The Future’s So Bright

Jennifer Waits reports in a piece on Radio Survivor about a new twist to the saga of KUSF in San Francisco, explaining the move by CPR to broaden its reach — and in the process alarming those at college station KZSU at Stanford:

As they await word on the proposed sale of University of San Francisco’s college radio station KUSF to Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN), the folks at USF and CPRN have been working to gain approval from the FCC in order to move the KUSF transmitter off-campus and out of San Francisco to Mt. Beacon in Sausalito. With this move CPRN hopes to both maintain greater control over the transmitter and expand the broadcast range of KUSF….

The station expressing the most concern about this latest request is KZSU 90.1 FM at Stanford University in Palo Alto. According to KZSU Business Manager Abra Jeffers, “The transmitter is going to be significantly elevated and as such will potentially be interfering with our signal.” Abra said that coverage in Oakland, Alameda, and San Francisco would most likely be effected.

Currently KZSU is mounting a publicity campaign to get the word out about the impact of the KUSF transmitter move on KZSU. According to a statement on their website, “KZSU’s signal is being threatened, and we need your help . . . CPRN has submitted an application to the FCC to move KUSF’s transmitter to Marin County. If this application is approved, we (KZSU) will lose our signal in the East Bay, North Bay, and San Francisco, and will likely experience interference in parts of San Bruno and Daly City.” . . .

Abra told me that not only is KZSU concerned about their own station’s coverage, but that they are also saddened by the loss of KUSF. She said, “I just think it’s an outrage that our local community-based programming is under attack by some corporate network.” She added, “CPRN has specifically stated that they are looking to expand their coverage . . . [and] we think it’s important to let everybody know that this could happen to us.” To that end, Abra said that she is hoping that KZSU can work with other local college radio stations like KFJC and KSCU in order to build an alliance of stations who are devoted to preserving college radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Stanford Daily website had this to add (with an interesting note about CPR’s nonprofit status):

According to KZSU (Stanford) publicity director Adam Pearson ’11, the concession of the KUSF radio signal to the Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN) in January for $3.75 million occurred behind closed doors between board members at USF and CPRN. The deal was also made without the knowledge of those in charge of the radio station’s day-to-day operations, Pearson said.

“This is an outrage not only to students who can no longer have the access to a radio station on campus and learn about broadcasting or music, but it’s more importantly an assault on the San Francisco community, which has come to appreciate and depend on the public radio services that KUSF provides,” Pearson said, adding that the price paid for KUSF is a nominal amount for the benefits it provides to the San Francisco community on a year-to-year basis. . . .

Jeffers revealed that CPRN is no longer classified as a non-profit due to Save KUSF efforts, and is instead considered to be a limited liability corporation. As a result of this recent change in classification, CPRN can no longer be placed on the left side of the radio dial, which is intended to be for non-commercial, educational non-profit radio stations.

Although KZSU’s present concern is with the CPRN’s recent decision to move the transmitter, USF’s decision to sell KUSF to CPRN highlights another concern among the KZSU staff: the possibility that the Stanford radio station may also be sold some time in the future. In fact, Jeffers said USC has publicly stated its desire to acquire a South Bay station.

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2 Responses

  1. […] The Future’s So Bright (keeppublicradiopublic.com) […]

  2. The best thing that I take away from this piece is the idea that the Bay Area stations are considering forming an alliance to fight the various takeovers. There’s strength in numbers and an organized front can only help. If they do succeed in forming the alliance I wonder if a national alliance might be possible to help save college radio across the country.

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