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KQED logo
City of license San Francisco, California
Branding NPR News & Information
Frequency 88.5 MHz
(also on HD Radio)
Repeaters KQEI-FM 89.3
K201BV 88.1
K202CT 88.3
First air date June 25, 1969
Format Public Radio
ERP 110,000 watts
HAAT 387.0 meters
Class B
Facility ID 35501
Transmitter coordinates 37°41′23″N 122°26′13″W / 37.6897°N 122.4369°W / 37.6897; -122.4369Coordinates: 37°41′23″N 122°26′13″W / 37.6897°N 122.4369°W / 37.6897; -122.4369
Callsign meaning Quod Erat Demonstrandum
Former callsigns KXKX-FM
Affiliations National Public Radio
Public Radio International
American Public Media
Owner Northern California Public Broadcasting

KQED-FM (88.5 FM) is an NPR-member radio station owned by Northern California Public Broadcasting in San Francisco, California.

KQED-FM was founded by James Day in 1969 as the radio arm of KQED Television. The founding manager was Bernard Mayes who later went on to be Executive Vice-President of KQED TV and also co-founder and chairman of NPR (National Public Radio). KQED-FM was first located in a former church building where the Presbyterian church ran station KXKX-FM the licence of which was sold to KQED. The first programming of KQED-FM included news feeds from NPR, 'street radio' broadcast live from local street corners, drama and music. Later, due to reduced funding, Mayes opened the air to 'Tribal Radio' - productions by local non-profit groups, some in their own languages. Today, KQED-FM is the most-listened to public radio station in the United States,[1] and as of the fall 2005 Arbitron ratings, the station ranks third in the San Francisco market.[2] In addition to local programming, KQED-FM carries content from major public radio distributors such as National Public Radio, Public Radio International, BBC World Service and American Public Media. Among the locally produced shows are Forum with Michael Krasny, The California Report, Perspectives and Pacific Time.

In addition to over-the-air broadcasts, KQED-FM audio is carried on Comcast digital cable channel 960 and is webcast with live streaming audio around the clock with Forum, and Pacific Time carried live with nationwide coverage on Sirius Satellite Radio. KQED also offers an extensive audio archive and podcasts of previous shows for download.

One of the most famous programs to have been broadcast on KQED was An Hour with Pink Floyd, a sixty minute performance by Pink Floyd recorded in 1970 without an audience at the Fillmore West. The program was broadcast only twice—once in 1970, and once again in 1984. The setlist included "Atom Heart Mother", "Cymbaline", "Grantchester Meadows", "Green Is the Colour", "Careful with That Axe, Eugene", and "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun".


Expansion into Sacramento

In 2003, KQED Radio expanded to the Sacramento area by purchasing KEBR-FM in North Highlands from Family Radio, a religious broadcaster based in Oakland. Some residents and management at KXJZ, the NPR station already serving the Sacramento area, criticized the move, saying that KQED would only duplicate KXJZ programming. KXJZ's parent company, Capital Public Radio, also had plans to purchase KEBR. CPR's plan was to broadcast jazz on KEBR and convert KXJZ into an all-news station. Indeed, KQED and KXJZ carry Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, and All Things Considered at the same times opposite each other. KQED argues that it carries more regional news programming during the middle of the day, and news programs at night, while KXJZ has a smaller news bureau and music programming overnight. Capital Public Radio and community residents argued that duplication of the exact same NPR programming serves no one, and that it is very unusual for one NPR station to move in on the territory of a successful existing station. KXJZ has also increased its local midday programming with the addition of Insight, a daily interview program.

This was not the first time KQED-FM changed its format, to the chagrin of its competition and listeners – when they converted to an all news and information format by dropping classical music during the day, management and listeners of the other San Francisco public radio station, KALW, claimed their format had been stolen. KALW previously ran news and information programs during the day.

Additional Frequencies

In addition to the main station, KQED-FM is relayed by these stations and translators to widen its broadcast area.

Callsign MHz City of license Power
Additional Information
KQEI-FM 89.3 North Highlands, California 3,100 A FCC
K201BV 88.1 Benicia, California 4 D FCC
K201BV 88.1 Martinez, California 4 D FCC
K202CT 88.3 Santa Rosa, California 10 D FCC


  1. ^ "KQED Public Radio" KQED website. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
  2. ^ Ben Fong-Torres (12 March 2006). "Radio Waves". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-01-17.  

External links



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