‘Seattle is different. So KEXP is different.’

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GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES
“A great radio station is the Town Square for the city,” said KEXP’s Kevin Cole, senior director of programming.

A planned new home at Seattle Center and a new vision have the local institution on the city’s new wavelength.


By Nicole Brodeur

Sunday January 25th, 2015

 

You think it will be a simple thing, to talk about music and Seattle and the future of KEXP as the radio station prepares to break ground this week on its new home at Seattle Center.

But these things are hardly simple for Kevin Cole.

As the “chief architect of the KEXP experience,” Cole can’t make neat sound bites of his relationship to music, or the station’s connection to the city, or the possibilities the new home brings to mind.

This is heady stuff. Emotions and memories, faces and places. KEXP’s new home is where music — discovered, remembered, performed live and held as close as a family member — will be getting the proper palace it deserves.

Everyone will be welcome.

And Cole, well, he’ll be the grinning, mid-fifties guy with a neat, salt-and-pepper ponytail, holding the door open.

“A great radio station is the Town Square for the city, where people come to see what’s going on in the music world,” Cole, senior director of programming, said one recent morning. “Who’s playing, who the bands are.

“We are aggressively involved in local music,” he continued. “We’re the filter. We’re the trusted resource. But we really view ourselves as the friend of the listener.

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