Doug's interest in East African music came as consequence of his love of language and culture in East Africa. He was an Anthropology major at the University of Washington with an interest in Bantu languages (especially Swahili) and East African cultures. Finishing a BA degree in 1972, Doug was invited into the graduate program at Washington to continue studying African languages and linguistics. He really didn't get introduced to African music until he'd decided to take a break from his studies and, in 1974, Doug took an overland trip from London to Johannesburg. It was when passing through Zaire, that Doug first took notice of the African music he heard in the bars and on radios in every location he stopped. He eventually made it to Johannesburg and travelled northbound to Tanzania to spend another couple of months in Dar es Salaam. This is when Doug first discovered the great East African rumba sounds of Mbaraka Mwinshehe and Super Volcano and the taarab music of Tanzania's coast.
His great immersion into African music didn't come until a few years later when he went to Kenya to do anthropological field research for his doctoral dissertation. Doug lived in a densely populated agricultural region in the highlands of western Kenya and studied how farm families adapt to the problem of scarce land resources. He was awarded a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Washington in 1984. From 1985 through 1989, Doug taught Anthropology in Kenya to (primarily) American students in two study abroad programs. It was during this period that he became quite involved in Kenyan and Tanzanian music in various roles as a fan, producer, compiler, and journalist.
On his return to the Seattle area, Doug continued to teach in community colleges and universities in the early to mid-90s, also starting his first radio show in 1991 on KSER, Everett and started his current radio show on KBCS Bellevue in 1994. Doug didn't see it coming at the time, but this radio experience became the basis of a career shift. In 1996, when in between teaching contracts, Doug took part time work at public radio station KUOW in Seattle. He joined the operations staff as the scheduler for programs distributed by the Public Radio Satellite System in 1996. This led to a full-time position at KUOW that he holds up to now. It's his job to make sure we receive all our programs from the public radio system; and Doug sets up and maintains the automation system that plays these programs back at the appropriate time. Another aspect of his job includes audio engineering. He mixes live music for the station and also does a considerable amount of studio work, engineering sessions for NPR, BBC, CBC, and American Public Media.