Doug McConnell

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Doug McConnell
Alma materPomona College
OccupationTelevision journalist
McConnell hosted Pet Pride Day in Golden Gate Park for many years.

Doug McConnell is a television journalist who has focused on environmental issues, with programs on the air continuously since 1982.[1] He has created, produced and hosted many series, special programs, and news projects for local, national and international distribution. His broadcast awards include multiple Emmys, an Iris, and a Gabriel.

McConnell is co-founder and managing partner of ConvergenceMedia Productions (CMP) in Sausalito, California. One of CMP's principal products is OpenRoad with Doug McConnell, Exploring the West for Public Television nationally. OpenRoad on Public Television is closely linked to www.OpenRoad.TV, The Traveler's Video Guide to the West. McConnell is co-executive producer and managing editor for both ventures. McConnell also develops and oversees other media projects undertaken by CMP.

From 1993-2009 McConnell was the host and senior editor of the Bay Area Backroads television series on KRON Television in the San Francisco Bay Area.[2] Bay Area Backroads was one of the longest-running regional television series in American broadcast history, and was consistently the highest-rated locally produced, non-news program in the nation's sixth-largest market. During his Backroads years, McConnell co-authored two best-selling travel publications for Chronicle Books.

Television programs[edit]

OpenRoad with Doug McConnell, Exploring the West[edit]

OpenRoad with Doug McConnell, Exploring the West began on San Francisco Public Television station KQED and its sister station in San Jose, KTEH, in April 2009.[3]

Bay Area Backroads[edit]

The Bay Area Backroads program aired for 23 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, from 1985 through 2008.[4][5]

In 1985, Jerry Graham (born Gerald Granowsky in Indianapolis)[6] a former TV announcer, WNEW-FM employee,[7] WGRG (AM Pittsfield, Massachusetts) co-owner,[8] KSAN (1968 to 1980) general manager (1975—1977),[5] and KPIX "Pacific Currents" show host,[9] was cast by Bob Klein, KRON Executive Producer, who developed the travel show for locals, as "Bay Area Backroads".[5][10] Its first segment profiled, by Jerry Graham, a local eccentric who carved tiki statues in his front yard. At age 60, Graham retired and moved to Santa Cruz.[5][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

In 1993, McConnell was hired to complete the 1993 season after Graham's retirement, and remained as host for 15 years, until 2008.[4][18] The show's theme was to highlight offbeat individuals from the Bay Area, creating the impression that the production crew was simply encountering them on a recreational driving tour (when in fact, there was a small research team that had planned every show).[4]

  • Graham, Jerry (1990). Jerry Graham's Bay Area backroads (1st, rev. and updated ed.). New York: Perennial Library. ISBN 9780060964702.
  • Graham, Jerry (1994). Jerry Graham's complete Bay Area backroads (1st ed.). New York, NY: HarperPerennial. ISBN 978-0-06-273238-5.
  • McConnell, Doug (1999). Bay Area back roads (1st ed.). San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811820912.

Other programs[edit]

In addition to Bay Area Backroads, McConnell's TV programs include:

  • Mac and Mutley, producer and host, KPIX-TV, Discovery Channel USA, Discovery International, and Westinghouse International[19]
  • The Adventurers, host, Discovery USA and Discovery International
  • Wild Things, host, Discovery USA
  • Wild Guide, narrator, Westinghouse International and Discovery’s Animal Planet Channel
  • Petline, co-host, Discovery’s Animal Planet Channel
  • Preview Vacation Bargains, co-host, NBC stations in eight cities
  • Pacific Currents, producer and host, KPIX-TV
  • KING 5 Magazine, producer and reporter, KING-TV in Seattle

McConnell’s national specials and mini-series include:

  • Discoveries of a Lost Voyage, co-host, Discovery USA
  • Secrets of Alcatraz, producer and host, Discovery USA
  • Secrets of Alcatraz: Return to the Rock, producer and host, PBS
  • Secrets of the Gold Rush, producer and host, PBS
  • Secrets of the Wine Country, producer and host, PBS
  • Big Cat Tales, host, Discovery USA
  • Prime Time Primates, host, Discovery USA
  • The Crusaders, Pilot, producer and reporter, Buena Vista Television

Personal life[edit]

McConnell received a bachelor's degree in Government from Pomona College (1967), and a master's degree in Political Science from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University (1968).

Since 1983, McConnell has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two sons, and a bevy of pets. He maintains a busy schedule of community activities, including serving on the Advisory Board of the local environmental watchdog San Francisco Baykeeper, and has been honored recently by the Marin Humane Society as "Humanitarian of the Year," by the San Francisco Bay Trail Project as "Volunteer of the Year," by California State Parks as "Honorary Ranger of the Year," and by the National Park Service as "Honorary National Park Ranger." McConnell has received many regional Emmys and other broadcast awards during his long career in television. In addition, McConnell has been given the prestigious Harold Gilliam Award for environmental reporting and storytelling in Northern California.

Beyond his television work, McConnell has managed significant communications programs for the President's Commission on Coal, the Governor of Alaska, the University of Alaska, The Institute of Ecology, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and many other institutions.

McConnell's most recent venture is the creation of an online travel community called "OpenRoad.TV with Doug McConnell - The Traveler's Video Guide to the American West". OpenRoad.TV will be stocked with all the video, knowledge and insights that McConnell has compiled over the years and continues to collect. The professionally produced video content will be organized into easily accessible geographical and categorical contexts, with users being invited to vastly enrich it by adding their own stories, photographs and videos. The goal of OpenRoad.TV is to provide a website that's extensive, deep, entertaining and informative, and becomes a valuable resource to help people imagine, plan and book travels and get to know intriguing fellow travelers in the process.


  1. ^ Schlesinger, Victoria. "Meet Local Hero Doug McConnell". Bay Nature. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  2. ^ "Bio: Doug McConnell". NBC Bay Area. San Jose, California. April 21, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  3. ^ Bravo, Tony (April 29, 2015). "Doug McConnell of 'Bay Area Backroads' back on TV". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Peter Hartlaub (2008-08-28). "'Bay Area Backroads' on 'production hiatus'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  5. ^ a b c d Berton, Justin (1 May 2013). "Jerry Graham of 'Bay Area Backroads' dies". SFGATE. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  6. ^ Graham, Jefferson. "Voices: Talk to Dad on video for Father's Day". USA TODAY. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Jerry Graham". WNEW 1130 AM. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Jerry Graham, Santa Cruz TV and radio personality, dies at 78". Santa Cruz Sentinel. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Former KPIX Personality, Broadcaster Jerry Graham Dies At 78". CBS San Francisco. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  10. ^ Richardson, Chris (10 October 2014). ""Available Space": Theme Song for 'Bay Area Backroads'". Zero to 180. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Jerry Graham Bay Area Backroads". Getty Images. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Jerry Graham". Jefferson Graham's newsletter. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  13. ^ "Jerry Graham Obituary (2013) Santa Cruz Sentinel". Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Sometime, let a backroad take you home". Gaye LeBaron Digital Collection. North Bay Digital Collections, Sonoma State University. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Audio Visual". Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  16. ^ "NEWS". Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  17. ^ Weems, Jane (15 June 2013). "A Tribute to Louie Louie, the 'Tattooed' King of Precita Park". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  18. ^ McConnell, Doug. "Last Day on Bay Area Backroads". Diablo Magazine. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  19. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (August 29, 2008). "Gone But Not Forgotten: "Mac and Mutley"". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 12, 2018.

External links[edit]