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Alec Cowan

Producer, Soundside

About

Alec Cowan is a producer for Soundside. His interests have brought many eclectic stories to the program, and his segments gravitate toward history, technology, art and design, and ecology. He's currently obsessed with exploring the history and changing nature of the American West.

Prior to joining Soundside, Alec wore many hats at KUOW. He was a producer for The Record with Bill Radke, and was the producer of Primed season two and three. He also reported and produced an episode of SoundQs detailing how prohibition forever changed Seattle policing and assisted with reporting a breakthrough cold case solved with the use of genetic genealogy.

Before joining KUOW Alec worked in NPR's Story Lab, where he helped pilot the Louder Than A Riot podcast on hip-hop and mass incarceration and assisted in producing a story on volunteerism in Iraq for Rough Translation. Originally from Grand Junction, Colorado, his roots in the Northwest originate in Eugene, where he studied English and philosophy at the University of Oregon and worked as a news reporter for member station KLCC. He is likely neglecting his saxophone, growing book collection, and expanding personal project list in favor of boosting his online Xbox ranking instead.

Location: Seattle

Languages Spoken: English

Pronouns: he/him/his

Stories

  • Seattle Now logo
    Seattle Now

    Living on the Puget Sound

    Many people in Seattle are looking to find affordable housing and some are getting creative with their search. Soundside’s Alec Cowan spoke with Ian and Becky Thompson about the challenges of living on a boat around Puget Sound.

  • caption: Dr. Jerry Garcia (left) and Dr. Erasmo Gamboa (right) at Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a and Latino/a culture, in South Park. Behind them are cabins from Sunnyside, WA, which were previously housing for agricultural workers.
    Soundside

    Exploring the complexities of our democracy

    A More Perfect Union is a media project that explores the complexities of our democracy in order to help strengthen it. Through radio programs, podcasts, and oral histories, A More Perfect Union examines American democracy’s founding documents: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, through a cross-cultural lens.

  • caption: The real estate market in Point Roberts, Washington, is hot despite the partial closure of the adjacent U.S.-Canada border.
    Soundside

    After two years of isolation, Point Roberts is open for business — sort of

    Point Roberts, Washington's famous exclave, is surrounded on three sides by water and on the last side by the Canadian border. If you want to get to "The Point" on land, you have to drive to Blaine and through British Columbia to drop back down into U.S. soil. So when the pandemic closed the northern border, the community of 850 residents was essentially cut off. Two years later, with the border the most open it's been since the pandemic began, there are slow signs of recovery -- but some residents say more needs to be done.

  • It Starts With Listening_Sound it Out
    Soundside

    Sound it out: messages from listeners

    At its core, Soundside is about connecting with our listeners and bringing you stories you care about and that impact those of us living here in the Pacific Northwest. Each week we ask for your thoughts about our stories -- where they've succeeded and where they can improve. Here's what you told us.

  • caption: "The Immortal King Rao" paints the picture of a future ruled by algorithms and all-powerful CEOs.
    Soundside

    A tech dystopia in Puget Sound: Vauhini Vara's "The Immortal King Rao"

    The fictional tech company at the center of the new book, “The Immortal King Rao,” is called “Coconut.” It’s a rough amalgamation of Apple and Microsoft of the 1980s and 1990s, driving a personal computer revolution, and later it morphs into a Google, Amazon and Facebook avatar in the way it gobbles up peoples’ data and monetizes human interaction.

  • caption: Claire Giordano, an expeditionary artist, holds up her latest work showing glacier loss at the Sholes Glacier, on Mt. Baker.
    Soundside

    These artists climb mountains to help document climate change

    In order to study our local glaciers, researchers hike back into some of the most remote outreaches of our wilderness. But they're rarely going alone. Aside from research teams, these expeditions frequently include artists, and through painting, sketching and other mediums, these artists are working with scientists to communicate science in a way that isn't reliant on numbers or heady scientific explanations.

  • caption: San Juan Islands National Monument
    Soundside

    Changing the channel — San Juan locals propose new name for waterway

    If you take the ferry from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands, you pass through the Harney Channel. But the history behind the channel's namesake -- William S. Harney -- holds a gruesome legacy. After discovering this history, two San Juan locals submitted a proposal to change the name to the Cayou Channel, after famed local Henry Cayou.

  • caption: While some wildlife can grow on old tires in Puget Sound, the presence of 6PPD-quinone is toxic, and can kill marine life like salmon.
    Soundside

    Puget Sound is full of old tires... on purpose?

    Decades ago, states began putting bundles of tires on the sea floor as "artificial reefs." Their aim was to build new habitats for local marine life. Today, researchers have found those tires are toxic. So who's job is it to pull these tens of thousands of tires back up?

  • caption: Mike Spranger is on track to be Washington's second ever commercial seaweed farmer. His plot will be on the southern tip of Vashon Island.
    Soundside

    Our local seaweed is disappearing. Could farming help conserve it?

    In 2016, Washington's first commercial seaweed farm broke onto the scene. It was the result of unprecedented collaboration between local tribes, state agencies, marine researchers, and local conservationists. As climate change begins to threaten Puget Sound today, a robust seaweed industry in the region could help combat its most negative effects.