I'm kinda over KEXP (90.3 FM), the community public radio station operated by the University of Washington. It seems like the entire city of Seattle is in love with the station -- a KEXP bumper sticker is about as necessary as a license plate within city limits, and KEXP sponsors every other concert event, big and small -- but my brief affair has run its course.
In principal, I should love KEXP.
- It's affiliated with a university, like the radio stations I DJd' for, KUPS and KUGS.
- It's non-commercial, public radio with no set song rotations.
- My friend Taybot cohosts a hiphop show on the weekend.
- It supports local music and sponsors local concerts and events.
Despite all of the above, KEXP isn't satisfying my fundamental radio need: Good music.
I usually tune into KEXP during peak hours, during the morning and afternoon weekday commutes, which should return the best listening times. The Wives and I will occasionally turn on the station in the evenings, too. Unfortunately, more often than not, the music just plain sucks. I'll hear some combination of folk music and house dance music and it doesn't work for me. Sometimes I'll hear artists I like or be introduced to new artists I like, but that doesn't happen often enough. I'm not anymore inclined to turn the dial to a Top 40 radio station, but I am more inclined to turn off the radio and turn on my iPod for guaranteed good music.
I keep tuning into KEXP because I'm supposed to like the station. It's similar to going out to some ethnic food you don't like but keep trying because it's hip and different. I'll keep going to those Ethiopian restaurants in the Central District optimistic that I'll like them, but always leaving unsatisfied, hungry and $15 poorer. Katrine will keep going out for sushi, thinking that she can get over the texture of rice on seaweed, but she'll keep on sitting and staring at a plate full of sushi after the first bite. I keep sitting, looking at the radio dial and wondering why I'm still tuned into KEXP.