KQED is in the unusual position of holding three FCC television broadcast licenses comprising 18 megahertz of overlapping spectrum in the Bay Area, broadcasting from towers in San Francisco, San Jose and Salinas. This extensive coverage made sense earlier in the 20th century when television used analog technology and most viewers received the signal over the air. Today, the vast majority of Bay Area residents receive their television via cable or satellite services, and digital broadcast technology now supports multiple channels of programming from each tower.
It is important to note that the auction will have no impact on residents who receive their television via cable, satellite or the Internet, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of Bay Area households.
Those viewers who utilize an antenna to receive KQED over the air, and who currently receive the signal from the San Jose tower, will need to redirect their antenna to either San Francisco or Salinas, both of which will be broadcasting the full suite of KQED channels, including KQED Plus.
KQED’s Board of Directors, made up of 29 community volunteers who oversee the organization, evaluated the opportunity presented by the auction and retained outside financial and technical counsel. After many months of deliberation, the Board decided this was a unique opportunity coming at a pivotal time in KQED’s history.
The bulk of the proceeds will be invested to double the size KQED’s endowment, which will provide, in perpetuity, a portion of the annual funds required to sustain the content and services KQED provides to the Bay Area community. The remainder will be invested in upgrades to KQED’s building and technology infrastructure.
Since the KQED Board has determined the funds will be placed in permanent assets and not be spent on ongoing operations, KQED will continue to rely on the generous support of our members to fund quality programming and day-to-day operations.
Please see the FAQ below for a more detailed explanation of the auction and these changes. To read a press release about KQED’s involvement in the spectrum auction visit http://blogs.kqed.org/pressroom/spectrum.