“We are thrilled to have a public radio executive of Caryn’s talent and abilities coming to the station, the UW and our community to lead this wonderful public radio enterprise,” said Norm Arkans, UW associate vice president of media relations and communications. “She has had great success wherever she has been and brings a fresh perspective and genuine passion for the role of public media in our society. Seattle and all of Puget Sound just got to be an even better place than it already is.”
As general manager of WAMU, the premier National Public Radio affiliate in the Washington/Baltimore area, Mathes has expanded the station’s service to six radio frequencies and four Internet streams serving 812,000 listeners weekly. The station is currently ranked first among public radio stations nationally for its share of regional audience.
Under her leadership, the contributor base at WAMU has increased by 58 percent to nearly 56,500 active contributors; private sector revenue has increased by more than 200 percent. The total operating reserve has increased from $382,000 in 2005 to more than $15 million in fiscal year 2012, with 70 percent of that reserve invested in a new 50,000-square-foot media center.
WAMU expanded its major giving program and grew its revenue base, setting a solid foundation for the acquisition of a new media center in Washington, D.C., and the launch of a $20 million philanthropic effort to support the development of new programs and audiences.
“Caryn is a dynamic leader and will guide the station to be an even greater resource for our community,” said Joan Enticknap, who heads the Puget Sound Public Radio Board. “She will raise its sights and grow its impact, and we will all be the better for it. The Board of PSPR is very excited about her joining the station.”
WAMU produces the widely syndicated “Diane Rehm Show,” the world wildlife conservation show “Animal House,” award-winning local news and a bluegrass/traditional American music channel.
Mathes was general manager of WDET in Detroit from 1984 to 2005 and also served as assistant vice president of university communications at Wayne State University from 1989 to 1991.
“I am driven by and thrive on building public media organizations; the future of civil society depends on the foundation of a well-informed population capable of nuanced thought,” Mathes says. “KUOW is poised to be a leader in public media’s ‘next chapters’ on audience, content and technology and I know we will do great things in this regard.”
Mathes is a member of the NPR board of directors and also serves on the board of the University Station Alliance and participates in the Major Stations Advisory Group to NPR’s chief executive.
She has received numerous awards, including the 2013 Washington Business Journal “Women Who Mean Business” award. She received the Woman of Distinction Award in 2007 from the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders and was selected as one of Michigan’s top African American Leaders in 2002 by Corp! magazine.
Mathes holds a bachelor’s degree in professional journalism from Indiana State University. She began her electronic media career as co-anchor at CBS affiliate WTHI-TV Channel 10 in Terre Haute, Ind., at the age of 19. She worked in commercial radio in reporter and anchor positions at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and Detroit’s WJR-AM before making the switch to noncommercial radio in 1982.
The mission of KUOW is to create and serve an informed public, one challenged and invigorated by an understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. KUOW serves communities in the Puget Sound region, Western Washington and Southern British Columbia. The station is licensed to the University of Washington, which is assisted in its operation and management by KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, a private, non–profit corporation established in 1999 and governed by a community board. More than 89 percent of KUOW’s applied revenue comes from individual and business support, while the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the University of Washington provide 9 percent.