KEXP Salary Controversy?

Today I received an email from KEXP. I found this odd because, a.) I’d never gotten one from them before, though I’m on their mailing list; b.) it was from their dj; and c.) it pointed me to a place where I could read about the mis-management and salary controversy going on in their establishment.

From LAist:

Seattle is all aflutter about salaries at KEXP, the hallmark indie rock public radio station. As the station struggles to become independent after an initial infusion of cash from Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, it has made a few financial missteps. But that hasn’t stopped it from paying their AM guy, John in the Morning, a $120,000 salary. Which is less than he’d make on commercial radio, but is pretty hefty for a 30-ish indie rock lover in Seattle.

In is, in fact, more than Nic Harcourt makes at KCRW, according to the station’s 2004 tax returns. Harcourt, who is music director in addition to hosting his morning music slot, made a little over $100,000 last year. Across town at KPCC, talk guy Larry Mantle did a little better, with a $115,000 salary.

Our poor guys. We almost feel sorry for them.

If you go here you can read an in-depth post at a forum about KEXP/KCMU basically screwing you (and their workers) over.

Seattle Weekly has this as their cover story.

Wikipedia has a good history of KEXP that might break your heart. Nothing but a past of doing things that’ll make them more profitable.

I haven’t really given any of this time to soak in, but I still love KEXP. It’s one of my three favorite stations in America (KCRW, KEXP and WFMU) and I can’t completely hate them, even if all these things are true. But just the same, this is a strange situation. Things seem so much more simple at WRFL. All volunteer staff (except a slighly paid manager) and occasional grants from businesses in Lexington.

8 thoughts on “KEXP Salary Controversy?”

  1. Favorite can-be-picked-up-by-FM-radio-stations. WOXY’s hands down my fav internet-only and ties with KCRW for the only ones I really listen to on my computer.

  2. As a KEXP enthusiast I can tell you that John In The Morning earns every penny he makes. He does a whole lot more than just the morning show. He is also one of the station directors, he spends a quite a lot of his time at the station. I also know that he donates money back to the station. KEXP means a lot to him, and I don’t think he’d honestly do anything that he thought would harm them.

  3. Matt. thanks for putting this out there for everyone to ready and for not taking sides or making assumptions. I live in Seattle and I’m a 500 club member and loyal volunteer to the station. I also believe that John’s salary is greatly justified; he puts in very long weeks at the station; if he had to work another job for income he would have much less time he could afford to give to the station and in turn reduce the quality of the station as a whole. I don’t mean to say that other Dj’s and staff member’s do not greatly contribute to the station, its operation and success; they do and the loss of any one of the key staff members would be a great loss.

    On the other hand, as a member I would expect highly paid staff member’s to volunteer to take a cut in their salary to help the station out when it is most in need. John could still live very well on even $80,000 a year, not including his income from other business ventures.

    Everyone who decides to take a side on this issue please think your positions and response through thoroughly before making any final comments or decisions affecting your support of the station.

    No everything is being handled properly by the management of the station but they aren’t screwing everything up either.


  4. I think the Stranger article, though a little on the short side, should be enough to take care of this issue. I know John pretty well and he works very hard for what he earns and has for many years. For the Weekly to act like a tabloid and not do all the research is too bad.

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