A local effort to save longtime public radio station KUSP as a community resource apparently has fallen short, with the off-the-air station apparently destined to become another outlet of the K-LOVE Christian broadcasting network.
With a $605,000 offer, Roseville-based K-LOVE outbid a Santa Cruz and Monterey based non-profit known as Central Coast Community Radio and headed by Santa Cruz activist and public radio stalwart Rachel Goodman.
KUSP, 88.9 on the FM dial, went off the air earlier this year after attempting to settle its sizable debt by converting from public affairs programming to an alternative music format. The auction for its license and equipment was overseen by a bankruptcy trustee. Also coming short in the bidding was a Santa Maria radio operation, KCRW.
Goodman indicated Wednesday that the organization she helped form to pursue the station will turn its attention to other possible arrangements in an effort to create a local public service station that would complement KAZU, the existing NPR outlet.
Good news for those of you who think knowledge is a good thing. A group of civic-minded folks headed by longtime community broadcaster Rachel Goodman is taking a run at buying and reviving radio station KUSP.
If you, like me, get a bit confused about which station is which, that’s the one that was at 88.9 on your FM dial, the one that used to be a model of local public radio with news and talk shows and some music, etc., etc. Unfortunately, it’s also the one that tried to save itself financially by converting to a full-time music purveyor, principally adult alternative.
As Goodman tried to warn the good folks on the board, that didn’t work out so well. It was entertaining as heck but not enough so to generate enough contributions at pledge break time. It went off the air a couple of weeks ago and its future is now in the hands of a bankruptcy trustee. (Rumor has it that company that specializes in religious broadcasting is interested.)
Goodman and company plan to launch a video and kickstarter campaign in coming days and at the moment are soliciting solid pledges from Central Coast folks, or others, who want to see (hear) more news and information on the airwaves. While KUSP is based in Santa Cruz, it transmits into Big Sur and it provides a remarkably strong and clear signal throughout much of the region.
There is lots of history to the public radio story on the Central Coast, with a long period of overlapping stations offering much of the same NPR lineup and talks of mergers and the like. I don’t see much point to getting into all that at this point, but I am confident that Goodman and those around her can create a format that complements rather than competes with the other public-spirited stations down there in the low numbers on the radio dial.
Stay tuned for additional info here, but if you want to help out in the meantime, you can get hold of Goodman at Rachel@well.com.