Seattle’s KEXP launches signal in San Francisco Bay Area

Print More


KEXP headquarters in Seattle.

KEXP started broadcasting its music programming in San Francisco Tuesday on 92.7 FM, a commercial frequency acquired for $3.75 million in October. 

Operating under new call letters KEXC, the station is retransmitting KEXP’s signal from Seattle. Bay Area radio listeners can look forward to the launch of an original weekly music show in August. 

KEXP, founded in 1972 as a student-operated station at the University of Washington in Seattle, likes to “push” its audience with new music, said CEO Ethan Raup. In 2014 the university transferred KEXP’s license to the nonprofit Friends of KEXP. It’s already built a sizable audience of listeners in San Francisco through its web stream. 

The Bay Area is one of the top four markets for streaming KEXP online, Raup said. The others are Seattle, New York and Portland.

KEXP bought KREV and its assets in a bankruptcy auction. 

The purchase was financed by investment funds from a $10 million bequest from a listener named Suzanne, according to the station’s website. KEXP is not revealing her last name at the request of her family. 

KEXP CEO Ethan Raup

“We’ve been looking for opportunities to generate more impact out in the world,” Raup said. 

Plans for an original weekly music show include hiring for two host positions and featuring music from local artists, Raup said. The not-yet-named show will air Saturday nights and be modeled on KEXP’s Audioasis, a signature program that features musicians from the Pacific Northwest. That broadcast, now hosted by Kennady Quille, has “provided an avenue for a lot of up-and-coming local bands to build momentum and get a foothold,” Raup said. 

Raup declined to discuss specific long-term programming plans.

“We’re being really disciplined about how we enter into this community and build relationships,” he said.  

Fred Barnes, GM of the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, said in a news release that KEXP “matches perfectly” with the area’s spirit.

“This new aspect of KEXP will be such a positive for both local artists and those touring throughout the region,” Barnes said. 

Raup described the significance of  converting a commercial FM signal into a noncommercial station. 

“If you look at the commercial radio landscape, it is dismal. It’s a desert,” Raup said. “There’s no life and vitality going to a commercial station and hearing 20 minutes out of the hour advertising and the rest of the hour songs on repeat.”

One thought on “Seattle’s KEXP launches signal in San Francisco Bay Area

  1. Having worked in the SF commercial radio market, I’m fascinated by this development. Will eagerly watch how this goes, and rooting for them. SF is a very tough market in large part due to the geography; mountains surrounding the area, and many communities hiding behind those hills. A class A signal can be challenging. However, if the programming is desired and marketed, it will succeed. Good luck to all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *