Thursday, February 10, 2011

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Protests the Sale of KUSF

By Rachel Swan
Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM

If there's one thing the staffers at KUSF have going for them, it's critical mass. Thus far, they've amassed 7,200 members on the station's Facebook page, along with support from Yo La Tengo, Kronos Quartet, organizers at NoisePop, the San Francisco Democratic Party, and most recently, the Board of Supervisors, which voted 8-3 to oppose the sale on Tuesday. The Board's resolution urges University of San Francisco to renege its sale of the station's FCC license, and withdraw all applications to transfer the frequency at 90.3 FM. It goes on to applaud KUSF as a community asset, information portal, and educational tool, et cetera, et cetera. Such statements provided new ammo for a press release issued today by KUSF music director Irwin Swirnoff, who now fronts the ad-hoc organization, Save KUSF. He condemned the recent sale of 90.3 FM to the University of Southern California's Classical Radio Network, which, he says, has already acquired 5 other terrestrial stations. According to Swirnoff's press release, USC radio president Brenda Barnes sees KUSF as a way to consolidate her grand classical music empire, which spawned from a 2009 doctoral project Moving Classical Public Radio into the New Media Future. Barnes apparently plans to finance her operation via an online music delivery service, which uses the terrestrial stations to evade licensing fees. Thus, Save KUSF may have Facebook fans, but Barnes has a crafty business plan, and a lot more acreage on the FM dial. And, with an estimated 700,000 Bay Area classical music fans on her side, she may be a formidable opponent.

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