When University of San Francisco officials pulled the plug on KUSF radio last week, they promised the new online format would be able to accommodate not hundreds but thousands more listeners.
But just because it can doesn't mean it will.
Since the station was sold and tuned into an online only format, listeners have dropped off the dial. Currently, only 15 souls are tuning into KUSF -- a pitiful total when compared to the 50,000 listeners it had when it was located at 90.3 on your FM dial.
This apocalyptic dropoff is just what former KUSF DJs predicted --
online radio is nice if you are sitting around at home, but it's not
convenient -- you can't listen to it while you drive.
the station has the streaming capacity to allow for as many as 213
listeners, said Trista Bernasconi, program manager for KUSF. She said
they are working hard to put together programs and get volunteers to
help out again.
"Until we get our audience back -- if we get
our audience back -- there is no point to pay for additional streams,"
Bernasconi said. That's reasonable, considering it costs between $500 and $900 for additional streaming.
Program managers say they are scrambling to put together an ad campaign
to lure listeners back to KUSF. But it's been hard. Attention is
focused on the volunteers who have left and launched a fight to block to
sale of 90.3 FM to the University of Southern California, which will broadcast classical music.
Earlier this week, KUSF volunteers held a rally outside City Hall with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced a resolution supporting the college station. Volunteers say because the Federal Communications Commission has not yet approved the sale, they have some time to block the transaction.
"We are hoping to remind everyone that this is our station," said Irwin Swirnoff, a volunteer for KUSF, told SF Weekly this week.
But what's more likely is that they will continue the search for a 16th listener.
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