Wayne C. Roth, president and general manager of KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, has announced that he will retire this September. He has led KUOW since 1983.
“Wayne has built an outstanding team of radio professionals, and the station has grown tremendously and prospered under his leadership,” said Joan Enticknap, chair of the Puget Sound Public Radio board of directors. “KUOW is an integral part of our community and our quality of life in the Northwest, and the board and management are committed to ensuring a smooth transition to new leadership. We will commence a national search for Wayne’s successor immediately.”
Roth’s career in public broadcasting spans 45 years; he has been an instrumental figure in the growth of public radio in the United States. He served for nine years on the board of National Public Radio and as chairman from 1988 to 1990. In the 1980s, he played a critical role in reinventing NPR, moving it from reliance on federal funding and directing those funds to the stations instead.
In 2005 he received the Edward R. Murrow award from the Corporation for Public Broadcast for “outstanding contributions to public radio.” In announcing the award, the corporation noted, “Roth has pioneered most of the significant initiatives undertaken by public radio from offering stations more choice in their program investments, to increasing participation of minority and rural stations, to pushing for more regional collaboration.”
Roth is also the managing director of the Northwest News Network, a regional consortium that produces news reports and features for public radio stations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. He is co-founder and former chairman of the board of the Station Resource Group, a national organization that provides leadership for public radio policy and development.
He serves as a director of Ballantine Communications, a Colorado newspaper publisher serving the Four Corners area, and is a board member of the Bainbridge island Japanese Exclusion Memorial Association.
KUOW serves more than 450,000 listeners each week in the Puget Sound region and is the area’s most listened-to news and information station. The license for KUOW was awarded to the University of Washington Board of Regents in 1951, and the board continues to hold the KUOW broadcast licenses. The station went on the air Jan. 15, 1952. It was located in the Communications Building on campus until 1999, when it moved to its broadcast center in the University District.