Seattle's KEXP Buys Bankrupt Bay Area Radio Station KREV 92.7 FM for $3.75 Million

Seattle's KEXP Buys Bankrupt Bay Area Radio Station KREV 92.7 FM for $3.75 MillionSource: Google Street View
Eileen Vargas
Published on November 18, 2023

Nonprofit radio station KEXP, based in Seattle, has purchased the bankrupt Bay Area radio station KREV 92.7 FM for $3.75 million in a bid to expand its influence. Affiliated with the University of Washington, KEXP will introduce its unique blend of rock and electronic programming to the Bay Area within the coming months. This information was relayed in an email to donors from KEXP CEO Ethan Raup and is also reported in an SFGate article.

To quickly list a few artists, KEXP boasts of featuring live broadcasts of Grimes, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Mitski, Alabama Shakes, and Odesza. With over a million weekly viewers on their YouTube channel, KEXP commands a potent global presence. The station acquired KREV and its assets at a bankruptcy auction in October. Following the resolution of some lingering technical obstacles, KEXP plans to commence broadcasting in the Bay Area within a matter of months, subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval of the broadcast license transfer per another SFGate article.

As explained by CEO Ethan Raup in a published message by KEXP, initial broadcasts will closely mirror the programming of the 90.3 FM Seattle station. However, KEXP plans to spotlight Bay Area artists within its first six months of operation in line with its mission of enriching lives through music and discovery.

KEXP's expansion was funded through an existing investment fund, established following a bountiful bequest in 2017 from long-time listener Suzanne, where she had left a $10 million legacy for the station. The KEXP board sanctioned fund withdrawals from this portfolio, supplemented with contributions from donors specifically eager to back the Bay Area project. It was emphasized by Raup that, unless explicitly so determined by the donor, gifts made to KEXP's amplifier or annual funds will not be expended on the San Francisco station's startup costs as per the published message.

Converting a San Francisco radio station from hip-hop (KREV 92.7) to predominantly Seattle-based content may stir controversy, considering the Bay Area's powerful music history and distinctive cultural persona. Nevertheless, KEXP aspires to bolster and connect with the local music scene and play a part in shaping the future of the Bay Area station, in line with Raup's message.