Friday, October 10, 2014


NOTE: An eagle-eyed reader pointed out to me that the events of this story occurred in 1970, not 1971.  Please let me know if you see any factual errors in future posts.  Thank you.

In May 1970, Wesley “Scoop” Nisker was the News Director at KSAN-FM, a remarkable “underground” station in San Francisco. Scoop was a nerdy kid from a small town in Nebraska who arrived in the Bay Area searching for spiritual bliss and world peace.  At KSAN he produced on-air sound collages combining hot music and voices in the news. This approach was new – a combination of Hunter S. Thompson, Firesign Theater and Tony Schwartz – gonzo journalism with a real sense of purpose.

His catch-phrase was: If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.

One of his most memorable stories was Seven Days in May. It chronicled Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia and the subsequent shooting of students at Kent State University. This slightly abridged clip provides an amazing mirror of times:

Scoop’s work was created using two reel-to-reel tape decks and a couple of newsroom cart machines.  His techniques influenced a generation of audio journalists, editors and storytellers including many public radio folks.

Scoop Nisker 1970
Scoop Nisker 2014

After KSAN, Scoop was a news and traffic reporter at KFOG-FM where he once ended a report saying: People are driving to work to earn the money to pay for the cars they're driving to work in. Back to you.

Scoop is now a Buddhist meditation instructor, teacher and author.

1 comment:

  1. I really miss voices like Scoop's ... like Murray Saul from WMMS, or Bill Amundson on KTCL. Scoop's was perhaps the most clever, the most cutting.