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2000 to Present KQED History


Digital West premieres and explores the ongoing revolution in technology. In May, KQED-TV enters the digital age by broadcasting a high definition television (HDTV) signal on channel 30. KQED-FM launches Pacific Time with Nguyen Qui Duc and focuses on the connections between the Bay Area and the Pacific Rim. KQED receives the largest ever bequest in its history for $8 million from Dora Donner Ida. The top rated shows for the year are Antiques Roadshow, Moyers on Death and Dying, and American Experience: Eleanor Roosevelt.


KQED launches its Campaign for the Future to fund conversion to digital technologies and support innovative TV and radio programming. The goal is $70 million. KQED-FM's Forum is carried nationwide on the Sirius satellite network. KQED-TV broadcasts the first locally produced HDTV show, Sin, Fire and Gold!, about the history of San Francisco. KQED-TV also produces Beautiful Bay Area III (HDTV), The Fillmore, Jacques Pépin Celebrates!, and The Making of Dead Man Walking. Digital West is morphed into Springboard. The top rated TV show is Jazz. KQED bids farewell to Jon Rice, one of its founders. Fred Rogers hangs up his sweater (and donates it to the Smithsonian). KQED-FM erects a repeating transmitter in Santa Rosa. KQED-FM is most listened to in the country with 568,000 listeners. The top-rated FM shows are Morning Edition, Car Talk and All Things Considered. KQED wins an Emmy for community service.


Now with Bill Moyers premieres. KQED-TV goes satellite on DirecTV and Echostar. Julia Child turns 90. KQED-TV produces Lonely Island: Hidden Alcatraz. Belva Davis, host of This Week in Northern California, throws out the first pitch at a Giants game (the Giants lost). California Connected is launched by the major California PBS affiliates. KQED-FM starts sending its signal out over the Internet and is picked up in places like Seoul, Korea and Hamburg, Germany. FRONTLINE/World, produced jointly at KQED, premieres. The best-rated TV shows are Mark Twain, Mystery! Skywalkers, Frontier House and Nova: Why the Towers Fell. The highest rated FM shows are Morning Edition, Car Talk, and Weekend Edition. Mary Bitterman leaves after an eventful 8 years. In August, Jeff Clarke takes over the helm of KQED. KQED wins a prime time Emmy for Sweeney Todd.


KQED-TV begins production of Spark, a series on the Bay Area arts scene. KQED's Web site becomes the third media platform for KQED. KQED-FM's Forum celebrates 15 years on the air. Michael Krasny has been behind the microphone for the last 10 years. KQED-TV produces Big Band Magic!, about the relationship between Big Band music and the Bay Area. In May, KQED-FM comes to the Sacramento valley and starts broadcasting over KQEI-FM 89.3. KQED produces Othello in conjunction with Dance in America and the San Francisco Ballet. Imagemakers, a KQED production about the independent filmmaking community, premieres. KQED hits a rough patch of road financially -- there are some staff reductions and working hours are trimmed. KQED-TV takes advantage of the latest HDTV technology and launches five new digital channels: KQED HD, KQED Encore, KQED World, KQED Life, and KQED Kids.


KQED celebrates its 50th anniversary! KQED completes the largest fund-raising endeavor in its history, The Campaign for the Future, which surpasses its goal of raising $70 million in pledges, gifts and in-kind contributions. Launched in response to the unfunded federal mandate to convert television broadcast technology from analog to digital format, the Campaign supports three initiatives: the Program Venture Fund, the Infrastructure Fund and the Digital Conversion Fund, which enabled the creation of KQED's five new digital television channels in 2003. KQED Public Broadcasting produces Election 2004, a series of four live, one-hour multimedia specials that will explore key presidential election issues relevant to the lives of Northern Californians. For television, KQED produces two new national cooking series: Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way, and Joanne Weir's Weir Cooking in the City. Julia Child passes away. KQED also produces Coastal Clash, a Northern California Emmy Award-winning program on California's coastal conflicts.

KQED Founders James Day (center) and Jonathan Rice (right)
KQED Celebrates 50 Years - News Specials

Listen to the audio archive of KQED's Radio News Special:

Read the "San Francisco Chronicle" Two-Part Series "KQED at 50," by Adair Lara, Chronicle Staff Writer


KQED Interactive receives three nominations for the 9th Annual Webby Awards. The nominations are for's You Decide in the category of Politics, and FRONTLINE/World for both News and Best Practices categories. KQED Public Radio announces that it has begun transmitting its all news and information service in HD-Radio via its two new digital transmitters at 88.5 FM in San Francisco and 89.3 FM in Sacramento. KQED Public Television offers several new local specials. Taking a close look at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is a new documentary, Most Beautiful Building; Most Controversial Court. Not in Our Town, produced by KQED and The Working Group, profiles communities taking action against hate. KQED kicks off a new era of local production, representing the station's commitment to offering unique local content with two weekly series: The Josh Kornbluth Show, a lively, offbeat, interview program, and Check, Please! Bay Area, a new series featuring ordinary diners reviewing local restaurants. KQED Public Television, Bay Area Video Coalition and Film Arts Foundation form a partnership to support independent filmmakers through a new documentary series, TRULY CA: Our State, Our Stories.


KQED, Inc and the KTEH Foundation merge to create Northern California Public Broadcasting (NCPB), in a significant move to consolidate the strengths of public broadcasting in the Bay Area. NCPB becomes the most-watched public television broadcaster and the second most-listened-to public radio broadcaster in the country. Through this merger, NCPB offers an integrated breadth of service to the communities of the Bay Area that have previously been underserved. Additionally, NCPB ensures viewers of high-quality public broadcasting choices that meet their particular needs. KQED launches the new initiative, Immigration in Focus, an 18 month-long multimedia collection of thought-provoking programs, special reports and events about the complex issues surrounding immigration in the Bay Area. Marking the return of the first family of underwater exploration to public television, Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society and KQED produce a new series, Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. The first documentary in this series, Voyage to Kure, contributes to President Bush's decision to name the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a national monument.


KQED starts the year with the national production China from the Inside. It quickly becomes one of the best-selling DVDs on PBS Home Video. The largest multiple-media content offering in KQED's history, QUEST premieres on KQED. The local science, environment, and nature project includes a half-hour weekly HD television program, weekly radio segments, an innovative website and unique education guides. With the production of QUEST, KQED completes its Local Strip. KQED celebrates a landmark achievement as the only local station to produce a different local series in stunning High-Definition television (HDTV) every weeknight. Beginning with the successful 19th season of This Week in Northern California to the more recent series Spark, The Josh Kornbluth Show, Check, Please! Bay Area, and this year's premiere of QUEST, KQED-produced content has achieved a milestone: 10% of its television schedule. KQED and KTEH also produce three new documentaries to accompany Ken Burns's series The War. KQED and Comcast launch V-me (pronounced veh-meh), a new network with dynamic programming that engages, entertains, and empowers Latino families throughout the Bay Area. Pacific Time, KQED Public Radio's long-running program on Asian and Asian American stories, hosted by Nguyen Qui Duc and Oanh Ha, goes off the air. KQED makes environmental history as the only public broadcaster in the country to be carbon neutral.


KQED was the most-watched and most-listened-to public television and radio station in the nation. In 2008, every aspect of our organization had a role in reporting on the historic election. KQED Public Radio and used innovative techniques to create visual experiences that correlated with radio news stories. From online slide shows of the Olympic torch to the protests that occurred after the passage of Proposition 8 to firsthand video accounts at the Democratic and Republican national conventions, KQED gave listeners and viewers enriched experiences. KQED and KTEH both used exciting new technology to make over their respective websites, making the sites simpler to use, as well as focusing on KQED's daily coverage of Bay Area food, arts, science, and news as well as KTEH's Brilliantly British programs; Both websites continue to experiment with new initiatives utilizing mobile devices, digital storytelling, mapping, and photo sharing.

Our Education Network developed online tools to reach thousands of parents, teachers, and caregivers. Advancing literacy in underserved populations continued to be a cornerstone of Education Network. Their work serving Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood received praise from community leaders as well as a My Source Community Impact Award.

NCPB found new ways to connect with our audience through the growing world of social media. Hundreds of thousands of audience members checked the KQED Radio schedule on Facebook, shared photos on our Flickr site, watched television segments on KQED's YouTube channel, or took a mini-course with QUEST on iTunesU. Our audiences shared home videos for KTEH Cooks with Garlic and told us why public media matters on the "My Source" story share page. These new technologies gave people in our community new ways to deepen their connection with our content, whether at home in the Bay Area or in far-flung locales around the world.

Beyond broadcast, NCPB's dedication to becoming a greener organization has made us a national leader among broadcasters. In 2008, in partnership with SolarCity, KQED mounted 160 solar panels on our roof, greatly reducing our energy costs. In 2008, KQED was named Nonprofit of the Year at the San Francisco Business Times Green Awards.


KQED's original series Jean Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures gives national audiences a close-up look at beluga and orca whales. KQED also bringsThe Botany of Desire, based on Michael Pollan's best-selling book, to national audiences.

Antiques Roadshow pays a visit to San Jose and KQED quickly breaks all records for the number of people applying for tickets and for attendance. More than 150 volunteers, including station staff, help make Roadshow a success.

A new series with Jacques Pépin, More Fast Food My Way, a sequel to Fast Food My Way, debuts nationally and quickly becomes a hit.

Continuing its mission to be a responsible steward of members' resources, KQED installs a series of solar panels on its roof.


In July 2010, KQED embarks on an ambitious initiative to provide more high-quality original coverage of regional Bay Area news and public affairs.

Millions of Northern Californians – an amazing 55 percent of the population of the Bay Area – utilize KQED radio, television, online or mobile services every week. Audiences embrace new technologies by watching the latest episode of Check, Please! Bay Area on the KQED video player; browse through science lesson plans from QUEST; read the latest headlines from NPR and re-tweet from one of KQED's Twitter accounts.

In March 2010, we bid a fond farewell to retiring President and CEO Jeff Clarke and welcome our new leader John Boland, the first Chief Content Officer of PBS and a former KQED staffer.

KQED's partnerships with local arts organizations result in the broadcast of four operas from the San Francisco Opera. KQED also brings the San Francisco Symphony's Keeping Score series to national audiences, as well as San Francisco Ballet's The Little Mermaid.

National audiences also enjoy the award-winning documentary Saving the Bay and KQED's national presentation, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

KQED's original blog MindShift launches with a look at how technology will affect the future of education. A partnership with NPR, it is one of KQED's must-read online blogs.


KQED Public Radio becomes not only the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation, but the most-listened-to radio station in the Bay Area, a considerable achievement for a public station. Equally impressive, KQED Public Television defies the national curve by increasing viewership, which often places it as the most-watched public television station in America. Usage of KQED's online and mobile services has more than tripled in the past 18 months -- and that was before the launch of the KQED iPhone app. With the development of public media's first radio Pledge Free Stream and the use of social media with thousands of friends and subscribers on Facebook, Twitter and Interactive blogs, KQED's reach continues to expand.

Jacques Pépin returns to national television audiences with Essential Pépin. This is Jacques' 13th public television series and his tenth produced by KQED.

In its sixth season, QUEST, KQED's multimedia science, nature and environment series continues to break new ground in education and on television, radio and the Web. Partnering with 19 leading Bay Area science institutions, QUEST not only helps bring context, depth and understanding to a wide array of scientific discoveries taking place in our community, but also brings STEM curricula-based learning tools to classrooms across the region.

KQED celebrates the wide array of art being created in the Bay Area. Through its multiple platforms of television, radio, Internet and education, KQED brings focus and exposure to arts groups of all sizes and creative endeavors. By building enterprising partnerships with some of the Bay Area's largest performing arts organizations, including the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet, KQED extends their reach and allows more Bay Area and national audiences than ever before to experience the arts. From the Symphony's Keeping Score to Opera's HD performances to Ballet's The Little Mermaid and KQED's own mini-documentary, The Art of Doing It Yourself, shown during the inaugural PBS Arts Festival,KQED showcases the San Francisco arts scene nationally and helps establish PBS as the home for arts programming.

KQED is building an innovative editorial partnership with the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR). The multiplatform initiative includes investigative reporting and distribution of matters of importance to California through CIR's "California Watch" initiative, KQED News and The California Report, KQED's statewide news service.

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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