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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

  • 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.

  • Unsplash_Video Games
    Soundside

    Gaming is a great hobby. But when does it become unhealthy?

    Gaming can be a quick release from the pressures of the real world. But games are made to be engaged with, either through a deluge of collectibles or quick hits of achievement. But the same mechanisms that make games enjoyable can also make them addicting. So where do you draw the line between the two?

  • caption: Pike Place Market Entrance
    Soundside

    Should vehicles be allowed through Pike Place Market?

    Earlier this week, a serious confrontation occurred on the cobbled street running through Pike Place market. Involving three motorists, a hammer, and an injured bystander, the altercation is the latest fiasco to reignite a decades-old debate on whether Pike Place Market should stay open to cars.

  • caption: The tide along Alki Beach in West Seattle was so low on June 25, 2021, that fields of kelp and other marine life were exposed. The low tide made way for visitors for hours.
    Soundside

    Washington just designated its first seagrass sanctuary. Here's why

    Last month, the state of Washington announced a new kelp and eelgrass protection zone off the shores of Everett. Covering roughly 2,300 acres, this marine plant sanctuary is the first of its kind. Officials hope the designation will help preserve the vital ecosystem seagrass provides, while also opening an avenue to understand the threats seagrasses face.

  • caption: Hikers stand along Burroughs Mountain Trail with a view of Mount Rainier on Saturday, July 20, 2019.
    Soundside

    New to the outdoors? These volunteers will teach you to explore safely

    When the best laid plans go south, and you're stuck in the wild either lost or hurt, Seattle Mountain Rescue springs into action to get you home safe. The volunteer team covers a wide area from Seattle city proper to the Cascades, and after 70 years they're finally close to getting a new base of operations in North Bend. Additionally, a recent study from the Black Washingtonians Workgroup on Outdoor Recreation found fewer than 1.5% of State Parks visitors are Black. So how can Washington improve access to its famed outdoors?