More than five years after 90.3 KUSF was taken off the air, its former staffers have succeeded in securing another FM frequency and will be bringing back its version of community programming to the radio.
Last Friday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) selected San Francisco Community Radio (SFCR), a non-profit organization started by KUSF staffers, and San Francisco Public Press to run low-power FM stations inside city limits. The two organizations will have to share a frequency, 102.5 FM, but the decision means that, barring any appeals by groups that were denied licenses, the once influential San Francisco radio station will be back on the air.
KUSF was started in 1963 at the University of San Francisco (USF) as a campus-only, student-run AM station, until it was offered an FM station ten years later. It then became a noncommercial educational station, and its programming was shared by students and local residents, who mixed a wide variety of music with news and cultural shows, many of which were in other languages (Chinese, Polish and 11 others).
"We're serving parts of the community that haven't really had a broadcast outlet," SFCR treasurer Damin Esper said. "There are so many symbiotic relationships there. We broadcasted a show in Polish; where is Polish on the commercial or non-commercial radio dial now?"
The station began 24-hour programming in 1981, and would go on to receive several awards and recognition for its work, including having San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown declare April 25, 1998 -- the station's 35th birthday -- as “KUSF 90.3 FM Stereo Day In San Francisco.”