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Celebrating 65 years with a new look and a new attitude

KUOW general manager Caryn Mathes
KUOW Photo

Sixty-five years ago, on February 12, 1952, KUOW’s first general manager, Edwin H. Adams, received a telegram (pictured below) from the FCC granting this station its License to Cover Construction permit. That technical industry jargon meant that we were authorized to flip the switch for the “on air” signs and broadcast for the very first time.

Today, we’re celebrating six decades as your public radio station — a milestone which also happens to overlap with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act — with a year full of special features, events and some big changes. Most of you will have already noticed that KUOW has a distinctive and dynamic new look. This new brand identity is a reflection of the organization we’ve become and of the energetic, transformative and resonant organization we aspire to be.

But brand is more than the way an organization looks. Brand is the expression of the promise at the heart of an organization: What is our shared purpose? What do we stand for? What do people become part of when they join us?

KUOW is a place for sense-making, a place to hear the stories that make up the dynamic, pioneering, one-of-a-kind character of the Puget Sound region. We’re a place to come together around stories that orient us, bringing together both native and newcomer around shared aspirations and ambition. Our stories instill a sense of wonder and pride about our region and our neighbors.

Truth, clarity and understanding are part of the promise. We’ll hold the core tenets of journalism — veracity, independence and loyalty to the citizenry — in the highest esteem. And we’ll embrace complexity. We feel it’s our job to bring the intricacies and nuance of everyday life into the light. Our credibility rests upon the idea that we’re here to provoke questions, incite dialogue, expose truths and bring people together.

Our new look is but one expression of our promise and our commitment to you. As we move forward, you’ll experience our promise in ever better local coverage, deeper reporting, and broader reach. You’ll see it in the way we transform our digital platforms. We have an ambitious strategic agenda to build one of the most diverse audiences of a public news provider, crossing age, race and points of view to represent the entire Puget Sound region. You’ll see us out in your communities more often, as we set our sights on a more interactive, personal, and face-to-face engagement. And importantly, we’ll raise the bar on our commitment and adherence to journalistic standards.

We chose this moment to reveal our new brand identity because it coincides with the anniversary of that 1952 telegram granting us license to broadcast. It felt fitting and exciting to commemorate our legacy and celebrate our future with a full-throated articulation of our story. And it seemed like the perfect occasion to reveal our new look and our new attitude.

We’re honored to have you by our side as we go boldly forward. Thank you.

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