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KUSF Sells License, Goes Off-Air; Listen to Last Broadcasts

| January 18, 2011
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Update 5:17 p.m. Listen to the last shows broadcast on KUSF here.

Earlier post

The San Francisco radio dial got spun around today when Entercom Communications sold classical station KDFC to the University of Southern California. KDFC will become a non-profit and move from 102.1 FM down to the non-commercial neighborhood, at 89.9 and 90.3. According to the Chronicle, San Jose classic rock station KUFX will then replace KDFC at 102.1.

But wait a minute, wasn’t there already a station broadcasting on 90.3?

Yup. One that’s been part of the Bay Area radio landscape since 1977. From a University of San Francisco press release:

The University of San Francisco announced today that KUSF, the university’s radio station, is moving to an online only format, effective immediately. The university has reached an agreement to assign the FCC license for radio frequency 90.3 FM to Classical Public Radio Network, which is launching a non-commercial classical music station in the Bay Area. CPRN is owned by University of Southern California. The call letters KUSF were not sold, and the KUSF logo and all music inventory will remain USF property. All KUSF staff will be offered similar positions at KUSF.org.

The move to online-only distribution gives KUSF a powerful opportunity to grow its worldwide audience. Previously, the station was limited to 100 online listeners at a time, but capacity will be increased to accommodate thousands of listeners. The station will go dark briefly for necessary engineering work. It is possible the electrical work could take several days.

That’s the university’s take. But earlier today KUSF DJ Carolyn Keddy tweeted this:

Just showed up @kusf to my show and the doors are locked. USF has sold the station. Management was in on it. They’re keeping all our records

The Bay Citizen has a good report, which includes an interview with KUSF DJ and Music Director Irwin Swirnoff, who doesn’t much like what’s going down either:

“The hallways filled with people in suits, and others started to change the locks,” said Swirnoff of the scene immediately after the transmitter stopped working. He, along with other station workers, didn’t mince words about their feelings towards USF. “The university had been keeping this from us, hadn’t involved us at all,” said Swirnoff, speaking from the work room of KUSF, where he and other volunteers have been frantically pulling records of past ticket winners and music press, trying to get the word out that KUSF had been unfairly brought down…

Swirnoff and others, meanwhile, are trying to rally the public behind the 34-year old freeform station. The FCC filing allows for 30 days of public comment before the sale goes through. Why, he asked, was the station given a chance to buy itself if the university was so desperate to sell?

“We never had the opportunity to do outreach,” he said, amid the hubbub of a noisy room, “For a school that prides itself on Jesuit values, it is acting in the interests of greed and dishonesty.”

The Snitch talked to another student DJ, who said security guards had ordered station staff out.

Meanwhile, the KUSF web site is down, displaying only this message: “Please check back soon for an important annoucement (sic) regarding KUSF.” redirects to the university’s press release about the sale.

Here’s one article from Radio Survivor and one from the New York Times about the trend of colleges selling off their radio stations.

Update 4:08 p.m. The Bay Guardian says the university will address concerns about the sale at a meeting at 7 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 19, at Fromm Hall on the USF Campus, 2130 Fulton Street in San Francisco.

Here’s a summary from the Chronicle about all the re-jiggering. It’s sort of like one of those three-way baseball trades that aren’t that easy to follow:

– KDFC becomes a nonprofit, with ties to the people who run KUSC in Los Angeles, broadcasting on 89.9 and 90.3. The current staff remains intact, and relationships with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony will continue. The KDFC studio remains in the same building on Third Street in San Francisco, with the new nonprofit paying Entercom for space and engineering services.

– KUFX, known as “The Fox,” on Monday will begin simulcasts on 98.5 in San Jose and 102.1 in San Francisco. The studio will move from San Jose to San Francisco, with a lineup that includes holdovers Greg Kihn and Tim Jeffreys – plus afternoons with “Big” Rick Stuart, who recently departed from KFOG.

– KUSF and KNDL, a Christian music station in the North Bay, will lose their signals. A spokesman for the University of San Francisco said KUSF will continue as an online-only station.

KUSF fans might not want to soothe themselves right now by listening to some KDFC classical music over the web, but it is available…

Update 5:11 p.m. Never mind that, check out old KUSF shows on this archive.

Update 5:43 p.m. Facebook page is up…

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Category: Arts and Culture, Education

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  • Johnny

    This is a real shame; I’ve been a faithful listener since the 80s, and really appreciate the style and variety of the station…even when I don’t understand the language! And to see such an institution get the rug pulled out from under it, well, like I said, it’s a real shame. And the shame belongs to UCSF.

    • Sossy Pamone

      dude it’s USF not UCSF

  • Johnny

    yes it is and I caught that but couldn’t figger out to correct the typo once posted

    • Darold Coelho

      …and you are a USF student and you could’nt FIGGER how to spell FIGURE, correctly? Unbelievable…LOL

      • V

        Jeez. Let’s focus on what’s important here, people.

  • V

    KUSF has been a San Francisco Institution since 1963. To pull it off the air without allowing hardly a discussion or giving even a heads up to LONG time listeners is, truthfully, selfish and offensive! Booooooooooo!!!!!!!