…another college radio station sold out from under its staff. This time it was KUSF 90.3 FM, out of the University of San Francisco, which had its signal cut and staff escorted out security personnel on January 18th. The University sold the frequency to the University of Southern California, which also recently purchased classical station KDFC, which, in turn, will be broadcast at 90.3. The deal is complicated and is thoroughly detailed here, but the upshot is that KUSF no longer has a place on the dial and is switching to an online-only format. The University pocketed a cool $3.75 million from the sale, which still needs FCC approval. In the meantime, KUSF is putting up a fight.
I detailed the many reasons why webcasting alone is not suitable for the kind of radio station that KUSF, KTRU and WRVU embody in a previous post, and USF's administration is reusing many of the excuses put forth by VU and Rice: radio listenership is declining, the station wasn't serving the needs of the students, running a station is expensive, etc, etc. And, once again, a university administration ignores the fact that none of those excuses hold up under scrutiny (especially the first one) and demonstrates handily that it is willing to turn its back on the community it inhabits. I went to a Jesuit high school and I am well familiar with the principles of a Jesuit institution, so I find it incredibly disheartening that USF – which promotes "a common good that transcends the interests of particular individuals or groups" as a core value – could make such a decision. I can near guarantee that the San Francisco community, as well as the many artists and endeavors that KUSF supported, view the station as a "common good" (look no further than the extensive and well attended protests against KUSF's sale).