KEXP celebrated 50 years in 2022. That span of time covers a whole lot of change – evolutions in community radio, the Seattle music scene, technology, media … definitely in graphic design. And the story of our 50th encompassed all of that and more.
But as it turns out – revisiting 50 years of music is more like revisiting little pieces of our lives. Right off the bat, stories poured in from listeners who had been with KEXP from the very beginning and every year in between. It felt less like commemorating an institution and more like bonding as people and as music lovers. Appreciating all the ways music can be tied to a time or a place or a person. Looking back at songs that helped make us who we are and still connect us today. It was so powerful to learn so much about all the times KEXP’s journey intersected with those of our listeners – and hopefully with your own.
For me, a real highlight of all this was KEXP50, our free community concert and “birthday party” at Seattle Center. It truly felt like a culmination of everything leading up to that point: not only the decades that shaped KEXP, but also these more recent years of challenge and upheaval. The sense of opening up, our space coming alive again, and people coming together – it was life-affirming. I think that joy comes through in the photos and audio from that day, and it’s something I’ll never forget.
Above all, the most inspiring thing about this milestone is simply knowing that so many people – over so many years – have cared so deeply about music, human curation, community and our connection to each other. Thank you for being a part of that.
At 51, KEXP is no longer a student-run station; our community is global and our storytelling reaches beyond just radio. We’ve grown, we continue to evolve, and we’re investing in the future. Even as we were still basking in the glow of our 50th celebration last fall, we were already turning to face the future by reimagining our radio schedule and new ways to serve our mission, which I believe will continue to push us forward while also making sure we stay true to ourselves.
I am looking forward to the future. Change is hard, but it can also open up new vistas. I’m looking forward to that. It’s an important journey and I’m so grateful we’re on it together!
Ethan Raup, CEO
In 2022, your support helped bring the 50th celebration to our local community in the best way possible – with live music! KEXP50 was our first large gathering since early 2020, and listener power kept this special day free and open to all. Featuring performances from !!!, Thao, Sons of Kemet, Tomo Nakayama, and Enumclaw, the event also offered a “Future Booth” for attendees to share what inspires them along with hopes for the next 50 years of KEXP.
KEXP revisited a different year in music history during every single week of 2022 – and it went beyond a simple spin of the “greatest hits.” At KEXP, listener power supports a whole team of curators, so we got each show’s own unique take on standout albums across all genres. Your support in 2022 also powered a year’s worth of thoughtful music writing from KEXP, reflecting on those special albums at the intersection of personal and cultural impact.
This on-air event offered a way for listeners everywhere to be part of the celebration. Throughout the week, KEXP featured a special lineup of Live On KEXP performances, plus special features or special guests during every show. Radio Week was also the perfect chance to gather some of KEXP’s longtime DJs together and get their stories on video – so no matter what year you discovered KEXP, you can hear more about the history you’re now helping to uphold.
A new 10-part podcast telling the story of the Black Constellation, plus a sold-out special event with performances from the featured artists.
KEXP’s first-ever broadcast from South America, featuring 12 special Live On KEXP sessions.
A three-show series to highlight local artists and local venues.
Created with donor support in memory of Riley McCarthy and in honor of Music Heals, a new permanent outdoor stage now provides more space for KEXP-hosted shows and other community events.
In partnership with BECU, a double album of KEXP live sessions, with 100% of sales going to independent record stores and the featured artists.
The largest portion of KEXP’s support in 2022 came from 30,704 individual donors, donor-directed funds, corporate matching programs, and family foundations. The $9,145,274 raised by these combined groups made up 60% of the organization’s revenue. Business Support provided an additional $2,894,558 or 19% of KEXP’s total 2022 revenue.
KEXP received $491,979 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or 3.2% of total 2022 revenue. This funding supports broadcast services and annual operations. An additional $104,758 or 0.9% of 2022 revenue came from other grant sources including The Dean Witter Foundation, Grousemont Foundation, 4Culture, and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
KEXP drew $310,000 from its Quasi-Endowment Fund in 2022, representing 2% of total 2022 revenues.
KEXP’s 2022 income included $250,271 in Covid-related funding.
Miscellaneous and earned revenue from rent, investment income, and program services totaled $217,154 or 1.5% of 2022 revenue.
Individuals, organizations, and businesses contributed in-kind support in the form of goods and services totaling $1,853,773, or 12.1% of total revenue & expense, a major portion of which came from the University of Washington; additional major in-kind support was provided by Copacino + Fujikado. Corresponding expenses are detailed in the next section, “Expenses.”
In 2022, 57% of KEXP’s expenses were dedicated to Program Services, which includes all radio programming, Live on KEXP production and distribution, podcasts, events, the KEXP website, and more.
Fundraising accounted for 19.5% of expenses in 2022; this number includes fundraising staff and systems, as well as the production and shipping of thank-you gifts.
Management & General costs were 7% percent of total 2022 expenses, including human resources, accounting, and other back-end functions. An additional 4.7% of 2022 expenses went toward
Capital Expenditures, including the construction of the Music Heals Courtyard Stage, which extends KEXP’s capacity to host community events.
In-Kind Expenses were $1,867,955 in 2022. This number comprises $657,588 in program services expenses, $37,049 in management & general expenses, and $1,173,318 in fundraising expenses. These expenses correspond with In-Kind Support in the above section, “Income.”
Thanks to strong past support from donors, KEXP was able to enter the year with a portion of cash reserves committed for use in 2022. This planned transfer provided an additional $519,747 for timely investments in programming and operations.
2022 was a year to celebrate the long legacy of listener power at KEXP and (of course) revisit 50 years of music together. But your support in 2022 also laid the groundwork for our next steps. It was a year for big ideas, excitement for the future, and growth; thanks to you, we invested in programming, staff, and systems that will carry KEXP forward and help us share more music in more ways. Your support made a real difference for what we could create throughout the year, and what we’ll become in the future. Thank you for powering KEXP.