The Foot of the Class

The Save KUSF Facebook site has zoomed past 6,500 friends, with no end in sight. The citywide protest seems to be taking on a life of its own, with San Francisco politicos chiming in on the discussion. Jack Hannold sent along a link to this post on the SFWeekly, describing how one city supervisor introduced a resolution Tuesday that will be voted on next week. (You can read the resolution here on the Facebook site.):

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who represents the district where University of San Francisco is located, last week attended the meeting where volunteers talked about ways to save the station. The supervisor was appalled at what was happening, and pledged his support to help KUSF.

Mirkarimi has crafted a resolution in support of the volunteers who are trying to keep 90.3 FM a community radio station. He will introduce the resolution at tomorrow’s board hearing.

“I wish we could do more,” Mirkarimi said. “This is another corporate slam against public access radio. It’s a tragedy for USF to not consult the community and give it a chance to save the station before they sold it off.”

The Facebook site carried one synopsis of the public meeting from Kenya Lewis quoting the supervisor at an earlier rally:

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, a USF alumnus, rolled up his sleeves, took the mic, and spouted his outrage. “It’s frustrating . . . to see the Jesuit ethic to be botched and really bastardized in the way it was . . . in their idea of selling the station in advance and not providing the right of first refusal” to the KUSF community.

And again:

“What a grave error it was for the University of San Francisco to sell the license of KUSF 90.3 on the dial,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced a resolution Tuesday urging the university to rescind the sale. “It’s a travesty that the University of San Francisco did not reach out.”

The blog SFBG (of the San Francisco Bay Guardian) carried more info on the brouhaha in a story by Johnny Ray Huston called “Enter the void,” unearthing more interesting facts:

But while USF’s [President Stephen] Privett claimed that he accepted “the first offer that came across [his] desk” and had not actively put KUSF on the market, on the Jan. 19 installment of KQED’s Forum, CPRN [USC’s Classical Public Radio Network, which dealt for the station] Managing Director Brenda Barnes asserted that the company only solicited radio stations that were for sale….

“I was on a street law program the other day and there was talk about pursuing an injunction,” says attorney and former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez. “Jello Biafra also had an interesting idea — he thought the pressure should be put on USC.”

USC’s involvement in the purchase of KUSF is one of a number of recent acquisition moves by USC within the radio marketplace. It left KUSF a casualty of a growing related trend, in which commercial classical musical stations are being shifted to nonprofit public radio status — thanks in part to USC, a college station that broadcast many languages and musical genres (including classical) and foregrounded local music was booted off the dial and replaced by KDFC’s uniformly classical programming.

Jennifer Waits, writing on the Radio Survivor blog, added this interesting tidbit about the deal, filed with the FCC:

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.

Jennifer’s thoughts on the sale can be found at her blog Spinning Indie, here (link also on right).


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