As some readers may know, I founded Rampage Radio with the guidance and support of Howie Klein back in 1982. I only stuck around for a few years and thereafter left it in Ron Quintana's able hands. But those were years with impact, I look back at them fondly and the show has been running on the air ever since, the last broadcast was in it's usual time slot last Saturday night. As someone who grew up in San Francisco, I always felt that KUSF's presence at 90.3 was a comforting constant. Apparently a deal to sell off KUSF's frequency was consummated last week and the signal was abruptly shutoff Tuesday morning. A rally and a dialog took place last night at Presentation Theater with USF President Father Stephen Privett. I commend Father Privett for coming out to face the music, all 500 or so of us in the packed theater were upset by these events and I think it took a degree of courage to show up. However, after the two hour question and answer sessions, it became clear to me that Father Privett has suffered a third degree failure.
First, the outcome was poor; the students who he claimed to be acting on behalf of will have reduced volunteer support, the revenue (purported to benefit students) wasn't subject to a competitive bid (it was the first and only deal under discussion); just an NDA-cloaked back-room agreement. Aside from poorly serving the students, his notion of the University as an island, that serving the broader community is detrimental to serving the students, is fundamentally flawed. Serving the community and accepting the efforts of volunteers benefits both the students and the broader community.
Second, the process was terrible; instead of backing up and reaching out to the array of interested parties that a deal discussion might commence, he signed the non-disclosure agreement and completely shut out the faculty, students and community. Instead of embracing the stakeholders and providing some transparency, he went straight to the NDA and ambushed them.
And the third degree failure was the cowardly absence of recognition of the first two failures.
Father Privett claimed full responsibility, explained his rationale for what he did and the process he followed but his rationale for the process was weak. Before going under the cover of NDA, he should have reached out to the students, faculty and volunteers to say: before this goes away, give me some alternatives that will serve you better. Father Privett's gross incompetence was saddening, he should just resign. In the meantime, using another frequency as a fall back for a rejected FCC petition makes sense but there'll always be this sense of a vacated place in our hearts for 90.3 as San Francisco's cultural oasis.
I'm certainly hoping that KUSF can reemerge from the ashes. Please join the effort on Facebook to Save KUSF!( Jan 20 2011, 10:27:58 AM PST ) Permalink