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1980s KQED History


Nielsen Ratings indicate that the KQED weekly audience has topped 1 million homes for the first time in station history. Cosmos with Carl Sagan, the highest-rated science series ever to air on PBS, premieres, as does Mystery! KQED holds the first public TV general merchandise auction to bring in a million dollars. The installation of the nation's first full-time, full-service satellite radio network in June establishes San Francisco as a national communications center. Closed-captioning comes to KQED.


KQED's airing of The Tempest marks the first live national telecast for the San Francisco Ballet.


Nature premieres on October 10 with Flight of the Condor, a three-part program. Great Performances presents the American premiere of the very popular drama Brideshead Revisited. American Playhouse premieres.


The Nightly Business Report debuts. KQED tapes a 90-minute docudrama called The People Versus Dan White.


Fine Tuning debuts as the program guide for KQED and is positioned to be separate from Focus magazine. Masterpiece Theatre: The Jewel in the Crown debuts as a 14-week series.


Local cable systems no longer must carry local television stations. KQED kicks off a campaign to keep KQED and KQEC on local systems. West Coast Weekend premieres on KQED 88.5FM.


Traffic reporting comes to KQED 88.5FM. Eight KQED television programs win Emmy Awards in 1986. KQED's Steve Talbot, Bill Swan, and Jim Raeside take their cameras to Lusaka, Zambia, where they speak with exiled African National Congress leaders. The account of their trip, South Africa Under Siege, airs nationally on April 1.


KQED 88.5FM unveils a stronger format to bring more of what they do so well - news and information - to listeners. Switching from a mixed format of classical music and news, KQED is now the only FM station providing extensive daily information and analysis. Dr. Milton Chen starts as the new director of Instructional Television at KQED. KQED, in association with El Teatro Campesino, produces Corridos, written and directed by Luis Valdez and featuring Linda Ronstadt and SF Ballet star Evelyn Cisneros. The special, dramatizing traditional Mexican American folk ballads, wins a 1987 George Foster Peabody Award.


The Singing Detective premieres on KQED. The six-part story about a hospitalized mystery writer draws more viewers than any series shown on KQED since The Jewel in the Crown premiered in 1984. Take Charge! - a new national series produced by KQED's Marjorie Poore and Jules Power - addresses 13 situations in which money management (or lack of it) has had a personal impact on individual lives. The American Experience premieres.


KQED 88.5FM becomes an around-the-clock, in-depth news and public affairs broadcasting station on July 1. Within two hours of the October 17 earthquake the radio station is back on the air, providing emergency communications in the critical hours and days that follow. The KQED hero was chief engineer Fred Krock, who drove to the transmitter atop Mt. San Bruno and worked for 48 hours nonstop. He rigged a system that allowed local field reporters to broadcast via a Long Beach satellite and got updates himself from the newsroom, which he aired every 15 minutes. Most SF newspaper columnists got their first news about the quake from KQED 88.5FM. On October 27, rock promoter Bill Graham calls Tony Tiano to propose the possibility of KQED broadcasting a rock and roll Earthquake Relief Benefit Concert. Broadcast on Sunday, November 27, it includes simultaneous concerts at the Cow Palace, Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, and Watsonville High School, and raises more than $2 million. Entertainers include Crosby, Stills, and Nash; Neil Young; Steve Miller; Eddie Money; Bonnie Raitt; John Fogerty; Tower of Power; and an unexpected cameo by Bob Hope, who tells old golf jokes to a crowd clearly made up of Deadheads.

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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