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What is KUGS?

“The mission of KUGS-FM is to serve the students of Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA by providing a diverse program of music and information consistent with student interests. The Board of Trustees of Western Washington University holds the license and the Associated Students operate the station. KUGS is staffed by students and community volunteers who are committed to providing programming that encourages a greater understanding of the human differences and cultural pluralism within the University community and the world we live in. Through its programming, KUGS serves as a bridge from the University to the surrounding community. ” (AS)


“KUGSFM is an AS Activity Approved by the Board of Trustees in 1977 KUGSFM is an activity of the Associated Students and has been in operation since 1974 under authority granted by the Federal Communications Commission. The official broadcast programming policy was approved by the Western Washington University Board of Trustees in Motion 20177 on February 3, 1977.”

Where did it come from?

January 29, 1974
KUGS begins broadcasting with 10-Watt transmitter

Increases signal from 10 to 100 Watts

Switches from “quilt format” to college rock format

KUGS becomes 2nd station in the US to broadcast online,
using the “see you see me” format

KUGS receives Mayor’s award by the
Bellingham Arts Commission for excellence and diversity in music and issue oriented programming

Application turned in to FCC for an increase to 700 watts
Application still pending…

KUGS begins Realplayer streaming online

Kerensa Wight of KUGS wins Music Director of the Year at Gavin convention

KUGS decides to stop webcasting until royalty agreements and reporting requirements are finalized in Congress

Voted best radio station in “Every Other Weekly” publication


Where does KUGS get its funding?

In addition to the financial support from the A.S., KUGS also encourages sponsorship from area businesses, and individuals. As a non-profit radio station, KUGS sells underwriting, not direct advertising.

Also, the public can donate financially to KUGS through the Western Washington University Foundation. When donating to the WWUF, you can designate your contribution to a specific department or program, such as KUGS. According to the WWUF website:


The Western Washington University Foundation collects no fees on any annual gift. 100% of each contribution in deposited directly into the designated area’s account for use by that department. Your support benefits both faculty and students, immediately creating teaching and learning opportunities.

Where can I learn more about KUGS?

Que pasa, KUGS?

KUGS 89.3 FM Makes Triumphant Return to Cyberspace


March 30, 2001
KCMU Radio, University of Washington and EMP
Launch Innovative Partnership
Same Format, Improved Programs, State of the Art Studio and
New Call Letters Highlight Collaboration

SEATTLE – March 30, 2001 – KCMU Radio, the University of Washington and Experience Music Project (EMP) today announced a new partnership that will allow the station to build upon its current format and slate of programs, and become an innovator in public radio programming and technology. Highlights of the collaboration include a state-of-the-art studio in Seattle that provides the station new equipment and tools, financial support from – and collaboration with – EMP to help subsidize the radio station’s ongoing operations, and a name change from KCMU to KEXP 90.3 FM – Where the Music Matters.

The call letter change reflects a new era for the station, a continued emphasis on diverse music and an experimental and
eclectic format. The University of Washington remains the license holder and controls station programming, as it has since the station’s first broadcast almost 30 years ago.

As part of the new relationship, the station’s format, ownership and staff remain unchanged. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to take the station into the new century,” said Tom Mara, executive director of KEXP 90.3 FM. “Through collaboration with EMP, we can do everything KCMU has been doing well, and do more of it. The new high-tech facility, increased supportfor even more programming for our current format, and working together to create educational opportunities will really make KEXP 90.3 FM an exciting public radio station unrivaled in its diversity and quality. We’re now positioned to become much more active – offer more in-studio performances and interviews, more live performances from venues throughout the community, and a stronger commitment to local musicians. We will now be able to add more of what we have always dreamed of providing in the world of non-commercial, listener-supported music. This partnership enables us to provide richer, deeper experiences as part of our ongoing mission to enrich our listeners’ lives.”
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I have now been a KUGS Music of the Masses DJ for eight weeks (huzzah!) and am beginning to feel more comfortable behind the microphone and console.

In regards to my self-determined “Areas of Improvement” list, I think I am making sound progress.  I have finally learned how to use an LP/record player (though unfortunately my show does not usually allow me to play any records – as most of my show comes from The Wall and in CD format – unless requested) and I am beginning to feel more confident speaking to a large audience.  I still find this to be my greatest challenge, however, because sometimes I find myself just listing off the songs and artists I played (“At the top of the hour you heard blah, blah and blah…”), which is a little boring.  I’d like to challenge myself to come prepared with interesting information about the artists or albums I play on my show and this will be my main goal for my show this upcoming Tuesday (March 6, 2007).

I will pat myself on the back for diversifying my playlist and going outside of my own personal taste.  I’ve been playing hip-hop, reggae, and folk outside of just the “Specialty” requirement and asking my friends with different musical taste for recommendations.  I want to live up to the eclectic mix of music all M4TM shows are suppose to provide (a “taste of the rainbow” as the promo says) and hopefully I can continue to venture into genres I’ve never ventured into before.  Interestingly enough, I have found some artists outside of my usual realm of indie-rock/proto-punk/glam/mod that I really like, so it is a win-win situation for everyone.

Oh, and can I just say I am really appalled by the lack of musical knowledge from the general public?  Every show I have to do a giveaway, which is decided by a music trivia question. Rarely does anyone get my trivia questions right (I usually have to give a hint), which I feel are  actually pretty easy and common knowledge.  For example, I asked one week for people to name the two MCs of Public Enemy (Flavor Flav and Chuck D)  and of the 10 callers, only one person got both names.  Then I asked what “The Day The Music Died” is in reference to, and I got several callers who thought it marked the day Elvis died.  The week of the Grammys I asked who has recieved the most Grammy nominations with 77 (Quincy Jones), and two people called and said Michael Jackson, three The Beatles, and one for Ray Charles.  Even when I gave the hint the name started with a Q did no one get it right.  What are our children learning in school?!

Next quarter I decided to not do a specialty show, though I partially regret this decision.  I really like hosting a M4TM show because it helps me stay atop of new artists and albums, which is what I would be doing with my free time anyways.  Originally I thought I would apply for a “Wes Anderson soundtrack-ish” show, if that means anything to you.  Wes Anderson movie soundtracks (think Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, etc.) usually are an eclectic mix themselves of proto-punk (The Velvet Underground, The Stooges), contemporary instrumental (Mark Mothersbaugh), and whimsical songs of the 60s and 70s (Joan Baez, The Creation, The Faces, etc.).  I thought it would be interesting to create a show around the same format and highlight some of my favorite artists (namely Bowie, The Velvet Underground, The Who, Nico, etc.) which fit perfectly, in my opinion.  But alas, I did not know how responsive listeners would be and I really like M4TM, so I am sure next quarter will be just as educational and fun as this one now.

Anyways, I just wanted to take an opportunity to reflect on my experiences from the past few weeks.

Goals for the last three weeks of the quarter:

1.  Research artists and albums ahead of time; try to find one or two interesting facts for 10-15 artists I will play on my show Tuesday

2.  Ask for more requests (sometimes I forget to announce I take requests)

3.   Play the new Explosions in the Sky, even though all the songs are 5 – 7 minutes long

4.  Continue to work on song transitions and diversifying the playlist

Beginning as a tiny 10-watt station back in 1972, KEXP has grown over the years into an innovative, influential cultural force in the Seattle community and beyond.

  • KEXP has been on the air since 2001. Our previous incarnation was KCMU-FM which went on the air in 1972.
  • More than 180,000 listeners tune in each week
  • Nearly 12,000 listeners are supporting members of KEXP
  • More than 300 volunteers & interns contribute approximately 8540 hours to KEXP each year
  • Over 200 businesses support KEXP through donations and underwriting
  • KEXP sponsors and promotes more than 150 events annually
  • KEXP’s music library has more than 24,000 CD’s
  • KEXP.ORG has More than 75,000 unique visitors per week
  • More than 10,000 people stream KEXP everyday
  • There are over 250 live performances each year in the KEXP Studios. It’s not that uncommon for 3-4 in a single day
  • The ‘EXP’ in the KEXP call letters refers to the “experimental” nature of service.

Where does KEXP get its funding? KEXP license is help by the University of Washington, with an Executive Board of Directors, and an Advisory Council. KEXP is not affiliated with a public television station. In 2004, the majority of KEXP’s funding – 45% – comes from Members like you. Local businesses make up 21% of funding, and 33% comes from other sources.

What is KEXP’s relationship with the Experience Music Project? KEXP, the University of Washington and the Experience Music Project share the same values and educational, preservation and outreach aims. In conjunction with the EMP relationship, The Allen Foundation for Music has provided funding since 2001 for four years. Through collaboration between UW, KEXP 90.3 FM and EMP, the Foundation’s grants have been used to support music education and public programs.

How do the public radio services NPR, PRI and KEXP differ? National Public Radio, based in Washington, DC, is radio production and distribution company for news, information, entertainment, and music programs including flagship programs, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered. Public Radio International, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, distributes public radio programs such as This American Life to stations worldwide. American Public Media is also based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and produces and distributes programs like A Prairie Home Companion. All three are not for profit organizations. KEXP’s programming is all produced locally, and we don’t broadcast any programs from any of these organizations. To hear NPR, PRI, and APM programming in Seattle, you can tune in to KPLU FM 88.5 and KUOW 94.9 FM, and KBCS 91.3FM

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