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1970s KQED History


Newsroom receives Peabody Award for news programming. Metromedia, Inc. donates transmitter, studios for UHF Channel 32, dubbed KQEC. KQED is named one of seven national production centers for public television. First PBS shows distributed: Sesame Street, KQED's World Press, The Advocates, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Washington Week in Review, The Great American Dream Machine. Number of PBS affiliates passes 200.


Money woes stem from decline in viewer contributions, Congress' inaction on PBS funding. Masterpiece Theatre debuts on PBS with The First Churchills,. Survey of viewers reveals KQED, once regarded as "dull, stuffy, and boring," is now seen as "involved, educational, liberal, radical, and psychedelic." KQEC goes on air, dedicated to minority audiences. First experimental PBS satellite transmission. Auction moves to Cow Palace.


President Nixon vetoes HR13918, Public Broadcasting Act, which would have provided ample funding for next two years. Veto is followed by big shakeup at Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Money problems force KQEC/Channel 32 off air. Programming Manager Jon Rice wins prestigious Ralph Lowell Award for public broadcasting. Mrs. Caroline Charles succeeds Mortimer Fleishhacker, Jr. as chairperson of KQED's Board. Glenda Jackson stars in BBC series Elizabeth R, Keith Mitchell in The Six Wives of Henry VIII.


Stations deputize PBS to select their programs as well as distribute them. First KQED broadcasts from Sutro Tower. William Osterhaus, formerly of KPIX, becomes president and general manager.


Last Ford Foundation grant to Newsroom. Decentralized public TV forms Station Program Cooperative, in which local stations select from pool of shows produced systemwide. Upstairs, Downstairs and Nova debut. Live coverage of Watergate hearings increases public TV's national viewership and membership. Now 88,000 KQED members.


Congress approves Public Broadcasting Financing Act of 1975, to provide funding through 1980. End of Ford Foundation grants forces shortening of Newsroom to half-hour. KQED produces new national series The Japanese Film, International Animation. Debut of The Ascent of Man, Monty Python's Flying Circus. Construction begins on new studio/office complex at 500 Eighth Street. State-of-the-art production facilities enable KQED to compete for national contracts. Station achieves highest prime-time ratings of any PBS affiliate. Most popular programs are The Adams Chronicles and Monty Python's Flying Circus.


For the first time, production and operation facilities are consolidated in same building complex with the move to Eighth Street. CPB contracts for use of WESTAR satellite. There are 265 PBS stations.


Channel 32 reactivated. KQED's The People vs. Inez Garcia airs over PBS. Premiere of KQED's daily national series about aging in America, Over Easy, with Hugh Downs. Newsroom becomes A Closer Look; Belva Davis succeeds Mel Wax as anchor. PBS Network now reaches 42 million US households.


KQED's Womantime goes national as Turnabout, with host Gerri Lange. Premiere of local series Gardening from the Ground Up and home maintenance show Grin and Repair It. At last, station reaches financial equilibrium, with comparatively stable, varied sources of income: government funding, production contracts, membership contributions, Auction, corporate underwriting. Anthony Tiano becomes president and general manager. KQED joins PBS satellite interconnection. Now 115,000 members.


For the first time, Channel 9 broadcasts full, seven-day schedule, with addition of Saturday afternoon programming.

Also on this week ...

The Genius of Marie Curie
KQED Celebrates Women's History Month

KQED proudly celebrates the richness and diversity of the greater San Francisco Bay Area by commemorating Women's History Month. In March, KQED Public TV 9 and Public Radio 88.5 FM schedule a special lineup of programs focused on themes and issues related to women.

Yo Yo Ma
"Boomtown" History of the San Francisco Bay Area

KQED's "Boomtown" series will seek to identify what is happening in real time in the current boom, and also draw out the causes and possible solutions to the conflicts and pressures between the old and the new.

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