From our friends at KUSF:
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission Media Bureau ruled that the proposed sale of the KUSF 90.3 FM broadcast license from the University of San Francisco to Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN – a group controlled by the University of Southern California) could go ahead. Behind closed doors, the FCC, USF and CPRN agreed to a consent decree allowing the sale to go through in exchange for a $50,000 fine. We’re as disappointed as you are that the Media Bureau ignored our arguments and held secret negotiations allowing USF and CPRN to claim they didn’t knowingly violate the law.
Friends of KUSF, which filed the initial Petition To Deny the sale and license transfer has 30 days to appeal the ruling from the Media Bureau to the full five-member Commission. And the ruling leaves plenty of room for us to appeal, but it has to be filed in 30 days – that’s July 7.
We need your help to do this. Our fantastic attorneys, Peter Franck and Alan Korn, have done tremendous work for us already, forcing the FCC to review the proposed sale over the past 17 months. They have been kind enough to give us a major discount on legal fees. But we still need to pay them for their work. We have a goal of raising $20,000 in 30 days to pay for the appeal. Please go to saveKUSF.org and donate until it hurts, so that we can continue fighting to return community radio to the San Francisco airwaves. Your tax-deductible donation will also help save other local and diverse stations around the country, as the publicity surrounding our legal fight has helped prevent the loss of other college and community radio stations to big, distant organizations.
Here is a portion the press release we sent out on Thursday highlighting the continued fight:
SAN FRANCISCO – June 7, 2012 – Friends of KUSF intends to appeal Tuesday’s approval of the proposed sale of the KUSF-FM 90.3 broadcast license to the full Commission. FCC rules provide for appeals of decisions at the Commission level.
Thursday’s announcement by the FCC granted approval to the proposed sale. However, it also revealed a negotiated settlement between the FCC and the parties involved – seller University of San Francisco and buyer Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN) acknowledging the issues raised in petitions filed with the Commission and forcing the parties to pay $50,000 in fines.
In a statement, Friends of KUSF lawyers Peter Franck and Alan Korn said, “We are profoundly disappointed to learn that a silent agreement was reached between the FCC, the University of San Francisco and Classical Public Radio Network, LLC. Apparently negotiated behind closed doors without the participation of Petitioners, the so-called ‘Consent Decree’ excuses KUSF’s and CPRN’s violation of FCC rules with a $50,000 fine. This fine is less than a slap on the wrist when compared to the $3.8 million proposed purchase price, high-priced Washington D.C. attorneys’ fees and other exorbitant costs spent on this flawed transaction.”
Said Save KUSF spokesman Irwin Swirnoff, “The fine imposed by the FCC’s Media Bureau proves that we raised serious questions about this sale and we believe that it’s important for the full Commission to address these issues. If this sale is allowed to go through, San Francisco will lose an irreplaceable cultural resource, one that has served minority communities such as Chinese-language speakers for 33 years. We will continue to do everything in our power to stop this sale. USF and CPRN’s disrespect to the community cannot go unchallenged.”
The University of San Francisco announced on January 18, 2011, that it was proposing to sell beloved radio station KUSF 90.3 FM to Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN). Since the announcement of the proposed sale, 90.3 FM has been rebroadcasting the formerly commercial programming heard on KDFC 102.1 FM. Friends of KUSF and several other community members immediately organized to stop the sale. Friends of KUSF filed a “Petition To Deny” the sale at the FCC, as did community members Ted Hudacko and Loren Dobson. Instead of approving the proposed sale in four months, as is typical, the FCC ordered an investigation. The investigation forced hundreds of pages of documents to be turned over from USF and CPRN to the FCC.
Wrote Franck and Korn, “The FCC staff’s decision ignores the policy and rules violations identified in the Petitions by treating this dispute as nothing more than a ‘Format Case.’ It is well known that the FCC will not review radio station format changes and Friends of KUSF made it clear that they opposed the license transfer based on clear violations of FCC rules, as well as policy concerns regarding the educational nature and purpose of Non Commercial Educational (NCE) stations and the obligation of those stations to broadcast programming that serves local needs and interests. By taking the easy way out the FCC staff has avoided addressing the important legal and policy issues raised by Friends and other petitioners, and allowed two wealthy institutions who openly flouted Commission rules to get off with a slap on the wrist.”
Fight! Fight! Fight!
We know many of you have given money to help our fight to return KUSF 90.3 FM to the air and it’s thanks to your generous donations that we have come this far. When KUSF 90.3 FM was shut down, the community responded loud and clear that it wants KUSF 90.3 FM’s programs back. We can do this. Please consider donating at saveKUSF.org. You can also mail us a check. Make it out to our fiscal sponsor, “Media Arts Center, San Diego,” and mail it to:
San Francisco Community Radio
P.O. Box 170697
San Francisco, CA 94117-0697
Donations are tax-deductible and you will receive an acknowledgment letter confirming the donation.
SFCR – The Future of Community Radio In San Francisco
In other news, the Internal Revenue Service has granted non-profit status to San Francisco Community Radio, Inc., our new corporation that is working to return community radio to San Francisco. This is an important step in our fight, as SFCR is the educational institution that will hold the broadcast license in San Francisco. Congratulations to all who worked so hard to make this happen, especially long-time KUSF volunteer Carolyn Keddy, who shepherded SFCR through the state and federal application process.