadcrumb Trail"

As KEXP celebrates its 50th anniversary, we're looking back at the last half-century of music. Each week in 2022, KEXP pays homage to a different year and our writers are commemorating with one song from that year that resonates with them. This week, Jasmine Albertson looks back at the beautiful bl…


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