KTSF owner Lillian Lincoln Howell, who steered programming toward diverse languages, dies 

Lillian Lincoln Howell, a longtime Bay Area resident and owner of television station KTSF (Ch. 27) who committed to offering programming that reflected the region's diverse cultures, including Asian-American populations, has died. She was 93.

Howell passed away peacefully at her South Bay home Aug. 31, her family said.

Recognized for her various charitable donations, Howell created the Lillian Lincoln Foundation, which funds documentaries on topics of interest to her including land reform in Taiwan and primary education in Japan.

"My mother was a visionary in the broadcasting industry and a generous philanthropist," said her son and KTSF CEO, Lincoln Howell. "She took big risks in her life and created our station's mission: to serve the underserved."

In 1976, Howell started KTSF, which began transmitting from San Bruno Mountain, with Chinese and Japanese programming and syndicated reruns of U.S. programs. Under Howell's leadership, KTSF became one of the first television stations in the U.S. to focus on Asian-language and other ethnic programming, offering programming in 12 languages.

"My mother wanted to offer programming to people that no other station was serving," said her son. "She committed a substantial amount of her programming to the Asian format."

Over the years, the station began adding live newscasts in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Howell continued to stay involved with her station late into her life by attending weekly manager meetings.

Among Howell's interests were writing poetry, collecting 18th-century European antiques and spending time at the rose gardens at her home.

She is survived by her son, her daughter-in-law Barbara Bissell-Howell, her granddaughter Alisha Howell and her brother David Lincoln.

A public visitation is scheduled at Crosby and Gray Funeral Home, 2 Park Road, Burlingame, from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

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