- Residents without cable or satellite service receive signals transmitted over-the-air to their antennas.
- Cable systems use antennas at Sutro Tower to receive signals from cable stations’ satellite transmissions for delivery to their subscribers.
- Satellite and other wireless TV delivery services receive the signals of Bay Area television stations from Sutro Tower.
Stations generally have primary and backup antennas at different levels on the tower to maintain service 24/7, as well as equipment in the building at the tower’s base.
All radio and television broadcasting is regulated by the FCC, and certain other transmissions are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The City and County of San Francisco has permitting authority over the tower and the buildings on the 5.6-acre site, through a conditional use permit issued in 1966 and the “Sutro Tower standard conditions”, issued in 2000, which formalized a rigorous protocol of mandatory safety inspections.