After a lengthy discussion involving no less than ten different scenarios, it appears that KUSP-FM in Santa Cruz, California has whittled its proposed re-formatting down to three possibilities: a mixed news/information signal with the usual NPR content and volunteer music shows, a mostly music, volunteer-oriented station, or “a conventional public radio music station” a la KCRW in Santa Monica or WXPN in Philadelphia.
“The good news is that none of these involves selling the station,” notes Santa Cruz journalism teacher Rachel Goodman in a comment to one of our stories. “The message from the public has been very loud and clear on this point.” As the station’s participation page puts it: “All three of these following options retain the 88.9 frequency and footprint.” According to Goodman a $100,000 donation has bought the operation more time and exploratory wiggle-room.
To recap: claiming excessive debt, KUSP management came close to delivering its license to the Classical Public Radio Network. But this idea “hit a nerve” with the greater KUSP community and so the station stepped back a bit from the sale, instead coming up with a host of alternative proposals with tree names (e.g. “pine,” “fig,” “plum,” “maple” etceteras). Some of these ten suggested formats involved selling the station; others did not.
Now the conversation appears to be down to three restructuring plans. What happens next? You guessed it: another meeting. This one will be held on Monday June 29 at 6 PM at the Community Foundation in Santa Cruz. It will be the seventh public gathering the station has hosted regarding its future, but management emphasizes that a decision must be made soon.
“This process must lead to a prompt decision about the station’s strategy,” KUSP’s meeting page notes. “The station’s financial resources are limited and additional fund-raising efforts depend on communicating a clear direction the station will be headed.” KUSP’s board is expected to make the final call (or something like it) on the license’s future at some point in July.