KEXP Annual Report 2021

KEXP Annual Report on 2021

A Letter From the CEO: Greetings KEXP Community!

My name is Ethan Raup and I am KEXP’s new Chief Executive Officer. I’m new to this role but have worked at KEXP for over eight years, most recently as Chief Operating Officer. As a listener, KEXP has played an important role in my life going back to KCMU in the mid-90s, when some friends turned me onto this tiny radio station broadcasting out of the University of Washington just after my wife, Tess, and I first moved out to Seattle.

Over that time and in many different ways, I’ve come to really understand and appreciate what an important role KEXP plays in our lives – and I’ve seen firsthand that it is your support that makes it all possible – especially during challenging times like these. With that in mind, I’m so glad that my first message to you as CEO takes a look back at some important highlights and impacts we had last year.

After a tumultuous 2020, we not only found our footing in 2021 but were able to start pushing ourselves in new and different ways. We saw the programming changes we made the year before come into full bloom. And during this second year of remote work and periodic closures, we were reminded once again what an important role music and our incredible DJs play in breaking down those feelings of isolation, connecting with people, building community, and reminding each one of us that you are not alone.

It made a difference. We continued to see an outpouring of messages from listeners, making requests, sharing stories, and just nerding out together over the music. In the spring, we reached third place in the Puget Sound market, an all-time high and an achievement no one inside or outside KEXP would have thought possible with our very modest 4,700 watt broadcast signal. Our listeners made this possible by tuning in to KEXP for a jaw-dropping nine hours a week per person.

2021 also saw the triumphant return of live in-studio sessions to our Live Room and the reopening of the Gathering Space to our community. We prepared for a significant leadership transition with the announcement of longtime CEO Tom Mara’s departure (thank you, Tom, for taking KEXP farther than anyone could have ever imagined 50 years ago). And in the grand KEXP tradition of celebrating made-up holidays and odd numbers, we observed the 11th anniversary of our Amplifiers Club; which, of course, meant celebrating our Amplifiers, who contributed an incredible 30% of KEXP’s overall budget in 2021.

Overall, it was a year of building back up to full capacity, reopening to the community, watching our programming changes breathe new life into our airwaves and setting the stage for a big 50th celebration in 2022. Rolling out the blueprints, checking our foundation, and making some plans for the future.

It was a lot – and you made it all possible. I’m looking forward to engaging with you and this incredible community in the coming months. Even as we celebrate 50 years of history this year, we’re already starting to turn our attention to the future and our next 50 years. That starts now with an update to our Strategic Plan, which will guide our evolution over the next several years. As we dig into this work, I’d love to hear from you. What is most important to you as you think about our future? What do you want us to know as we prioritize future staff and resource investments? Just send me an email at and let me know what you think.

photo by Carlos Cruz


Infographic: 2021 By the Numbers

2021 In Your Words

2021 in Pictures

Ambar Lucid in the Gathering Space. Photo by Renata Steiner
Live music returns to KEXP for the first time since March 2020, after nearly 200 Live on KEXP At Home sessions. In-studio with Ambar Lucid, September 29, 2021, part of Aquí y Ahora: Without Borders (Photo: Renata Steiner)


Career panel at Alan T Sugiyama High School November 2021 - Isabel, Tia, Gabriel.png
KEXP staff present a career panel at Alan T. Sugiyama High School: Isabel Khalili, Podcast Producer & Licensing Administrator; Tia Ho, Social Media & Digital Community Analyst (joining remotely); Gabriel Teodros, Associate Music Director & Host of 'Early'


Album covers: Marvin Gaye, The Fugees, De La Soul
Album anniversaries and catalogue deep dives: 25 years of The Fugees’ 'The Score,' 50 years of Marvin Gaye’s 'What’s Going On,' and a look at the legacy of the hip-hop collective Native Tongues


Programming highlights: Live Music Heals, Black History Is Now, Pushing Boundaries, Aqui y Ahora
Programming in collaboration with community: joining with listeners and local venues to celebrate live music, and highlighting the musical contributions of a range of cultures and communities


Pie Chart: 2021 Financial Highlights (full data in next section "More 2021 Financial Highlights"


More 2021 Financial Highlights

Income: $13,150,679


The largest portion of KEXP’s support in 2021 came from 29,915 individual donors, donor-directed funds, corporate matching programs, and family foundations. The $7,807,305 raised by these combined groups made up 59.4% of the organization’s revenue. Business Support totaled $2,657,983 or 20.2% of 2021 total revenue.


KEXP received $450,864 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to support broadcast service and annual operations; this represents 3.4% percent of 2021 revenue. Additional support totaling $114,844 or 0.9% of total 2021 revenue came from grants from government, corporate, and foundation sources including: The Dean Witter Foundation, Grousemount Foundation, The Vilcek Foundation, 4Culture, ArtsWA, and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.


In 2021 KEXP received funding associated with several local and national COVID-19 relief measures. Through the federal Employee Retention Credit program, KEXP received a refundable payroll tax credit of $230,895. This revenue category also includes $93,873 in American Rescue Plan Act Stabilization Grant funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. KEXP was also the recipient of a $22,500 Nonprofit Community Recovery grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce administered by ArtsFund, and $1,044 in support from Amazon.


Miscellaneous and earned revenue from rent, investment income, and program services totaled $130,387 or 1% of 2021 revenue.


Individuals, organizations, and businesses contributed in-kind support in the form of goods and services totaling $1,640,984, or 12.5% of total revenue & expense, a major portion of which came from key partner University of Washington. Additional major in-kind support was provided by Assembly Media and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Expenses: $12,447,405

In 2021, 60.5% of KEXP’s expenses were dedicated to programs, which includes all radio programming, Live on KEXP production and distribution, podcasts, events, the KEXP website and more. Fundraising accounted for 30.4% of expenses, including fundraising staff and systems, producing and mailing thank-you gifts, marketing and promotion, and significant in-kind support from the University of Washington. Administrative costs were 6.6% percent of total 2021 expenses, and included HR, accounting, and other back-end functions. 2.5% of 2021 expenses went toward capital expenditures.

KEXP Leadership 2021

photo by renata steiner



The incredible community support you’ve shown throughout 2021 helped generate significant momentum and a sense of real excitement that is still propelling us forward and helping us make good on our most important commitments—to you and the entire KEXP community. Whatever the future brings, we know you'll be with us to make it possible.

Ethan Raup
Chief Executive Officer