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.”

“As an institution dedicated to American popular music and bringing it to new audiences, EMP makes a perfect partner for the station – our combined efforts will be the basis for an exciting and collaborative relationship to promote music education,” added Robert Santelli, deputy director of public programs at EMP. “KCMU plays the kinds of diverse music that EMP already curates, supports, programs and works to bring to a larger public. Together, we will better achieve our related missions.”

Details of the partnership include annual financial support from EMP to help subsidize the radio station’s ongoing operations, rent-free use of the new high-tech studio in Seattle and up to $600,000 over four years for the University of Washington from The Allen Foundation for Music. Through collaboration between the School of Music and other UW departments, KEXP 90.3 FM and EMP, the Foundation’s grants will be used to support music education and public programs including: artist residencies; symposia on American popular music; technology research projects; interdisciplinary awards in American popular music for students, faculty and staff; and, internships and scholarships. Additional KEXP 90.3 FM and EMP public programs may include concert series, programs for visiting performers and more. The station continues to rely on community support from organizations and listeners, building upon its long history of membership drives.

In the days following this announcement, the station and staff will relocate to a state-of-the-art studio near downtown Seattle and increase the broadcast signal from 400 watts to 720 watts. The near doubling of the present KCMU signal will help fill in some marginal areas and improve reception of KEXP 90.3 FM throughout Seattle and the Eastside. Features of the new studio facility itself include a range of high-tech equipment such as: an AudioVAULT® by Broadcast Electronics; a 16-track studio for live performances and broadcasts including a Mackey digital 8-bus console with 2 DA-88 recorders; AirWave® digital consoles in the main on-air booth; and, a Telos phone system to support multiple line listener call-ins. In addition, a comfortable musician-friendly performance lounge will allow for a broader range of interviews, live performances and group interaction with artists and musicians on the air. The station will send its signal to its transmitter via fiber optics and will be directly attached to Internet2, the pioneering next-generation research and education network that links the nation’s 180 leading universities.
KEXP 90.3 FM will also continue to stream its broadcast service over the Web using Windows Media Player, Real Player,
MP3 – and the station’s own groundbreaking uncompressed CD-quality audio stream flowing at a rate of 1.4 million bits per second.

Thanks to the partial operational subsidy provided by EMP and ongoing support from listeners, as well as opportunities made possible by the station’s new facility and through collaborating with EMP, KEXP 90.3 FM will continue KCMU’s format and offer more programming, more live performances and more interviews. The station’s schedule will stay the same, as will the specific programs and on-air hosts. Additional programs and performances will be added to the station’s growing list of streams over the Internet.

“Our listeners and members will continue to enjoy the programs and DJs they know and love, while at the same time
experiencing a stronger, crisper signal. Match that with a new capacity to double our music library, and the significantly
improved ability to produce live and in-studio performances, interviews, recordings and broadcasts from our community’s wonderful venues. Simply put, it’s just thrilling to offer this to our loyal listeners who have supported us all these years,” added Mara.

“The partnership and new facility will enable the University of Washington to pursue pioneering initiatives in a wide range of exciting areas including FM broadcast and new modes of access to, and interaction with, music and multimedia content,” noted Professor Ed Lazowska, chair of UW’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. “We will have the opportunity to explore the use of cutting-edge software agents and other new Internet technologies to enrich and extend the relationship among listeners, hosts, curators, musicians, music publishers and multimedia repositories.”

Formerly KCMU, KEXP 90.3 FM is a non-commercial public radio station committed to using sound and ideas creatively to engage the intelligence, curiosity and imagination of its listeners. The station was originally founded in 1972, and in 2000 began broadcasting over the Web. An eclectic blend of musical styles, supplemented by more than 30 hours of specialty music and public affairs programming, makes up the station’s “Variety Mix” format. KEXP 90.3 FM regularly programs an innovative and eclectic mix of alternative rock, hip hop, electronic, roots, blues, world, reggae and jazz music, and offers a range of specialty shows that focus on particular styles of music. A licensee of the University of Washington, KEXP 90.3 FM broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit and listen to KEXP 90.3 FM on the Web at

Dedicated to exploring creativity and innovation in American popular music, EMP is a new kind of museum that strives to
capture and reflect the essence of rock ‘n’ roll, its roots in jazz, soul, gospel, country and the blues, as well as rock music’s
influence on hip-hop, punk and other recent genres. Patrons can make their own music, see and learn about rare artifacts
and memorabilia from EMP’s collection of more than 80,000 items, explore various musical milestones within unique interpretive exhibits, and discover the power and joy of music in all its forms. Founded by investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, under the direction of co-founder Jody Patton and designed by architect Frank O. Gehry, the 140,000-square-foot multi-colored museum provides visitors a musical experience unparalleled anywhere in the world. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, EMP opened at Seattle Center on June 23, 2000. Visit EMP online at