The Invisible Line of Big Time Talk Radio

When I first started at KSFO in 2002, I was honored to work for two of the greatest managers in all of radio.


Mickey Luckoff, and Jack Swanson racked up more “General Manager of the Year” and “Program Director of the Year” awards by the magazine Radio Ink, then any two guys before and since.

Both men were admitted liberals, but understood the market opportunity of have a conservative lineup on KSFO, to compliment the liberal lineup on powerhouse KGO.

As Program Director, Jack told me this upon signing me: “Sussman, there’s an invisible line. You want to stay this close to it at all times,” he said, holding his index finger about an inch from his thumb. “Cross the line and you’re fired. Never get close to it, and you’ll be fired as well. Oh, and one more thing. The line is always moving. Good luck.”

Jack and Mickey also had another quality likely not found anywhere in the country: being on an advertising “no buy” list was a badge of honor.

So here comes “Spocko.” He was a blogger, likely a talented marketing or advertising guy, who hated KSFO.

In 2006, in attempt to get me fired, and/or convince advertisers to pull their ads from KSFO, he posted audio clips of me saying things that indeed sounded outrageous. In the context of my program the clips he posted were taken out of context.

Citing copyright law, KSFO sent cease and desist letters to “Spocko.”

KSFO also conducted an hour long special program where we publicly addressed the issues at hand.  During the broadcast I stated emphatically that comments heard in these clips were taken out of context. I also admitted that the statements heard and deemed offensive were “attempts at off-the-cuff comedy which fell terribly flat.”

Additionally I felt that Spocko’s posting of the audio clips was a an abuse of the First Amendment because the clips were actually used in violation of copyright laws and, taken out of context.

Nonetheless, KSFO lost some big advertisers. Thank God I had bosses who weren’t bothered by the latter.

Sometime later Spocko again caused a stir when he posted audio of me talking to a caller who was gay and held some very strange beliefs.  I told him, “Your particular kind can’t reproduce.”  Of course I was referring to homosexual relationships and even the question of whether a man can or cannot have a baby. 

Once again a couple more advertisers left.

As for me, I was awarded with the greatest job is all radio. Host of the KSFO Morning Show!

Not sure what happened to Spocko, but I wish him well.


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Brian Sussman

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