Cascade Public Media

Annual Report 2021

Fiscal Year: July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021

Previous Reports
Characters from KCTS 9 TV programming

A message of thanks from Rob Dunlop, President & CEO of Cascade Public Media


Roku App

Screenshot of the KCTS 9 Roku app, featuring Beecham House

In November 2020 KCTS 9 launched an app on the Roku® platform as part of our continued commitment to being digital-first and reaching new audiences. Coupled with KCTS 9 Passport, the app creates an enhanced viewing experience with access to an extended catalogue of acclaimed PBS shows and local favorites such as Mossback’s Northwest. Since the app’s launch, 100,000 people have installed the app and nearly 800 new donors have joined the organization.

Shaping Democracy for a New Era

The Vote

KCTS 9 premiered AMERICAN EXPERIENCE’S The Vote on July 6, 2020, nearly one hundred years after the 19th amendment was ratified. The two-part series documented the story of women's rights and the transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history. To promote the national series, the KCTS 9 promo team produced a series of animated spots highlighting stories/individuals (past and present), from around Washington. These stories include a comic book-inspired retelling of how Washington women first fought for the vote, a history of feminist political art and postcards in the Northwest and a behind the scenes look at the historic Mayoral run of local lawyer, activist and artist Nikkita Oliver – all brought to vivid life through beautiful animation and artwork from local animators. This work won KCTS 9 a 2021 NW Regional Emmy award for Best Promo Campaign - Program.

The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden from FRONTLINE

2020 Presidential Election

This year we saw the most consequential election season of our time. It is imperative our community has access to trusted and independent news coverage, that has a clear, balanced voice and is not clouded by commercial interests. We covered the 2020 Presidential election with programs such as The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden from FRONTLINE, PBS NewsHour and Washington Week.

Two poll workers wearing masks sort ballots

Local Election Coverage

Thousands of local readers turned to Crosscut for reliable election coverage. Crosscut provided comprehensive reporting of local issues and candidates, and shed light on how the outcomes at the state and national level would affect our region. Our election coverage upheld our foundational belief that an informed public is essential to finding good solutions to the civic and political challenges of our time.

COVID-19 Coverage

The Crosscut newsroom continued to report on the important stories and life-changing events that have had a real impact in our community this past year. From July 2020 – June 2021, Crosscut produced new podcasts, documentaries and focus series on the coronavirus outbreak, totaling more than 200 stories published. Highlights include:

Crosscut also hosted several events which included Dr. Vin Gupta discussing political and medical issues surrounding the current public health crisis; Dr. Nicholas Christakis on the psychological impacts of the pandemic; and Dr. Umair Shah answering questions on new state guidelines.

Race in America, Social Unrest & Reckoning

Long-standing questions about policing and public safety have managed to crop up again and again. We saw these issues play out in the streets and at city halls as leaders responded to calls to rethink public safety. Crosscut released the second season of the podcast This Changes Everything, which covered these transformational events and movements. The new video series, Hidden Barriers, explored the bias, prejudice and discrimination which pervades our health care systems.

Crosscut Festival

While we were unable to gather in person this year, we were able to stay connected and continue the important conversations happening all around us. In total, we produced 38 events, covering a wide range of topics. Our events culminated in May, when we brought together journalists, politicians, authors and newsmakers from our community and across the nation to take a hard look at the people, policies and events that are shaping our lives. As the Crosscut Festival continues to grow each year, so does our reach. We had more than 6,000 attendees, representing 31 states, Washington D.C. and Canada. We had a wide range of speakers and panels, some of which included Judy Woodruff, Jane Goodall, Ibram X. Kendi, Nancy Pelosi, Rick Steves, Pramila Jayapal and Robert Reich. The top three attended sessions were:

Top 10 Crosscut Stories

Did you miss any of these great stories from Crosscut? These are the year’s most popular stories. It’s clear that the COVID epidemic and 2020 elections was on everyone’s mind, and readers turned to Crosscut for unbiased news they could trust.

  1. New lockdown ordered as coronavirus cases surge in Washington state
  2. Revered doctor steps down, accusing Seattle Children’s Hospital of racism
  3. WA Lt. Governor’s race 2020: What you should know
  4. How to vote in Washington: Everything you need to know for 2020
  5. Seattle could become the next 15-minute city
  6. Court’s drug possession ruling upends WA’s criminal justice system
  7. The mask wars for the 1918 flu pandemic
  8. How, where, when: The COVID-19 vaccine in Washington State
  9. Poll: Inslee ‘way ahead’ of Culp, Eyman for Washington governor
  10. Washington state plans to drop all COVID restrictions June 30


2021 Awards

Northwest Regional Emmy® Award

We are proud to announce that KCTS 9 received one honor at the Northwest Regional Emmy® Awards, the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. KCTS 9 is devoted to providing quality journalism and compelling stories to the public. We are honored to have our work recognized.

Promotion - Program - Campaign
American Experience – The Vote: NW Women’s Stories

Jeremy Cropf, Producer; Myisa Plancq-Graham, Producer, Editor; Michael McClinton, Producer, Editor; Stacey Jenkins, Producer, Editor; Resti Bagcal, Audio Engineer; Brian Brezinski, Lead Animation Director, Animator; Carter Pierce, Animator

Northwest Excellence in Journalism Awards

Crosscut won 18 awards, including ten first place honors at the SPJ NW Excellence in Journalism Awards.


Jen Dev, David Quantic, Amy Mahardy, Shaminder Dulai, Beatriz Costa Lima, Matt M. McKnight


Sarah Hoffman, Ted Alvarez, Beatriz Costa Lima, Shaminder Dulai, Amy Mahardy, Lindsay McLean, Valerie Vozza, Resti Bagcal


Crosscut Staff


Crosscut Staff

Local Media Association Honors

Cascade Public Media was the recipient of a couple of national honors from the Local Media Association. We are proud to be awarded both best local website and best coronavirus local community coverage.

Cascade Public Media /

Judge’s note: Clean design, easy to navigate. Interactive and responsive.

Cascade Public Media /

Judge’s note: Amazing cross-platform effort including new video and podcast series, new email newsletter, a reader-focused weekly ‘answers’ column and aligned efforts on social media.

LION Award

Crosscut received the 2020 LION Award for Best Coverage for Underserved Communities. The LION Awards celebrate the best of independent online media across the U.S. and Canada, from solopreneurs to large newsrooms.

Washington Coalition for Open Government Key Award

The Washington Coalition for Open Government awarded Crosscut reporter Melissa Santos and Crosscut with their Key Award for an investigative project that “promoted and defended the people’s right to know in the conduct of the public’s business.”

Film Festivals

Crosscut’s short documentary The Rising was named Best New Short Film at Portland EcoFilm Festival. The documentary was also selected for the BendFilm Festival, Tacoma Film Festival and Rose Foundation Film Fest.

Our Donors

You help us grow.

Cascade Public Media expresses sincere gratitude to the many individuals, families, businesses and organizations that invested in our organization between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this list. If your listing is incorrect, please accept our apologies and call us at 206.443.6768 so that we may correct it for future lists.

* These donors have contributed to the Leadership Circle for two or more consecutive years.

Leadership Circle donors who are contributors to Crosscut are listed in bold.



Net Income

Operating Income Less Operating Expenses$11,776,372
Endowment Contributions$2,603,655
Depreciation & Amortization( $908,420 )
Net Income per Audit$13,471,607

Who We Are

A grid of content from Cascade Public Media: PBS Newshour, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Finding your roots, Mossback's Northwest, Grantchester, The Vote, This Changes Everything, Sandition, Crosscut Festival, Hidden Barriers
Cascade Public Media

Our mission at Cascade Public Media is to inspire a smarter world. This mission is based on the belief that a more informed and engaged community makes the world a better place.

Cascade Public Media is made up of two organizations that combine the best of trusted, traditional public media with the best tools of the current moment.

Cascade Public Media employs more than 100 talented and dynamic team members who work tirelessly each day in pursuit of our mission and strategy.

We are committed to building a team that represents a diversity of thought, experience and personal background. Along with race, gender, and physical ability, we believe that one’s ethnicity, national origin, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identification, and age are other dimensions that strengthen us. Such diversity enhances the relevance and substance of our work.


KCTS 9 is an award-winning PBS television station serving Washington and British Columbia. We educate and enrich our communities by providing informative, entertaining programs and meaningful outreach, creating public dialogue on local and national issues. We also offer a PBS KIDS 24/7 channel; Create, a food, travel and lifestyle channel; and WORLD, a channel that delivers documentary, science and news programs from around the globe. We also operate KCTS 9 Yakima, serving Central Washington. This year, KCTS 9 garnered approximately 1.67 million viewers each week throughout Washington state and in Canada; more than 100,000 active donors made gifts in support of our programming.


Crosscut is a regional news site that focuses on in-depth, public interest journalism. Crosscut’s foundational belief is that an informed public is essential to finding good solutions to the civic and political challenges of our time. This year, Crosscut published more than 900 stories, and an average of 77,000 visitors came to our website each week; more than 2,200 active donors made gifts in support of great journalism on Crosscut.

Community Engagement

Cascade Public Media hosted a wide range of virtual community events during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Highlights included the Age of Nature event exploring the place we call home; a conversation with Rick Steves on the future of travel; going back in time with Knute Berger at Finding Our Roots Washington; an examination of the role food has in providing comfort and bridging cultural divides with Christopher Kimball, James Beard Award-winning host of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street; an inspiring conversation on centering the mental health of Black youths; the reflections of Dr. Ben Danielson on equity and access in healthcare; an evening of the foods that make Seattle with the people who know them best; and a new monthly KCTS 9 book club connecting PBS programming with books selected by local authors.

The Age of Nature

The Age of Nature - KCTS 9 virtual event, Wed 9/30 at 5:30 pm, sponsored by Bloedel Reserve and Metis Construction

In this region and around the world, there is a rich history of vibrant and active awareness of nature. KCTS 9 and 363 members from the community came together in September 2020 to celebrate the three-part series The Age of Nature with a panel discussion focused on the place we call home: the Pacific Northwest. Before the panel discussion began, attendees were invited to listen to music from the Musical Mountaineers and sipped on a drink curated by Sustainable Seattle (recipe cards provided in advance). The panel took a look at nature and the outdoors and how it relates to issues of equity, tribal affairs, sustainability and our lives as Washingtonians.

A Conversation with Rick Steves

A Conversation with Rick Steves, a KCTS 9 virtual event, Wednesday 10/14 at 5:30 PM

On October 14, 2020 more than 1,000 people joined KCTS 9 and Rick Steves for a conversation about everything from life at home for the intrepid traveler to behind the scenes details and the future of travel. Participants were able to submit their own questions for Rick to answer. As there were only a few minutes to get through the audience's questions during the event, Rick answered 30 more in writing as he wanted to make sure he had the opportunity to answer as many questions as possible. The virtual event, A Conversation with Rick Steves, is available online now.

Finding Your Roots Washington: Old Growth to New Beginnings

Finding your Roots Washington | Old Growth to New Beginnings | Virtual Event: Thursday, January 21st @ 7 PM

Our region looks much different today than it did when its sole inhabitants and caretakers were Indigenous people. With westward expansion and multiple boom and bust cycles, the land and its people have weaved a complex story of identity. In January 2021, more than 700 people joined KCTS 9 and Crosscut’s Knute Berger at the Finding Your Roots Washington virtual event. Panelists Dr. Quintard Taylor, Professor Emeritus of History at UW; Margaret O'Mara, historian and contributing New York Times opinion writer; Warren KingGeorge, oral historian for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe; and Dr. Josephine Ensign, UW Professor of Nursing focused on health policy discussed our region’s “roots” and how, like in our forests, the remains of “old growth” often provide the foundation and energy for new life.

Food for Thought: A Conversation with Christopher Kimball

KCTS 9 Food for Thought - A Conversation with Christopher Kimball, Virtual Event | Thursday February 4th @ 11 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 the unofficial year of staying in. And, staying home meant eating more meals at home, too. When ingredients were scarce, we relied on resourcefulness. When we finally found yeast and flour, we could create something masterful. On February 4, 2021, Rachel Belle, host of the James Beard Award nominated podcast Your Last Meal and Christopher Kimball, James Beard Award-winning host of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street discussed comfort foods and their role in the COVID-19 pandemic, how food can help bridge cultural divides and, of course, our favorite recipes and what they mean to us.

Well Beings: Centering the Mental Health of Black Youth

Well Beings

As part of the national Well Beings initiative, KCTS 9 partnered with the WA Therapy Fund Foundation and the Root of Our Youth to address youth mental health and well-being. On February 25, 2021, more than 500 people gathered virtually for a discussion focused on centering and supporting Black youth. Speakers addressed the challenges faced by young people today, barriers to getting help, how to reduce stigma and strategies for improving mental health and well-being within the Black community. The event featured the testimony of teens and young adults with lived experience.

Northwest Newsmakers: Equity & Access in Healthcare

Northwest Newsmakers - Equity & Access in Healthcare with Dr. Ben Danielson

After 20 years leading the Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, Dr. Ben Danielson resigned in November 2020 in protest over what he claimed were racist practices at the clinic’s venerated parent institution, Seattle Children’s. His decision to step down caused an uproar in the Black community and, some say, a reckoning within the hospital. Seattle Children's responded by pledging a close examination of its policies and practices and asking a member of its leadership to step down. The hospital announced it had brought on former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to lead the investigation. For the March 2021 edition of Northwest Newsmakers, Crosscut sat down for an extended conversation with the man in the middle of the story, heard directly from him about what led to his decision and learned how he felt about what happened since and his perspective on the fight against systemic racism.

The Foods That Made Seattle

Teriyaki, pho, Seattle dog, Dutch baby

Every city has at least one dish to call its own, and every dish has a story to tell. KCTS 9 served up a five-course conversation about dishes and cuisines that were invented or popularized in Seattle. Pho Bac's Yenvy Pham, KCTS 9's resident historian Knute Berger, Bob Donegan of Ivar's Seafood Restaurants & Chowder, author Naomi Tomky and Farshid Varamini of Gantry Public House and Pioneer Grill Hot Dogs took a look at the foods that made Seattle. The culinary tour started with 19th-century prospectors on the hunt for a high-calorie breakfast, then onto the 1930s when a small fish shop opened at Seattle’s first aquarium, followed by the history and popularity of Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine in the 1970s and 1980s and ended with a new kind of hot dog for the late-night crowd.

KCTS 9 Book Club

KCTS 9 Book Club (illustration of a girl reading next to a cat)

KCTS 9 launched a new event series, KCTS 9 Book Club, in May 2021 in collaboration with local authors, Third Place Books and PBS Books. The monthly virtual book discussions relate to KCTS 9 programming and the book selections were made by a rotating group of Washington authors who also hosted the virtual discussions. Author Ann Putnam selected The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway for the first book in the event series. Related programming included the Ken Burns Hemingway documentary series and the KCTS 9 virtual event, Hemingway: Misogynist or Misunderstood?

About Us

Cascade Public Media is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. They are responsible for the strategic, operational and financial performance of the organization.

The volunteer Community Advisory Board is responsible for informing Cascade Public Media management and staff about community issues and stories appropriate for content development and engagement to support the communities we serve.

We are grateful for the time and talents board members share with our organization.

Cascade Public Media Board of Directors

During the time period July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.

Lynn Varner – Chair Associate Vice Chancellor, Washington State University
Michael Schutzler – Vice ChairCEO, Washington Technology Industry Association
Barbara Bennett – SecretaryCommunity Volunteer
Mike Hughes – TreasurerRetired, Executive VP, Liberty Mutual
Mike Humphries – Immediate Past ChairPresident, Waldron
Karli BarokasManaging Partner, FINN Partners
Linh HoMarketing Executive
Rick LinnewehRetired, President & CEO, Memorial Family Services
Rob McKennaPartner, Orrick
Sacha R.F. McLeanPresident & CEO, McLean Ventures Ltd.
Holly Mesrobian Director of Engineering in AWS Serverless Applications, leading the AWS Lambda engineering organization
Robert MoserRetired, President and Chief Executive Officer, Laird Norton Wealth Management
Sara Nelson*Owner, Fremont Brewing
Sharon NelsonRetired, Lawyer
Christopher ParkerThe Stuart A. Scheingold Professor of Social Justice and Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Washington
Anita RamasastryHenry M. Jackson Prof. of Law and Director, Sustainable Intl Development Grad Program at University of Washington; Vice-Chair, United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights
John SchoettlerDirector, Amazon, Global Real Estate & Facilities
Glenn WongPrincipal, Catalyst Solutions, Ltd.

*Sara Nelson resigned from the Board of Directors effective January 15, 2021 coinciding with her candidacy for elected office.

Community Advisory Board

During the time period July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.

  • Fritz Kessler – Chair
  • Candice Gibson – Vice Chair
  • Kimberly Bellamy-Thompson
  • Kailin Che
  • Robert Chorner
  • Tom Conlon
  • Krista Edwardson
  • Scott Fraser
  • Randie Gottlieb
  • Stephanie Johnson-Toliver
  • Kevin Lim
  • Ben Lu
  • Dori Peralta Baker
  • Son Michael Pham
  • Alexander Pualani
  • Cynthia Rekdal
  • Dr. Susana Reyes
  • Charlie Robin
  • Conan Viernes

Our Staff

Cascade Public Media employs more than 100 staff members who are dedicated to bringing you stories that will educate and inform as well as entertain – both on television and online. As we continue to work remotely, we find ourselves even more committed to providing essential public media services to everyone in our community.

Thank you for your support