Alisa Clancy’s Swan Song: An Exclusive Interview with KCSM Legend

As we noted late last month, many ferry riders embarking in the A.M. are plugged into KCSM for the lyrical musings of one of the Bay Area’s premier disc jockeys – Alisa Clancy.

Alas, this charming radio hostess will be retiring as the station’s program director and creator of the fabled “Morning Cup of Jazz” program for more than 20 years.

In this exclusive interview, Ms. Clancy shares a few memories and insights with our readers.

Cultural Currents: What have been the highlights of your career in the Bay Area?

Alisa Clancy: Starting and working in Bay Area radio in the heady days of the 1980’s and 90’s when I was producer/co-host with Bay Area legends like Al Jazzbeaux Collins and Mal “Man of the Street” Sharpe and Jazz radio legends like Pat Henry (KJAZ), Dick Conte, Tee Carson, Chuy Varela, & Clifford Brown Jr. As I think back–I was usually the only woman on the gigs!   Broadcasting from many Monterey Jazz Festivals, Live…always LIVE radio my favorite!

CC: Anything else you can add?

Clancy: Yes! Building a wholly unique Jazz format, curated & crafted by the staff– filled with jazz players & educators. 36 years of building relationships with the music community and musicians. Teaching Jazz History. Waking up at 3:50am and doing a morning drive-time show for 3 decades–and raising twins with my musician husband Clint Baker …I’m pretty proud of that 🙂

CC: Any memorable rides on the ferry? Or recreational watercraft?

Clancy: Oh man, Yes!  SFJazz used to be known as Jazz in the City and every year we would have Jazz Cruises (Hornblower mostly) around the Bay with jazz groups and great food. And, when we used to use Metro Traffic at KCSM, they would have yearly get-togethers with a cruise around the Bay–lots of memorable noshin’ & jawin’ on the water!

CC: What great jazz classics focus primarily on the waterfront?

Clancy: Well, I Cover the Waterfront of course 🙂  How Deep is the Ocean, Sea Breeze, Girl From Ipanema 😉 The Dolphin, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea…”water”  turns out to be one of THE most lyrically potent topics in the American Popular Songbook since the 1920’s. And, it could be said that since water in dreams represents “sex” the lyrics could be a metaphor for that human condition, too. Jus sayin’   We start our lives floating in water–it’s Home.

CC: What are your favorites?

Clancy: My favorites are usually what I just heard that made me feel good…(especially in this last year!) I use music as therapy, and that’s all kinds of music.

CC: You will be greatly missed on the air waves…what are your plans?

Clancy: Thanks! The next chapter hasn’t been revealed but I’ve spent my life as an improvisor…so who knows?

Local Radio: Distaff DJs Enliven Ferry Commute


Local Radio: Distaff DJs Enliven Ferry Commute