Knight Ridder became history in 2006, but its name still appears on the two largest signs in San Jose.

The signs are about 20 stories up on the top of the office building at 50 West Fernando Street, where the now defunct newspaper company had its corporate headquarters.

KCBS Radio and CBS5 KPIX-TV report that the building’s landlord is now offering to sell the signs for $2 million plus rent of $25,000 a month. The buyer’s name or message would apparently have to fit where the words “Knight Ridder” are now visible. CBS5’s Len Ramirez reports:

    The sign was built in 1999. You remember 1999. That was the time of the dot-com bubble, when bigger was better and the sky was literally the limit, even for a newspaper publishing company.

    “It’s almost become San Jose history by now,” said Ken Doctor, who used to work for Knight Ridder. He remembers how the company pressured San Jose to relax its sign ordinance for one day to get it approved. And how the streets were closed and people were warned to stay away from the windows when the 57,000-pound, 12,000-square-foot signs went up.

    “This sign is really a vestige of something that was once a major power and in five years nobody will know Knight Ridder from Knight Rider,” Doctor said.

Doctor has written more about the sign on his blog, Content Bridges.

If nobody buys the naming rights by the end of the year, the signs will come down.

KCBS and CBS5 occupy the ground floor of the building, which sits on an historic site — 100 years ago, San Jose engineer Charles “Doc” Herrold started the world’s first radio station with regularly scheduled programming at that location. The station would later become KCBS-AM, which is currently celebrating the centennial of that milestone.

Bay Area Media News, ,


  1. Knight-Ridder certainly wasted a lot of money glorifying its corporate name that could have been used doing better community journalism. The Knight-Ridder papers I saw (San Jose, Miami) seemed to follow the same formula and didn’t have much personality or attachment to the community. When you read them for a while, you got the impression that the reporters were detached from the communities they covered and that there was no passion on the editorial page for much at all.

  2. The KR erection certain can be taken as a future omen. You’ve topped out and it’s all about to come crashing down.

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