Media Monday: Dave Beck, KUOW

Rosalind Brazel / April 22, 2013

Each Monday, we’re giving readers a chance to get to know the media a little better.

With a little flair.

Our goal is to give readers some insight into the work and work style of area journalists, and get to know a little bit about the person behind the byline. Start your week off with an online networking opportunity through our Media Monday blog post.

This Week: Dave Beck, KUOW

Dave BeckAn award–winning producer of KUOW Presents, Dave Beck has been at KUOW since 1985. When he began his career at KUOW, he was as a classical music host and music director. From 1993 to 2000 he was co–host of Weekday. His national and regional broadcast honors include the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) Award for Best Interview and the Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Regional Excellence Award. While Dave is the only male in three generations of his family who didn’t work building rockets and airplanes for Boeing, he possesses a keen interest in aeronautics and exploration.

An active musician (cellist) as well as broadcaster, Dave is a member of the Auburn Symphony Orchestra and has played as principal cellist of the Bellevue Philharmonic and Seattle Philharmonic Orchestras. He serves on the board of directors of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and regularly plays in the Seattle based chamber music society Klassikon and in the Bravura String Quartet. Dave is a University of Washington music graduate.

Dave’s love of music originally drew him to radio. His first on–air radio experiences were as a classical music, jazz and folk host at community stations KBCS in Bellevue and KAOS, Olympia. Dave is often called on by symphony orchestras and choral groups to perform musical compositions featuring narration.

Q: What’s your favorite story you’ve done in the last week?

A: I told the story of a University of Washington music professor, Michael Brockman, who is also an inventor. He received a US patent for a new tuning device he created for the saxophone.  He worked with a UW department called the “Center for Commercialization” to develop his product and secure the patent.  The “C4C”, as it’s known at the UW, usually works with engineers, computer scientists and medical researchers to develop patents.  This was the first time that a UW arts department has been awarded a patent.

Q: What skills do new journalists need?

A: I recently participated in some training workshops presented in-house at KUOW by National Public Radio.  They taught us to take better photographs and how to “web-ify” our radio stories.  It makes me realize I’ve got plenty to learn to continue to make the best possible use of the web and all the new media tools we have.  But you also have to have good old-fashioned networks of reliable contacts and sources, interviewing skills, good ears when it comes to collecting and using audio and always excellent writing chops.

Q: If you weren’t working at your current job, what would you be doing?

A: I’ve come to admire more and more over the years the work of teachers, mental health counselors/therapists and pastors/spiritual leaders/people involved in the work of faith communities. I might be doing something along those lines if I weren’t doing radio.

Q: Finish this sentence: “A good PR person is …”

A: …well acquainted with the media organization to which he/she is pitching—familiar with the reporter’s work and style, experienced in telling stories for diverse and curious audiences, knows and nurtures along compelling stories that are part of the organization he/she is representing.

Q: What hidden talent or skill do you have that viewers/readers don’t know about you?

A: I’m a part-time professional cellist and freelance musician.  (I got into radio as a classical music announcer 30 years ago)  I play in the Auburn Symphony Orchestra cello section.  And I do a few wedding gigs and other casual engagements over the course of each year. I serve as a pre-concert speaker, host and interviewer for several classical music organizations in the region.

The PR Pro Takeaway: This profile presents a great reminder about specialty journalists. Dave Beck would receive very specific pitches; any others would be a waste of time. Take the time to check out his work, his expertise is a clear enhancement.