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:
1972 -KCMU begins broadcasting as a student-run station from a 10-watt transmitter at 90.5 FM atop McMahon Hall on the University of Washington campus.
1981- UW budget cuts mean KCMU becomes a community supported, listener powered station.
1982- Increased wattage (182-watts) means listeners hear KCMU outside the University District for the first time.
1985- KCMU forges the musical philosophy and programming focus that defines us today, adding hip hop, roots, blues, contemporary global music, reggae, jazz, and more to its lineup.
1986- KCMU moves to 90.3 FM, relocates its transmitter to Capitol Hill, and boost its power to 400-watts so that listeners as far as 15 miles away can pick up the signal.
1991- Seattle’s grunge scene explodes and KCMU is there, championing local artists, venues, and record labels.
1999- KCMU partners with the UW’s technology R&D team to develop innovative ways to serve more music lovers via new media.
2000- KCMU is the first station in the world to offer uncompressed CD-quality audio on the Internet. KCMU moves from its long-time home in the Communications Bldg. (CMU) to Kane Hall.
2001- With the help of venture philanthropy from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, KCMU becomes KEXP 90.3 FM, moving to its first high-tech studios. KEXP nearly doubles its wattage from 400 to 720, serving many more people in the Puget Sound, and creates more ways for people across the world to enjoy the KEXP experience. KEXP’s UW engineers develop radio’s first real-time playlist.
2002- KEXP launches radio’s first streaming archive.
2003- KEXP develops radio’s first cell phone stream.
2004- KEXP.org wins the Webby Award for Best Radio Website.
2005- KEXP offers first live performance podcast.
2008- KEXP teams up with Radio New York to produce Radio Liberation programming for the New York airwaves. The programs aired through 2011.
2011- KEXP renews its collaboration with UW for a 30-year term.
2012- KEXP celebrates its 40th anniversary. KEXP partners with Seattle Theater Group and Starbucks to launch the Little Big Show concert series with 100% of proceeds from ticket sales benefitting arts-based programming and education for Seattle-area youth.
2013- KEXP partners with the City of Seattle to build its New Home at Seattle Center, revolutionizing the way contemporary artists and music is championed and nurtured in our community and beyond. As part of the iconic local label’s Silver Jubilee, KEXP teamed up with Sub Pop and Seattle Center to broadcast from the top of the Space Needle.
2014- KEXP launches live video streaming service, KEXP Now. KEXP YouTube channel reaches 500,000 subscribers and over 270 million views. UW Board of Regents formally transfers the KEXP 90.3 FM broadcast license from its ownership at University of Washington to the Friends of KEXP nonprofit. This move helps secure KEXP’s future to champion music and discovery for our three beneficiaries: music lovers, artists, and Seattle’s vibrant music community.
2015- KEXP breaks ground on new home at Seattle Center. Construction Begins February 2015 on KEXP’s New Home.