Supporters’ Letters


David Harrington — Kronos Quartet

“KUSF is an indispensable part of the artistic fabric of San Francisco and the entire Bay Area. Known internationally for its open, exploratory and west coast approach to broadcasting, KUSF has been a beacon of creativity that has defined music for generations. Now is not the time in the history of our country for this essential forum of public edification to disappear.”


Jello Biafra

Alternative Tentacles Records
PO Box 419092
San Francisco, CA 94141

Office of the Secretary
Federal Communication Commission
Washington, DC 20554

Dear FCC: I strongly urge you to reject the sale of KUSF in San Francisco to the University of Southern California/CPRN and their partner, the aggressive media conglomerate Entercom.

KUSF has been a highly respected and essential community resource for the greater San Francisco Bay Area for decades. Their high-quality free form music programming has made KUSF nationally renowned as one of the top college radio stations in the country, if not the top station altogether. Even major entertainment corporations keep their ear to KUSF for major upcoming talent at a time when the music industry needs all the help and ideas it can get.

Even more appalling, the secret sale of KUSF arbitrarily wiped out key foreign language news and affairs programs that served as a lifeline for critically underserved parts of our diverse community. Almost a dozen foreign language programs such as Chinese Star Radio (in Cantonese), So Da Brasil, The Armenian Hour, The Turkish Cultural Program, as well as the Disability and Senior News Report were the only programs anywhere serving these communities. To yank them all away in an unannounced lockout is not just cruel, it is full-blown ethnic and racial discrimination.

Now all the community gets from 90.3 FM is non-stop classical music piped in by computer from Southern California. There is no diversity whatsoever. All local and community programming is gone. I respect that classical music is another small market that has struggled to stay on the air. But this is not even good classical music. It is so calculatedly bland and of such poor quality that one might as well be listening to the grim, restricted government programming in a place like North Korea. Needless to say, USC/CPRN allows no input or ideas from classical music supporters in this area either.

This is why we are witnessing an almost unprecedented community outrage that has spread far wider than listeners of KUSF. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Democratic Party and even the Faculty Association at the University of San Francisco itself are now actively opposing the underhanded sale of KUSF. This has even triggered a campus rebellion among University of San Francisco students that the sale of KUSF and the unethical way it was conducted is a gross violation of the Jesuit doctrine and philosophy they enrolled at USF for in the first place. USF has yet to show how any of the money from the sale will be used to benefit its own students. Needless and expensive legal battles may go on for years if this sale is approved.

None of this outrage and opposition will go away. The damage is too widespread. That is why I, and almost everyone I know here, have joined together to urge you to please reject the sale of KUSF 90.3 FM to USC/CPRN in the strongest possible terms.

Sincere thanks,

Jello Biafra

Ira Kaplan — Yo La Tengo

I’m sure you’re getting flooded with emails like this, and probably deleting all of them unread, but just in case I’m wrong, let me not only add my voice from the other side of the country in protest, but focus on one particular disturbing issue. It strikes me as anti-everything a university should stand for to have failed to give KUSF an opportunity to purchase the station.

In addition to playing in Yo La Tengo, I have the opportunity to work at WFMU, a radio station in New Jersey that owes its existence to having purchased the station from Upsala College safely in advance of that institution’s bankruptcy. WFMU, as a unique radio voice–and love it or hate it, it is most certainly unique–is not only serving a community, and in the internet age, that’s now a worldwide community, but has forged a community all its own.

KUSF was certainly serving that purpose as well. Now it will be another NPR station, and nothing against NPR, but putting it mildly, that’s a shame. KUSF has served various communities admirably in its tenure, not just its local listenership, but those that have been inspired by its example. The University of San Francisco is betraying both the local community by depriving it of KUSF’s voice, but also everyone out there who is watching. To have pulled the plug on the station without giving them a chance to continue is an outrage against expression.

sincerely yours,
Ira Kaplan

Jeff Mangum — Neutral Milk Hotel

February 25, 2011

To Whom It May Concern:

I am deeply saddened to learn that KUSF could be sold down the river in such a careless and short-sighted way by a misguided man who claims to be doing so in the school’s best interest. From my perspective, all he is accomplishing is breaking the students’ hearts for a big bag of money that could easily have been raised by the community had they been given the chance. Student-run radio saved my life and to witness it being bulldozed like this is an outrage. It is my hope that the wishes of the majority will be honored by allowing the people of San Francisco to reclaim KUSF as their own, and that you will not let a small and disconnected minority so foolishly destroy it for lack of vision. To fail to do so would be an insult to all those who have given their time, love and energy to the station over the last thirty four years, and to expression itself.

Jeff Mangum
Neutral Milk Hotel
New York City, NY

Tom Ammiano — California Assemblymember

California Legislature
Tom Ammiano
Assemblymember, Thirteenth District

February 23, 2011

Chairman Edward P. Roski, Jr.
Board of Trustees University of Southern California
c/o Office of the President
3551 Prousdale Parkway
ADM 110
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0012

Re: Proposed Sale of KUSF 90.3 FM

Dear Chairman Roski, As a devoted San Francisco Giants fan, I am excited to see the rich history of the Giants and Dodgers rivalry preparing to renew itself for another exciting year. However I write to you today to strongly urge you to reconsider the University of Southern California’s participation in the abrupt sale of KUSF 90.3 FM. Since there is still time to amend this deal, I sincerely hope that you and the USC Board of Trustees will reconsider.

Since April 25, 1977, KUSF has been broadcasting a diverse range of local and independent music and community based programming on the 90.3 FM frequency, giving a voice to the rich mix of cultures and communities that make San Francisco so special. But at 10:00 a.m. on January 18, 2011, without notice or warning, the KUSF broadcast was summarily terminated, KUSF volunteers were ejected from the station, and thousands of listeners across San Francisco and around the world were left with nothing but static. Terminated that day, and for the month since, were new music programs that spotlight local bands and independent artists, vital social service programs such as the Senior News and Disability Report, and an array of cultural programs broadcasting in twelve different languages, including Chinese Star Radio, Radio Goethe, Franco Fun, and So Da Brasil.

The termination of KUSF 90.3 FM was due to the secret agreement between the University of San Francisco and the University of Southern California to sell the 90.3 FM radio frequency for $3.75 million. But, as the overwhelming public outcry against this deal over the last month has made abundantly clear, the cost of closing KUSF will be far greater. It will cost the people of San Francisco an incalculable loss of a public trust and community asset that serves as an extraordinary educational tool, provides local access to vital information, and is intimately woven into the fabric of our unique and diverse city.

I understand that, due to the administrative process and legal challenges, the assignment of the 90.3 FM license cannot be completed for quite some time. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to respectfully urge you and the USC Board of Trustees to reconsider your participation in this deal.

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, AD-13

Logan Kroeber — The Dodos


Steve Mackay — Iggy Pop and The Stooges

Testimonial from Steve Mackay - Iggy and the Stooges
Testimonial from Steve Mackay - Iggy and the Stooges

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