A Statement from KEXP on COVID-19

Tom Mara
photo by Renata Steiner

UPDATE 3/24/2020:
The State of WA's new "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" requires most businesses to shut down, and most people to stay home unless they are conducting essential business. We are keeping ourselves, our loved ones, and our community safe by staying at home whenever possible, and as much as we are able, limiting our physical interactions with anyone outside of the people we live with. KEXP and other broadcasters are considered exempt from the order, so we'll stay on the air, bringing music to you when you need it most. Still, we're taking every possible step we can to reduce contact between our staff members - all employees are required to work from home, DJs alternate between broadcast booths, and we're taking steps to allow some DJs who are on the air often to host their shows from home. Thanks for listening along with us, and thanks for doing your part to stay home, stay healthy, and keep our community safe.

Original statement 3/15/2020:
As concern grows over the short and long-term impact of COVID-19, our entire community is grappling with fear for the wellbeing of our neighbors and loved ones, and uncertainty about what the coming weeks and months will bring. We are also approaching an unprecedented time for musicians and music fans. With concerts, tours, and entire music festivals being cancelled or delayed, the future is feeling very uncertain for many people who make their living performing music or putting together gatherings for music lovers. As we are experiencing first hand here in Seattle and around the world, the impacts to the music, arts, and nightlife community are broadly felt, but will be particularly disruptive and harmful for up-and-coming artists, grassroots music venues, and independent small businesses.

At KEXP, we have always been firmly committed to introducing music into the lives of our listeners, and to connecting artists with our community-minded, culturally curious audience. During this time, when extremely serious measures are being taken to enforce social distancing and prevent large groups from gathering, on-air and online music programming has never been more crucial to keeping music in the lives of the people who need it.

To that end, we’ll be working in the coming weeks to evaluate the role we can play in continuing to connect music lovers with artists and with each other, and tell the story of how music plays a role in helping our community heal, find strength, and come together. We can guarantee one thing—one way or another, we’ll remain on the air, broadcasting great music curated by human DJs. We’ll keep publishing previously-recorded live performance videos on YouTube. We’ll keep artists and music lovers connected via online content at KEXP.ORG, our iOS and Android apps, and our social media channels.

KEXP has also developed a guide for artists and music fans to support music during the COVID-19 outbreak. This guide describes specific, concrete steps artists can take to weather the loss of revenue and direct connection with fans. It also contains specific and clear information to help music lovers understand how they can support musicians and artists during this trying time.

In addition, KEXP is taking a number of steps to keep our staff, volunteers, supporters, contributing artists, and listeners safe, and to do our part to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. These steps include:

  • KEXP's Gathering Space at Seattle Center, including La Marzocco Cafe and Light in the Attic Record Shop, will be closed to the public for the time being. We will be evaluating our timeline for re-opening in accordance with recommendations from state and local health officials.
  • Suspending public access to free studio tours and live in-studio performance viewing
  • Canceling or postponing in-studio performances through March
  • Canceling or postponing several upcoming free concerts and other community events
  • Canceling volunteer shifts for the immediate future
  • Asking all employees to work from home if it is not absolutely essential that they work on-site
  • Canceling or postponing all work-related travel
  • Working closely with King County to deploy critical health-related messages to our listening audience and social media followers

We will monitor recommendations from Seattle & King County Public Health, the State of Washington, and the CDC, and adjust all remaining public programing and work planning accordingly.

As we continue to navigate an unprecedented situation, we are profoundly grateful for the support of our listeners, donors, and volunteers, who we know will join with us to make sure that music thrives no matter what might come our way. We will remain connected to one another through music, even as physical isolation looms. 

You are not alone. We say it time and again at KEXP. We are all in this together and we will get through it together. We may need to temporarily alter how we practice "togetherness," but we will remain consistently connected through our mission, and through our deep understanding that music makes lives better.

Music matters, now and forever. 

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