Doug Sovern began his journalism career as a copy boy at The New York Times. He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1985, to play bass in a rock band. Needing a day job, he fell into radio, as a production assistant at K-101 FM, in the days before deregulation, when every radio station had a news department. He soon became a street reporter, then Sports Director and Assistant News Director. He also became the Northern California Correspondent for Associated Press Radio. In 1990, Doug worked briefly at KGO Radio in San Francisco before joining KCBS, California’s legendary all-news radio giant, and the oldest radio station in America (born in 1909!). He’s been at KCBS ever since. Doug covers politics for KCBS, and also does special features and investigations. He reports occasionally for KPIX-TV Channel 5, where he’s also co-hosted or appeared on numerous TV specials, town halls and candidate debates. He has also written for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Doug has won more than 200 journalism awards, including a duPont-Columbia Award Special Citation, ten National Headliner Awards, six national Edward R. Murrow Awards, and a record eight Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the national Society of Professional Journalists—more than any other reporter in history. The SPJ has honored Doug for Best Investigative Reporting six different times, more than any other journalist in any medium. Doug was also the first three-time winner of the AP TV/Radio Association’s Reporter of the Year Award and has won it four times overall. He’s also won the California Journalism Award, the John Swett Award and many others.
Doug has reported for KCBS from every continent except Antarctica. He reported from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake and New York City after the 9/11 terrorist attack. He covered the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the 1991 East Bay Firestorm, the Los Angeles riots in 1992, a deadly expedition on Mt. Everest in 2000 and the London bombings in 2005. He has done award-winning specials for KCBS from China, Africa, Mexico and the Tour de France. He has covered every presidential campaign since 1988 and interviewed almost every major presidential candidate, and many of the minor ones, since then.
An avid outdoorsman, Doug has chronicled some of his adventures on KCBS, including climbing expeditions on Everest and Kilimanjaro, and bike rides across California, Alaska, Texas and Vietnam for AIDS and cancer charities.
In a career packed with memorable moments, Doug says the two that stand out most are when the Dalai Lama taught him about the impermanence of all things (in 1989, just before the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake, which Doug narrowly survived but which killed his former housemate), and when he caught and saved Mother Teresa when she fell down some stairs at her AIDS hospice in San Francisco, for which she gave him a medal.
Stories from the October 2017 Wine Country Firestorm. More of these to come soon:
The Hero of Mayacamas Ranch. Two reports, returning to the ruins of the resort/retreat devoured by the fire, with the chef who saved 18 lives there while losing his home, his job and his life savings.
The Miracle of Triple S: two reports from the only resort on Mountain Home Ranch Road that was NOT destroyed by the fires, thanks to the heroic all-night stand by its owner and staff:
More fire coverage to come soon.
(For stories from the 2016 election, please see the separate ELECTION COVERAGE page)
Some of Doug’s other reports over the years for KCBS. There are too many to include here, but here’s a sampling:
UNHOLY WATER: Our duPont-Columbia and SPJ-winning exposé of how the San Francisco Archdiocese installed an illegal plumbing system to pour water on homeless people to keep them from sleeping outside St. Mary’s Cathedral. Parts 1-5 (2015)
AFTERSHOCK: The Continuing Crisis in Haiti, Parts 1-5 (2010):
The Inauguration of Barack Obama, January 20, 2009 (in these three reports, you can hear what four days of nonstop reporting in way below zero weather did to my voice!):
Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, 2005 (5 of the many, many reports filed from the field there):
Tour De France – one report from 2004, one from 2005. Note Lance still insisting he’s drug-free:
Schwarzenegger in China – one of the reports from the Governator’s 2005 trade mission:
Veggie Car: an only in Berkeley feature story:
Covering the London Bombings, 2005 – one of many reports:
Sunnydale, a special documentary on children living in San Francisco’s most dangerous housing project, 2013:
Through The Roof, a 5-part series on the Bay Area’s affordable housing crisis, 2014:
Whale Watching (actually, hugging, petting & flossing) in Baja California, Mexico, 2013:
“AIDS In Africa: Faces of Hope” (2009) – A documentary special I did in East Africa (runs 22:38):