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.
Languages Spoken: English
Old-style ships are still around, and they need regular maintenance on their large, billowing sails. But there aren’t many businesses that make these kinds of sails anymore. One of the last places in the world that does is right here in the Puget Sound region.
In 2020, an unprecedented wildfire nearly burned down the entire towns of Malden and Pine City. In 2021, severe flooding in Whatcom County submerged 75% of homes in Sumas. That same year, a heat dome brought record breaking triple digit temperatures to the Pacific Northwest. These climate events forever change the communities that survive them, and the changes go beyond the visible damage. Climate trauma may also be impacting people’s brains.
The city of Seattle suspended parking enforcement during the early months of the pandemic, giving temporary respite to thousands of people who live with the constant risk of their residences being ticketed, impounded, and potentially put up for auction.
Seismographs are picking up rumblings from sources other than earthquakes all the time. In those cases, scientists have to become detectives to track down just what created those "exotic events."
Many people will experience a miscarriage during their pregnancy journey. As some states limit abortion access or prohibit them entirely, those restrictions are also impacting the ability of health-care officials to get the training they need to take care of people whose pregnancies come to an unexpected end.
A state commission tasked with finding the location for a new international airport has selected three sites, including two in rural Pierce County. Local residents and their state representatives say the proposed locations would damage the land, impact the environment and disrupt the lives of the people who live and work in the area.
In 2019, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that state legislators are subject to the state's public disclosure law. In the last year, however, many public records requests of this nature have been denied, with records officers citing something journalists haven't heard of before: “legislative privilege.”
The big news in the tech world today is, of course, the announcement from Microsoft that it’ll lay off roughly 10,000 employees by April. Other tech giants have already announced big reductions. Let’s run down some of the numbers: Twitter has cut 3,700 jobs. Meta — 11,000. Salesforce — 7,000. And today, Amazon begins its planned reduction of 18,000 people. While the leaders of these companies are largely blaming macro-economic conditions, each layoff is felt at the personal level.
Journalist Erika Bolstad inherited the right to drill oil under part of her great-grandmother's homestead in North Dakota. Instead, she dug up the truth behind family legends and wrestled with the ethics of land ownership and fossil fuels in the American West.
It’s been a banner year for whale sightings in our local waterways. That’s according to a new report from the Pacific Whale Watch Association, who counted large rebounds in Bigg's Killer Whales and humpback whales in the region.