Campus Update

At Stanford University, folks there are worried about the machinations of the consolidators at Southern Cal’s Classical Public Radio Network, as reported by Sharon Vegas Selby on the College Radio United Facebook site (link on right):

Here’s The Skinny

KZSU’s signal is being threatened, and we need your help.

The Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN), a corporation 90% owned by The University of Southern California (USC), recently bought the license for 90.3 FM, formerly KUSF in San Francisco. Now that CPRN has unseated KUSF, the only FM college radio station in San Francisco and an invaluable resource to our community, they intend to threaten KZSU’s airspace as well.

As part of their scheme, 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.

We need our listeners to express their concerns before it’s too late! KZSU will file an objection against the 90.3 proposal with the FCC, and we need your help to show the FCC how this move will hurt us. Please tell everyone you know to send their letters of support to KZSU, opposing the relocation of the former KUSF transmitter. Please hurry! We have until April 15th to save KZSU.

Here’s How to Help

Write to us:

KZSU will file an objection to the KUSF / 90.3FM proposal on April 18, 2011. In our objection, we’ll include letters from listeners and supporters in our community. Letters received by April 17, 2011 (Sunday at midnight) will be compiled and mailed to the FCC. Letters can be dropped off at Aquarius Records, Amoeba Music, or Explorist International. Tell us how you really feel! Write to us at:

KZSU Business
P.O. Box 20190
Stanford, CA 94309

The site goes on to post a sample letter to the FCC, among other things. The action in San Francisco in support of KUSF continues hot and heavy (the Facebook site, link on right, is 8,700 strong), as they await word on their FCC filings.

Tom Taylor’s newsletter is keeping an eye on the CPRN doings, here reporting that USC has bought a contemporary christian station, KNDL, in Santa Rosa and two translators:

The part of the San Francisco classical-to-non-com deal that isn’t controversial just closed. That’s Santa Rosa-market KNDL, Angwin, California (89.9) and two translators in Ukiah and Eureka, selling to University of Southern California-backed Classical Public Radio LLC. Price was $2,725,000, and the seller is Tim Mitchell-run Howell Mountain Broadcasting. KNDL was previously doing a contemporary Christian format named “The Candle”, and it’s already been converted to classical music under an LMA. It will take the KDFC call letters associated with classical in the Bay Area for decades. The other part of Classical Public Radio’s beachhead in Northern California is much more controversial and will take longer to close. That’s its purchase of KUSF (90.3) from the University of San Francisco – the subject of protests in San Francisco and petitions to deny at the FCC. Back to the Santa Rosa-market 89.9 — that deal was brokered by Kalil & Co.

Radio Survivor’s Jennifer Waits posted the bad news from Houston: The FCC turned down KTRU’s legal attempts to thwart the sale of student station KTRU to the U of H, which already owned one “public” radio station:

When I spoke with KTRU Station Manager Joey Yang today about the recent FCC decision, he said, “Obviously I’m disappointed,” adding that it’s disheartening to see that, “simultaneously the FCC preaches localism” while at the same time they argue that “programming content is not their concern.” He said that KTRU will continue to broadcast over their current FM frequency of 91.7 FM for the time being and after the signal is transferred to University of Houston, they will continue to broadcast KTRU over the Internet, via their iPhone app, and on their new HD channel.

According to Joey, Rice and University of Houston will have 10 business days (beginning next Monday) to complete the station sale. He said that he’s guessing that KTRU will continue to broadcast over 91.7FM until the end of April. Joey also pointed out that the timing of this is challenging, as the semester is drawing to a close at Rice University (classes end April 22) and students are busy completing their final projects and exams. Finals finish up on May 4.

On the KTRU Facebook site, Whit Hughes made a trenchant observation, drawn from the SXSW panel on saving college radio and Public Radio Capital rep Susan Harmon, who gave lie to the claim by Rice head suit Lebron that the station had little value to the university:

Straight from the horse’s mouth. PRC explains the finite nature of non-commercial licenses making them “beachfront property.” For those unfamiliar with real estate jargon, that isn’t just “prime” real estate, it’s a more desirable classification such as “trophy property” or an irreplaceable asset. That’s very different from a depreciating asset that was claimed as justification for the sale. Rice got brokered.

Or, as Jim Ellinger posted:

Austin Airwaves notes the passing of legendary campus free form station KTRU-FM Rice Radio. Rice Radio R.I.P. KTRU-FM is going from one college to another, but along the way, it will lose its soul and Alternative format and shift over to Classical, blah, blah, blah… The sale was highly controversial, eliciting protests and various charges of malfeasance, not that Leebron or the Rice Admin gave a damn…

Both deals — KTRU and KUSF — were consummated surreptitiously, behind the backs of students to avoid controversy, further stirring up controversy with the manner they were conducted. In contrast, at WRVU in Nashville — where the battle is still ongoing — the administration at least sought to unload the student station in a more aboveboard manner. Perhaps the Vanderbilt suits hope that the hubbub will die down eventually, though the station supporters have kept up a running schedule of events to publicize the event — including a recent “free scoop” day at Ben & Jerry’s, where the local franchise chose Save WRVU as its sponsored charity to support and doled out a record 9,200 free scoops (as this picture from WRVU DJ Chris Nochowitz shows).

Join the effort at Vanderbilt and show your support on the Facebook page.


One Response

  1. Meanwhile, John Profit (could there a better name for satire purposes), who heads the soon to be three NPR/CPB affiliate stations in the Houston market for radio and TV (ostensibly under the name of the UH for “educational” purposes), who writes himself a salary of $150k per year subsidized by the tax payer, is already moving hard and fast to further minimize any meaningful student input, by pushing any remaining student “interns” at both Rice and UH onto internet sites where they won’t get in the way of the on-going broadcasting empire consolidation.

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