Brian Watt to Anchor KQED Morning News

Bill Youngblood for KPCC

Brian Watt Photo Credit: Bill Youngblood for KPCC

KQED Public Radio 88.5 FM announced today that Brian Watt will host the station’s local news during its flagship program Morning Edition. His first day on air will be April 11, 2016.

Brian has been a reporter with Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), in Los Angeles, for nine years. Most recently he covered the working and entrepreneurship beat. Before joining SCPR, he worked as a producer for the Marketplace Morning Report. Brian’s work has won several awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, the Radio Television News Association of Southern California and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated.

“Brian’s passion for public service, great voice and depth of experience are exactly what we were looking for in a news anchor,” said Holly Kernan, KQED executive editor for news. “He’ll be a terrific addition to a very talented team, and we look forward to having Brian guide us through the local news landscape each morning.”

“KQED is a gold standard in local public broadcasting, so I’m honored, thrilled and humbled to get this opportunity,” said Watt. “This is the work that I’ve always wanted to do, in a place where I’ve always wanted to live. I’m very proud of my accomplishments as a reporter, but my ultimate goal in public radio has always been to host or anchor, to tell listeners things they need to know and bring them stories that they want to hear.”

Prior to dedicating himself full-time to journalism,  Brian gained deep experience in the arts and politics. In 1998, he earned a masters in theater from the Sorbonne Theater Studies Institute in Paris. As an actor, he appeared on TV shows including The West Wing and The District and performed in France, Italy, Poland and Brazil, and even filmed a movie in Budapest, Hungary. After graduating from Yale in 1990, Brian served as a personal assistant to U.S. Senator Harris Wofford before becoming campaign manager for his father Mel Watt’s successful congressional campaign.

Watt has deep ties to the Bay Area, “I am lucky to have married a woman from San Francisco, whom I met two decades ago in Paris. After years of making numerous visits, we’re bringing our four-year-old son to live closer to his grandparents and a huge Bay Area family.”


KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. Home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program, and as a leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.

As other news organizations have shrunk, KQED has expanded its efforts to cover the issues and events that are important to the Bay Area. As the most trusted source of news in the Bay Area, KQED is a multiplatform operation with offices and bureaus in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Fresno and Los Angeles. Stories from all KQED news programs are featured online at

California Public Media Join Forces to Strengthen Voter Voices for 2016 Election

California Counts Collaborative reminds candidates and voters that Californians still count in elections.

For the first time, California public media news organizations KQED in San Francisco, Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, KPCC in Los Angeles and KPBS in San Diego will come together in a groundbreaking collaboration to cover the 2016 elections in the nation’s most populous state. The partnership, named the California Counts Collaborative, will produce in-depth, unbiased, highly coordinated, multi-platform coverage and resources that voters can use to inform their decisions.

Why “California Counts”?

California is often a bellwether for challenges and solutions. California’s population and economy drive changes in governance, medical care, immigration, same-sex marriage and more. But most Californians aren’t voting. California ranks 41st in the nation for voter turnout. Whatever the reasons, many voters and candidates don’t feel that California counts.

The California Counts Collaborative will deploy reporters throughout the state to engage and involve Californians in the election. In cities and rural areas, reporters will speak with people who represent California’s demographic diversity as well as its economic divide.  The public media organizations hope to show residents how they are connected to the issues, to each other and to their elected officials.  The California Counts Collaborative hopes to give voters a greater voice in the election and to illustrate what’s at stake.

The California Counts Collaborative will include the following initiatives through the 2016 election cycle:

Activating California voters: Our team will use fresh, lively broadcast and digital storytelling approaches, social media and in-person engagement to connect with Californians who may be opting out of traditional politics and political coverage. Inspired in part by KPCC’s 2015 series #MakeAlCare, which focused on a single voter and engaged a broad audience in why elections matter, we will develop a coverage theme around voter participation as part of the larger collaborative effort.  The aim will be to cover these issues in an accessible way by reporting at ground level — through the experiences and views of individuals, neighborhoods or communities. These stories and voter resources will address what many see as a crisis for democracy by looking at what people care about, what motivates voting, what keeps people from participating and how voting fits into civic life for a new generation of Californians.

Digital Voter Guide:  The California Counts Collaborative will create an in-depth online voter guide that will encompass statewide races and initiatives. The guide will also include localized election information for the regions served by each partner station. It will be accessed via station websites.

Ballot Propositions:  From a prohibition on plastic bags, to bi-lingual education in public schools and maybe even marijuana legalization, the California Counts Collaborative will produce radio and online stories that give Californians the essential, unbiased information they need to cast an informed vote on the measures appearing on the November ballot.

US Senate Race: The California Counts Collaborative will coordinate statewide coverage of this high profile race, tracking the candidates’ activities as they campaign around California and producing online and digital coverage. In addition, Capital Public Radio is partnering with the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact to create PolitiFact California. As part of this collaboration, their team will regularly fact-check the Senate candidates’ statements and political ads.

Resources:  Stations will pool resources for hosting debates, election results coverage and post-election analysis. By sharing assignments on national and state coverage, each newsroom will free up bandwidth for additional coverage of local issues and races. Voters have told the stations that they lack enough information on local races often to make fully informed decisions.

“Voters face too many campaign ads and sound bites, and not enough thoughtful coverage from a trusted source,” said Suzanne Marmion, Director of News and Editorial Strategy at KPBS. “Together, public stations can pool resources to bring voters relief from spin, plus information about the smaller local races that also shape our communities.”

“We’re excited about teaming up with these great partners to give people a lot more coverage of California’s stakes in this election — and giving a lot more voice to the concerns and needs of our state,” said Melanie Sill, Vice President for Content at KPCC.

“This collaboration harnesses the substantial editorial power of our four stations for the benefit of the entire state,” said Joe Barr, Chief Content Officer at Capital Public Radio. “It’s a prime example of how public media serves our communities in a way that no one else can.”

“With so many people checking out of the political process, we hope to find out what people really care about, what issues affect their lives and figure out how to infuse our political coverage with the real concerns of Californians,” said Holly Kernan, Executive Editor for News at KQED public media.


About the California Counts Collaborative Stations

KQED serves the greater San Francisco Bay Area and beyond through public television, radio and digital services. It is among the top five public media stations in the nation by audience size.

Capital Public Radio is Sacramento’s public media outlet that serves more than 400,000 listeners a week on seven stations in Northern California and Western Nevada and 3.2 million listeners a week through the Capital Public Radio Network (CPRN).

KPCC reaches more than 700,000 listeners every week, Southern California Public Radio is the most listened-to public radio news service of any kind in Southern California. SCPR is a member-supported nonprofit organization that operates 89.3 KPCC in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and its repeater stations, 89.1 KUOR in the Inland Empire, 90.3 KVLA in the Coachella Valley and 89.5 KJAI – Ventura County. Additionally, SCPR operates translators at 89.9 in Santa Barbara and 93.3 in Palm Springs

KPBS is San Diego’s public media outlet. It serves over 1 million audience members weekly across TV, radio (89.5 FM and 97.7 FM Calexico) and the web.

Media Contacts

KQED, Bryce Eberhart (415) 553-8451,

KPBS, Nancy Worlie, (619) 594-1746,

KPCC, Melanie Sill, (626) 583-5198,

Capital Public Radio, Ben Adler, (916) 930-9622,



KQED Names Scott Shafer Senior Editor of California Politics and Government Desk

Veteran reporter Scott Shafer will lead KQED News' politics and government desk.

Veteran reporter Scott Shafer will lead KQED News’ politics and government desk.

Scott Shafer (Twitter: @scottshafer) has been named Senior Editor of the California Politics and Government Desk at KQED. In the new and expanded role at KQED News, Shafer will lead the editorial direction of a three-person team covering the state. He will also help craft KQED’s in-depth coverage of the 2016 election.

“Scott is such an asset to KQED, hosting The California Report with great expertise for years, as a correspondent for our weekly television series KQED Newsroom and as a sharp political analyst and reporter,” said Holly Kernan, Executive Editor for KQED News. “He approaches politics in a way that goes beyond horse race coverage and helps us understand how policy impacts the lives of real people. There is no one better to lead KQED’s expanded political coverage of California.”

“There’s no more exciting place in the country to cover politics than California. It’s the ultimate laboratory for democracy,” said Shafer. “I want our audience to understand what’s at stake in government and whether government is working for them. Signing a bill or passing a ballot measure is just the first step. I want to explore what happens when new laws and ballot measures bump up against Californians in their daily lives, for better and for worse”

Since joining KQED in 1998, Shafer has covered stories for National Public Radio programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday. Most recently, he hosted The California Report’s 30-minute weekly news magazine. Shafer and his team will continue to contribute to KQED Newsroom and The California Report.

Shafer has earned numerous awards for his political reporting. He was a member of the panel of journalists that questioned candidates in the televised 2010 U.S. Senate debate between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina. He covered the gay marriage issue from the Proposition 8 Campaign through the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made same sex marriage legal in California. Shafer has hosted live statewide coverage of election night and State of the State Addresses every year since 1998.

Prior to joining KQED, Shafer was press secretary to San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and Chief of Staff to Controller Gray Davis.

Media Contact: Bryce Eberhart,, (415) 730-9058

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KQED sponsors and hosts informational, educational and entertaining events around northern California. Click here to check out the events calendar on

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