Sutro Tower's Journey From Eyesore to Icon

8 min
An aerial view of Sutro Tower.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Back in the 1960s, San Francisco had really bad television reception. By many accounts, it was the worst of any city in America.

Good reception required a clear line of sight from the broadcast tower to your TV antenna, and in hilly San Francisco this was a challenge. Broadcasters began the hunt for a location to build a very tall tower that could send a clear TV signal far and wide.

A site was selected and plans were drawn up — but not without a bounty of controversy.

Read the full web story: Sutro Tower: The Origins of an 'Eyesore'

Video from Jessica's trip to the top: A Trip to the Top of Sutro Tower


This episode first aired on Jan. 5, 2017. It features question asker Craig Rubens.


Reported by Jessica Placzek.

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Adam Grossberg and Katie McMurran. Additional support from Julie Caine, Paul Lancour, Suzie Racho, Ethan Lindsey and Patricia Yollin.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

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