There is probably no radio station more loved in this country than KEXP (90.3 FM), which just happens to have its home base in Seattle, WA. And even though its home is here, it's live-streamed across the country and loved by people from coast to coast, because who knows good music better than Seattle?
The KEXP studio, which is open to the public, is a MUST-visit for any Seattle local or visitor! Yes - it sounds weird for us to tell you to visit a radio station, but this really is an institution and a big piece of Seattle music history, dating back to 1972 when they first went on-air from the UW campus.
What really makes this radio station so special? For starters, it's a not-for-profit public radio station funded by sponsors and donations. And what that really means is that the KEXP DJs can play whatever it is they want, whenever they want...from Wilco, to local musicians, to obscure indie artists you have never heard of. You won't find Taylor Swift's latest hit played every 30 minutes on this station. They also don't have advertisements, so no more annoying plumbing jingles or cheesy jewelry commercials interrupting your jam session.
In addition to the wide range of indie rock artists you'll hear, there are also weekly programs dedicated to music genres (our favorite is Positive Vibrations on Saturday mornings, which plays reggae music from 9 AM - noon PST). There are also in-studio sessions where artists (visiting and local) play right in the KEXP space and the best news is, it's open to the public FOR FREE. Tickets to the in-studio sessions become available around 90 minutes before air time, and it's first come, first serve. The more well known artists will fill up fast, so make sure you are there early. They let 75 people into the standing room only space where you can listen to the artist's performance and interview on air. Sessions last around 30 minutes. Check the entire line-up on their webpage.
If you aren't interested in an in-studio session or if you are waiting for your session to start, the KEXP studio is a wonderful place to work and hang out. The beautiful La Marzocco coffee shop fills the space and serves amazing coffee from a list of rotating coffee roasters around the world, which changes monthly. The space is large and filled with light and there is seating for everyone, ranging from tables to couches and armchairs. All this plus the free wifi makes it an easy place to get some work done. KEXP plays overhead (obviously), and there is even a record store for shopping and a rotating art gallery. You can even watch the current DJ on air through a large window. The whole set-up is chill, laid back, and very, very cool.