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kexp history

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. Some of the station's milestones include:

KEXP signs a new thirty year agreement with the University of Washington to ensure the station continues to serve listeners and champion artists for decades to come. The renewed partnership enables the UW and KEXP to better achieve their public service, non-commercial missions of extended and enriched outreach, education, music appreciation and related technological innovation.

KEXP.ORG wins the Webby Award for Best Radio Website. KEXP.ORG was nominated in the same category in 2003, but failed to win the award. This great honor comes only a few months after the launch of the newly redesigned website.

KCMU becomes the first station in the world to offer uncompressed CD-quality audio on the Internet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

KCMU moves from its long-time home in the Communications Bldg. (CMU) to Kane Hall.


University budget cuts demand the station look to the community for support. The station adopts a modern-rock format and begins raising funds from the community.

The station begins broadcasting at 90.5 FM, programming an album-rock format. The station's 10-watt transmitter is located on top of McMahon Hall on the UW campus.

KEXP partners with 91.5 FM Radio New York to produce and program four shows for the New York airwaves including Wake Up, John in the Morning, Mo’Glo, and To The 5 Boroughs. The programs aired in New York from 2008 to 2011.

KCMU becomes KEXP 90.3 FM, maintaining all staff, the same format and frequency, while almost doubling its wattage from 400 to 720 and moving to a new technologically-advanced studio near downtown Seattle. Through a partnership with Experience Music Project, the station's eclectic music programming is expanded and enhanced to provide a richer musical experience for listeners.


The station moves to 90.3 FM while relocating its transmitter to Capitol Hill and boosting its power to 400 watts. The station's range is extended 15 miles.

KCMU expands its musical focus by adding a variety of other styles to its regular modern rock programming, including hip hop, roots and blues, world music, reggae, jazz and more.

The station's wattage increases to 182, allowing the station to be heard outside the University District.