Jan 19, 2011

S.F. classical FM goes nonprofit in multistation trade

Classical Public Radio Network, based at KUSC in Los Angeles, has organized a new pubradio nonprofit to operate San Francisco’s 60-year-old classical stalwart, formerly commercial KDFC. In the multistation deal announced yesterday, KDFC maintains its air personalities and relationships with the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. It moves to two new frequencies, while its former owner, Entercom Communications, redeploys its old 102.1 MHz signal to simulcast its classic rock station, KUFX in San Jose, which will move to S.F.

The Los Angeles station acquired two frequencies for the new nonprofit — 90.3 MHz, formerly college station KUSF at the private University of San Francisco, and 89.9 MHz, formerly Christian music outlet KNDL, from Howell Mountain Broadcasting Co. After FCC approval of the deals, the classical station’s top priority will be to extend the reach of its new signals, which will be weaker, especially in the South Bay, Program Director Bill Lueth told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Volunteers and staffers working at KUSF were surprised to learn of the sale yesterday. Edna Barron, a board operator, told Current the university had not offered student groups an opportunity to buy the channel. California Watch reported that the university locked out the music station’s staff soon after telling them the station would be sold. A news release from the school and Entercom said KUSF will continue to operate online.

Brenda Barnes, KUSC president, said in the release that the Los Angeles station had observed the ongoing move of classical stations to noncommercial operation and asked Entercom “if they were willing to work with us on a managed transition.” Entercom was willing.

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