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Breaking News: San Francisco Board of Supervisors Passes Resolution Opposing Sale of KUSF

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors just passed the Ross Mirkarimi-sponsored resolution opposing the sale of KUSF with a tally of 8 supervisors in favor and 3 opposed. Full text of the resolution as originally presented follows:

[Opposing the sale of KUSF’s FCC license to broadcast on 90.3 FM ]

Resolution recognizing the long and valuable public service of radio station KUSF; opposing the sale of KUSF’s FCC license to broadcast on 90.3 FM, requesting the USF Board of Regents to rescind the decision to transfer KUSF’s license and reinstate KUSF programming, and urging San Francisco’s Federal representatives to express their opposition to KUSF’s sale to the Federal Communications Commission.

WHEREAS, Radio station KUSF is a non-commercial community broadcaster located on the University of San Francisco (USF) campus and funded by USF, local and merchant underwriting, individual donations, and foundation grants; and

WHEREAS, In April of 2002, the Board of Supervisors passed Resolution 281-02, commending KUSF on the occasion of their twenty-fifth anniversary; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF began in 1963 as a campus-only AM station managed by the Associated Students of the University of San Francisco; and,

WHEREAS, On April 25, 1977, KUSF became an FM station broadcasting on the 90.3 frequency, broadcasting six hours a day; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF began broadcasting 24 hours a day in 1981, and continued to do so uninterrupted until 10 a.m. on January 18, 2011 when USF staff, without notice, terminated the broadcast and ejected KUSF staff and volunteers from the station;


WHEREAS, On January 18, 2011 USF announced plans to sell KUSF’s license to broadcast on 90.3 FM to classical station KDFC, whose license for 102.1 FM would be sold to classic rock station, KUFX; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF has repeatedly been named the best radio station in the Bay Area by local media outlets, including the SF Weekly, Bay Guardian, and San Francisco Magazine; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF routinely provided a wide range of community based programming dedicating itself to giving a voice to the unique range of cultures & communities that help make San Francisco an internationally respected city; and,

WHEREAS, Such community service programming is highlighted by shows like Senior News, and Disability Report, which is a community service the station has served this city with for over 25 years; and

WHEREAS, KUSF has historically been committed to its obligation to serve all communities of San Francisco with programming in twelve languages, sometimes theonly programming available to certain language and ethnic groups including :

•    Chinese Star Radio (over 15 years),

•    Armenian Hour (over 25 years),

•    Turkish Cultural Program (over 10 years),

•    Radio Goethe (in German, over 10 years),

•    So Da Brasil (over 10 years); and,

WHEREAS, For more than thirty years, KUSF has been one of the main outlets for and promoters San Francisco musicians who are ignored by the Bay Areas commercial radio stations; and,

WHEREAS, Many now-famous musical acts first gained radio exposure on KUSF,including Depeche Mode, Metallica, The B-52’s, U2, R.E.M., the White Stripes, and Kronos Quartet, in fact, KUSF has received one double platinum and seven gold record awards from the recording industry—one of the very few college stations in the country ever to be so recognized; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF has been a steadfast community partner with many Community Based Organizations promoting, health, the arts, education and social justice such as Shanti Project, Community Thrift, Exploratorium, Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, Frameline Film Festival, SF International Film Festival, Noise Pop, Mission Creek Music & Arts Festival, Project Open Hand, Film Noir Foundation, Media Alliance, Pets Unlimited, Cartoon Art Museum, Castro Theatre, Red Vic, SF

Public Library, Coalition on Homelessness; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF has a direct effect on our local economy by supporting local musicians, artists, record labels, live music venues (and all the staff it takes to run them), promoting the work of our rich non-profit community through myriad museums, independent film houses, Internationally attended film, arts, and music festivals in San Francisco through the invaluable media coverage that helps them to reach their community about their efforts; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF provides incalculable value to the academic mission of USF by attracting students throughout the country to its Mass Media Studies program who enroll expressly because of the opportunity KUSF provides; and

WHEREAS, KUSF further supports the university’s educational goals by broadcasting student recruiting announcements for not only the College of Arts and Sciences but also other academic departments as well as airing Public Services Announcements promoting activities and events open to the public on campus; and

WHEREAS, KUSF provides live coverage of USF’s Davies Forum Scholars, a lecture series designed to interest students in public services and has featured such notables as McGeorge Bundy and Pierre Salinger; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF supports not only the university’s academic and intellectual programs, but also provides coverage of Dons sporting events including men’s and women’s basketball and broadcast the NCAA national soccer championships

featuring the Dons; and,

WHEREAS, The loss of KUSF would thus have a devastating impact on San Francisco’s eclectic and prolific local music, arts and social justice communities; and,

WHEREAS, KUSF’s programming enjoys a market share almost unheard of amongst college stations rating 7th in average quarter-hour audiences and 11th in cumulative audience listenership among adults 18-34 which is an understated

market as Arbitron, the industry research and marketing firm producing the ratings, does not even measure KUSF’s ethnic and foreign language listenership; and

WHEREAS, The Federal Communications Commission’s publication, “The Public and Broadcasting,” states that licensed radio stations are “required by law to operate its station in the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” This means that it must air programming that is responsive to the needs and problems of its local community of license;” and,

WHEREAS, “The Public and Broadcasting,” also states that radio stations must “affirmatively identify those needs and problems and then specifically treat those local matters that it deems to be significant in the news, public affairs, political and other programming that it airs;” and,

WHEREAS, KUSF met these requirements by broadcasting cultural programming every weekday from 6 p.m. to midnight and all day and night on Saturday and Sunday; and,

WHEREAS, The American Women in Radio and Television honored KUSF with its KUDO Award for the best cultural diversity programming on Bay Area radio; and,

WHEREAS, USF’s announced intention to stream former KUSF programming solely as online content is inherently discriminatory in that it clearly digitally divides its diverse audience, the digital divide being a symptom of a larger and more complex problem — that of persistent poverty and inequality—an express reason that public, non-commercial broadcasting even exists; and

WHEREAS, Replacing KUSF’s diverse, community-serving format with an all-music format would have a detrimental impact on San Francisco and would constitute a violation of the FCC requirement that licensees must serve the “public interest, convenience and necessity;” now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco hereby decries the loss of the cultural and community asset that is represented by KUSF and the loss generally of public access to media afforded by public

radio and voices its extreme displeasure at the abrupt closure of KUSF; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, The Board of Supervisors recognizes that KUSF 90.3 FM is a public trust and community asset that serves as an extraordinary educational tool, provides access to vital information to those who otherwise won’t have it, and is immensely valuable to the people of San Francisco and integral to the fabric of our city; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, The Board of Supervisors 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 and community station; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urges the President of USF and the USF Board of Trustees to withdraw any applications to transfer the license to broadcast on 90.3 FM and otherwise requests USF to reconsider its actions in closing KUSF and sale of its FCC license; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urges Congresswoman Pelosi and Senators Boxer and Feinstein to contact the FCC and expression their opposition to any proposed transfer of KUSF’s license to broadcast on 90.3 FM; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors directs the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors to send copies of this resolution to USF President Stephen A. Privett, the USF Board of Trustees, Congresswoman Pelosi, Senators Feinstein and

Boxer, and the Federal Communications Commission.

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2 Responses to Breaking News: San Francisco Board of Supervisors Passes Resolution Opposing Sale of KUSF

  1. Realist February 9, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Shouldn’t a city body be supporting the MUSIC OF THE MASTERS played by properly-trained musicians that is true culture supported by the people who are devoted to the civic betterment of San Francisco instead of weirdo punk rock, gangster rap, Communist propaganda, anti-Christian blasphemy, homosexual perversion and other programming appealing to dope addicts, criminals, prostitutes, rapists, murders and other undesirable elements?

  2. Erik, the Finish Carpenter February 9, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I listen to KUSF every day on my work radio and would reply to Realist that MASTERFUL MUSIC is not merely the pervue of Hayden or Mozart, but also Mahler and Sonic Youth and White Stripe and Charles Mingus, not to mention the shifting tastes that will someday embrace weirdo punk rock and crunk and types of music hitherto underrepresented by mainstream media. As to Communist propaganda, anti-Christian blasphemy and prostitute music (is that Isaac Hayes?)–take your silly fearmongering elsewhere: support diversity with an open mind. KUSF is the most community based internationally diverse and musically eclectic radio station I have ever heard. Don’t let yourself be misconstrued as a racist for implying that Chinese and Brazilian radio only appeals to “undesirable elements.” You’re undesirable. Please stop. Bring KUSF back to FM and San Francisco. I strongly support this resolution.

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