KQED-FM (88.5 MHz) is a listener-supported, non-commercial public radio station in San Francisco, California. It is simulcast on KQEI-FM (89.3 MHz) in the Sacramento metropolitan area. The parent organization is KQED Inc., which also owns two PBS member television stations: KQED (channel 9) and KQEH (channel 54). Studios are on Mariposa Street in the Mission District of San Francisco.

KQED logo
Broadcast areaKQED-FM: San Francisco Bay Area
KQEI-FM: Sacramento metropolitan area
FrequencyKQED-FM: 88.5 MHz (HD Radio)
KQEI-FM: 89.3 MHz HD
FormatPublic Radio - News - Talk
AffiliationsNational Public Radio
Public Radio Exchange
American Public Media
BBC World Service
OwnerKQED Inc.
First air date
KQED-FM: April 1963; 61 years ago (1963-04)
KQEI-FM: February 21, 1992; 32 years ago (1992-02-21)
Former call signs
KXKX (1963–1969)
Call sign meaning
Quod Erat Demonstrandum "That which is demonstrated" (Latin phrase used in math research)
Technical information
Facility IDKQED-FM: 35501
KQEI-FM: 20791
ERPKQED-FM: 110,000 watts
KQEI-FM: 3,300 watts
HAATKQED-FM: 387 meters (1,270 ft)
KQEI-FM: 108 meters (354 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
KQED-FM: 37°41′23″N 122°26′13″W / 37.68972°N 122.43694°W / 37.68972; -122.43694
KQEI-FM: 38°42′38″N 121°28′54″W / 38.71056°N 121.48167°W / 38.71056; -121.48167 (KQEI-FM)
Translator(s)See below
Repeater(s)See below
WebcastLivestream on website: KQED.org/radio
iHeartRadio: iHeart.com/live/KQED
Livestream on Mobile App: KQED.org/apps
Websiteofficial podcasts

KQED-FM is grandfathered at an unusually high effective radiated power (ERP) of 110,000 watts. The transmitter is along Radio Road, atop San Bruno Mountain, in Brisbane.[1] KQEI-FM has an ERP of 3,300 watts, with its tower on Sorento Road in Elverta.[2]



KQED-FM is one of the most-listened-to public radio stations in the United States.[3] It often ranks first in the San Francisco radio market in the Nielsen ratings.[4] In addition to local programming, KQED-FM carries content from major public radio distributors such as National Public Radio, the Public Radio Exchange and American Public Media, with the BBC World Service heard late nights. Popular NPR shows carried by KQED-FM and KQEI-FM include Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, Here and Now and Marketplace. Weekend shows include Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, Radiolab, On The Media, Code Switch, Latino USA, Hidden Brain, Freakonomics Radio, This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Splendid Table.

Among the locally produced shows are Forum with Mina Kim and Alexis Madrigal, The California Report and Tech Nation. The KQED-FM newsroom prepares frequent local and California news updates which air between programs, in addition to hourly newscasts from NPR.

In addition to over-the-air broadcasts, KQED-FM audio is carried on Comcast digital cable channel 960 with live streaming audio from its website and from the iHeartRadio platform. Forum is carried live, nationwide, on Sirius Satellite Radio. KQED also offers an extensive audio archive and podcasts of previous shows for download.

One of the most famous programs to have been broadcast on KQED was An Hour with Pink Floyd, a 60-minute performance by Pink Floyd recorded in 1970 without an audience at the station's studio. The program was broadcast only twice—once in 1970, and once again in 1981.[5] The setlist included "Atom Heart Mother", "Cymbaline", "Grantchester Meadows", "Green Is the Colour", "Careful with That Axe, Eugene", and "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun".





The San Francisco Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian group, began broadcasting with station KXKX in April 1963.[6] The new 110,000-watt station signed on two years after the seminary received a construction permit from the FCC in August 1961.[7] In addition to Christian radio programming, the station's subcarrier broadcast theology courses to receivers at 44 Bay Area churches.[8]

When agencies of the Presbyterian Church (USA) could no longer support the station, KXKX signed off at midnight on the evening of June 29, 1967.[9]



In July 1968, the San Francisco Theological Seminary filed to sell KXKX to the Bay Area Educational Television Association, owner of public television station KQED (channel 9).[7] The station returned to the air as KQED-FM in mid-1969, originally using the studios at 286 Divisadero Street inherited from the seminary.[7] The founding manager was Bernard Mayes, who later went on to be executive vice president of KQED television and also co-founder and chairman of NPR.

The first programming of KQED-FM included news, 'street radio' broadcast live from local street corners, drama and music. In its third year on the air, KQED-FM became one of the first 80 network affiliates of National Public Radio, one of five in California. It aired the first edition of All Things Considered. Later, due to reduced funding, Mayes opened the air to 'Tribal Radio' - productions by local non-profit groups, some in their own languages.

Expansion into Sacramento


In 2003, KQED Radio expanded to the Sacramento metropolitan area by purchasing KEBR-FM at 89.3 MHz. The station is licensed to the suburban community of North Highlands. It signed on the air on February 21, 1992; 32 years ago (1992-02-21).[10]

KEBR-FM 89.3 was originally owned by Family Radio, a Christian broadcaster based in Oakland at the time.[11][12] The KEBR-FM call letters and format moved to a more powerful FM station at 88.1 MHz in Sacramento. KQED Radio changed the call sign on 89.3 FM to KQEI-FM. It became a full-time simulcast of KQED-FM in San Francisco.

Locally-produced shows


In 2023, KQED acquired Snap Judgment and Spooked podcasts.[13]

Additional frequencies


In addition to the main station, KQED-FM is relayed by these stations and translators to widen its broadcast area.

Call sign Frequency City of license ERP
Class FCC info
KQEI-FM 89.3 FM (HD) North Highlands, California 3,300 A FCC (KQEI-FM)
Broadcast translators of KQED-FM
Call sign Frequency City of license ERP
Class FCC info
K201BV 88.1 FM Benicia-Martinez, California 4 D
K202CT 88.3 FM Santa Rosa, California 10 D FCC (K202CT)

KQED and KQEI also broadcast using HD Radio technology.[14][15][16]


  1. ^ Radio-Locator.com/KQED-FM
  2. ^ Radio-Locator.com/KQEI
  3. ^ "About KQED: KQED Public Radio". KQED. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  4. ^ "Nielsen Audio Ratings". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  5. ^ Povey, Glenn (2006). "The Sound of Music in My Ears 1970–1971". Echoes : The Complete History of Pink Floyd (New ed.). Mind Head Publishing. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-9554624-0-5. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  6. ^ Foster, Bob (April 24, 1963). "TV Screenings". The Times. p. 26. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c FCC History Cards for KQED-FM
  8. ^ "Seminary Plans Theology By TV". Independent-Journal. February 26, 1965. p. 20. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  9. ^ "Final Sign-Off Tonight for Station KXKX". San Francisco Examiner. June 29, 1967. p. 21. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  10. ^ North Highlands: KEBR-FM, Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2000 page D-53. Retrieved Sept. 23, 2023.
  11. ^ Kearns, Jeff (March 6, 2003). "Radio clash". NewsReview.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  12. ^ Larson, Mark (February 7, 2003). "NPR outlets face off as KQED buys local station". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  13. ^ Khalid, Amrita (August 8, 2023). "KQED acquires studio behind Glynn Washington's Snap Judgment". The Verge. Retrieved July 22, 2024.
  14. ^ "HD Radio station guide for San Francisco, CA". Archived from the original on September 16, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016. HD Radio Guide for San Francisco
  15. ^ "USA: California: Radio Station Market List -- RadioStationWorld.com". radiostationworld.com.
  16. ^ "Stations".