KC Cowan, an award-winning reporter known to Oregon television viewers as a driving force behind Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Oregon Art Beat," was dismissed yesterday by OPB.

"I'm deeply saddened that my relationship with OPB has come to an end," Cowan told WW in an email. "For ten and a half years, I had the privilege of showcasing the best of Oregon's artists and promoting the arts to OPB's viewing audience. I hope that down the road I can find a new way to continue to promote the arts, because they're such a passion of mine. I will miss all of my co-workers on Oregon Art Beat -- they are some of the most talented people I've ever had the pleasure to work with."

Cowan was an original host of the show but, sources at OPB say, had been pushed off the air recently by OPB management. She had continued as a producer and writer for the web.

OPB's vice president for television production, Dave Davis, also wouldn't say why OPB let Cowan go.

"She no longer works here, we wish her well, and we thank her for the great work she did on 'Oregon Art Beat," Davis tells WW. "Beyond that, we can't say anything else. This is a personnel issue, and it's obviously a sensitive matter."

It's the second time in recent months that OPB executives have fired one of their high-profile female personalities. In June, OPB abruptly dismissed "Think Out Loud" host Emily Harris, the radio show's founding host.

OPB President Steven M. Bass hasn't responded to WW's efforts to contact him.