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KUSF is No More after Classical Public Radio Network Changes Call Letters to KOSC

Former KUSF Studio at University of San Francisco

Former KUSF Studio at University of San Francisco

Last week the FCC approved the assignment of University of San Francisco (USF)’s non-commercial radio license KUSF to Classical Public Radio Network. Upon consummation of the license assignment, the FCC agreed to change the call letters for the San Francisco-based 90.3 FM non-commercial radio station from KUSF to KOSC. The effective date for the call letter change was June 7, 2012, the date that the license assignment was approved.

Classical Public Radio Network (which is 90% owned by University of Southern California) will continue to use the old KUSF 90.3 FM to air classical music programming from their KDFC brand. Bill Lueth, President of Classical KDFC posted the following notice on the KDFC website,

In addition to buying the new South Bay signal recently, we’ve also taken ownership of 90.3FM officially. We are enormously pleased that we have resolved our issues with the FCC and have completed the transfer of KUSF to the Classical Public Radio Network.  The new call letters are now KOSC serving San Francisco, Marin, Oakland Berkeley, and beyond.  We look forward to providing classical music and other quality public service arts programming to the Bay Area for years to come.”

Right now KDFC is in the midst of a pledge drive and by the end of the week they will officially launch their new South Bay frequency over the former KCNL 104.9 FM (now known as KXSC).

The future of radio is a bit less certain at University of San Francisco. USF Associate Vice President for Communications Gary McDonald said in a statement, “We are pleased that the FCC has completed its review in a manner that allows the sale to close and for USF to focus on its core mission of education and service going forward,” however USF still has not provided details about its promised-for online-only student radio station. Back in January, 2011 when the intention to sell KUSF was announced, a statement on the USF website made it seem that KUSF would continue online. According to the January 18, 2011 statement,

“The University of San Francisco (USF) announced today that KUSF, the university’s radio station, is moving to an online only format, effective immediately…

The move to online-only distribution gives KUSF a powerful opportunity to grow its worldwide audience. Previously, the station was limited to 100 online listeners at a time, but capacity will be increased to accommodate thousands of listeners. The station will go dark briefly for necessary engineering work. It is possible the electrical work could take several days…”

Although continued with a small group of student DJs following the shut-down of KUSF 90.3 FM, on-air opportunities have been limited following the destruction of the old studio last May. Some USF students have been volunteering at KUSF-in-Exile, an off-campus, online-only station largely made up of former KUSF DJs. USF spokesperson Anne-Marie Devine told me, “Despite the University’s efforts to support, there has been little interest on the part of the student body, and we will continue to assess that. has a space on main campus.”

For fans of the former KUSF, the fight is still not over. At least one group, Friends of KUSF, intends to file an appeal with the FCC regarding the license transfer. In the meantime, another group, San Francisco Community Radio, Inc. (SFCR) is working towards establishing a more permanent radio entity in the wake of the FCC’s decision. Founded in June, 2011, the non-profit SFCR was formed in order to “establish and operate an FCC-licensed broadcast radio station providing cultural, informational and news programming that represents and serves the diverse communities of San Francisco, CA, and the greater San Francisco Bay Area,” according to SFCR Secretary Carolyn Keddy.

Keddy pointed out that SFCR will be a station open to community members as well as students. She said, “We will also provide educational opportunities to students, interns and volunteers who want to learn how to develop quality, noncommercial, community-based radio programming. Basically fill the very large gap that was left on the airwaves when USF shut down KUSF.”

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