This hour on The Conversation we’re taking a long, strange trip through Seattle’s musical history. We’ll start before rock 'n roll was invented; when Seattle had a vibrant, professional music scene, thanks in part to powerful unions. We’ll learn about Jimi Hendrix’s early days when he got by as a backup guitarist for the likes of Little Richard. Also, author Charles R. Cross tells us how Ann and Nancy Wilson from the Seattle band, Heart, went from middle-class Bellevue teenagers to international stars.

Courtesy Ed Murray For Mayor

Here’s one for the “Seattle is such a small world” file:

State Sen. Ed Murray has been hitting the campaign trail of late in his effort to oust Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

But McGinn has just recognized Murray’s long-time partner, Michael Shiosaki, with an executive appointment to the city’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

UPDATE: 5/21/13, 3:50 p.m. PT

The list of candidates running for Seattle mayor is now finalized, and despite the withdrawal of one high-profile contender, the field has gotten even more crowded.

In an eleventh hour surprise, City Councilmember Tim Burgess, the leading fundraiser in the race, announced he was dropping out.

At the same time, two relatively unknown candidates entered the field, bringing the total number of mayoral hopefuls to nine.

Seattle Vs. Portland: News Round Table

May 3, 2013

KUOW Conversation host Ross Reynolds and OPB Think Out Loud host Dave Miller sit down to discuss this week's regional news with the writers and reporters covering the issues.

Seattle Vs. Portland Smackdown!

May 3, 2013
Flickr Photo/Lorena Cupcake and Darkain Multimedia

When the Emerald City and the Rose City go at it, from the outside it must look like a silly sibling feud between two hippies wearing REI chic. The two laid-back cultures maintain the most heated soccer rivalry in the country; on the men’s side with the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, and now on the women’s side as well with the Seattle Reign versus the Portland Thorns.

Admittedly, some concessions can be made. Seattle continues to top the list of most literate cities, but can’t boast anything to rival Portland’s Powell’s Books. Portland has Light Rail, but Seattle has free parking on Sundays. Seattleites may allow the superiority of Voodoo Doughnuts, but will never compromise on Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau.

Can Portland really match the view of the Cascades to the east, the Olympics to the west and the Puget Sound in between? Seattle has crabbers from the Deadliest Catch wandering Ballard and Brandi Carlile playing Jimi Hendrix with Mike McCready backed by the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall. Is it any real competition?

Today on The Conversation, we explore the I-5 rivalry between the two cities and why these two ideologically-similar urban centers love to take each other down.

KUOW Photo/Sara Lerner

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night. The release of the Seattle duo’s song “Thrift Shop” in August catapulted them to the top of the charts, right up there with celebrities like Rihanna and Justin Timberlake. The song has more than 240 million views on YouTube and their music is being used in commercials now, too.

The tune has created a thrift shopping buzz around the world. In this audio portrait, KUOW’s Sara Lerner takes a look at the song's impact on the Seattle thrift scene. 

Ask Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Apr 8, 2013

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn accompanied investors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer to New York City last week to pitch the return of the Sonics to Seattle to the NBA. We'll hear how things went from his perspective. What decision does he expect from NBA owners later this month? Also, Seattle has seen two tragic fatal DUI accidents in recent weeks. Do our DUI laws need a second look? Mayor McGinn answers these questions and more. Have a question for the mayor? Call 206.543.5869 or write to

What Iconic Seattle Views Should Be Protected?

Mar 14, 2013
Space Needle Corp. Courtesy Photo

New construction in South Lake Union would block the view of the Space Needle from a park. What views from public places are protected? What Seattle sites are considered so important there are rules to keep them from being blocked? Should there be more?

Ross Reynolds talks with the director of Seattle's Department of Planning and Development Marshall Foster and tries to see the bigger picture when it comes to public views.

Two Seattle police unions have filed a lawsuit against a federal plan to reform the police department.

Ron Sims And The Seattle Mayoral Race

Mar 11, 2013
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Former King County Executive Ron Sims has retired from his position as deputy secretary for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Will he join the race to be Seattle’s next mayor? He joins us to answer that question.  

Ask Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Feb 25, 2013
Mayor Mike McGinn
Courtesy/City of Seattle

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says the city's next gun buyback will be different. Last month, the city's first buyback program in 20 years took in more than 700 pistols and rifles (and a missile launcher tube used for training). It also saw an impromptu gun show unfold downtown as private buyers snapped up guns for themselves. Mayor McGinn joins us in the studio to talk gun laws. We’ll also discuss his decision to shut down the Seattle Police Department's drone program and why surveillance cameras along Alki in West Seattle won’t be turned on just yet. Have a question for the mayor? Have a question for the mayor? Call us at 206.543.5869 or write to

Seattle's History In 25 Objects

Jan 30, 2013
Burke Museum

What do a burned glue pot, a vintage cardigan and a Starbucks coffee cup share in common? In this case, each represents a chapter in Seattle's history. Inspired by the BBC's A History of the World In 100 Objects, we reached out to local museum curators, artifact owners, writers and historians to help us narrow down a list of 25 objects that tell Seattle’s story. Writer and author Knute Berger and MOHAI historian Lorraine McConaghy join us for a look into the past.

Seattle's Gift Cards-For-Guns Event Sells Out

Jan 28, 2013
Allie Ferguson

Hundreds of people came out on a chilly Saturday morning to exchange their guns for $100 and $200 gift cards in the first guy buyback event held in Seattle in 20 years. People stood in line holding rifles in camouflage cases and shot guns wrapped in blankets among other things. Traffic clogged up city streets near the parking lot where the event took place.

Ask Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Jan 14, 2013
McGinn Arena Deal
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

It's official — Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is running for reelection. At a campaign kickoff last week, he laid out his vision of Seattle as the “city of the future,” and promised to work harder on job training, public safety, early education and transit. We’ll get into those details with Mayor McGinn. We'll also discuss the city’s new gun buyback program and, of course, those Sonics rumors. Have a question for the mayor? Call us at 206.543.5869 or write to

3 striking union members outside Hostess plant
KUOW/Deborah Wang

Striking members of a bakers’ union are still picketing a plant in Seattle that makes Hostess Twinkies and Ho Hos. That’s despite the fact the plant is now closed for good.