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KCNL ends Save Alternative weekend programming as Sale to USC Draws Near

Save Alternative Studio

Save Alternative Format ends on KCNL (Photo: J. Waits)

On Tuesday we broke the news that the FCC has approved the transfer of Spanish language radio station KCNL in Sunnyvale, California to the University of Southern California (USC) for use as an outlet for classical music station KDFC.

KCNL, which is owned by Principle Broadcasting Network, has been airing brokered Spanish talk programming as well as the S*ALT (Save Alternative) alternative rock format on weekend nights over 104.9 FM.

The final S*ALT alternative rock show on 104.9 FM aired on Sunday, May 20. Perusing the playlist, it was clear that this was intended to be the final show, as song selections included “Time is Running Out,” “One Day Goodbye will be Farewell,” and “Last Goodbye.” The closing track was “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” by the Smiths. According to S*ALT’s Facebook page, the station will continue to stream online 24 hours a day. S*ALT formerly broadcast over Principle-owned KSJO, prior to KSJO’s transition to brokered Chinese language programming.

It has yet to be announced when KCNL will officially transfer to USC’s control. When it does, the plan is for classical music programming from KDFC (formerly KNDL in Angwin) to air over KCNL 104.9 FM.

According to KUSC President Brenda Barnes,

“We have not set a date for when KDFC programming will begin yet.  It is likely that we will take the station dark after closing for at least a few days just to get our technical plan in order.  We are working with the staff of KCNL on the transition and will likely have a specific timeline by tomorrow.  We will likely go on the air in test mode for a couple of weeks so that we have time to get the T-1 line installed (this creates a stronger quality signal).  We are thinking we will begin broadcasting in earnest around June 16-18.”

When the license assignment is completed, the call letters will change to KXSC per USC’s request. This new call sign is in keeping with the call sign format of USC’s other station properties south of the Bay Area (KUSC, KDSC, KESC, KPSC, and KQSC).

The KXSC call letters are already being utilized by USC’s campus (via AM carrier current) and online-only station. KXSC was known at KSCR until 2010 when it was forced to change its call letters after receiving notice from an FCC-licensed station.  According to Barnes, that’s part of the reason that USC requested the new call letters KXSC for KCNL. Barnes said, “We decided to request the call letters so that they can continue using them.  They were using KSCR before that and received a cease and desist notice from the station to which that call sign is assigned.  That is likely to happen again unless they use a call sign assigned to USC.”

USC’s affiliated Bay Area stations (under the ownership of Classical Public Radio Network, which is 90% owned by USC) have also experienced call sign changes. When CPRN purchased Angwin-based religious broadcaster KNDL, it changed the call letters to the more familiar Bay Area classical radio brand of KDFC. Additionally, CPRN’s pending purchase of KUSF 90.3 FM in San Francisco (which is also airing KDFC programming) will result in a call sign change if the FCC approves that license transfer. KUSF’s new call sign would be KOSC, in a continuation of the USC-themed call signs associated with the stations in the growing USC network of classical radio stations.

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