TV Stations Wikia

KQED, virtual channel 9 (UHF digital channel 30), is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to San Francisco, California, United States and serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The station is owned by Northern California Public Broadcasting, through subsidiary KQED, Inc., alongside fellow PBS station KQEH (channel 54) and NPR member radio station KQED-FM (88.5). The three stations share studios on Mariposa Street in San Francisco's Mission District; KQED and KQEH share transmitter facilities atop Sutro Tower.

KQED's signal is relayed on satellite station KQET (virtual and UHF digital channel 25) in Watsonville, which serves the Monterey/Salinas/Santa Cruz market; that station's transmitter is located at Fremont Peak, near San Juan Bautista.


KQED was organized and founded by veteran broadcast journalists James Day and Jonathan Rice on June 1, 1953, and first signed on the air on April 5, 1954, as the fourth television station in the San Francisco Bay Area and the sixth public television station in the United States, debuting shortly after the launch of WQED in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The station's call letters, Q.E.D., are taken from the Latin phrase, quod erat demonstrandum, commonly used in mathematics.

One of KQED's early local programs was World Press, an hour-long weekly roundup of international news stories analyzed by a panel of political analysts, which debuted in 1963. Panel members, who were political science analysts specializing in each specific global area, each brought a newspaper for round table discussion. It was developed by San Francisco Supervisor Roger Boas, who brought his long-term interest in government, politics, television and business to the show. The program "summed up the foreign reaction to such events as the Kennedy assassinations, the Vietnam War, along with thousands of other events that have shaped the decade of the sixties." What started as a local public access program with no financial support became the longest continuously running discussion program televised on approximately 185 stations.

In its early days following the station's sign-on, KQED broadcast only twice a week for one hour each day. Despite the very limited schedule, the station was still losing money, leading to a decision in early 1955 from its board of trustees to close down the station. Its staff got the board to keep the station on the air and try to get needed funds from the public in a form of a televised auction, in which celebrities would appear to auction off goods and services donated to the station. While the station still came a little short, it did show that the general public cared to keep KQED on the air. Since then, the auction became a fund-raising tool for many public television stations, though its usage waned in recent years in favor of increased usage of special pledge drives throughout the year.

KQED was best known in the late '60s and throughout the 1970s, as one of the very few public stations in the country to have its own nightly news show, originally known as Newsroom. For many years, the show was anchored by Belva Davis, a pioneering African American broadcaster. Newsroom grew out of a 1968 newspaper strike in San Francisco. Journalists from the affected newspapers began reporting their stories on KQED. In 1980, the nightly news broadcast was cancelled and replaced with a documentary production unit, which thrived for over a decade, producing a series of local documentaries and some major national productions. The staff also regularly produced feature news stories for the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour.

In 1970, KQED inherited KNEW-TV (channel 32) from Metromedia, but found they could not operate it without losing money. Various PBS and locally produced programs from KQED would air erratically and at different times of the day on KQEC. In 1988, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked KQED's license to operate KQEC, citing excessive off-air time, further charging dishonesty in previous filings with regard to the specific reasons. The alleged dishonesty was in reference to KQED's claim of financial woes for keeping KQEC off the air for most of 1972 through 1977, and again for several months in 1979 and 1980. After being revoked from KQED's hands, the reassigned license was granted to the Minority Television Project (MTP), one of the challengers of the KQED/KQEC filing. The KQEC call letters were changed to KMTP-TV under the new license.

During the early 1990s, when the state of California reintroduced the death penalty, the KQED organization waged a legal battle for the right to televise the forthcoming execution of Robert Alton Harris at San Quentin State Prison. The decision to pursue the videotaping of executions was controversial amongst those on both sides of the capital punishment debate.

KQED was co-producer of the television adaptation of Armistead Maupin's novel Tales of the City, which aired on PBS stations nationwide in January 1994. The original six-part series was produced by Britain's public-service Channel 4 Corporation with KQED and PBS' American Playhouse. The six-part miniseries featured gay themes, nudity and illicit drug use in this fictional portrayal of life in 1970s San Francisco. Although the program gave PBS its highest ratings ever for a dramatic program, PBS bowed to threats of federal funding cuts and announced it would not participate in the television production of an adaptation of the second book in the series, More Tales of the City. The film division of KQED was founded by Irving Saraf.

With financial constraints looming, KQED announced in June 1995 that it would begin showing 30-second advertisements from corporate sponsors the following month.

The station started a school-age channel using some PBS shows plus syndicated show such as Zulu Patrol and Little Amadeus in 2003. KQED also became a PBS Kids Sprout partner, which gave the station goodwill to get carriage on Comcast's systems.

KQED and KTEH merged. While broadcasting its own kids channel, the station intended to pick up the planned PBS Kids Go! when launched in October 2006. However, Kids Go was cancelled in July 2006 before broadcasting. Since the two station shared a market and public TV's digital carriage agreement with top cable operators required differentiation of the stations' services, Kids Go! was a way to do so.

On November 11, 2010, KQED and NBR Worldwide, LLC, the owners of PBS business news program, the Nightly Business Report, reached into an agreement to open a bureau in the Silicon Valley in order to enhance coverage of NBR.

On January 1, 2011, KQED became a default PBS member station for San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara (becoming available on cable providers in those markets), following Los Angeles public television station KCET's defection from PBS on December 31, 2010.


KQED's Watsonville satellite station KQET first signed on the air on May 17, 1989, as KCAH, originally operating as a locally owned PBS member station serving the Monterey area. In the late 1990s, San Jose PBS member station KTEH acquired KCAH, converting channel 25 into a satellite of KTEH. The station changed its call letters to KQET on August 12, 2007, months after the merger of KQED and KTEH. On October 1, 2007, KQET converted from a satellite of KTEH to a satellite of KQED.

TV stations in California
KOCE, Los Angeles

KVCR, Los Angeles
KLCS, Los Angeles
KEET, Eureka
KVIE, Sacramento
KIXE, Redding/Chico
KQED/KQET, San Francisco/Monterey
KQEH, San Francisco
KRCB, San Francisco
KVPT, Fresno
K18HD-D, Bakersfield
KPBS, San Diego

TV stations in the San Francisco Bay Area
KAXT-CD 1 (Decades)
KTVU 2 (Fox)
KDTV-DT/KDTV-CD 14/28 (Uni)
KOFY 20 (Ind)
KTSF 26 (Ind)
KICU 36 (Ind)
KMMC-LD 40 (3ABN Latino)
KBCW 44 (CW)
KZHD-LD 49 (Ind)
KKPX 65 (Ion)
KFSF-DT 66 (UMas)
KTLN 68 (H&I)
TV stations in Monterey Bay area, including Monterey, Salinas and Santa Cruz
K15CU-D 15 (COZI)
KMBY-LD 19 (H&I)
KDJT-CD 33 (UMas)
KCBA 35 (Fox)
KMMD-CD 40 (3ABN Latino)
KSMS 67 (Uni)