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Alec Cowan

Producer, Soundside


Alec Cowan is a producer for Soundside. His interests have brought many eclectic stories to the program, and his segments gravitate toward history, technology, arts and culture, and the environment. After reporting a handful of stories aboard Puget Sound, he's proud to be KUOW's unofficial "boat guy."

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 begin in Eugene, where he studied English and philosophy at the University of Oregon and worked as a news reporter for NPR 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


  • caption: Wildfire smoke drifts through Snoqualmie Pass in 2017.

    How an ambitious lawsuit reshaped environmental law — without ever going to trial

    In 2015 “Our Children’s Trust” took aim at what they thought was a major contributor to ongoing climate problems: that the U.S. government had continued to permit, authorize and subsidize fossil fuel extraction. So, along with 21 plaintiffs whose ages ranged from 8 to 19 years old, they sued the U.S. government. Even though the "Juliana V United States" has never actually gone to trial after 9 years of arguments, the ambition behind the litigation has made an impact on environmental law and helped inspire other climate cases involving young people around the world.

  • caption: Jon Schlueter is portrayed with his guitar at his home, and business, the Bamboo Collective Nursery, on Thursday, April 18, 2024, in Seattle’s Broadview neighborhood.

    He broke his neck diving into a pool. 20 years later, new technology is helping him recover

    In a study published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers at the University of Washington and at universities in Colorado and Georgia have found that electrical stimulation on the surface of the skin, targeting the spine, can improve strength, mobility, sensation and function in the bodies of people with long term spinal cord injuries. The novel therapy is breaking the limits that many with spinal injuries have dealt with for years, and all without the need for additional surgery.

  • caption: A radiologist uses a magnifying glass to check mammograms for breast cancer in Los Angeles, May 6, 2010. An influential U.S. task force now says women should get screened for breast cancer every other year starting at age 40. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced the updated guidance Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

    How early and often should women get mammograms?

    New guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women should get a mammogram every other year starting at age 40 and continuing until age 74. With so much at stake, it’s important to stay in the know. Soundside spoke with Dr. Janie Lee, professor of Radiology at the University of Washington and the director of breast imaging services for the UW and Fred Hutch Cancer Center, to learn more.

  • caption: Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

    Who let the Bobs out? What the Ferguson doppelgangers say about Washington’s top-two primary

    Over the weekend news broke that in addition to current Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, two more people named "Bob Ferguson" would also be running for governor. By Monday's withdrawal deadline, the "Bob" party looked to be winding down: both of the newcomer Bob Fergusons dropped out of the governor's race. But some officials say the shenanigan reveals a broader problem in the state's two person open primary system.

  • caption: Bellevue Downtown Park with the city center behind it.

    A snowball that became an avalanche. Lessons from the financial struggles of the Bellevue Arts Museum

    What started as an art fair made it big in 2001, when the Bellevue Arts Museum opened its brand-new building on the corner of 6th Street and Bellevue Way. But in the decades since opening its doors, BAM has struggled financially, and in recent reporting, the Seattle Times’ Margo Vansynghel found that a recent fundraiser was just one symptom of larger financial struggles.

  • caption: The U.S. District Court is shown on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023, along Stewart Street in Downtown Seattle.

    What former Binance CEO's money laundering conviction could mean for crypto crime

    This week a Seattle federal court sentenced Changpeng Zhao -- founder and former CEO of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance -- to four months in prison. In contrast to the high-profile case of FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who used his crypto exchange to defraud billions of dollars from its users, Zhao pled guilty to not doing more to prevent money laundering on his exchange.

  • caption: The cover of Loretta Napoleoni's book, "Technocapitalism."

    How tech titans profit off the anxiety of relentless change

    In her new book, "Technocapitalism: the Rise of the New Robber Barons and the Fight for the Common Good," investigative reporter and economist Loretta Napoleoni tracks the rise of 'tech titans,' and argues they have used technology to become massively wealthy at a high cost to most of the rest of us.