Mel Wax, a reporter who became the principal anchor of KQED Channel 9’s “Newsroom” and then a spokesman for San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, has died after a long illness in Berkeley at age 88, the Chronicle reports. A City Hall reporter for the Chronicle in the 1950s and early 60s, he got started in TV during the 1968 newspaper strike when reporters went on Channel 9 every night to read their stories. After the strike ended, those broadcasts evolved into “Newsroom,” a highly acclaimed local news-and-discussion program that Wax directed and anchored until 1977. After leaving KQED, Wax became the press aide to then Mayor Moscone and the Chronicle obit notes that Wax was unflappable on that day in 1979 when Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White. (Chronicle file photo.)

SF Press Club News


  1. Mel Wax brought us KQED’s nightly News Room using “Master Jack” as its theme song(‘It’s a strange, strange, world we live in…’), and it was wonderful, as was Wax and his whole smart, heady News Room crew. But alas, PC was winnowing its way in, Wax was made to cease using the Master Jack theme, and a stodgier KQED — along with the rest of PBS — began its yet to be recovered loss of edge. The Mel Wax legacy got buried along the way, and it’s a shame.

  2. Newsroom was the best news program television has ever had and Mel did a fine job moderating the panel each evening. I miss the show and I know that Mel is missed by many.

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