Wow, what a year. Look at what you did! Because of your financial support, you enjoyed only-at-KEXP programming like Inside Paul’s Boutique, launched three new shows (including our international DJ mix Midnight in a Perfect World), and strengthened your community.
You helped build our New Home at Seattle Center, too, from our January ground-breaking to December’s big moving day. You filled Seattle’s streets for the all-star Raw Power show, and helped reach 92 percent of our $15M capital campaign goal.
As a KEXP donor, you are directly responsible for every milestone and memory detailed in this Annual Report. You should feel proud as you survey all your amazing accomplishments.
Thanks for making 2015 a banner year — and here’s to the future!
Thank you for powering great music in 2015. Because of $3.15 million worth of support from you and 15,194 of your fellow music lovers, you enjoyed only-at-KEXP programming (like our day-long Beastie Boys breakdown), and strengthened our community.
Your commitment to commercial-free music chosen by, and for, music lovers like you enabled us to craft listening experiences with a very human touch. You connected the dots between Mark Lanegan, Mariah Carey and Curtis Mayfield during Six Degrees of Greg Dulli. And when you helped us pull off our audacious track-by-track dissection of Paul’s Boutique, the enthusiasm rippled through the entire KEXP Community. Truly inspiring … thank you.
You brought new voices and ideas to KEXP, too. With your support, KEXP launched three new programs in 2015:
Artists from Seattle and around the world brought their taste and talents to our late-night DJ mix show Midnight in a Perfect World.
The online series Immigrant Songs (created with support from The Vilcek Foundation) showcased U.S. artists who span international communities and cultures, from Cambodian garage rock to local hip-hop with deep roots in Zimbabwe.
Small college stations could now share exclusive KEXP performances (at no charge!) with their terrestrial listeners, too, thanks to our first syndicated show — Under the Needle.
Amidst all this activity, you also helped build our new Seattle Center facility. What a remarkable year! It kicked off with a Mike McCready guitar solo at groundbreaking January 28, and climaxed when broadcasting moved into the New Home at 9:03 a.m. on December 9 with Robyn Hitchcock’s “Viva! Sea-Tac.”
In August,you filled downtown Seattle streets for Raw Power, an all-star tribute to Iggy and the Stooges atop Pike Place Market. And beer-lovers pitched in by purchasing Transistor IPA, our fundraising collaboration with Scuttlebutt Brewing. By the time midnight struck on New Year’s Eve, you’d helped us raise 92 percent of our $15M capital campaign goal — and we still had six months remaining to finish.
Mindful of our financial responsibilities, KEXP used its resources wisely in 2015. The station’s cash revenue grew 1.9%, from $7.6 million in 2014 to $7.8 million in 2015. Cash expenses increased 2.5%, from $7.2 million in 2014 to $7.4 million in 2015.
KEXP saw another year of very strong support from the business community, too, with contributions increasing 9% over 2014. Our Business Support program has been consistently strong, growing 75% in the last 5 years. Support from the business community is an essential component of KEXP fundraising, accounting for 36% of cash operating revenue in 2015.
In a year that teemed with milestones and memories, two of my favorites came courtesy of your fellow KEXP donors and volunteers. At the Groundbreaking ceremony, my heart swelled as one of our board members, musician Paula Boggs stepped up to the microphone and whole-heartedly cheered “Yay, KEXP!” In that one simple sentiment, all your support and generosity seemed to radiate from Paula’s outstretched arms.
In a quieter moment eleven months later, longtime volunteer Ken Tarleton carried a Bankers box with our FCC license from KEXP’s old building to the New Home, even as costumed staff scampered around him in our Moving Day parade. Seeing one of you, our faithful supporters, assume this great responsibility underscored just how far you’ve brought all of us through your support of great music on KEXP.
Tom Mara Executive Director, KEXP
KEXP enriches people's lives by championing music and discovery.
A world where music connects and inspires people everywhere, creating meaning and understanding in our lives.
All good music deserves to be heard.
Creative programming respects and inspires listeners and their curiosity.
Music connects people and creates meaning in the world.
Curated music experiences promote artistic diversity.
As non-profit, independent media, public radio stewards the airwaves to serve the good of the people.
On Friday, July 24, listeners around the world tuned in for Inside Paul’s Boutique, a full day dedicated to the classic Beastie Boys album. Considered a commercial flop upon its 1989 release, Paul’s Boutique now ranks as one of the era’s finest records. The influence of its sample-heavy style can be heard in artists like Girl Talk, RZA, and The Avalanches. But due to legal barriers, creating an album like it today would likely be impossible. Album engineer Mario Caldato Jr. once said, “The list of samples on [Paul’s Boutique] is so long, they're still getting sued over it.”
Inside Paul’s Boutique featured more than 100 sampled selections, including Public Enemy, P-funk, and Pink Floyd, plus all 15 album tracks. Rare bonus tracks and demos, new interviews with album co-producers The Dust Brothers (John King and Mike Simpson) and an exclusive archival chat with the Beastie Boys rounded out the 12-hour program.
“The organic and eclectic composition of Paul’s Boutique perfectly mirrors the KEXP programming philosophy and our emphasis on digging deep into music of all eras and genres, ” said John Richards, KEXP’s Associate Program Director and host of The Morning Show. “In my 20-plus years as a DJ, I never thought I’d be this excited to play Loggins and Messina outside of the privacy of my own car.”
We were thrilled by the community response surrounding this unique event. “That was hands-down the most incredible 12 hours of radio ever! I called in sick to work so I could listen and not once in 12 hours did I want to change the station. I only wanted to turn it up,” said Tiffany from Portland, Oregon. Online streaming doubled, and the event was covered by Rolling Stone, Wired, and PBS. Even @beastieboys tweeted about it!
In September, KEXP launched Under the Needle: the KEXP Sessions, our first syndicated series. Under the Needle features live sessions chosen from the 400-plus in-studios that KEXP hosts each year. The premiere episode featured Courtney Barnett; other 2015 Under the Needle highlights included The War on Drugs, First Aid Kit, and FKA twigs.
Made possible thanks to support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Under the Needle makes KEXP in-studios available to college and community radio stations at no cost, bringing “music that matters” to people all over the world. By the end of the year, more than 40 stations carried Under the Needle, including University of San Francisco’s KUSF, OCRfm in Colac, Australia, and KZRadio in Tel Aviv, Israel.
“We are very excited to be able to connect some of the incredible artists that come through KEXP to a wider audience and to be able to provide great content to our partner stations,” said Kevin Cole, host of The Afternoon Show and KEXP’s Senior Director of Content.
“It’s good for music lovers, it’s good for the stations, and it’s good for the artists to have these performances shared widely.”
Responsible stewardship of donor support governed KEXP’s fiscal decision-making in 2015, allowing us to invest in new shows, special programs, and growing terrestrial audience. KEXP’s total operating revenues in 2015 were $7,791,215.
Contributions from 15,195 individual donors, donor-directed funds, corporate matching programs, and family foundations generated $3,153,392 — representing 40.5 percent and the largest portion — of KEXP’s total operating revenue. Support from businesses met projections this year, with 288 local and national businesses accounting for $1,927,731 (or 24.7 percent of total revenue).
Programming ventures beyond the airwaves — including concession and ticket sales at events and concerts — accounted for 0.4 percent of total revenue.
KEXP’s total operating expenses in 2015 were $7,383,859, with 58 percent of that amount dedicated to programs. Fundraising and administrative costs accounted for the remaining 34 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Funding for KEXP's annual operations in 2015 was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which not only supported KEXP's broadcast service, but also made possible the launch of KEXP's syndicated live performance program Under the Needle, which can now be heard on over 50 radio stations around the world. Support for operations was also provided by 4Culture's Sustained Support program, the City of Seattle's Civic Partners program, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and United HealthCare, who supported KEXP's World AIDS Day events.
KEXP received notable in-kind support from individuals, organizations, and local and national businesses in the form of goods and services worth $1,708,900. Of that in-kind support, $1.2M (or 72 percent) came from KEXP’s key partner, the University of Washington, from whom we received fundraising and technology support.
Even as music lovers helped KEXP roll out new shows and services throughout 2015, you also powered us through the biggest, busiest year of the capital campaign to help build our New Home at Seattle Center. On Wednesday, January 28, you helped us break ground and begin construction on the new KEXP. The celebration began with remarks from KEXP staff and volunteers, Adra Boo of Fly Moon Royalty, and King County Executive, Dow Constantine —plus a blistering guitar solo by Pearl Jam's Mike McCready. An open house followed, featuring a remote broadcast of The Midday Show, performances by Rose Windows and Bass Drum of Death, tours, games, free coffee from La Marzocco, and more...
On Sunday, August 23, 8,800 guests gathered at Pike Place Market for RAW POWER KEXP. This free show featured Mike McCready, Duff McKagan, Barrett Martin, and Mark Arm tearing through a set of classic Stooges songs. While the rooftop show was free, several fundraisers were held around it, including a VIP pre-show dinner and an after-party (both at Matt’s in the Market). These activities raised $260,000 for KEXP’s New Home, and the show received great coverage from media including Rolling Stone, SPIN, and Stereogum.
At the end of an incredible year, you watched us parade from our old facility at Denny Way to our New Home at Seattle Center on Wednesday, December 9. Staff members dressed in an array of “historic” KEXP costumes (Kevin Cole even busted out his Joey Ramone wig) and the parade was streamed live so music lovers worldwide could accompany us through this transition to KEXP’s next phase. And at 9:03 a.m. Pacific Time, John Richards played the very first song from KEXP’s New Home: “Viva! Sea-Tac” by Robyn Hitchcock.
KEXP's New Home campaign received incredible support from institutional funders in 2015. This included major support from the State of Washington’s Building for the Arts program, 4Culture’s Building for Culture program, the City of Seattle, the Murdock Charitable Trust, Microsoft, US Bank Foundation, and Wells Fargo Foundation. Support for the New Home campaign also came from a diverse group of marketing, PR and advertising firms, who came together to support KEXP through the Turn It Up event.
At the end of 2015, music lovers had committed $13,900,000 in funds, which put the campaign at 92% of its $15,000,000 goal.
In total, 574 music lovers volunteered at KEXP in 2015.
These volunteers accounted for 24,472 hours over the course of the year, averaging more than 470 hours per week. That’s equal to nearly a dozen full-time employees! In addition to assisting DJs, giving tours, and offering vital support during fundraising drives, KEXP volunteers played an essential role in the move into our New Home, carefully packing the music library’s 50,000+ records and CDs.
KEXP is especially grateful to the volunteers who donated the most hours in 2015: Ken Tarleton, Brandon Schoepf, Bridget Hyland, Atticus George-Andrijeski, Matthew Thompson, Marcus Shriver, Meagan Flaherty, Alaia D’Alessandro, William Brown, and Greta Heller. Each of these amazing individuals donated between 350 and 725 hours of their time to help power “music that matters” on KEXP!