KDFC (89.9 FM) is a non-commercial radio station licensed to Angwin, California, USA, and serving the Santa Rosa area. It is located on the campus of Pacific Union College. The station broadcasts a classical music format, simulcasting KOSC in San Francisco. The programming is also simulcast on KXSC in Sunnyvale, serving the San Jose area and parts of southern San Mateo and Southern Alameda Counties. The three stations are all branded as "KDFC", and are both 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.

The KDFC-FM call sign and programming were previously assigned to 102.1 FM, from its inception in 1946 until January 2011, when the format and intellectual property moved to the former KUSF. The University of Southern California also acquired the 89.9 FM frequency in Angwin, California and its two translator signals in Eureka and Lakeport. The KDFC call sign was officially assigned to the Angwin station.

89.9 FM frequency history

From 1981 to 1983, 89.9 Angwin's call sign was KPRN. Then from 1983 to 1998, the call sign was KCDS. From 1998 to 2011, the call sign for 89.9 was KNDL. Throughout most of this time, the frequency and station were owned by the Howell Mountain Broadcasting Company, then a subsidiary of Pacific Union College. Howell Mountain operated the station as 'user supported Christian' with no commercials. The station also broadcast on the Internet.

The call letters represented the station branding as 'The Candle'. This is a reference to themes from the Bible such as "Jesus is the Light of the World", and "We should not hide that light, but should put our light where it is visible to the world."

On January 18, 2011, KNDL ceased operation of its religious format upon the announcement of the purchase of the station by the University of Southern California's Classical Public Radio Network[2] That same day, the group switched KNDL and its translators to a simulcast of KDFC in San Francisco, which will move to the 90.3 MHz signal also acquired by USC.[3] As of April 2011 KNDL officially changed its call sign to KDFC.

KDFC history

Early years

KDFC was founded in 1946 by Ed Davis, and has programmed classical music for most of its history. In 1993, Sundial Broadcasting, his company, sold the AM and FM stations to Brown Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 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, in 1997, sold the FM station to Bonneville Broadcasting and the AM station to Douglas Broadcasting. New station management transitioned KDFC's programming to a more mass-appeal approach, which boosted ratings significantly, though the station was occasionally criticized for what was characterized as a "top 40 of classical music" approach.


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]

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,[6] and also simulcasts on newly acquired KNDL (89.9 MHz) in Santa Rosa.[7]

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 returned to the South San Francisco Bay area, with the addition of 104.9 on Friday, June 15, 2012. For nearly 2 years, there was no signal to this area, except for very minimal coverage by a small 90.3 station in Saratoga.[8]


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.

Broadcast translators of KDFC
Call signFrequency
City of licenseERP
m (ft)
ClassFCC info
K223AJ92.5Lakeport, CA10561 m (1,841 ft)D

On-air personalities

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