FCC Denies Relocation of Radio Transmitter, Grants KUSF Time

After a two-month struggle with the recent sale of their station, KUSF members have managed to acquire  a little more time to hopefully regain control over their cultural, musical and social outlet to the San Francisco Bay area.

On Feb. 11, classical music station KDFC issued a request on the University’s behalf  to move the radio transmitter to the city of Sausalito.
Until the FCC approves the KUSF’s license transferal to KDFC, university affiliates continue to have control over the transmitter that broadcasts the 90.3 airwaves throughout the Bay area. The transmitter is currently located in the KUSF offices on the USF campus.
Miranda Morris said that one of the “concrete reasons” for the request is KDFC’s desire to be in complete control of the function and access to the transmitter.

According to Jennifer Waits of radiosurvivor.com, a news site that “attempts to shed light on the ongoing importance of radio”, the transmitter move was requested on the grounds that “upon approval of the FCC, the [station] license will be transferred to an entity not controlled by the university…it is necessary to relocate the station’s transmitter site”, as stated in the request filing. The move would also allow much easier access to the transmitter and antenna, both which are currently monitored by USF security staff.

Morris said the move would provide KDFC, a listener-supported radio station, with a clearer signal to “broaden their classical [music] listening base” in the Marin County area who would contribute the most monetary support to the station. Moving to the 90.3 channel transformed commercial KDFC to a noncommercial station.

The FCC denied USF’s request to move the transmitter due to the signal disruption it would create for stations broadcasting in the same area. In the FCC’s letter to KUSF, they state, “KUSF has provided insufficient justification in support of its request for waiver…the request for waver IS DENIED.”

Though the denial has prolonged the final steps of KDFC’s move to 90.3, Morris believes the station is getting a little too cozy. Until the FCC approves the license transferal, KUSF remains in charge of the transmitter and anything broadcasted on 90.3, she said. “KDFC is acting like they own the station”. Morris pointed out KDFC’s “arrogance for not telling listeners that [the station] is still KUSF/KDFC” as one of several technicality issues KUSF is having with the station.

Though KDFC still has a chance to reapply a second request for the move of the transmitter, there is a bit of optimism in resurrecting the Bay Area’s only noncommercial radio station. KUSF is able to buy more time to stall the impending sale of their license to KDFC, owned by the University of Southern California. More petitions to deny the license transfer can continue to be filed for a short period.

“We are in an uphill battle to get the license back. Little things like the denial to move the transmitter have been God sent to us”, said Morris.

Morris reports  there are only 2,000 noncommercial radio stations out of the 13,000 stations that operate in the United States, calling the vast difference in numbers a “national crisis”.

“With community radio, you have a direct audience. There is direct communication between the producers, hosts and programmers. If you’re listening to NPR’s Breath of Fresh Air, for example, that’s national. You’re not going to call into that [show]”, Morris said.

KUSF student volunteer Chad Heimann advocates the community’s opportunity to have an “alternative voice” through noncommercial radio. He added, “It breaks down the floodgate and gives the public access to mediums that they wouldn’t usually have access to.

Radio, television and magazines are all a one-voice media. It’s really hard for the public to have access to these mediums because it’s something people build their careers around.”

According to Heimann, KUSF currently streams two online stations, one station that serves as a training tool for student DJs and is completely run by students, and a temporary station called KUSF in Exile.

KUSF in Exile combines “disenfranchised volunteers and students” with staff at their noncommercial sister station, WFMU, based in New Jersey. With donations, KUSF in Exile was able to set up a studio space in the Bay Area. This station “attempts to recreate what the station was like prior to the shutdown with former community and student volunteers”, said Heimann. “It’s pretty close to what it was before…it’s pretty much the original 90.3, but online.”

The station will run until KUSF finds an FM station to do their broadcasting. Heimann said, “Our dream is to get back on the air…but for now we’re still doing shows and being present in the community”.

To stream KUSF in Exile, go to

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-editor: Natalie Cappetta

News Editor: Erica Montes


9 thoughts on “FCC Denies Relocation of Radio Transmitter, Grants KUSF Time

  1. First of all, who is Miranda Morris and why should we listen to her?

    Second of all, there is no NPR program called “A Breath of Fresh Air.” It’s called “Fresh Air” and is an award-winning interview program, not a talk show. And despite Morris’ claims, public radio programs many national and local call-in programs, including “Talk of the Nation,” “Diane Rhem,” “On Point” and KQED’s award-winning “Forum.”

    If this is the standard of broadcasting education at USF, it surely doesn’t say much and proves that the majority of the KUSF staff cares more about working for record companies or concert promoters than being broadcasters.

  2. Miranda Morris is employed by the University of San Francisco and works at the offices of KUSF FM 90.3 which is currently broadcasting KDFC programming from studios located at Entercom San Francisco HQ on 3rd Street under the assumed control of the newly installed KUSF “General Manager” Michael Bloch, Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences at USF. USF has done it’s best to kill the Media Studies curriculum and discourage student involvement at the radio station for years, selling the license & transmitter is for the paltry sum of $3.75 million is just their latest bad business decision.

    Finally, who is Mark Jeffries and why should we listen to his trollish comments???

  3. Please tell me which of my comments are “trollish.” If I was trying to be a troll, would I be using my real name and would I be logged in through Facebook?

    And please tell me what Ms. Morris’ title is and her experience as a broadcaster–and why she can’t call well-known NPR programs by their proper name.

    Finally, please tell me what KUSF’s Arbitron PPM rating was in the Holiday 2010 book, the last ratings book before the ownership change and then tell me what KDFC’s rating was. Since KUSF seems to be missing from radio-info.com’s listings while KQED, KALW, KPFA and much smaller non-commercial stations are listed, perhaps you know something I don’t know.

  4. Foghornfan: I will continue to be civil in all responses to these comments.

    Mr. Jeffries: The fact that a person from Illinois is making these kind of comments on an article in a student newspaper from San Francisco is highly suspicious, I can find no public statements like yours being posted by San Francisco residents. Could you please explain your interest in this topic as an Illinois resident? I have monitored most of the press coverage on the proposed sale of KUSF fm 90.3 and any comments, letters or editorials which support the prospective buyers can usually be traced back to one of the parties of this transaction whether they are written by USF, CPRN or their PR firms as well as volunteers/interns/employees of these organisations and the occasional troll. My point here is that there has been little or no public outcry in favour of this license transfer.

    Miranda Morris worked as an assistant to KUSF General Manager Steve Runyon until his position was officially taken over by Michael Bloch, Associate Dean Of Arts & Sciences at USF, Morris and Runyon still work for USF. I fully understand why she would mention “Fresh Air” (it’s hardly relevant that she may have called it “A Breath Of Fresh Air”) to point out the difference between a non-commercial college station and a program on NPR – she also did not mention any national call-in shows which do happen to take callers.

    This article contains several minor inaccuracies and should be clarified and updated, especially since a revised construction permit was granted by the FCC on April 12.

    USF does not currently focus on broadcast media as part of it’s curriculum.

    I believe that the lack of Arbitron ratings for KUSF in 2010 is because USF had opted not to pay for such consideration, prior to that the station ranked among the top college stations in the US for a number of years. I recommend contacting the KUSF office and asking for Steve Runyon who is best qualified to answer any specific questions about this topic. http://kusf.org/

  5. Good thinking. Wondering what you think of its implication on society as a whole though? People obviously get frustrated when it begins to affect them locally. I will be back soon and follow up with a response.

  6. You lost. The FCC has transferred the license. Now, progress forward, positively instead of slinging mud over the sale of the radio station.

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