Seattle’s KUOW To Seek New Leader As Caryn Mathes Retires


Puget Sound Public Radio President and General Manager Caryn Mathes has announced she will retire in January. Mathes has spent 40 years dedicated to leading public radio stations, with the past decade spent in her current role as the head of Seattle’s KUOW.

Before KUOW, she served as General Manager for American University’s WAMU in Washington, DC for eight years and as GM of Detroit’s WDET for 23 years. Mathes has also played a significant role in NPR on a national level as a two-term member director on the NPR Board and a current member of the Joint NPR Network Leadership Team.

Upon her departure, there will be no interim President and GM. COO Kerry Swanson and the executive board will cover all responsibilities while a committee led by KUOW’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion chair Ian Warner conducts a national search for her replacement, supported by executive recruiting firm Campbell & Company.

Caryn Mathes made the announcement on LinkedIn, saying, “Now is a perfect time to step away. I have assembled a stellar executive leadership team; we have a strong, creative, and productive assembly of individual contributors on staff; and we have the support and guidance of a knowledgeable, dedicated, and hardworking board with a process for perpetuating board excellence.”

In May, KUOW became one of many public radio outlets forced into layoffs this year, making a 6% reduction in staff due to financial constraints – the first time the station has enacted layoffs for economic reasons. Last year, the KUOW board authorized the use of $2.9 million from its $11 million reserves, but ongoing financial difficulties necessitated the recent cuts.


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