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USF’s 2nd Request to Move KUSF Transmitter Met with Opposition by KZSU

KZSU Fan Letters. Photo by J. Waits

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.

As we reported a few weeks ago, USF filed an initial request with the FCC back in February, requesting that the transmitter for KUSF 90.3 FM be moved to Sausalito. University of California at Berkeley’s radio station KALX 90.7 FM  expressed concern about this proposal and on their behalf the Regents of the University of California filed an informal objection with the FCC. That objection was dismissed as moot on the same day (March 15) that the FCC denied USF’s request to move the transmitter.

As expected, USF revised their proposal and resubmitted it to the FCC within a week of the denial of their first application. The included engineering study in the new request to move the transmitter appears to address the concerns expressed by KALX in their informal objection. According to that filing, KALX objected to the proposed move on “contour overlap grounds,” arguing that “the proposed relocation would create new overlap of signal strength contours with second adjacent channel KALX (FM), in violation of Section 73.509(a) of the Commission’s Rules.” KALX’s objection points out that USF’s transmitter move application:

“claims to comply with the contour overlap requirements…However, the accompanying engineering statement goes on to specifically acknowledge the prohibited overlap and suggest a waiver, without any justification, support or analysis. Downplaying the issue, the application states that KUSF will create only a ‘slight amount of predicted interference’ with KALX (FM) and requests a waiver to ‘accept’ the contour overlap. KUSF’s casual statement disguises the significant negative effect of this prohibited overlap on both KALX (FM) and its listeners.”

In USF’s new application, they state that, “The proposed operation will utilize a directional antenna and will meet all contour protection requirements toward other stations. The allocation study attached as Exhibit 18.1 indicates that eight facilities are close enough to warrant close examination, KWMR, KALX, KDVS (CP and LIC), KZSU, K265DI, KVHS, KAZU,and KSJS.”

When I spoke with KALX General Manager Sandra Wasson about this new application, she told me that she was still evaluating it to determine if it addresses KALX’s concerns.

Todd Urick, Program Director of Common Frequency, said that the revision seemed to be in compliance with “all current FCC regulations” from a technical perspective. He acknowledged that the proposed transmitter location would increase coverage for KUSF down into the San Francisco peninsula.

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.”

KZSU is encouraging listeners to write letters to both KZSU and the FCC by Friday, April 15 opposing the attempt by KUSF to move their transmitter. Additionally, they are looking into filing their own informal objection with the FCC.

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.


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.

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9 Responses to USF’s 2nd Request to Move KUSF Transmitter Met with Opposition by KZSU

  1. Scott Hayes April 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Those CPRN/USC people are imperious and arrogant. KZSU and KALX are mentioned in the latest xtranormal explanation movie:

  2. Realist April 11, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    Have you ever considered the seniors of San Francisco who have had their beautiful music stations taken away from them over the years because you hippies want to cram your weirdo lifestyle down our throats? You took away KFOG. You took away KABL. You took away KKHI. The seniors of San Francisco have had enough. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE AWAY OUR KDFC.

  3. Scott Hayes April 11, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    Actually, big corporate radio interests did all that manipulating, as they are currently doing with your beloved KDFC.

  4. Paul White April 11, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    I thought that the “hippies” were the NEW “seniors”, and the “punks” will soon follow!

  5. Uncle Brad April 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Wait, I’m confused. The hippies took away KFOG? I thought the hippies were the intended audience for KFOG’s format until the hippies finally became too senior to continue holding the interest of commercial radio programmers as a target market any longer?

    In any case, I do agree with Realist’s concern for the seniors of San Francisco. They must be outraged that KDFC’s move to 90.3FM has displaced the Seniors and Disability Report radio show, which had been broadcasting on community radio station KUSF for over 20 years, and which had been the only news, information, and interview radio program dedicated to issues concerning seniors and those with disabilities in the country.

  6. Craig April 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Realist, are you aware that KDFC is in fact already gone? I miss it, too, as it was the only classical station I could pick up in my car. I’m a senior citizen myself, yet I love having KZSU (Stanford) and KFJC (Los Altos Hills) “crammed down my throat.” I listen to those stations more than all the others put together, including KFOG — which not only still exists, it has two separate transmitters and frequencies so it can be heard everywhere in the Bay Area.

    Paul, your comment about the punks is a scary one. I had an immediate image of a wrinkled guy with an age-spotted forehead and a wispy white mohawk. (That would be me, in fact, if my wife hadn’t told me she’d kill me if I got a mohawk at my age.)

    Corporate radio: Turn on, tune in, and sell out!

  7. Realist April 12, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    I’m referring to the KFOG that played beautiful music for many years until you hippies took it over in the 80s.

    And what is it you hippies hate about our free enterprise system and love so much about Communism? Hasn’t anyone told you that nine-out-of-ten ma-and-pa businesses are corporations? Hasn’t anyone told you that corporations are built from someone with a dream who achieves that dream by striving to succeed, working for a living and giving the public what it wants? Why do you want the gov’t to give you everything instead of doing it yourself? If you want a radio station, you go out and buy one–since we all know that you all sponge off your rich Marin County parents’ trust funds, that should be no problem at all. And maybe you should’ve been taught Horatio Alger, McGuffey’s Reader and the Bible at a Christian academy or home school instead of “The Communist Manifesto” and “Heather Has Two Mommies” at a gov’t school.

  8. Jennifer Waits April 12, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    I completely understand that people are upset about their favorite stations and favorite music formats getting taken away. People upset about Entercom’s transfer of KDFC to CPRN have much in common with the people fighting the sale of KUSF to CPRN.

    I think what various commenters are trying to explain is that KUSF was not the station that some people assume it was. KUSF played a great deal of classical music (including the Metropolitan Opera) and had one of the only shows devoted to Senior News. In fact, they probably played more classical music than punk or “hippie” music.

    As someone who cares about and writes about radio on practically a daily basis, it is heartening to see that so many people remain passionate about radio and I’m happy that people on all sides of the KUSF debate are voicing their concerns.

    With that said, although there is disagreement among the people posting in the comments section, I respectfully request that people commenting on Radio Survivor refrain from personal attacks. See our comments policy for clarification.

  9. Craig April 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    > what is it you hippies hate about our free enterprise system …?

    Note to self: never feed the trolls, as it only makes them barf.

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