After nearly six months the FCC has closed the books on one of the stranger license transfers in recent years, the sale of non-commercial Adult Alternative KUSF from the University of San Francisco to the Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN), a non-profit entity which is primarily run by the University of Southern California, in return for $3.75 million.
The path was cleared for final approval when both the University of San Francisco and CPRN agreed to sign a consent decree and make a $50,000 payment to the FCC in acknowledgment of regulatory violations that occurred prior to the approval.
The odyssey started in January of this year when, as covered by Billboard.biz, KUSF's programming was suddenly taken off the 90.9 frequency after 34 years and replaced by a classical music format overseen by CPRN. At the time the only information about the change was a posting on the university's Web site announcing the agreement to transfer the license.
Where things got complicated was when the FCC became aware of an agreement that existed between the two entities after making the deal but before receiving FCC approval. The contract, which they called a Public Service Operating Agreement, essentially detailed how CPRN was, in effect, paying monthly rent to the University in return for starting to air classical programming on the frequency prior to FCC approval of the sale.
The FCC investigated the agreement and determined the rent payments violated the regulations governing non-commercial licenses selling airtime for profit which resulted in the fine and consent decree.
During the lengthy investigation the station has been dark, allowing local listeners who were fans of the station to continue hoping that KUSF might return to the airwaves. But as of today, it's clear that will not be the case.