Yesterday a large crowd assembled at City Hall in San Francisco for a loud, but peaceful rally in support of saving University of San Francisco’s college radio station KUSF from a proposed sell-off to a public radio group.
At the rally San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi spoke out against the sale and later introduced a resolution (video) during the Board of Supervisors’ meeting criticizing the station sale and calling for University of San Francisco to reconsider. In the resolution he also urges “San Francisco’s Federal representatives to express their opposition to KUSF’s sale to the Federal Communications Commission.”
Although USF President Father Stephen Privett has repeatedly stated that the station has become dominated by community members and that USF is not interested in running a community radio station, the proposed resolution argues that KUSF has played a vital role in the community of San Francisco. The resolution argues that, “…the loss of KUSF would…have a devastating impact on San Francisco’s eclectic and prolific local music, arts and social justice communities…” The resolution also “requests USF to respect the requirement of localism by offering the City and County of San Francisco or members of the public the opportunity to obtain the 90.3 FM license and the KUSF name to keep it a San Francisco run non-commercial educational community station…”
Mirkarimi’s resolution will come up for vote at next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ Meeting. Two other supervisors, John Avalos and Eric Mar (a former college radio DJ at KDVS at UC Davis) have already signed on as co-sponsors. During the public comment portion of yesterday’s Board of Supervisors’ Meeting there were many passionate statements made in favor of maintaining KUSF as a terrestrial radio station. Numerous DJs, fans, and members of the San Francisco artistic community lined up to voice their concerns about the sale.
In the meantime, today the application (PDF) for the proposed sale of University of San Francisco’s radio station KUSF to Classical Public Radio Network was approved for filing by the FCC. This means that the clock now begins ticking as far as the required 30-day window for public comments.
Even though the comment window with the FCC has begun, the group of supporters at Save KUSF are asking that people hold off on writing to the FCC for the moment. Right now they are encouraging people to send in letters protesting the sale to KUSF for inclusion in its public file. Letters should be send with the header, “For inclusion in KUSF Public File” and emailed to USF Assistant Dean of Social Sciences Michael Bloch.
With the paperwork being filed, it also means that we now get a glimpse into the details behind the deal between USF and Classical Public Radio Network. As expected, based on paperwork filed in Classical Public Radio Network’s application to purchase KNDL, the deal includes a “Public Service Operating Agreement” dated January 12, 2011. In that agreement, Classical Public Radio Network agrees to continue airing the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts “pursuant to the existing contract between the Station and The Metropolitan Opera, and will fulfill any underwriting agreements relating to the Station in existence on the Effective Date until the commitments under such agreements have been satisfied.”
There’s also a provision to pay USF a monthly fee for the right to play classical music over KUSF’s frequency of 90.3 FM while the application is under consideration with the FCC. As we reported, classical music programming from formerly commercial station KDFC has been broadcasting over KUSF’s frequency since the afternoon of Tuesday, January 18th. Surprisingly, that monthly fee (which begins at $5,000 a month for the first 4 months and increases to $7,000 a month thereafter for the remainder of the first year of the “Term” of the contract) is quite a bit less than Classical Public Radio Network is paying KNDL.
The paperwork, including the Public Service Operating Agreement and Purchase Agreement (both dated January 12, 2011), was signed by USF Vice President and Provost Jennifer Turpin and USF Vice President of Business and Finance Charles Cross, the man who infamously refused to talk to KUSF volunteers on the day of the station shut-down last week, claiming he had no information about the sale.
Complete Radio Survivor coverage about the proposed sale of KUSF can be found here. I also wrote about my reaction to the KUSF shut down on Spinning Indie. My article chronicling my KUSF field trip 2 years ago is housed there too.