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City of license San Francisco, California
Broadcast area San Francisco Bay Area
Branding KDFC
Slogan Classical. And then some.
Frequency 90.3 MHz
First air date 1946 (as KDFC at 102.1)
April 25, 1977 (license, as KUSF)
Format Classical music
ERP 1,000 watts
HAAT 301 meters
Class B1
Facility ID 69143
Callsign meaning Davis Florence Crocker
Former callsigns KUSF (1977–2012)
Former frequencies 102.1 MHz (KDFC, 1946–2011)
Affiliations Independent
Owner University of Southern California
Webcast Listen Live Options Listen Live Player
Website kdfc.com

KOSC (90.3 FM) is a non-commercial radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area. The station broadcasts a classical music format, repeated on 89.9 FM in Angwin, California. That station is currently assigned the KDFC call sign. The two stations are both branded as "KDFC", and are owned by the University of Southern California, via its Classical Public Radio Network. KDFC is the radio home of the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera. Programming originates from San Francisco.

KDFC programming also airs on translator signals in Eureka and Lakeport.

While the University of Southern California officially has owned KDFC in Angwin and the two translators, the University of San Francisco owned KUSF's frequency, though it was operated and programmed by USC, until June 7, 2012 when the Federal Communications Commission officially transferred the license to new owner USC, operating as the Classical Public Radio Network.

KUSF history

From 1963 until 2011, KUSF was a student-run broadcast station owned by the University of San Francisco. Following the frequency's sale, KUSF announced plans to become an online-only station.

The station was located in the basement of Phelan Hall on the University of San Francisco campus, and was funded by the University of San Francisco, local and merchant underwriting, individual donations, and foundation grants.[1]

KUSF began in 1963 as a campus-only AM station managed by the Associated Students of the University of San Francisco (ASUSF). In 1973, USF was offered an FM radio station by a small local Bible college that wished to discontinue its radio operations. USF accepted the offer and on April 25, 1977, KUSF became an FM station broadcasting on the 90.3 frequency.[1] The old AM station later became the student-managed KDNZ.

Originally broadcasting six hours a day, KUSF began broadcasting 24 hours a day in 1981. In its early days KUSF was a conventional college station, broadcasting programs of interest to the university and greater San Francisco community. However, KUSF soon garnered attention by playing new underground music: it was one of the first radio stations to play punk rock. Many now-famous acts also first gained exposure on KUSF, most notably The B-52's and Metallica.

KDFC history

KDFC was founded in 1946 by Ed Davis, and has programmed classical music for most of its history, though at one point during the 1950s, it featured a beautiful music format.[citation needed]

For many years the programming, which was largely automated after 1976, was simulcast on KIBE 1220 AM (now KDOW), a daytime-only 5 kW AM station in Palo Alto, California that began broadcasting in 1949 from a transmitter near the western approach to the Dumbarton Bridge.[citation needed]

Ed Davis' company Sundial Broadcasting sold the AM and FM to Brown Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 1993 for US$15.5 million. In 1996 BBC sold the FM station and AM simulcast sister station (KDFC 1220 AM) to Evergreen Media, who in turn sold the FM to Bonneville Broadcasting and the AM to Douglas Broadcasting in 1997. New station management transitioned KDFC's programming to a more mass-appeal approach, which boosted ratings significantly, though was occasionally criticized for their new "top 40 of classical music" approach.

Bill Leuth, who had done mornings on rival classical station KKHI, moved to mornings at KDFC in 1997 and also contributed to the station's rise and shift from automation to live hosts.[citation needed] In 2003 KDFC became the first station in the Bay Area to broadcast using HD Radio.[citation needed]

Sale to Entercom

On January 18, 2007, Bonneville signed an agreement with Entercom Communications Corporation to trade three San Francisco stations — KOIT, KMAX, and KDFC — for three Entercom stations in Seattle, Washington and four in Cincinnati, Ohio. Entercom officially took ownership of KDFC in March 2008.[citation needed]

Move to new frequencies as listener-supported station

The University of Southern California announced, on January 18, 2011, the purchase of KUSF (90.3 MHz) from the University of San Francisco. That same day, a deal, in the works for months prior, was announced to acquire the intellectual property and call letters of KDFC from Entercom, thus making KDFC a listener-supported non-commercial outlet. Entercom, in turn, flipped the 102.1 MHz frequency to a simulcast of San Jose station KUFX, which Entercom had acquired earlier in the month, on January 24.

The new KDFC is operated by a San Francisco-based non-profit organization,[2] and also simulcasts on newly acquired KNDL (89.9 MHz) in Santa Rosa.[3]

On Tuesday, April 5, 2011, the deal for ownership of KNDL-FM officially closed. That station, on 89.9 MHz, will be assigned the call letters KDFC, according to an E-mail from KDFC president Bill Lueth, who added, "We now actually own a signal."


KDFC broadcasts classical music 24 hours a day, and morning drive hours also feature short news and traffic updates by Hoyt Smith. Programming features include: the Big One @ 1 at 1 p.m., the Island of Sanity at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and the Classical Giant at 10 at 10pm. The San Francisco Symphony airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m.

KDFC's self-described approach to the classical format includes special programming and promotions such as the "KDFC World Tour" (the music of a different country, every hour); "History on Shuffle"; (fantasy iPod sets of famous people through history); and the "KDFC Classical Star Search" talent contest.

In addition to FM and SHOUTcast MP3 streaming, KDFC was the first radio station in the country to broadcast in digital HD Radio, offering a secondary HD Radio channel, KDFC-2, featuring longer classical pieces and vocal works, without commercials on their former 102.1 FM frequency.

A multiple winner of the award for public service, KDFC is an active partner to arts groups and an active advocate for music education. Proceeds from the station's annual CD sampler, and the annual 'Music Educator of the Year' support and celebrate public school music programs.

Additional frequencies

In addition to the main station, KDFC is relayed by these stations and translators to widen its broadcast area.

On-air personalities

  • Rik Malone
  • Dianne Nicolini
  • Hoyt Smith
  • Ray White


In January 2005, a national controversy erupted when KDFC refused to sell advertising to the gay dating service "8 Guys Out," while taking advertisements for the heterosexual dating service "Table for Six". Speculation was that since KDFC's then-owner, Bonneville International Corporation, was a Mormon-controlled company, the church connection led to the advertising ban.[4] In this light, the policy of then-owner Bonneville did not allow advertising for liquor, lotteries, or casinos.

In March 2007, KDFC pulled a commercial for Chris Hedges' book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. The ad was tailored to play only in the Bay Area, to promote local appearances by the author. Bill Lueth, KDFC’s operations and program director insisted that pulling the ad was not a free-speech issue. “We don’t have any issue with their right to advertise this book. It simply doesn’t fit the expectation of our listeners on this particular radio station,” Lueth said.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 KUSF's website
  2. http://www.radioink.com/Article.asp?id=2085770&spid=24698
  3. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/18/DDV71H9VL2.DTL&tsp=1
  4. Entries from SFist tagged with '2005/08/19/rock_out_with_eight_guys_out'
  5. "KDFC pulls ad for book attacking Christian right" San Francisco Chronicle, March 16, 2007

External links

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