Interview: John Richards, Tom Mara On KEXP's New York Adventure


John Richards, photo by Bootsy Holler.

To shed a little more light on what KEXP's partnership with Radio New York will mean to local listeners, I chatted with KEXP's John Richards (host, The Morning Show), Tom Mara (executive director), and Andrew Corey (programming manager).

Here are the answers to a few of my questions. Note, some of my questions are paraphrased for your convenience.

Will you be playing more New York bands, now?

Richards: I already play so many New York bands, actually. Usually every hour a New York band comes up just by shear quality. I can't imagine ever turning my back on Seattle music. I've been jacked into seattle bands for years.

I hear you'll be splitting your time between New York and Seattle. Is that true?

Richards: Yes. Starting in June. It'll be about 50/50. Well, 70/30 this year. 70, being in Seattle.

Will this be a Seattle show broadcast in New York City, or something different?

Richards: I think it's just going to continue to be the morning show. I actually don't think the sound of the show's going to change at all. I guess there's going to be more mention of where I am. It's still a Seattle-based show, a Seattle-based station.

How will local listeners hear a difference?

Richards: I think the difference they'll hear is exposure to more music. I've been able to find more music. And geographically find more up-and-coming bands. I've been broadcasting out of New York for a long time. There's a reason we played Interpol first, and LCD Soundsystem. I think you'll hear us discovering more bands, just because of what NY is, being a mecca, being close to Europe.

How will this be better for Seattle listeners?

Richards said there will likely be more in-studio performances, including those from artists who might not visit Seattle.

Mara: From a mission perspective, it just makes a lot of sense. Being able to export our talent that has already emerged in Seattle, and put it in front of 14-million people. That's just a good thing.

Richards: I thought a about that today when I was playing Blue Scholars. (NYC listeners) might not have ever heard our local hip-hop scene (until our show). To me, that's so great for our musicians.

Regarding syndication:

Mara: We're going to be learning a lot in this coming year. We don't have aspirations to syndicate KEXP to other stations yet. I don't think we should think about that until we have this experience under our belt.

John, do you want to be the Carson Daly of indie rock?

Richards: If I never become Carson Daly, I will be successful in my pursuit. Now, if I can bring more music to more people, that'll be great.

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