After a comprehensive national search KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio announced that Jennifer Strachan will join the station as its new Chief Content Officer. Strachan is a 25-year veteran of the media industry with lengthy experience in television and radio news, long-form documentary and series production and digital strategy. She is an Emmy award-winning executive producer who has worked in commercial and public media organizations, large and small. This is a new position at KUOW which Strachan will help to define, overseeing all content-making and audience engagement teams at KUOW.
“Jennifer offers clarity of vision for what it means to be ‘audience centered’ in today’s media environment, while never sacrificing the quality and integrity of journalism,” KUOW President and General Manager Caryn G. Mathes said. “Her portfolio of experience encompassing a broadcast background and digital savvy made her a singular choice for this position.”
“I have to call out the masterful job that interim Program Director Arvid Hokanson performed for more than a year,” Mathes continued. “Arvid held down the day-to-day operations of programming while covering the duties of the former PD and bridging strategic initiatives and a comprehensive reorganization of all of KUOW’s content units. Arvid will have a key new role turning audience analytics into actionable ideas to elevate KUOW’s service to community.”
Following her tenure as executive director of news at the former KPLU (now KNKX) in Seattle, Strachan served as a consultant to a variety of public media clients including NPR, Greater Public, KPBS (San Diego), and the Indiana Public Broadcasting Network. She led the system-wide digital engagement council, comprised of leaders from WGBH (Boston), WNYC (New York), KQED (San Francisco), KPCC (Southern California), WBEZ (Chicago) and Minnesota Public Radio in an effort to test innovative engagement strategies on new platforms. Strachan has been an industry thought leader who is regularly asked to present at key public media conferences and to facilitate large-scale initiatives.
Most recently, Strachan has been serving as acting vice president at KQED. Additionally, Strachan has been leading the Corporation for Public Broadcasting-funded, Big Footprint Journalism Project, in conjunction with Oregon Public Broadcasting, Ideastream (Cleveland) and WXXI (Rochester).
“We have relied on Jennifer’s considerable experience in both the broadcast and digital worlds in the Big Footprint project,” OPB CCO Morgan Holm said. “She knows what it takes to produce strong stories, and she has the ability to ‘connect the dots’ across content platforms. That background will serve KUOW well as it continues to develop its strategy for future success.”
When asked what attracted her to the CCO position, Strachan said, “Candidly, the ambitious plans KUOW is putting in place to take the station to the next level really blew me away, and I’ve seen a lot of plans. After working with a variety of stations across the country, I have yet to see a full-scale transformative effort that shows this much promise. I couldn’t be more excited to build on these ambitious ideas.”
“The evolution of public radio is most certainly a 'yes, and' proposition and there has never been a better time to expand and deepen our relationship with our local community as an essential, trustworthy news service,” she continued. “That certainly means thinking about innovative approaches to distribution and consumption, but it also means simply thinking and connecting differently. As we reimagine the kind of stories we tell and our personal connection to the audience, we can play a vital role in opening doors for our community to connect with each other. That’s an exciting proposition, and KUOW has the talent and vision to become a true difference maker.”
Strachan lives in Gig Harbor with her husband Eric, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, two boys, Oliver and Elliott, and a very large yellow lab named Ozzie. She spends her free time "either watching baseball games, kid concerts, walking my dog, or thinking I should be walking my dog."
Strachan will transition from her respective roles at both CPB and KQED into her new role at KUOW over the course of the next few weeks, beginning full time at KUOW by June 1.