Anthony Tiano, longtime KQED president, dies at 71

By Dru Sefton

Anthony Tiano, president of KQED in San Francisco from 1979–93, died Aug. 12 at his home in Albuquerque, N.M. He was 71.

Tony Tiano in 2010. (Photo: KQED)

At the time of his death he was president of Santa Fe Productions, which produced programming for public television stations.

A statement from KQED said Tiano led the station “through a period of significant growth and change,” including starting a full seven-day schedule for KQED Public Television and the converting KQED Public Radio to an all-news format.

Tiano spent more than 40 years running public television stations and producing programming for them. His career began at KNME in Albuquerque while he was attending college. He then went to Madison, Wis., as program manager for Wisconsin Public Television. In 1976, he moved on to St. Louis as president of KETC, then on to KQED.

In 1989, he worked with promoter Bill Graham on an earthquake-relief concert broadcast that raised more than $2 million for victims of the Loma Prieta earthquake. In the early 1990’s, Tiano consolidated all of KQED’s San Francisco operations into the Mariposa Street building that remains its headquarters.

“Tony Tiano made important strategic moves during his tenure that laid the foundation for KQED’s great success in the 21st century and, more important, positioned us to do a better job of serving the community,” said John Boland, KQED president.

At Santa Fe Productions, which he founded, his team produced the Brain Fitness series, popular pledge offerings that have raised some $50 million for PBS member stations.

Tiano is survived by his wife of 39 years, Kathleen Tiano; two sons, Mark (Barbara) Tiano, and Steve (Kelly) Tiano; and three grandchildren. The family and KQED suggest donations to the MPN Research Foundation, 180 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1870, Chicago, IL 60601.

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