Alex Ruder plans to put a chill in your ear on new show Pacific Notions.
Alex Ruder plans to put a chill in your ear on new show Pacific Notions. Erin Johnston

Seattle radio station KEXP announced on September 20 the addition of three new programs that will launch in early 2019. Those changes will encompass new public affairs and youth-led programs plus a show centering on ambient and neo-classical music called Pacific Notions. These programs are slated to occupy the 6 am-9 am slots on Saturday and Sunday.

The as-yet-unnamed public affairs program will draw on "interviews, artistry, commentary, insight and conversation to illustrate why music and art matter," according to a KEXP press release. The goal is to present a forum for "diverse creative and artistic communities not currently represented on the dial, with space to share and discuss topics and insight important to their communities." KEXP plans to hire a full-time producer to shape the program's direction and "how it can advance KEXP’s mission as an arts nonprofit." The station will post the position during the week of October 8. This move means that Mind Over Matters will gradually be phased out of the schedule.

Newly appointed Education Coordinator Sharlese Metcalf will head the youth-centered program, which also hasn't been named yet. It's going to be a one-hour program created by local young people involved in the newly formed KEXP Youth DJs program. It will air music curated and produced by teenagers, under Metcalf and other KEXP staff's guidance.

Veteran KEXP DJ and Hush Hush Records founder Alex Ruder will host Pacific Notions, a weekly three-hour mix of what Ruder considers the zenith of neo-classical and ambient music, "with explorations into downtempo, new age, post-rock, and other atmospheric styles." In the press release, Ruder said, “It's been an ongoing goal and mission of mine to shine a brighter spotlight on instrumental music and talented musicians creating gorgeous, cinematic, atmospheric music." It's great to see a station of KEXP's expansive reach and high profile devote a specialty show to artists who usually get overlooked or whose music only gets spun during graveyard shifts.

Chief Content Officer and Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole said that these show will enable the station “to examine that power in more profound ways than ever before. We will explore more musical genres, create space for young people to express their musical and cultural perspective while gaining valuable media and leadership skills, and foster more understanding about the impact music and creativity have in our society. We hope the new shows inspire deeper discussions about the intersections of music and culture with politics, activism, identity, health and wellness, history, news and more, while exploring the main issues of our day through the lens of music and culture.”