Public broadcasting is made possible by the support of viewers and listeners like you, unlike private broadcasting, which is largely made possible by the infrared camera equipment of nosy neighbors. Keep community broadcasting alive and free of voyeurism with today’s Groupon to KQED Public Media. Choose between two options:
- For $20, you get a basic membership (a $40 value).
- For $75, you get a leadership circle membership (a $150 value).
Supported by charitable donations, KQED refracts community largess into a broad spectrum of stimulating television and radio programming. Flanked by PBS and NPR stalwarts such as Nova, Car Talk, and History’s Fanciest Wigs, KQED keys into Bay Area goings-on with original news and culture installments, including ImageMakers, which showcases short films from local filmmakers, and food favorite Check, Please! Bay Area. Broadcasting benefactors keep airwaves amply endowed with a basic membership (a $40 value). While their funds are busy financing quality content, KQED basic members gain access to members-only benefits, such as discounts and benefits from local businesses and three piggyback rides from Garrison Keillor.
Members of KQED’s leadership circle (a $150 value), meanwhile, get to hang ten on more rarified airwaves. In addition to the perks of basic membership, the leadership circle’s VIPs receive advance notice regarding KQED-hosted events—cluing in culture sleuths to high-minded members-only exhibitions, viewings, and kabuki barbecues.
In 1959, when KQED’s then general manager Jim Day vowed “to educate, inform, and entertain” the people of the Bay Area, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Just a few years earlier, the station had been relying on donated egg cartons to soundproof the studio, and they nearly ran out of money altogether. This spurred them to come up with the idea to create tiered memberships. Then, they could use the memberships as a way to encourage its audience to sustain the station without having to bring in advertisers or a money tree.
Today, more than five million people hear, watch, and stream KQED's radio, television, web, and educational content, which includes world-renowned NPR and PBS programs right alongside locally produced shows such as The California Report, This Week in Northern California, and Essential Pépin. And while the programming has expanded and diversified, more than half of the station’s annual budget still depends on contributions from listeners, viewers, and radio-transistor repairmen.