Wednesday, January 19, 2011

KDFC goes noncommercial, KFOX enters SF

San Jose classic rock station KFOX (KUFX) is taking over classical KDFC’s 102.1 frequency, and KDFC will become a noncommercial station transmitting at 90.3 FM in San Francisco in a swap announced Tuesday.

Entercom Communications sold KDFC to the University of Southern California for an undisclosed amount. At noon Monday, USC will move the station from 102.1 to its new frequencies, 90.3 in San Francisco and 89.9 in the North Bay, which were acquired from other noncommercial broadcasters.

"The new signals will have minimal reception south of Oakland and San Francisco for now, but will continue to be available over the internet at," said KDFC vice president Bill Lueth on the station's website. "The new KDFC has already begun to look for new signals to offer reception in the South Bay and the entire Bay Area for our around-the-clock classical programming."

KDFC operates with 33,000 watts from a transmitter atop Mount Beacon in Marin County, above Sausalito. KDFC will move to KUSF, which operates from San Francisco with 3,000 watts.

Dianne Nicolini, Hoyt Smith, Rik Malone and Ray White will remain with KDFC, according to Lueth.

Now here's the story about KFOX. In November, Entercom bought KFOX in San Jose for $9 million. It was previously a Clear Channel station.

At noon Monday, KFOX will begin transmitting on the old KDFC 102.1 frequency in San Francisco while continuing to operate in San Jose at 98.5. The arrangement is similar to that of KFOG, which transmits in San Francisco at 104.5 and in the South Bay at 97.7.

KFOX will remain a classic rock station. Greg Kihn is in no jeopardy as the morning man and Tim Jeffreys will continue on middays, and the station will air the Sharks in both SJ and SF. KFOG's Rick Stuart is joining KFOX and will do the afternoon drive. Entercom has hired former KSAN and KSEG program director Larry Sharp to be KFOX's pd.

As part of this swap, the University of San Francisco’s KUSF 90.3 has left the air and will become an Internet station. KCBS Radio reports that when KUSF employees showed up for work, they found the station was locked and closed. The Chron also reports that the station’s staff was left in the dark about the penning sale. USF spokesman Gary McDonald told KCBS that the sale of KUSF’s license fetched $3.75 million for the school. Staffers will meet Wednesday night at the station to figure out what they will do next.

"As it shifts to an online-only format, USF will focus on the station’s primary purpose as a teaching laboratory for students," a statement from USF said.

KDFC will also be heard on 800-watt KNDL 89.9 FM in Angwin (Napa County), which was acquired from Howell Mountain Broadcasting Co. Howell had been broadcasting a Christian format called "the Candle."

"These changes follow a long trend of classical stations moving from the commercial to the non-commercial model, which has proved more sustainable for classical music because of the passion of its listeners," said Brenda Barnes, president of Classical KUSC, the Los Angeles classical station that has been run by USC for over 60 years and now will operate KDFC. "Because classical music has been transitioning, we contacted Entercom to ask if they were willing to work with us on a managed transition."

A press release, issued jointly by USC and Entercom, has quotes from San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and SF Opera General Director David Gockley blessing the deal.


Anonymous said...

This is a bad deal for classical music fans because the new KDFC stations don't reach very far. Entercom could have replaced The Wolf 95.7 with KDFC. Who listens to country music anymore? Especially in a sophisticated market like San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

No one on the Peninsula will have any classical music after this deal is implemented! So if you listen in your car or on a conventional radio, you are out of luck. No music for you!

And they want the "listeners" to support them? Riiiiight.