In Bay Area Radio Scramble, Some Listeners Fall Off the Dial

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We’ve devoted the full resources of the KQED news operation to learning the old and new radio station call letters and frequencies of the stations affected by the big radio deal yesterday. (So far, all I’ve been able to commit to memory is that 88.5 in San Francisco remains the domain of KQED.)

We’ve got some material here to help interested parties make sense of the deal’s various aspects. The remarkable thing is that the scrambling of the dial affects four different radio constituencies — listeners of the Christian music, classic rock, free-form college, and classical formats. And at least three of those are going to be unhappy. To take in the full boat of changes, check out the following:

  • News Fix: KUSF Sells License, Goes Off-Air – our post from yesterday focuses on the loss of college station KUSF 90.3, a longtime musical haven for fans of independent and off-the-beaten-path music.
  • Cy Musiker interviews KDFC Music Director Rik Malone – Malone says the deal will help preserve classical music on the radio — struggling around the country — in the Bay Area. KDFC will become listener-supported, and though the station has applied to boost the signal, the move to the low-power 90.3 transmitter will leave many former listeners struggling to hear through the static, if at all.

    Cy Musiker interviews Rik Malone

  • Today on Forum, Scott Shafer spoke with Brenda Barnes, managing director of USC’s Classical Public Radio Network, which bought KDFC; Irwin Swirnoff, music director for KUSF, which is no longer on the air; and Joshua Kosman, classical music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Since KUSF is the odd man out here: Some clips of Irwin Swirnoff, spliced together. He is obviously critical of the deal and discusses what he considers to be the importance of KUSF to the community and to the local music scene. (KUSF staffers are planning a protest tonight.)

    Irwin Swirnoff on Forum

  • Here is the full Forum episode:

  • Finally, I haven’t heard too much about the demise of KNDL, the Christian station operating out of St. Helena in Napa County, which will now broadcast KDFC’s classical programming. Here’s the message on the station’s home page:

    Dear Listener and Supporter of KNDL Radio:

    I am writing to let you know that “The Candle” will be leaving the air on January 17th. The board of Howell Mountain Broadcasting Company has accepted an offer from Classical Public Radio Network which operates Classical KUSC. Their goal is to provide a full-time, non-commercial classical music service for our region.

    For nearly 50 years our signal has been coming from Mt. St. Helena in a variety of formats–classical, talk, easy listening, and Christian. We hope the signal will continue to bless you and enrich you into the future.

    KNDL will stop accepting donations and pledges immediately… Thank you for listening and for phoning with your prayer requests and encouragement. Your emails have contained amazing stories of Gods’ blessing in your lives, and we have been encouraged to be part of His great plan.

    Due to the nature of radio, we were unable to know most of you by face, nor were you able to know us. But we look forwarding to meeting all of you in His kingdom, by His grace.

    “The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Philippians 4:23).

    With best regards,
    Tim Mitchell, President
    Howell Mountain Broadcasting Company

    I’d say stay tuned, but some of you won’t want to…

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