August 26, 2010 – 5:33 pm | 5 Comments

Although I’ve not personally been able to get through to Rice University prez myself (surprise surprise), I still feel obligated to explain his perfidy to everyone who is concerned but might not know exactly what …

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Home » Featured, Local and State

State of the KTRUnion

Submitted by admin on August 26, 2010 – 5:33 pm5 Comments

Although I’ve not personally been able to get through to Rice University prez myself (surprise surprise), I still feel obligated to explain his perfidy to everyone who is concerned but might not know exactly what went on with the sale of KTRU. Amid all of the chaos, I feel like it would be beneficial to restate the origins of the sale and the manner in which it was handled. I got the idea after I had a few beers with a DJ I won’t name to protect him from any bullshit he might catch. Hopefully by doing this I can remind the community that KTRU was sold in a very controversial and clandestine way which completely merits the outrage most of us feel towards the decision. We must either continue to put pressure on President Lebron and the parties involved in the decision or quietly accept this undesirable and unjust arrangement. There’s nothing new in this article, per se, but we need to keep this in the news and keep people talking. It’s the only way KTRU stands a chance of staying on Houston’s airwaves.

Just to recap, President Lebron issued a public letter on the 17th of August regarding his decision. The board of regents voted to officially execute the sale on the same day Rice students and KTRU staff were given notice. Prior to this, only Houston Press’s “Rocks Off” blog had any idea what was happening and even their discovery was only made by sifting through the minutes of the upcoming meeting of the board of regents and seeing an item on the agenda about the sale of a radio station. Prior to the 17th there was no official disclosure. Writing a letter like the one I’ve linked to really means nothing at all given that no one who received the letter, and was upset, had time to appeal the decision or ask for a place at the table, so to speak.

Even though it’s true that KTRU will be broadcasting via the Internet regardless of the outcome it’s the actual radio transmission that allows the station to bring in new listeners. Everyone knows that KTRU won’t be completely dissolved but that doesn’t matter. Once the station loses its frequency it just becomes another one of the endless rabble of online radio stations. Albeit it will still function as an excellent online radio station, there’s no way one can accidentally discover a streamed station the same way one can on the FM dial. The tower and frequency are integral to the spirit of the station and its local nature.

The other problem with the letter was the dismissive nature of the President’s other arguments for selling the channel. He implied that Arbitron data suggested that the station’s audience was barely enough to justify keeping it on the air. What a cold and utilitarian argument to make about such a cherished, culturally-enriching, student-run enterprise. It’s almost as if he doesn’t realize that such hamfisted comments are a direct insult to the station and its listeners. He then tries to make a populist argument claiming that Houston does not have two 24 hour all-news and 24 hour all-classical formats without caring to explain that this programming will not be student-run or generated but rather will most likely be bland, syndicated, commercial-programming. I just wish that President Lebron would act a little more proud of presiding over a college with such a unique outfit such as KTRU. Every one of his comments just indicate that he doesn’t care about the opinions of Rice students or KTRU staff. Please read the letter for  yourself as well but I don’t think any of these claims are unfair. Res ipsa loquitur.

-Jack Daniel Betz

5 Comments »

  • admin says:

    who listens to KTRU? … in the mid-80s when I did a shift on 91.7 I had several requests per hour, no matter what time of day the shift was, and those dialing in included astronauts training for the space shuttle in clear lake city …. actually one time I got a call from someone in southern california who said they could pick up the station on their FM …. an engineer told me it was possible for radio waves to bounce off clouds that distance … mb

  • mixer440 says:

    This is a terrible decision to sell KTRU. The whole premise for the original license granted by the FCC was to provide a place for student experience and serve the interests of the “college” and public community.

    I hope people who support KTRU will:

    1. Write the FCC and petition the proposed sale and deny the transfer based on public/community interest. Most sales require a 30 written notice period.
    2. Write to each radio station and ask to have your comments about the proposed sale/transfer and any other supporting information placed in the public files. Stations must respect this federal FCC requirement.
    3. Write or call your local leaders.

    Remember, doing nothing will cast a vote for the sale.

    This is why I put together two parodies on YouTube. Enjoy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R2l4FHQyuo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlSFkCSqGO8

    mixer440

  • Gary Packwood says:

    Adm.

    You forgot to mention the roughneck on the oil platform out in the Gulf of Mexico who called-in once because he couldn’t sleep but COULD hear the radio station.

  • Robert P. says:

    Thank you for you candid assessment of the KTRU situation. I agree with your assessment. In addition to increasing visibility of KTRU’s pending sale, we need to show that KTRU has widespread community support beyond Rice students and alumni. People power throughout Houston is needed.

    If the Rice President wants $10 million for KTRU, why not offer a viable option to buy the station from Rice. What if KTRU supporters were to create a foundation to take control of the transmitter and broadcasting license, keep the station student run, which I think it should be, but the funding would be much like KPFT is now?

    There are other ways to show our displeasure, to oppose the sale, such as requesting the Texas Attorney General too look at UH and whether it violated the open meetings act. We could also attend the next UH regents meeting to let them know we are unhappy with them and to drop their interest in buying the KTRY transmitter and broadcasting license. We could also write our state representatives and state senators to let them know we oppose the sale and hopefully they will put pressure on UH and Rice to drop the sale.

    The administrations of both schools and the regents and trustees need to know that if they go through with the sale, there will be long-term negative repercussions, such as Rice losing alumni support. Does Rice want to get $10 million now and lose much much more in the future?

    Overall, now is the time to speak up, and with one strong voice to keep KTRU on the airwaves.

  • Robert P. says:

    Thank you for you candid assessment of the KTRU situation. I agree with your assessment. In addition to increasing visibility of KTRU\’s pending sale, we need to show that KTRU has widespread community support beyond Rice students and alumni. People power throughout Houston is needed.

    If the Rice President wants $10 million for KTRU, why not offer a viable option to buy the station from Rice. What if KTRU supporters were to create a foundation to take control of the transmitter and broadcasting license, keep the station student run, which I think it should be, but the funding would be much like KPFT is now?

    There are other ways to show our displeasure, to oppose the sale, such as requesting the Texas Attorney General too look at UH and whether it violated the open meetings act. We could also attend the next UH regents meeting to let them know we are unhappy with them and to drop their interest in buying the KTRY transmitter and broadcasting license. We could also write our state representatives and state senators to let them know we oppose the sale and hopefully they will put pressure on UH and Rice to drop the sale.

    The administrations of both schools and the regents and trustees need to know that if they go through with the sale, there will be long-term negative repercussions, such as Rice losing alumni support. Does Rice want to get $10 million now and lose much much more in the future?

    Overall, now is the time to speak up, and with one strong voice to keep KTRU on the airwaves.

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