STAND UNITED, NEVER BE DIVIDED
Fellow college radio stations KTRU and KUSF are in more advanced stages of a fight for survival – both found themselves in the predicament of having no warning before having their transmitter silenced and locks to their studios changed. In both instances, student, political, and public pressure is being put on the responsible parties to undo these egregious wrongs.
This recent article in PopMatters highlights some interesting points, particularly that radio conglomerates are on the prowl – “radio conglomerates [are] actively shopping for non-commercial radio licenses”. This indicates that these transmitter licenses have value and based on this new interest to back-end of the FM dial, will continue to hold value, particularly as this area is further consolidated. Unfortunately, it also seems that the FCC are green-lighting this consolidation, but appeals are in the works for KTRU and KUSF. Only time will tell how these very unpopular decisions will affect FCC rulings. FCC, one would hope, would take pause of community station consolidation after the national disgrace that is the current state of commercial radio.
These points and others make up a cautionary tale to WRVU and to others.
Side Note: Even though KUSF is garnering most of the attention in regard to college radio consolidation issues,
keep in mind that KUSF, at 34 years, is a relative baby compared to the nearly 60 year-old institution that is WRVU. but both WRVU (57 years) and KUSF (48 years) have equally long and rich histories since being chartered as student radio stations. Thanks Loren (see comment section) for the correction.
Excerpt from PopMatters:
Listeners to lauded college radio station KUSF were in for a shock
on January 18, 2011, when the station’s FM broadcast abruptly turned
to static during the Greek composer Vangelis’ piece 'L ‘Apocalypse des
At 10am, University of San Francisco (USF) shut down the
transmitter for 34-year-old college radio station KUSF without warning
during the middle of a volunteer DJ’s show. A band waiting to appear on
the show (Pickpocket Ensemble) was sent home, the locks on the
station doors were changed, and KUSF volunteers were escorted out.
By 5pm, music from San Francisco’s classical station KDFC was heard
emanating from KUSF’s airwaves at 90.3 FM. In their official statement,
USF noted that they would be moving KUSF to an online-only format.
In the days and weeks following the sudden shutdown details
have emerged about the complex deal that has resulted in Classical
Public Radio Network (CPRN) taking control of KUSF’s broadcast. Owned
by University of Southern California (USC) and Public Radio Capital, CPRN
has filed paperwork with the FCC in order to purchase KUSF’s license
and transmitter, as well as the license and transmitter for religious
radio station KNDL (located north of San Francisco). With these two
purchases they are starting up a classical public radio group in the San
Francisco Bay Area and are airing programming from KDFC. Up until
these programming changes happened, KDFC was a commercial
classical station owned by radio broadcasting conglomerate Entercom.
After being approached by CPRN, Entercom agreed to relinquish its
KDFC brand in order to use its frequency for more lucrative commercial
programming. Currently they are airing a simulcast of recently purchased
rock station KUFX on KDFC’s old frequency of 102.1 FM.
In the past year, however, that’s changed as the well-publicized
pending sale of Rice University station KTRU and the rumored sell-off
of Vanderbilt University station WRVU have garnered national press. As
a New York Times piece in December 2010 pointed out, in each of these
instances universities cite funding crises and declining student interest
in radio as rationale for eliminating college radio stations.
See Popmatters article by Jennifer Waits for Complete Post...
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