Official Biz

KEXP Makes a Major Play

KEXP at Seattle Center
Rendering of KEXP at Seattle Center/KEXP

Vanguard independent music station KEXP is making a bid to move its studios to a prime spot in the Seattle Center, the iconic gathering place for locals and tourists alike in the heart of Seattle. The Center was the site of the 1962 world's fair and home of many cultural and educational organizations, sports venues and festivals – and of course the Space Needle!

KEXP currently hosts as many as 500 in-studio performances each year; they propose to rebuild the Arcade Pavilion (which is right next to the Space Needle), featuring a performance studio with large windows where visitors can see live performances. Their plan would redo the existing mural amphitheater, while preserving its amazing Horiuchi Mural and park-like atmosphere to serve as an even better venue for outdoor concerts, theater, and town-hall meetings. An enormous green space would accommodate an assortment of listening and performance experiences, and invite visitors to discover new artists.

NPR endorsed KEXP's proposal in a letter from our CEO Vivian Schiller to the Review Panel. (She's in great company – see the other supporters).

So why does NPR care? For one thing, KEXP is a NPR member station and a prolific contributor to our growing music discovery site NPR Music. But the bigger reason is that we love the idea of putting this inventive, taste-making station in the heart of the Seattle Center where it can be accessible to more people – supporting artists and building an even more vibrant cultural scene and sense of community.

What a perfect match of mission and function. Please join us in supporting KEXP's vision! Your voice will make a difference. This bid is not a slam dunk, others are vying for this great opportunity.

Read more in today's Seattle Times.

[Disclosure: I worked with KEXP in the 1990s when employed at KUOW in Seattle.]

Dana Davis Rehm is Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and External Relations for NPR.

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