About a month ago, University of San Francisco filed a request with the FCC (PDF), asking for permission to move KUSF’s transmitter and antenna to a site north of San Francisco in Sausalito.
As stated in their “minor change to a licensed facility” application to the FCC, this request from USF regarding 90.3 FM was initiated on behalf of KUSF’s suitor, Classical Public Radio Network (which has already taken over control of broadcasts at 90.3FM by airing programming from classical station KDFC).
The filing asked for expedited processing on the grounds that,
“KUSF’s antenna currently resides on a building within the University of San Francisco (USF) campus. Because, upon approval by the FCC, the license will be transferred to an entity not controlled by the university, it is necessary to relocate the station’s transmitter site. Additionally, due to the sensitive nature of the license transfer, the proposed assignee wishes to maintain better control of access to the transmitter and antenna which now must be handled through USF security personnel.”
USF’s request would have not only moved the transmitter and antenna for KUSF, but it also would have changed KUSF’s coverage area, potentially infringing on other stations, most notably University of California, Berkeley’s student radio station KALX (90.7 FM in Berkeley). The license holder for KALX, the Regents of the University of California, filed an informal objection to this application for that reason.
In a letter dated March 15, the FCC denied USF’s request, stating that USF did not provide sufficient arguments in support of a waiver of FCC contour overlap provisions. The letter from the FCC states, “KUSF has provided insufficient justification in support of its request for waiver. Consequently, waiver of Section 73.509 is not warranted, and the request for waiver IS DENIED.”
In a statement today, Save KUSF said that they were pleased with this decision by the FCC. In their press release they quoted KUSF listener Ted Hudacko (who filed his own Petition to Deny with the FCC regarding the proposed sale of KUSF) who argued that, “‘It is a step in the right direction to undo the actions begun January 18 that silenced the voice of San Francisco, the acclaimed and beloved KUSF-FM 90.3 student, community and cultural programming.’”
I briefly spoke with KALX General Manager Sandra Wasson today as she was on her way back from the Collegiate Broadcasters Inc. conference in New York. Sandra said that she was very excited to hear that the FCC had rejected USF’s filing. She said that although this is great news, she also expects that USF will revise and resubmit their request to the FCC regarding the transmitter move, so she will need to do further investigation to see what the next steps will be for KALX. She also noted that this application was rejected by the FCC before the 30-day comment window was up, so it’s possible that other stations have oppositions that didn’t get filed yet. KALX’s opposition was hand-delivered to the FCC on Monday.
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 and to the Save KUSF Multi-Station Live Broadcast on Spinning Indie. My article chronicling my KUSF field trip 2 years ago is housed there too. For more on the bigger picture of college radio station sell-offs, see my December 2009 piece “Cash-strapped Schools Turn Their Backs on College Radio. And, for a quick overview of the situation at KUSF, see my article, “The Story Behind the KUSF Shutdown” on PopMatters.