I met with KUSF volunteers, community members, university faculty, students and staff this week at a forum to discuss the University of San Francisco‘s decision to move KUSF to an online format and to sell the FM 90.3 radio frequency (“Sale shakes up Bay Area radio,” Jan. 19).
I welcomed the opportunity to meet face-to-face, especially with KUSF’s volunteers and staff members. I appreciate their dedication and passion and thanked them for their contributions to KUSF over the years.
The university’s decision came after careful consideration of many factors.
The first among these is our core mission to offer the highest-quality Jesuit education to our students and provide them with important opportunities to learn and to serve.
Though KUSF started as a student-operated station, at the time of our decision to sell the frequency only about 10 percent of the station’s volunteers were USF students. Regrettably, our on-campus listening audience was very small. Only one academic course is offered in conjunction with the station, with just 12 students per semester. In an era of difficult economic choices, we simply could not afford to continue subsidizing, with tuition dollars, a radio station whose primary focus was not our own students. What began as a student enterprise evolved over the years into a near-entitlement for the community. It is important that KUSF remain a robust teaching and learning experience for USF students and faculty.
I believe the decision we made balances the university’s needs with community considerations, and I’d like to dispel a few myths.
KUSF is not going away, nor will the FM 90.3 frequency go silent. As www.KUSF.org, the station, in an online streaming format, will have the ability to reach a truly worldwide audience without the weather or geographical impediments that a small radio station has. USF did not sell the call letters KUSF, the station logo or the music library. These represent important learning resources going forward.
The station’s four full-time employees will be offered similar positions at KUSF.org. FM 90.3 will be the new home of KDFC FM, San Francisco’s only full-time classical station. KDFC will continue to broadcast Metropolitan Opera programming previously hosted by KUSF.
It is true that USF was unable to give prior notice of the sale. This was part of our legal agreement with the new owners. We did not intend to cause hard feelings with those who believe they had a right to be informed beforehand, but we were obliged to follow this part of the contract.
On Tuesday, we closed the station for engineering and other changes necessary to make the transition. In doing so, we took a number of reasonable and timely security measures. We believe these were appropriate and regret if any individuals were inconvenienced in that process.
USF is proud and remains committed to continuing its 155-year tradition of service to San Francisco that includes almost 400,000 annual hours of community service to vulnerable populations in the city and across the world.
The Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J., is president of the University of San Francisco.
This article appeared on page A – 9 of the San Francisco Chronicle.
* please note that the links in this article are from SFGate, and were not edited by savekusf.org