Behind the Board with Julian Martlew, KEXP Audio Engineer

Fundraising Drives

You may not know Julian Martlew’s name, but if you listen to KEXP you certainly know his voice. In addition to lending his distinctive tone to countless KEXP underwriting spots, Julian provided the voice of the Algo-Rhythm 3000 in our recent 2001-themed Spring Drive clip. Along with our donors, volunteers and staff members like Julian power KEXP every day of the year. You can support robot-free radio too! Just go to KEXP.ORG/donate to make your gift. Julian took a few minutes to answer some questions for us.

WARNING: The following material is suitable for humans only.



Tell us about your job at KEXP.

I've worked at KEXP since 2002, starting as an audio engineer for live in-studios and remotes, eventually becoming the lead engineer for our Bumbershoot stage. Most recently, I took on voiceover for underwriting and producing our syndicated show Under the Needle.

In-studios allow me to do one of my favorite things in the world, which is record amazing musicians. Also, as one of the folks doing underwriting and promos, I am sort of secret famous. People know my voice but not that it’s me. Even a few people who work here probably will just be figuring it out!

It's always odd to hear your own voice recorded, but it’s fun to be in the Gathering Space when John is making fun of me or see Cheryl pointing through the window when a spot comes on.  It's good, though. I’m a tech person and an audio nerd so I like being behind the scenes.

How is KEXP unique?

I work here, so I may be biased! Still, to me, KEXP is the best radio station I've ever heard. I love the community around the station—the interactions with musicians and music lovers around the world. I love that the DJs have strong personalities and are encouraged to be themselves on the air.  They still choose the music they will play, and shift gears on a whim or a feeling. The Music Heals day has had me in tears and the music during the Women's March was fantastic!

How would you describe your work to someone who is not involved in radio?

I always say: "It’s pretty great, I work with the best people, record great bands, tell my friends what's going on around our lovely city ON THE AIR, and it’s all within a 5-minute walk from my apartment."

What is your favorite part of your day to day experience at KEXP?  

I love walking into the building, waving at the DJ through the window, grabbing some coffee, and jumping into whichever project the day has in store. And the music never stops.


Photo by Brady Harvey


What was your relationship to the station before you began working here?

I was listening! I was a college DJ—shout out to WXDU in Durham NC—and so I gravitate towards the dusty end of the dial. I love cooking breakfast and listening to Positive Vibrations.

How does it feel to work at a listener-powered radio station?

I also work over at OntheBoards theater. We listen to KEXP while we are building sets and hanging lights. My buddy Rich was talking about Minnesota and how so much great music comes from that cold wonderland.

When I told Kevin Cole about the conversation, he just smiled and said, "Rich knows," as he walked away. Kevin’s mischievous smile told the story of the connections that each person at KEXP is making out there at work, in cars, in homes, in families, and on and on. I am so grateful to all the people that support KEXP. I'm especially stunned by the number of people that make small donations, whatever they can afford to give, to give back to what is hopefully the soundtrack to their lives.

Today is the last day of Spring Drive 2018! Support robot-free radio by making your gift at KEXP.ORG/donate.

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