KUOW is the Puget Sound region's #1 radio station for news. Our independent, nonprofit newsroom produces award-winning stories, podcasts and events. Our mission is to create and serve a more informed public.
Vision and Values
Broaden conversations. Deepen understanding.
Trust is our foundation - and it must be earned. Listen. Seek first to understand. Be fully transparent. Admit errors. Speak honestly with our audience and each other.
Ask, test, try, build and rebuild. Challenge the status quo and your own assumptions. We enthusiastically seek ideas that surprise us and teach us something new.
Take risks. Show grit. Tackle the uncomfortable and unknown. We relentlessly pursue the truth and don't yield to pressure. When things get tough (because they will), we remain steadfast.
Be inclusive and equitable. Seek a multitude of perspectives and experiences. Practice fairness. It is imperative to our journalism, the decisions we make and the culture we create.
Act in Service
We act in service of the public, each other and something bigger than ourselves. Lead with respect. Offer a solution. We love what we do and go the extra mile for our mission.
Set the bar high, and hold yourself and your teammates to it. We do not cut corners. We never choose what is easy over what is right.
When we fail, we own it. Having a growth mindset means embracing what we've learned and moving forward. We take joy in pushing ourselves to be better.
We are the sum of our parts—the magic happens when we work as one. Celebrate each other’s strengths and welcome new ideas. Treat feedback as a gift and give lots of high fives.
KUOW was established in 1952, when Seattle benefactor Dorothy Bullitt donated a radio frequency to the University of Washington. It was a training ground for students to learn about broadcast techniques and technology, on the air for only 8-10 hours each day.
We've come a long way since then: KUOW chartered NPR in 1970 and became an affiliate of several news networks, including PRI, American Public Media, PRX, the Northwest News Network, and the Associated Press.
The Start of KUOW
The FCC awards the KUOW license to the University of Washington Board of Regents. Don Riggs began his long broadcasting career as a student broadcaster at KUOW in the 1950s.
KUOW Broadcasts on Saturdays
During the turbulent times of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s, KUOW started broadcasting content on Saturdays. One of the shows that premiered that first Saturday in January 1968 was The Swing Years and Beyond, which became one of the longest running radio programs in Seattle.
All Things Considered Debuts
The biggest change to KUOW came with the premiere of a new program on May 3, 1971. That afternoon, an announcer's voice was heard saying, for the first time, "From National Public Radio in Washington, I'm Robert Conley with All Things Considered."
KUOW's First Pledge Drive
Reduced enrollment at the University of Washington meant budget cuts from Olympia. To make up the difference, KUOW held its first on-air pledge drive in March 1972.
New Format: News and Information
KUOW ended its classical music service and broadcast news and information full time.
KUOW Moves Off Campus
KUOW built a new broadcast center in Seattle's University District in 1999. The station's major investment in this studio and office space reflects a continuing commitment to high quality, local news. The $5 million project was financed by listener contributions and tax–exempt bonds.
KUOW Expands Youth Program
KUOW's youth media program, RadioActive Youth Media, becomes a year-round radio program for training the next generation of public radio journalists.