A magnanimous donor and long-time out-of-town listener identified only as "Suzanne" has bestowed $10 million to popular Seattle radio station KEXP (90.3 FM), according to an article in today's Seattle Times. It is estimated to be one of the largest gifts to a public radio station in US history.
The Times' Nicole Brodeur reports that most of the $10 million will go into "a longtime reserve and provide seed money for education programs 'aimed at inspiring younger audiences to engage their curiosity around music; services and programming for emerging artists; media-creation experiences for aspiring DJs and music journalists, and outreach activities aimed at deepening KEXP’s connections to local communities,'" quoting the station's press release. There are also plans to use the funds to improve KEXP's digital-content strategy and radio programming.
Fostering innovation and bolstering infrastructure are all well and good, but I have some other ideas for the people and things toward which that $10 million can be channeled. Please hear me out...
01 Slip a cool million to Riz Rollins. The legendary club and radio DJ (he's been co-hosting the enlightening Expansions program since 1995 and a fixture at the station for 30 years) has been a beacon of outstanding musical selections, warm vibes, and steadfast friendship to thousands since the KCMU days. He is also the closest thing Seattle's music scene has to a saint. Reward the man!
02 Slip a cool million (or at least $500,000) to Light in the Attic Records, the excellent reissue label that also runs a retail shop in KEXP's Gathering Space. Music retailers—and the music business in general—need all the financial help they can get during this dire era of minuscule streaming payouts and declining physical sales, and LITA's done such a fantastic job of unearthing lost sonic treasures for 16 years; it deserves the boost. Its roster long has supplied KEXP with an abundance of crucial releases to air, and it would behoove the station to keep those fab reissues flowing.
03 Build a large jacuzzi in the Seattle Center courtyard outside KEXP's offices. I envision this huge hot tub as the centerpiece of a new outdoor live-music space. The station's VIP members could get first access to the jacuzzi during concerts, bringing a whole new dimension of luxury to this city's show-going experience.
04 Open a pop-up vegan restaurant in the Gathering Space. Surely significant numbers of KEXP's listeners follow the vegan lifestyle, and if they aren't now, KEXP's imprimatur would likely inspire them to give it a try.
05 Hire Dave Segal at the reasonable annual salary of $50k to host a nightly graveyard shift show focusing on weird old and new electronic music. His contract will also require him to take out the trash for that pop-up vegan restaurant.