Brian Murphy: KNBR Radio Host


HAWK FOR LIFE: Brian Murphy graduated in 1985 and was a news reporter for The Tam News. After graduating he went onto UCLA and eventually became the co-host for the Murph and Mac show on KNBR. photo courtesy of: Tamalpais High Scool Yearbook

By Daniel Zwiebach

Brian Murphy’s journalism career began 27 years ago with the Tam News. After covering politics of Tam in the late ‘80s, Murphy fell in love with journalism. He has written for the LA Times,, and the San Francisco Chronicle. In the last decade, he has shifted his career to radio and is now a co-host for the Murph and Mac Show on KNBR 680.

“I was born and raised right here. I guess you could say I’m home grown,” Murphy said. “From Mill Valley Little League at Boyle Park, and now I’m coaching my kid at Boyle Park. So it’s come full circle.”
In 1985, Murphy was a senior at Tam. He played varsity basketball and baseball, read Sports Illustrated every month, and covered sports for the Mill Valley Record. That same year he joined the Tam News staff and became the news editor. Along with his passion for sports he had a passion for politics.

“I always naturally gravitated towards writing and reading sports. Those were always my three favorite things; reading, writing and sports. So it kind of made for a natural fit that I wanted to become a sports writer,” Murphy said. “But I was also very keenly interested in U.S. politics in high school…So I started at The Tam News, I was the news editor there. I tried to dig as deep into the politics of Tam as I could and this is while I was covering sports at The Mill Valley Record. I tried to get the most of both sides.”

Murphy’s background with journalism in high school makes him want to pass his experience to the next generation of journalists. “I remember what it was like to be so excited about journalism as a student, so I want to encourage the kids at Tam who do love journalism to stay excited about it, and to love what they do,” Murphy said. “If I can encourage them with a Tweet, or a re-Tweet, it’s the least I can do to pass the torch to the next generation.”

“I want to show pride for my alma mater and hometown,” Murphy said. “I do this by showing up to a big basketball game with my family or retweeting a Tam News story or broadcast and it just proves to me that I still care.”

After high school, Murphy went to UCLA and a…continued on next page path for sports writing opened up. “When I got to college, I went out for the daily paper, The Daily Bruin, and they said that they had openings in the sports department and if anyone wanted to do stories right away they could,” Murphy said. “This was my in. I’d rather get writing. I wasn’t so worried about news. My goal was to write sports and news pieces for the Bruin, but once there was a path in the sports department I never really looked back.”
After writing for the Daily Bruin for two years, Murphy landed an internship with the LA Times. “It was a rigorous test… and the greatest experience because they kicked my butt,” Murphy said. “I covered high school sports. They took it very seriously because they had a big readership. They also held it to really high standards. ‘This has to be a tighter sentence, you didn’t do enough interviews, you didn’t research the story enough. I heard all these things, and it was hard on the ego.”

When Murphy returned to UCLA for his junior year, he took what he learned at his internship and became one of the leaders of the Daily Bruin. “So I came back from that experience hardened and tougher, and I was sports editor of the Daily Bruin by my senior year,” Murphy said. “I was the main football and basketball guy for my junior and senior years and that was really a lot of fun. At UCLA that was a big deal too. It was a great way to end my time at UCLA.”

After college, Murphy wrote for various publications including, The LA Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. “I was tied to newspapers,” Murphy said. “I was mainly writing for the SF Chronicle, I was the main golf beat writer for the Chronicle for many years and it really was working out, it was a very comfortable time.”

Although Murphy was living a stable life as a writer, he slowly went in another direction. “So I’m living my life as a writer. I’m happy,” Murphy said. “But oftentimes writers are asked to come on the radio as guests. So I was a guest frequently on KNBR as a golf writer.”

“My goal was to become a columnist for the Chronicle, so I went to my editor and I said, ‘Make me a columnist and I’ll stay at the Chronicle,’ and he’s like ‘I can’t do that right now.’ And then KNBR was like ‘we have this offer on the table’ and, quite frankly, it was a really good offer. And the only thing I could think was, if I’m not going to get the columnist job I want, I might as well get the next best thing.”
In 2004, Murphy signed a contract with KNBR and started as the co-host for the Murph and Mac Show. Now, more than a decade later, Murphy has the same job and is willing to admit that he still gets nervous. “You have to find the groove that you hit. So I mean the truth [be] told I still get a little nervous before every show,” Murphy said.

“I never really wanted to do anything else,” Murphy said. “So many people don’t know what they want to do. Or bounce around before they find something. I’m super lucky in that I loved [journalism] and I wanted to do it and I did it. I’ve never known any other way.”