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Scott Walton, Executive Director of Communications
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|KQED Public Broadcasting Celebrates 50 Years!|
Pioneering Community-Based Institution Marks a Half-Century of Excellence and Innovation in Media and Education
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- KQED Public Broadcasting will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first broadcast on Friday, April 30, 2004, commemorating a milestone in the history of American media. Upon its founding, KQED was given its name from the Latin quod erat demonstrandum ("something that was to be demonstrated"). Fifty years later, KQED continues to demonstrate its commitment to educate, inform and entertain millions in Northern California with its innovative and impactful programming and services.
"For half a century KQED has been committed to providing programs and services that make people think and feel and explore new ideas," said Jeff Clarke, president and CEO of KQED. "From the time of our very first broadcast, we have believed in the power of media to inspire lifelong learning and civic participation. We are proud of our legacy and of how this unwavering dedication has served -- and continues to serve -- our community."
KQED was founded by the Bay Area Educational Television Association as one of a handful of stations in a new field referred to as the "educational television movement." KQED's first employees were James Day and Jonathan Rice, who initially conducted business from Rice's station wagon. Eventually outgrowing their mobile office, KQED acquired KPIX's old transmitter and studio atop the Mark Hopkins Hotel with funds from funds scraped together from the Ford Foundation, friends and high school cake sales.
On April 30, 1954, KQED broadcast its first program, a 30-minute preview show introducing viewers to the "stars" and unique programming of the fledgling station and appealing for public support. The premiere schedule, instituted on June 10, 1954, included the shows THE MAGIC OF THE ATOM, HERE IS THE PAST, UNDERSTANDING THE CHILD, and FRONTIER OF THE SEA. Conceived initially as a teaching tool, KQED quickly broadened its scope to include entertainment and public affairs programming -- designed to appeal, above all, to the viewer's intelligence.
In its early years, KQED made a name for itself by airing the famous Teller-Pauling debate on nuclear fallout, as well as inquiries into homosexuality, racial prejudice, communism, and the link between smoking and cancer. KQED originated many concepts that would become widespread throughout the public broadcasting industry, such as the membership model and the auction. It also produced such influential programs as NEWSPAPER OF THE AIR (later to become NEWSROOM) -- public television's first daily news program -- developed in response to the 1968 San Francisco newspaper strike.
In 2004 KQED completed the largest fund-raising endeavor in its history, The Campaign for the Future, which surpassed 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 supported 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. The new channels -- which include a high-definition channel -- together with channel 9 offer viewers 100 hours of KQED programming a day.
"It is simply amazing to consider how much the broadcasting industry has changed since KQED first hit the airwaves -- and how much the station has evolved alongside those changes," said John Boland, executive vice-president and chief content officer. "In 1960 Time magazine called KQED 'the best in the U.S.'; today, with our five new digital television channels, an Academy Award nomination, a national Emmy Award, the success of recent new series such as HOPE ON THE STREET and SPARK, and a production pipeline full of innovative new programs, KQED remains one of the most groundbreaking public broadcasters in the country."
"Looking towards the future, KQED is positioned to deliver more diverse content, with more frequency and at more convenient times, to our audiences," added James Canales, KQED Board Chair. "Over its history, KQED has not only greatly expanded its television offerings -- but has added a radio service that reaches throughout Northern California, a robust Web site, and educational services that enrich communities on a daily basis."
Television was the first medium that KQED adopted; KQED Public Radio went on the air in 1969 and today provides an all-news and information service 24 hours a day. Translator stations in Santa Rosa and Martinez and the new KQEI-FM in Sacramento carry KQED far and wide across Northern California, and live streaming on the Internet brings the station to listeners around the globe.
In 1995, KQED became one of the first public television stations to produce and launch a Web site, and was a pioneer in providing streamed media to its users. Today, KQED.org is the most visited station Web site in public broadcasting, reaching a global audience with challenging, original content produced exclusively for the site.
The station's original mission of using broadcast technology to advance education for audiences of all ages is carried out today by the KQED Education Network (EdNet). As KQED's grassroots connection with Northern California, EdNet delivers media-focused workshops and events that serve thousands of students, teachers, child-care providers, adult learners and community organizations.
For further historical information read KQED's Narrative History (www.kqed.org/about/history/)
View KQED's Interactive Historical Photo Gallery! (www.kqed.org/w/50photogallery/)
KQED Public Broadcasting operates KQED Public Television 9, one of the nation's most-watched public television stations during prime-time, and KQED's digital television channels, which include KQED HD, KQED Encore, KQED World, KQED Life and KQED Kids; KQED Public Radio, the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service (88.5 FM in San Francisco and 89.3 FM in Sacramento); KQED.org, one of the most visited station sites in Public Broadcasting; and KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and media professionals through workshops, seminars and resources.