Today the FCC granted consent to the assignment of the license for University of San Francisco (USF) radio station KUSF to Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN). In light of this news, Friends of KUSF has announced that they intend to appeal the FCC’s approval of the license transfer.
According to a statement from the lawyers for Friends of KUSF,
“…we are profoundly disappointed to learn that a silent agreement was reached between the FCC, the University of San Francisco and Classical Public Radio Network, LLC (‘CPRN’). Apparently negotiated behind closed doors without the participation of Petitioners, the so-called ‘Consent Decree’ excuses KUSF’s and CPRN’s violation of FCC rules with a $50,000 fine. This fine is less than a slap on the wrist when compared to the $3.8 million proposed purchase price, high-priced Washington D.C. attorneys’ fees and other exorbitant costs spent on this flawed transaction.”
The statement goes on to argue that,
“The FCC staff’s decision ignores the policy and rules violations identified in the Petitions by treating this dispute as nothing more than a ‘Format Case.’ It is well known that the FCC will not review radio station format changes and Friends of KUSF made it clear that they opposed the license transfer based on clear violations of FCC rules, as well as policy concerns regarding the educational nature and purpose of Non Commercial Educational (NCE) stations and the obligation of those stations to broadcast programming that serves local needs and interests.
By taking the easy way out the FCC staff has avoided addressing the important legal and policy issues raised by Friends and other petitioners, and allowed two wealthy institutions who openly flouted Commission rules to get off with a slap on the wrist.
There are several avenues for review of this flawed decision. Friends and their counsel are carefully reviewing their next steps.”
Although we don’t yet know the specifics of the anticipated Friends of KUSF appeal, it is expected that USF and CPRN will quickly complete their paperwork in order to consummate the deal as quickly as possible. Not much will change for listeners, as KUSF 90.3 FM is already broadcasting a feed of classical music from KDFC. The call sign KOSC has already been reserved by CPRN and upon consummation, the call letters KUSF will no longer be attributed to 90.3 FM. Ever since the shut-down of KUSF on January 18, 2011; University of San Francisco has promised that the college radio station would continue online as KUSF.org. Although students at USF have continued to hold out hope for KUSF.org, they have been left without a broadcast studio after USF dismantled the old KUSF studio during a building renovation project. A stream of DJ-less music has continued to play over KUSF.org and the website itself seems stuck in suspended animation. A list of “new music top plays for January 3-7, 2011” on the KUSF.org homepage is a reminder that many of the day-to-day activities at KUSF ceased on January 18, 2011.
Many USF students and community volunteers have continued the tradition of the old KUSF in a warehouse far from the USF campus. Dubbed “KUSF in Exile,” the online-only station is being hosted by community radio station WFMU. Although KUSF in Exile was meant to be a temporary arrangement during the fight to “Save KUSF” from being sold off; it has evolved into a brand new radio station with dreams of a terrestrial future. Just this week the group behind KUSF in Exile obtained 501c3 status for its affiliated non-profit San Francisco Community Radio (SFCR).