KQED Public Radio was founded in 1969, and the station began broadcasting with a skeletal paid and volunteer staff later in that year. In 1987, the station's format was changed to an all-news and information service. Since the format change, the weekly audience for KQED Public Radio has more than doubled. Consistently ranked among the top-rated public radio stations in the nation, KQED is currently the most-listened-to public radio station in the country, reaching over 740,000 listeners each week.
KQED Public Radio is an award-winning service heard throughout the Bay Area, the state and beyond with a wide variety of news, public affairs and cultural affairs programming. The broadcast schedule is composed of the work of station, independent and network producers, including productions by National Public Radio, Public Radio International and the BBC.
Reaching listeners as far north as the North Coast, as far south as Monterey Bay, and as far east as the Sierra Nevada, KQED 88.5 FM is one of the strongest public radio signals in the state of California. Two translator stations were added in 1991 and 2001: Martinez (88.1 FM) and Santa Rosa (88.3 FM) respectively. In 2003, KQED purchased 89.3 FM North Highlands/Sacramento, which extended the station's reach to the greater metropolitan area of Sacramento. In 2000, KQED Public Radio began live streaming and in 2002, began offering archived audio files of its programs on KQED's Web site, kqed.org.
KQED Public Radio produces local Bay Area newscasts broadcast weekday mornings and afternoons during Morning Edition and All Things Considered; The California Report, a statewide news and public affairs service carried by 25 public radio stations that includes nine-minute segments broadcast weekday mornings and a half-hour newsmagazine broadcast on Friday afternoons; Forum, a live interview and call-in program, hosted by Michael Krasny, that explores current politics, the arts and community issues; and Perspectives, topical commentaries by Bay Area residents broadcast daily during Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.
KQED Public Radio also works with other public affairs organizations to co-produce series for public radio distribution, including City Arts & Lectures, The World Affairs Council and The Commonwealth Club of California.