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KQED logo
Broadcast areaSan Francisco Bay Area (KQED 88.5)
Sacramento (KQEI 89.3)
Frequency88.5 MHz (HD Radio)
FormatNews/talk (Public)
Public Radio Exchange
American Public Media
BBC World Service
OwnerKQED Inc.
First air date
Former call signs
KXKX (1963–1969)
Call sign meaning
Quod Erat Demonstrandum
Technical information
Facility IDKQED-FM: 35501
KQEI-FM: 20791
ERPKQED-FM: 110,000 watts
KQEI-FM: 3,300 watts
HAATKQED-FM: 387 meters (1,270 ft)
KQEI-FM: 108 meters (354 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
KQED-FM: 37°41′23″N 122°26′13″W / 37.68972°N 122.43694°W / 37.68972; -122.43694Coordinates: 37°41′23″N 122°26′13″W / 37.68972°N 122.43694°W / 37.68972; -122.43694
KQEI-FM: 38°42′38″N 121°28′54″W / 38.71056°N 121.48167°W / 38.71056; -121.48167 (KQEI-FM)
Translator(s)See below
Repeater(s)See below
WebcastLivestream on web Livestream on mobile apps

KQED-FM (88.5 MHz) is a NPR-member radio station in San Francisco, California. Its parent organization is KQED Inc., which also owns its television partners, both of which are PBS member outlets: KQED (channel 9) and KQEH (channel 54). Studio operations for all three are located on Mariposa Drive in the Mission District of San Francisco, while its transmitter is located atop San Bruno Mountain.



The San Francisco Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian group, began broadcasting with station KXKX in April 1963.[1] The new 110,000-watt station signed on two years after the seminary received a construction permit in August 1961.[2] In addition to Christian programming, the station's subcarrier broadcast theology courses to receivers at 44 Bay Area churches.[3]

When agencies of the Presbyterian Church (USA) could no longer support the station, KXKX signed off at midnight on the evening of June 29, 1967.[4]


In July 1968, the San Francisco Theological Seminary filed to sell KXKX to the Bay Area Educational Television Association, owner of KQED (channel 9).[2] The station returned to the air as KQED-FM in mid-1969, originally using the studios at 286 Divisadero Street inherited from the seminary.[2] The founding manager was Bernard Mayes, who later went on to be executive vice president of KQED television and also co-founder and chairman of NPR. The first programming of KQED-FM included news, 'street radio' broadcast live from local street corners, drama and music. In its third year on the air, KQED-FM became one of the first 80 NPR affiliates—five of which were in California—to air the first edition of All Things Considered. Later, due to reduced funding, Mayes opened the air to 'Tribal Radio' - productions by local non-profit groups, some in their own languages.

Current programming[edit]

Today, KQED-FM is one of the most-listened to public radio stations in the United States,[5] and ranks first in the San Francisco market as of July 2018.[6] In addition to local programming, KQED-FM carries content from major public radio distributors such as National Public Radio, Public Radio Exchange, BBC World Service and American Public Media. Among the locally produced shows are Forum with Mina Kim and Alexis Madrigal, The California Report, and Perspectives. Tech Nation is produced at KQED studios.

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. The station's live stream is also available through its mobile app. Forum is carried live, nationwide, 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 60-minute performance by Pink Floyd recorded in 1970 without an audience at the station's studio. The program was broadcast only twice—once in 1970, and once again in 1981.[7] 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[edit]

In 2003, KQED Radio expanded to the Sacramento area by purchasing KEBR-FM at 89.3 in North Highlands from Family Radio, a religious broadcaster based in Oakland.[8][9] The call letters were changed to KQEI, and it became a full-time satellite of KQED.

Ransomware attack[edit]

In July 2017, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the radio station was the victim of a massive ransomware attack which began on June 15, 2017. More than a month later, many critical systems were still offline and during the attack email was down, hard drives were locked, and prerecorded programs were lost.[10]

Additional frequencies[edit]

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

Call sign Frequency City of license ERP
Class FCC info
KQEI-FM 89.3 FM (HD) North Highlands, California 3,300 A FCC
Broadcast translators of KQED-FM
Call sign Frequency City of license ERP
Class FCC info
K201BV 88.1 FM Benicia-Martinez, California 4 D FCC
K202CT 88.3 FM Santa Rosa, California 10 D FCC

KQED and KQEI also broadcast in HD Radio.[11][12][13]


  1. ^ Foster, Bob (April 24, 1963). "TV Screenings". The Times. p. 26. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c FCC History Cards for KQED-FM
  3. ^ "Seminary Plans Theology By TV". Independent-Journal. February 26, 1965. p. 20. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  4. ^ "Final Sign-Off Tonight for Station KXKX". San Francisco Examiner. June 29, 1967. p. 21. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  5. ^ "About KQED: KQED Public Radio". KQED. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Nielsen Audio Ratings". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  7. ^ Povey, Glenn (2006). "The Sound of Music in My Ears 1970–1971". Echoes : The Complete History of Pink Floyd (New ed.). Mind Head Publishing. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-9554624-0-5. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  8. ^ Kearns, Jeff (March 6, 2003). "Radio clash". NewsReview.com. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  9. ^ Larson, Mark (February 7, 2003). "NPR outlets face off as KQED buys local station". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  10. ^ Lang, Marissa (2017-07-21). "Ransomware attack puts KQED in low-tech mode". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  11. ^ "HD Radio station guide for San Francisco, CA". Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-09-04. HD Radio Guide for San Francisco
  12. ^ http://radiostationworld.com/locations/united_states_of_america/california/radio.asp?m=sac
  13. ^ "Stations".

External links[edit]