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KEXP

 

 

KEXP

Chief Executive Officer

Organization

Founded in 1972 at the University of Washington, KEXP is a listener-powered nonprofit arts organization serving music lovers in Seattle and across the globe through in-person, broadcast, and digital programming. The station’s mission is to enrich your life by championing music and discovery. KEXP is one of the most influential listener-supported radio stations in the world, 90.3 KEXP-FM Seattle, “Where the Music Matters.” Its digital and on-air services reach more than two million people per week. With a belief that live music plays a vital role in people’s lives, KEXP’s commitment to live performances spans more than three decades and the organization’s YouTube channel features videos of exclusive live performances garnering more than a billion views.

KEXP’s curatorial staff of 45 DJs are widely recognized as experts in their field, presenting the newest emerging artists alongside established musicians, providing a career launching platform for countless artists over the decades. Musicians championed by KEXP are not necessarily supported by traditional nonprofit arts organizations or commercial media outlets. They are inventive, contemporary musicians creating new work in a wide variety of genres. As KEXP’s impact grows globally, the organization takes pride in upholding its long-standing commitment to serving the Pacific Northwest music ecosystem, while continuing to explore mission-serving growth opportunities both locally and around the world. One of KEXP’s most distinguishing and vital ongoing programming principles is a shared belief that the pursuit of equity is not just about the music featured. Rather, it is about who curates the music KEXP presents. KEXP’s Programming Team is committed to sharing the mic, inviting people to tell their stories through the music, and building community through a shared love of music.

Based at the landmarked Seattle Center, KEXP’s operational home features the KEXP Live Room and Viewing Gallery. Video and broadcasting spaces include a 400-square-foot on-air studio, a live performances control room, two production studios, two audio booths, a second on-air studio, two video edit rooms, a video control room, two DJ isolation rooms, a Green Room, and open office areas. KEXP hosts community events and produces hundreds of live performances each year in its live room and in a public venue known as the Gathering Space. KEXP's Gathering Space was created as a place for the community to connect and share its love for music and the arts. Visitors to KEXP can sit down for a cup of coffee from Caffe Vita, shop for music at Light in the Attic Record Shop, listen to the live radio broadcast, experience special events, and access free live performances. It is a welcoming and inviting space for Uptown Arts District neighbors, freelancers, travelers, and music fans, providing free wi-fi, comfortable seating, and the music of KEXP as the central soundtrack.

KEXP’s Education Programs provide hands-on experience with media creation, enhance knowledge of music and the music industry, and foster creativity in its global community. Youth and educators can connect with opportunities to gain technical skills and music knowledge and community members can engage via internships and volunteering.

KEXP has asserted its commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization and its belief that the organization must embrace the practice of identifying racist behavior and dismantling systemic racism as it manifests throughout the organization. KEXP’s staff is 28 percent Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and 72 percent white. It is 47 percent female/non-binary and 53 percent male. KEXP’s Board of Directors is 40 percent BIPOC and 60 percent white. It is 45 percent female/non-binary and 55 percent male. The KEXP Executive Team is 13 percent BIPOC and 87 percent white. It is 39 percent female/non-binary and 61 percent male. On-air BIPOC representation increased from 29 percent to 31 percent (measured in on-air hours) between 2020 and 2021 and female and non-binary representation increased from 25 percent to 29 percent.

KEXP’s commitment to diversity includes meetings of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) designed to solicit advice and feedback from its diverse listening audience. The CAB helps to identify needs in the community and shares feedback for ways to provide programming that is relevant to the region and neighboring communities. The CAB and KEXP staff seek to represent the geographically and demographically diverse composition of the many communities the organization serves. Currently, KEXP’s CAB is 50 percent BIPOC and 50 percent white. It is 43 percent female/non-binary and 57 percent male. KEXP’s Executive Team continues to work with an external racial equity consultant to create a strategic plan to advance the work toward becoming an anti-racist organization.

KEXP’s staff includes over 70 full-time and 45 part-time employees, supported by more than 700 volunteers who donate their time and expertise to KEXP each year. KEXP has a strong culture of philanthropy and has adopted an integrated advancement model. KEXP is funded by more than 30,000 individual donors and receives support from small businesses, major corporations, foundations, and local, state, and federal governments.

KEXP-FM Seattle is operated by Friends of KEXP, a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization, and is an affiliate of the University of Washington. The partnership between KEXP and the University of Washington is a longstanding and important relationship. KEXP is governed by a 19-member board of directors, including the CEO as an ex-officio member, led by Chair Jill Singh. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020, which was impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and special funding, KEXP reported revenue of $12.5 million, largely from contributions, grants, and federal assistance, and total expenses of $12 million. The fiscal year ending December 31, 2021, which was also impacted by COVID-19, KEXP had total revenues of approximately $12.8 million (pre-audit). KEXP’s current investment portfolio stands at approximately $13 million.

Community

Situated on the traditional land of the Duwamish and Coast Salish People, Seattle is a port city on Puget Sound and part of the Pacific Rim. The land around the city is home to multiple indigenous tribes—and named after Chief Seattle (1780-1866) of the Duwamish tribe. Founded in 1852, the city and adjacent region lie north of Mount Rainier and rest between the Olympic and Cascade mountain range. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area is home to approximately four million people. According to the 2020 census, Seattle had a population of 737,015 people.

Seattle’s traditional businesses centered on fishing and logging were eclipsed first by Boeing and the aerospace industry and then by Microsoft and the advent of digital technology. Today, many technology-related companies, notably Amazon, are major employers. Seattle has a highly educated population and many institutions of higher learning, including the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Seattle Pacific University. The economy, and the allure of the Pacific Northwest, has created a young, educated, diverse, and progressive workforce.

Located on the 70-acre Seattle Center campus—home of the iconic Space Needle—KEXP’s fully accessible site is adjacent to The Vera Project, Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Climate Pledge Arena—all strong partners. Also nearby is the Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Northwest Folklife Festival, and Seattle Children's Theatre, along with the college prep high school The Center School. In 2017, Uptown became Seattle's third official Arts & Cultural District. The site of the 1962 World's Fair, Uptown has long been a hub of Seattle arts and culture, drawing audiences and performers locally and from around the world. Uptown’s diverse arts and cultural spaces feature independent artists, internationally renowned classical arts, innovative theater and visual arts, culturally specific festivals, and major music events.

KEXP is a leading institution among the city’s many vibrant arts and culture organizations, including Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, and more than 80 theater companies. The cities’ dozens of museums include the Seattle Art Museum, which includes the Asian Art Museum and Olympic Sculpture Park, Wing Luke Museum, Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center, Northwest African American Museum, and the Holocaust Center for Humanity. Seattle’s legendary music scene is showcased in venues grand to intimate, from McCaw Hall and Paramount Theatre to The Crocodile and Neumos.

Seattle’s maritime climate creates endless opportunities for outdoor recreation on land and water, including skiing, hiking, boating, camping, biking, and other outdoor activities. Sports fans cheer on several professional teams including the NFL Seattle Seahawks, MLB Seattle Mariners, WNBA Storm, NWSL OL Reign, Sounders FC, and NHL Seattle Kraken, along with several college teams.

Sources: seattletimes.com; statista.com; visitseattle.org; officesnapshots.com; census.gov; seattle.gov/arts; kexp.org

Position Summary

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will develop a vision for KEXP and create a plan to move the organization forward. They will oversee the evolution of the best independent music platform in the world, fostering the discovery of music and building a diverse audience of music lovers everywhere. The CEO will explore new media and envision digital opportunities that may be available for KEXP to expand its regional, national, and global values-driven audience, while supporting the organization’s technological growth in a complex and competitive technological environment. While focusing on the business and operational aspects of KEXP, the CEO will identify, empower, and trust talented colleagues. They will strive to be in tune with KEXP’s current, future, local, and global audiences and strategically make decisions with the diversity of its audiences in mind. An experienced relationship manager, the CEO will work alongside the team, building meaningful external engagement with an emphasis on audience and stakeholder engagement.

Roles and Responsibilities

Operational Leadership and Administrative Oversight

  • Provide vision and leadership in developing and executing KEXP’s programmatic, organizational, team, financial, and diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.
  • Build and adhere to a comprehensive and accurate budget that supports authentic organizational growth and incorporates a financial strategy for staff development and compensation through an equity lens.
  • Promote and support the implementation of strategies that deepen KEXP’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access throughout its programs, activities, staff, volunteers, and all aspects of the organization.
  • Expand, diversify, and collaborate with the board of directors by ensuring board members are active and engaged, utilizing their skills and interests to support organizational needs.
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of KEXP's organizational policies and encourage adherence by leading through example.
  • Establish clear, achievable, and measurable goals for team and individual performance, provide regular constructive feedback, and support a culture of individual, team, and organizational accountability.

Community Relationship Management and Team Development

  • Represent KEXP nationally and throughout the Seattle community and serve as a knowledgeable expert advocate for issues impacting KEXP and the entire music, arts, and culture sector.
  • Establish and expand meaningful and sophisticated strategic partnerships with stakeholders, including local and global artists, funders, collaborating organizations, government officials, business leaders, community organizers, and others who support both KEXP and larger community goals in greater Seattle and beyond.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of and build experience in racial and gender equity principles and anti-racist practices.
  • Recruit, retain, develop, and celebrate a diverse and highly qualified and skilled staff, fostering an inclusive organizational culture centered on team cohesiveness, professional and personal growth, and collaboration and ensuring effective systems to track progress and leadership performance are in place.
  • Unify the KEXP team around a strategic vision, inspiring investment through consensus-building and a commitment to inclusion.

Vision, Strategy, and Advancement

  • Envision and activate intentional opportunities in the digital space to expand audiences, enhance content, build community, and support artists.
  • Expand the role of marketing and technology related to KEXP operations, including how to build greater trust in KEXP’s brand, creating more opportunities to increase reach, deepen enrichment, diversify audiences, and maintain strong financial sustainability.
  • Collaborate with internal and community stakeholders to develop a strategic plan to guide the future of innovation, programming, facilities, and organizational infrastructure.
  • Partner across teams and departments to steward donors on behalf of KEXP and actively seek opportunities to integrate philanthropy into their role within KEXP operations, programs, and projects.
  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit major donor prospects for operational and campaign support in partnership with the board of directors and Chief Advancement Officer.

Traits and Characteristics

The CEO will be a future-thinking, influential, and decisive strategic leader. A highly accountable individual, the CEO will be an avid steward of KEXP’s cultural values and a resilient, flexible colleague who is dedicated to a goal-oriented, innovative, and creative team environment. The CEO will be an innovative, entrepreneurial servant leader, devoted to independent music and artists. This person will have a deeply personal relationship with music and understands the critical space that music and the arts play in community-building and artist development. The CEO will be emotionally intelligent and empathetic, understanding and believing in KEXP’s mission to connect people with music and culture of philanthropy. The CEO’s curiosity about people and ability to thrive in a team environment will be a key indicator of success in this role. As part of their leadership skill set, the CEO will be an active listener with the ability to synthesize information and make strategic decisions.

Other key competencies include:

  • Diplomacy and Personal Accountability – The skill to successfully navigate difficult or sensitive issues while accepting responsibility for personal actions and behaviors.
  • Leadership and Decision Making – The acumen to influence and inspire others by instilling a sense of purpose and direction while analyzing and integrating multiple perspectives of a situation in order to make sound, timely decisions.
  • Interpersonal Skills and Appreciating and Understanding Others – The aptitude to effectively communicate and build rapport while identifying, celebrating, and caring for the unique contributions of others.

Qualifications

While advanced educational degrees are not required for this role, the CEO must demonstrate significant business acumen and possess demonstrable management experience earned in a complex professional environment comparable to KEXP. This person will have a successful track record of influential and visionary leadership in the arts and culture sector, including experience in digital engagement and technical entrepreneurship. Strong candidates will have experience in building strategic partnerships, developing successful strategies for earned and contributed revenue, and strategic planning. They must also possess demonstrable experience building relationships with historically marginalized communities and leading organizational culture transformation toward diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. Exceptional communication skills across multiple platforms are expected for this role. Candidates need not have worked in the music or broadcast industries but must have a passion for the power of music and leadership experience in complex, mission-driven organizations.

Compensation and Benefits

KEXP offers an annual salary of between $200,00 and $250,000 as well as a significant benefits package, including a generous allocation of vacation, sick leave, and holidays; 90 to 100 percent employer-paid medical/dental/vision coverage; a 403(b) plan with exceptional employer match; and much more.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments in arts and culture leadership and management (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries regarding this job opportunity, please contact:

Shawn D. Ingram, Vice President

8581 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 406
Los Angeles, CA 90069-4120
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 220
Email    KEXP@ArtsConsulting.com

KEXP is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive, and empowering workplace. We believe that having staff, interns, and volunteers with diverse backgrounds enables KEXP to better meet our mission and serve music-loving communities around the world. We recognize that opportunities in radio and other creative industries have historically excluded and continue to disproportionately exclude Black and Indigenous people, people of color, people from working class backgrounds, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ people. We strongly encourage individuals with these identities to apply.

Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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