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KQED logo
CitySan Francisco, California
Broadcast areaSan Francisco Bay Area (KQED 88.5)
Sacramento (KQEI 89.3)
Frequency88.5 MHz
(HD Radio)
Slogan"NPR News & Information"
FormatNews/talk (Public)
Public Radio International
American Public Media
BBC World Service
OwnerNorthern California Public Broadcasting
(KQED 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)
Repeater(s)See below
WebcastListen live Listen live mobile app

KQED-FM (88.5 FM) is a NPR-member radio station owned by Northern California Public Broadcasting 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.


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. 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,[1] and ranks first in the San Francisco market as of July 2018.[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, 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.[3] 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.[4][5] 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.[6]

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.[7][8][9]


  1. ^ "About KQED: KQED Public Radio". KQED. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Nielsen Audio Ratings". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Kearns, Jeff (March 6, 2003). "Radio clash". NewsReview.com. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  5. ^ Larson, Mark (February 7, 2003). "NPR outlets face off as KQED buys local station". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  6. ^ Lang, Marissa (2017-07-21). "Ransomware attack puts KQED in low-tech mode". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-09-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) HD Radio Guide for San Francisco
  8. ^ http://radiostationworld.com/locations/united_states_of_america/california/radio.asp?m=sac
  9. ^ "Stations".

External links[edit]