by Rachel Swan
It would be easier to condemn the sale of University of San Francisco station KUSF if it had involved some kind of evil corporate takeover. Unfortunately, the situation is a lot more complicated than that. Apparently, KUSF is one piece of collateral damage from another sale — that of classical station KDFC to the University of Southern California. Since KDFC hadn't generated much revenue as a commercial station, its parent company, Entercom, decided to sell its license at an undisclosed price, according to San Francisco Chronicle reporter Peter Hartlaub. The new owner, USC, plans to turn KDFC into a non-profit and move it lower on the dial — specifically, to a slot formerly occupied by Christian station KNDL (89.9 FM) and KUSF (90.3 FM). Today the university announced that it would move KUSF exclusively to an online format, which could potentially broaden its listenership (previously just 100 listeners at a time), or hinder it. Staffers and volunteers were none too happy when university officials kicked them out and changed the locks this morning.
The move is a pyrrhic victory for the University of San Francisco, which earned $3.75 million from the sale of KUSF, Hartlaub reported. It will help preserve the Bay Area's last stronghold for classical music, at a time when classical stations are not faring well in Arbitron ratings. It's also a financial windfall for the university. So far, university officials have said little about how press release issued today. That said, it had the unfortunate side affect of pitting two non-profits against each other, and probably wiping out North Bay station KNDL all together. Meanwhile, the former KDFC frequency 102.1 FM will go to another Entercom-owned station, KUFX “The Fox," which broadcasts from San Jose. It plays classic rock.