Community Post

“Have fun. Go deep. Don’t hold back”


The story hotline
We had this crazy idea: create a hotline people can call to share stories about 23rd and Union in Seattle’s Central District.

The idea was to set the stage for a creative and respectful conversation. We wanted the technology to be automated. So messages people leave become outgoing messages other people hear, and show up on our Web site, without us having to lift a finger.

Turns out that was a complicated proposition. But our software engineer Joseph Sheedy and our Web artist Anna Callahan managed to make it into a reality you can experience.

This is all an experiment, and a work in progress, so please let us know if you find bugs or things we can improve!

What to expect when you call
When you call 877-R23-UNION (877-723-8646) you hear a welcome message. Then you’re asked: Are you at the corner of 23rd and E Union right now? Press 1 for yes or 2 for no. (If you want to leave the producers a message press 3).

Now you can start listening to stories.

You’ll be asked to press any number 1-6 to hear a randomly generated story. It might be a story Jenny produced or it might be a message someone just left. It will be 2 minutes or less. And, it’s random. The computer chooses it for you.

When you’re done listening, press 1. Now you’ll hear one of our six questions (depending on which number you pressed before):


  1. What do think of when you think: 23rd and Union?
  2. Whose corner is 23rd and Union?
  3. What stories do you tell about 23rd and Union?
  4. Why is 23rd and Union this way?
  5. What needs to happen on 23rd and Union?
  6. Rap, sing, pray for 23rd and Union.

Listen to the prompt and enter the number it tells you in order to leave your message. (It will be a number between 11-16 or 21-26). Or you can press 3 to listen to ALL the other responses to this question.

If you decide to leave a message
You have 2 minutes. Introduce yourself and then go! It’s an open forum and a chance for you to speak your mind. Have fun. Go deep. Don’t hold back.

Your message will show up on our Web site within a few minutes. It will be integrated into the phone system within the hour. So it might be one of the random messages people hear.

Later on, we might select your message to air on KUOW 94.9 Public Radio or Hollow Earth Radio. We also might share it with other public media outlets in the future. It’s a non-commercial project, which means no one is ever going to profit from the messages you leave here.

What’s on the Web site
When you go to you’ll see there are six “question” pages that correspond to the six questions in the story line. On each of those pages, you’ll see two kinds of buttons. The pink buttons are stories that have extra content like photos and text. Anna placed them deliberately on the page.

The yellow audio play buttons are dynamically generated. A new one appears every time someone leaves a message. Every time you refresh the page the yellow buttons appear in random places. The computer decides where they go, not us.

Did I mention we love feedback? Email us: [email protected].

And remember to CALL 877-723-8646

0 thoughts on ““Have fun. Go deep. Don’t hold back”

  1. the number listed at the top of this story is WRONG…877.723.8646 not 7646. May cause some confusion because the number you listed at the top has not been assigned.

  2. Tried to dial the number you’ve provided a few times (877)723-8646… Nobody picked up! Is it working for anyone?