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Six KUSF DJs Featured on Feb 18th Amoeba San Francisco Instore to be Broadcast Live on A Dozen US Radio Stations

Posted by Billyjam, February 13, 2011 11:23pm | Post a Comment
In an act of solidarity with the Save KUSF movement and the legions of KUSF 90.3FM supporters still in shock over the sudden silencing last month of San Francisco's beloved freeform radio station, Amoeba Music San Francisco will join forces with New Jersey's WFMU radio tnd several other radio stations this Friday, February 18th, to host an all KUSF DJ live remote broadcast that will be on WFMU airwaves back east as well as streaming online on WFMU.org. KUSF DJs spinning music sets during the 3 hour instore that begins at noon sharp will include Irwin (Sleeves on Hearts), Carolyn, Stereo Steve, Jantine B, Harry D (In The Soul Kitchen), and DJ Schmeejay, who was in the middle of his popular Tuesday morning show, Radiodrome, on the morning of January 18th when the plug (literally) was pulled on the 90.3FM transmitter. 

The other radio stations who will be broadcasting the Save KUSF Amoeba instore include KXLU Los Angeles who broadcast on 88.9FM, WXYC Chapel Hill, North Carolina who broadcast on 89.3FM, KFJC 89.7FM, WCBN Ann Arbor, KVRX Austin, KALX 90.7FM Berkeley, WITC Cazenovia NY, WREK Atlanta, KRFP Moscow, Idaho and KZSU Stanford who, as any Bay Area radio fan already knows, are at 90.1FM. Each station will broadcast both terrestrially and on their online streams.

The Amoeba/WFMU instore broadcast is just the latest in a seemingly never ending deluge of events organized to show support for the much revered radio station that since 1977 has been an integral part of the cultural fabric of San Francisco. "Ever since the station went off the air the show of support has been overwhelming. And it seems like it's only growing," one Save KUSF volunteer told me at Borderlands Cafe on Valencia Street last Wednesday. The event, one of several Save KUSF events that night alone, came one day after the good news that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors had ruled 8 to 3 in opposition to the sale of the station. That resolution by the Board of Supes, who recognize KUSF as a vital part of the San Francisco community, urges the University to reconsider its actions, renege its sale of the station's FCC license and to withdraw all applications to transfer the 90.3FM frequency, which is now classical music station KDFC. The Supes' ruling can only help in the next step in the Save KUSF battle, which is presenting the case to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), since it has not yet approved the sale.

Meanwhile, the momentum of support for the Save KUSF movement, that includes former station Save KUSFvolunteers, dedicated listeners of its diverse cultural programming, and musicians & community members whose lives were enriched by the station's very existence, is continually expanding. The Save KIUSF Facebook page is up to over 7,300 members with many more just visiting the page for updates on the latest events. In just under one month the page received 1,336,501 post views. For many of these same people, that fateful morning of Jan 18th has turned one of those where were you when you heard the news moments. "I was on my way to my job and I was tuned into KUSF for the ride, as [always]," said KUSF DJ Steve The Creep, who used to be heard on Thursday afternoons.

"But since we have had problems with the transmitter going dead in the past due to storms or whatever technical difficulties... I just assumed it was a temporary glitch," continued Steve. "So I turned it off. But when, 20 minutes later, I turned it back on it was the same thing -- no signal, just static, I was kind of surprised. And then later, about an hour after they pulled the plug on him during his show, I got a call from DJ Schmeejay to say, 'We've been sold,' and I was like, 'What? What are talking about?' And he's telling me that 'They're all here and they're getting ready to kick us out of the station. They just sold the station.' It was devastating news to hear. I couldn't believe it." "Unbelievable. And how it was done is just unacceptable," said Amoeba San Francisco employee & KUSF DJ Mike Bee, who along with Andrew Jervis and Tomas Palermo presented the long-running, popular electronic weekly show The Friday Night Session.

But perhaps the most shocked of all was DJ Schmeejay, who was just getting into the groove of his Tuesday morning Radiodrome show when the station suddenly went dark. As he so eloquently recalled on his blog The Final Five Minutes of that January 18th morning, "It was Bobby Goldsboro's birthday that day, and as I have a couple of old 45's of his, I decided to bring one down to the station and celebrate his 70th on the air with a song. When going through my records at home that morning, I also grabbed Vangelis Papathanissiou's "Lapocalypse des Animaux" to play underneath us at the breaks of my sets. It was already looking out to be another emotionally charged Radiodrome.

At about 9:50am, after playing Goldsboro's weepy "Danny is a Mirror to Me," I announced the song and the rest of the set over the top of Vangelis' ambient greek genius. The piece continued as I turned around to see Trista Bernasconi, KUSF Program Director, standing in the doorway of the studio. She asked me to step outside, and looked upset. I went over and she told me, "This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. The station has been sold, and I have to turn the transmitter off," wrote Scheemjay. "I was stunned. Immediately, other people from the university who were there in the wings were telling me, 'everything else will stay the same, don't worry -- we will be online within hours, but only online.' I looked behind me into Studio A and the signal was already gone as my record continued to play silently on Turntable One." Click here to hear Schmeejay's last mic break and last bit of music played followed by static.

Recently I did a series of random interviews of KUSF fans both on the street in the Mission District and on the Save KUSF Facebook page. On the street, where every other person I stopped to talk to turned out to DJ Irwin KUSFbe a KUSF fan, the consensus seemed to be a combination of shock and outrage. One person was a musician whose music used to get played on KUSF. Another was a  woman who drove a lot in San Francisco and KUSF was her "soundtrack," she told me. One was a guy who constantly won tickets to concerts on KUSF. They all missed the station terribly. One listener named John, a fan of local bands he learned about exclusively from KUSF, said he was "really pissed off" and that he has gone to "several of the Save KUSF rallies" to voice his unhappiness. On the Save KUSF Facebook page I asked folks specifically what it was that they missed most about the station, as well as what they listening to now in place of KUSF. "I am listening at work to KXLU from LA. Fortunately I can stream it. They are very supportive of SAVE KUSF," said Jim Simmons, adding, "I miss the local flavor of KUSF and the incredible diversity of the music. Most of all I miss my friends -- the DJ's. Their unique styles and personalities." "I miss Carolyn's noon whistle," said Byron Abels-Smit, who also now streams KXLU in KUSF's absence. "That simple thing made me feel connected."

"I'm really missing KUSF in the city. In my car I'm flipping between KFJC, KALX, KZSU, and Radio Valencia. They all come in in different parts of SF and the Bay Area, so kind of depends on where I am and how reception is. And it's been amazing to hear KUSF DJs on all of those stations either playing music or talking about the shutdown," said Jennifer Waits, who cites DJ Schmeejay's show as one of her favorite radio shows anywhere. Another KUSF fan, Paul Sauer, said, "I miss the thrill of discovering something new, old, or obscure that you had never heard before and discovered you suddenly loved. I miss the sheer variety of music and the personalities of real deejays whose only agenda was to share their love of music with you." One of those DJs is Loren from KUSF's legendary, three-decade strong heavy Rampage Radio KUSFmetal show Rampage Radio, who said he misses been on the air and is listening to the KUSF archives online.

The disgust at what went down is not just a Bay Area reaction. Everywhere fans of KUSF and of freeform, non-commercial radio, who've noticed this unsettling recent trend of US universities selling off their radio stations, were equally upset by the news. "This has become really common, colleges selling their FM licenses to NPR stations for millions and keeping the student station as web-only," said New Jersey's WFMU station manager Ken Freedman, as reported here on the Amoeblog on the day of the 90.3FM shut-down. Since then he has taken an active role of showing support for KUSF, as have many DJs on the New Jersey station. "I remember being out in San Francisco for one week back in 1993 and every place I went into they were playing KUSF. KUSF was a really good station and what happened is ridiculous," said the WFMU chief. He believes with the level of local support shown for 90.3FM that KUSF should be able to generate enough funds to become an independent entity. Freedman is familiar with this type of scenario since back in the nineties he was instrumental in rescuing the now completely independently owned and operated WFMU, which owns the five story Jersey City building in which it's housed. Back then WFMU successfully fought to become legally independent from New Jersey's Upsala College.

KUSF DJ Jantine B, who was also a DJ on WFMU about six years ago when she lived out in NYC, says that she is still in shock over the sale of KUSF. In addition to her Wednesday afternoon show, she was also the KUSF volunteer coordinator, putting in endless hours of volunteer work for the station. She called the $3.75 million sale figure of KUSF not only too small an amount to sell the station for, but also a drop in the ocean for the wealthy Catholic university. She figured that sum to be "about a half a year in landscaping" costs for the university. And as for the battle to Save KUSF, like everyone else involved, she says that they will not give up the good fight until the radio station is returned to its rightful place back on the FM dial. "There's no other choice. I will fight because I believe wholeheartedly in it. There are no other options," she said. Meanwhile, DJ Irwin, who since Jan 18th has basically put his life on hold to dedicate every waking moment to the fight to Save KUSF, said, "It's going to take all of us, the station and the community, to fight together. All of us are really dedicated to fighting this."

 
DJ Irwin Swirnoff at Save KUSF rally at San Francisco City Hall a week after the station was sold

In addition to KUSF DJs Irwin, Carolyn, Stereo Steve, Jantine B, Harry D, and DJ Schmeejay spinning WFMUshort sets at Amoeba SF Feb 18th, there will also be many other KUSF DJs in the house. I will be engineering the remote broadcast and, along with fellow WFMU DJ Gaylord Fields, doing a short intro and outro the three hour KUSF DJs show. There will be a KUSF information table set up by the Amoeba SF stage area where the live broadcast will take place. During KZSUthe instore KUSF DJs will raffle off some free concert tickets from local venues that no longer get to give away free tickets on 90.3FM. Additionally, Amoeba is giving out a special KUSF Amoeba 20% off coupon to customers that come in and shop during the broadcast. Good for two weeks, until March 4th, the promo code is KUSF. And Amoeba will be giving away a $25 gift certificate on the air as well!


The Amoeba broadcast will take place on Friday, February 18th, noon to 3pm local San Francisco time. It will be broadcast live back in Jersey City's WFMU studios on 91.1FM and streamed online at www.wfmu.org. as well as online on KZSU Stanford's website and on their FM signal at 90.1FM

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Ken Freedman (6), Jantine B (2), Save Kusf (7), Wfmu (29), Dj Schmeejay (2), Kusf 90.3fm (2)