Damage control effort underway in San Francisco shuffle


The first demonstration against the sale of KUSF-FM’s broadcast signal took place on the University of San Francisco (USF) campus just hours after the deal was announced. As you would expect, a “Save KUSF” Facebook page is already up and running.

“USF underhandedly sold off our beloved 90.3FM KUSF and forced it to go online. Let’s try to save as much of this wonderful station as possible!” declared the Facebook page.

A report in the San Francisco Examiner showed Program Director Jantine Branger having a heated discussion with a university security guard in the hall outside the locked studio doors on Tuesday. USF plans to bring the station back in a few weeks as an Internet-only operation, but fans and staffers complain that people will no longer be able to hear the Alternative station in their cars.

Meanwhile, the buyer, Classical Public Radio Network, partly owned by the University of Southern California (USC), is emphasizing how the purchase of the 90.3 license and adding a North Bay simulcast on 89.9 will preserve Classical music in the Bay Area as Entercom hands over the intellectual property of its heritage Classical KDFC-FM.

“USC recognizes classical radio’s value to the community and is committed to its preservation in the Bay Area, where many of our students and alumni live. California, with two great symphony orchestras, is at the forefront of classical music today, and we are happy to play a role in the stewardship of an important resource for 700,000 classical music lovers in the Bay Area,” said C.L. Max Nikias, President of the USC.

Statements of support were solicited from leaders of the arts community in the Bay Area.

“As one of the country’s most dynamic musical cities, San Francisco deserves a classical music station that continues to provide excellent arts and cultural programming,” said San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. “KUSC has a long and distinguished history and I have had the opportunity to work with them on many projects over the years. I am delighted that KUSC will be preserving KDFC as the home of the San Francisco Symphony.”

“KDFC is not just a radio station, it’s an integral part of the Bay Area music ecology,” said David Gockley, SF Opera General Director. “The shift to a public radio station will help prevent a precious civic legacy from going away altogether, which would be a tragedy. The Opera looks forward to working with the new KDFC to build a powerful and vibrant classical music experience for our friends on the radio.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Same fight, different city. Rice University students and supports are battling the sale of KTRU-FM Houston to the University of Houston, creating a full-time Classical station in place of what has been an eclectic student-run station. A petition to deny pending at the FCC claims the format change will undermine localism and the education objective of the reserved non-commercial FM band. A similar battle at the FCC is likely for this transaction, but both attempts to block the sales and format changes have little chance of success.