KQED was organized and created by veteran broadcast journalists James Day and Jonathan Rice on June 1, 1953, and first went on air April 5, 1954. It was the sixth public broadcasting station in the United States, debuting shortly after WQED in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The station's call letters, Q.E.D., are taken from the Latin phrase, quod erat demonstrandum, commonly used in mathematics. KQED-FM was founded by James Day in 1969 as the radio arm of KQED Television.
On May 1, 2006, KQED, Inc. and the KTEH Foundation merged to form Northern California Public Broadcasting. The KQED assets including its television (KQED TV) and FM radio stations (KQED-FM) were taken under the umbrella of that new organization. Both remained members of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), respectively. With this change, KQED and KTEH are considered as sister-stations today. The "Northern California" name did not become widely used, so in 2010, the umbrella organization was renamed "KQED, Inc.".
KQED is a Public Broadcasting Service-member public television station in San Francisco, California, broadcasting digitally on UHF channel 30 (Ex-Analog Channel 9). This channel is also carried on Comcast cable TV and via satellite by DirecTV and Dish Network. Its transmitter is located on Sutro Tower, and has studios based in San Francisco's Mission District.
"KQED Public Television 9 is one of the nation's most-watched public television stations during primetime." "KQED airs more independent films than any other public broadcasting station in the country."
KQED public radio is the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation.