KEXP Cassette Tape

KEXP’s Kevin Cole & BECU’s Toby Travis Speak to Our Partnership

We’ve partnered with KEXP to deliver a co-branded debit card to members. Recently, we spoke with KEXP DJ, Kevin Cole, and BECU’s Vice President of Marketing Strategy, Toby Travis, about the partnership and what it means for the community.

Tell us a little about the history of KEXP.

KC: KEXP began life in 1972 as KCMU, a radio station founded by four students at the University of Washington who were looking to build a place on the air for alternative ideas and uncommon music. On the air, we've been programming according to the same general philosophy since the early 1980s–playing the best new music, alongside music you already know and love, in a wide range of genres, eras, and styles.... Along the way, we've also grown in the digital space, with a large following of our exclusive live performances on YouTube, our podcasts, and people tuning in to our streams from all around the world.

What does KEXP do differently than other radio stations?

KC: Curation and emotional connection! Each of our 40+ DJs has the freedom and responsibility to curate their own shows, bringing their own unique musical perspective. We don't have a set playlist…. This is a lot different than the way things work at nearly every other radio station. It allows us to give extra attention to up-and-coming artists, and others whose music is overlooked by commercial media.

We also put a special emphasis on building community. We work hard to develop a direct line of communication between listeners and DJs, and always try to help our listeners feel less alone. Especially during the current crisis, people need music, connection and a sense of community.

Where do you see BECU and KEXP's values aligning?

TT: We've been longtime supporters of KEXP. They are more than a radio station to listeners–they are a community of music lovers from all over the world who revere the role music plays in our lives. KEXP is a place listeners go for compassion, understanding, and inspiration.

Knowing they stood for something bigger and meant so much to the community inspired the partnership. The KEXP debit card was a natural result–it's a way to empower their audience (and our members) to support KEXP every day.

KC: We both take pride in our independence, our connection with the Pacific Northwest, and we're both focused on community! For BECU, it's all about making sure that members are getting what they need and that the community is being served well. For KEXP, it's all about our listeners, and our programming is squarely focused on making their lives better through great music experiences.

What do you see as the biggest benefit of the KEXP debit card?

TT: The biggest benefit is the donation. With every purchase made using this card, we donate one cent directly to KEXP. In the true spirit of BECU, it's a win-win.

Going forward, what excites you most about the future of the BECU/KEXP partnership?

KC: BECU has supported KEXP as an underwriter for many years, and we've used that support to power live performances, events, radio programming, and much more. What made us so excited about this partnership was that we know BECU has a strong dedication to our community, and is truly invested in supporting the local music ecosystem. We can't wait to see what comes next!

TT: With KEXP, we don't know what the ceiling is–they have listeners all over the world. And for us, we always advocate for our members and our community. We're excited about where this partnership could take both organizations.

BECU membership required. Member Share or Member Advantage savings account and also a checking account required to receive the KEXP debit card; not everyone will qualify.

BECU will donate to KEXP one cent for every qualified purchase using the KEXP debit card. Donations will be made twice a year. No charitable receipt will be provided. BECU reserves the right to cancel this offer at any time without notice.