KQED is an independently owned and operated nonprofit public benefit corporation.
Have you ever turned on the TV or radio, only to catch a pledge drive? What you saw or heard is true — we’re a member-supported organization. The majority of our funding comes from donations from members of the community like you, followed by grants, endowments and bequests. We also receive some funds from businesses and nonprofit organizations in the form of sponsorships; however, they play no part in guiding the journalism produced by KQED. See our most recent financial statement (from September 20)
The above chart shows the percentage each revenue stream contributes to our overall budget. Federal funding, while critical to our mission, makes up less than 10 percent of our budget. The federal funding KQED receives comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, independent corporation that acts as a firewall between federal influence and stations. You can learn more about its function on the CPB site (at CPB.org).
How do we ensure that the organizations that give us money don’t influence our journalism?
The KQED Board Gift Acceptance Policy states that “KQED represents the core values of public media: trust, fairness, integrity, and quality content. Our listeners and viewers depend on KQED for objective and accurate information. As stewards of public media, we have an obligation to avoid conflicts of interest, personal bias or undue influence. Accordingly, KQED will not accept any gift offered with the expectation of, or that raises the perception of, donor editorial influence.”
We maintain a firewall between sponsorship activities and editorial functions. For example, corporate sponsorship appears on our airwaves and website in the form of short underwriting announcements between programs, podcasts and newscasts, and as promotional banners on kqed.org. These brief identifying messages recognize businesses and organizations that provide financial support for KQED. Here’s how the firewall manifests:
- The voices you hear announcing those sponsorship credits are those of our announcers/operators — never our journalists.
- The content of underwriting credit announcements is crafted cooperatively by each underwriter and KQED corporate support staff that are not in an editorial capacity.
As another example: KQED staff that work with our funders may not approach a reporter to ask about coverage of a funder.
Further, KQED Science has regular meetings with many Bay Area science institutions, major universities and government agencies engaged in scientific research. At the inception of these meetings, KQED reiterates that we reserve the sole right to make decisions about story coverage and we offer no promise of coverage to any researcher or institution.
KQED provides sponsors with guidelines that make clear what kind of content they can and cannot include in their announcements and banners.
Sponsored Content: Why is KQED using it, and how does it work?
Starting this year, sponsored content now appears on KQED’s website. It’s our hope that this is a new revenue stream that will give KQED the ability to continue serving the community with high-quality news, information and entertainment. This was a big decision for us, one our senior leadership team made after we prototyped the concept and consulted with members of our audience, who told us that it needed to be clearly labeled and that they expected — as they did with everything they saw, heard, or read on KQED — to learn something.
Sponsored content is content that may reflect the style and standards of our normal programming, but is sponsored by a private entity. This could take the form of an article or series of articles or videos on our website. You can see our official guidelines here. But in summary, to ensure that we don’t run afoul of our mission or violate your trust, know that:
- Sponsored content will never be written or otherwise influenced by our editorial staff. We will always maintain a clear separation — a firewall — between the two.
- You will always be able to know if you’re looking at sponsored content. From its appearance to its label, it will be clear and unambiguous. You won’t be able to mistake it for editorial content.
- We will never accept sponsored content that contains false, deceptive, positionally misleading (whether by misrepresentation or omission) or unlawful content, and if we find out that we have, we will remove it. We will also never accept sponsored content that presents a sponsor’s political views or positions on an issue of public importance or controversy.
Here is an example of KQED’s sponsored content: https://ww2.kqed.org/sponsoredcontent/
Do you have questions about our funding, or comments on our sponsored content? Let us know.
Table of Contents
Who funds KQED?