The Gnus

 


Shortly after the KMPX staff moved to their new digs at 211 Sutter Street and became KSAN, Tom Donahue sent a note out to the deejays. "Just remember," it began, "we are a music station, so please keep politics out of your broadcasts as much as possible."  Both Donahue and his policy changed, luckily, and KSAN's news department evolved into a powerhouse of creative and dedicated group of reporters who produced daily segments, documentaries, specials, and on-the-spot coverage.  Bob Postle set the tone with his satiric commentaries, a tone Scoop Nisker amplified in his time-intensive audio collages that didn't so much report the news as interpret it. Larry Bensky joined the staff in 1968, having honed his style at the New York Times and Ramparts magazine. Larry provided almost daily coverage of the Chicago 7 trial. Willis Duff later hired Dave McQueen, whose deep-soaked-Whiskey tone and intense focus on hard core news launched a stay at KSAN lasting nearly a decade and overseeing a series of richly researched and alternative coverage. McQueen was aided by the immensly talented Peter Laufer and Larry Lee, the latter who oversaw the daringly creative Watergate Follies. After Donahue's death in 1975, the Gnus team added a variety of talent from Denise Bordette to Joanne Green and Randy Alfred.
       KSAN was formed from a love for music, but Donahue always believed that a radio station served the needs of its community. No department exemplified that commitment better than the Gnus. When the 1971 oil spill threatened the Bay Area, Laufer and McQueen were central to providing round-the-clock coverage. As politics turned dangerous in the early 70s, the team reported on the SLA, the Sam Melville bomb threats, and the murders at Jonestown and of Mayor George Moscone and Councilman Harvey Milk. Inbetween they reported on social injustices from the violation of tenant rights athte International Hotel to the government's use of paraquat in marijuana plants.  They won awards and they changed the way news was covered. They were foundational to the character of KSAN.


"This is the greatest news team in the country right now."


-Bonnie Simmons


A Gnus Sampling
    
     Killer Weed:
An investigation into the government's use of paraquat to endanger marijuana users.
     The Watergate Follies: Award-winning series of news collages about The Watergate Affair.
    
Marijuana Plane Crash: A cargo of marijuana goes down in the mountains.
     Bensky News: Larry Bensky comments
     Miscellaneous News: Miscellaneous stuff

     The Gay Life:
Randy Alfred's show


1 / 6
Scoop Nisker
2 / 6
Larry Lee
3 / 6
Larry Lee & Dave McQueen
4 / 6
Joanne Green & Chris Stanley
5 / 6
Chan Laughlin
6 / 6
Larry Bensky