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KTRU Supporters Petition FCC to Halt Sale of Rice University Station

KTRU is still fighting to save their station

It’s been a long fight for supporters of student radio station KTRU at Rice University, who don’t want to see their station sold off to University of Houston for use as another public radio outlet.  Today was the final day for citizens to send letters of protest to the FCC (as part of the 30-day comment window) in regards to the station sale.

In addition to letters that Houston listeners sent directly to the FCC and members of Congress, the group Friends of KTRU also received more than 1,000 letters of protest and more than 5,000 people (from all over the world) signed KTRU’s online petition.

Friends of KTRU also filed an official “Petition to Deny”  (PDF) with the FCC.  The 41-page petition outlines the ways in which the station sale would be detrimental to the Houston and Rice communities. According to the Petition to Deny, the loss of the Rice station will decrease the amount of local programming available on the Houston airwaves. The Petition argues,

“…the loss of KTRU will result in a substantial elimination of local programming…The proposed KUHF and KUHC stations…will merely result in an increased amount of syndicated national and international programming.”

Additionally, the sale of KTRU will eliminate the educational component of the station. According to the Petition,

“It has long been a Commission policy that the bedrock goal of any NCE [non-commercial educational] license is to promote an educational program. Now, Rice and UHS propose to entirely undermine the educational purpose for which the license was originally granted in favor of a cash-grab. Rice is effectively treating the KTRU License like any other university asset, and completely ignoring the Commission’s mandate that the license serve an educational purpose. Instead, Rice is seeking to profit from the sale of a license that was founded and operated by students, in order to pad the university budget.”

Friends of KTRU did an impressive job pulling together their Petition to Deny and I think they make very compelling arguments for why the FCC should deny University of Houston’s application to purchase KTRU. Beyond some of the arguments that we’ve heard before, they also unearthed some public file violations at the University of Houston radio station and point out that it’s been the FCC’s policy to treat those violations very seriously. They also take issue with Rice University’s assertion that radio is in decline and vehemently oppose the argument that KTRU should do just fine continuing as an 0nline-only station. I’m happy to see that KTRU is fighting valiantly for the retention of their independent, local college radio station and will be curious to see how the FCC responds.

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5 Responses to KTRU Supporters Petition FCC to Halt Sale of Rice University Station

  1. anonymous December 3, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    Support the troops!

  2. Realist December 6, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    What sort of educational value does punk rock, gangster rap and the other weirdo music KTRU plays offer compared to THE MUSIC OF THE MASTERS played by properly-trained musicians, other than teaching laziness, insubordination, disobedience to superior authority, anti-Americanism, blasphemy and homosexual perversity? Why should this be on the air instead of THE MUSIC OF THE MASTERS? And why aren’t these college students being punished for their continued insubordination and disobedience, including disruption of programming required by Rice where no students were punished by the student management? After all, they are not adults, they are students who should OBEY ALL ADMINISTRATION, STAFF AND FACULTY AT ALL TIMES!

  3. Jennifer Waits December 6, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    What could be more American than independent college radio and punk rock music?

    But that’s really besides the point, KTRU has a much broader mission than you acknowledge, “Realist.”

    As a student-run station at Rice University, KTRU plays a wide variety of music and public affairs programming, ranging from Americana to world music to ska to local music from Houston to jazz to metal to experimental to reggae to yes, even, punk and “weirdo music” as “Realist” mentions above. It’s unclear from their schedule, but it’s possible that KTRU even plays classical music as well (as many college stations do).

    There is value in college radio stations providing a range of sounds by artists across many genres. I’m unclear why “Realist” implies that there are no “properly-trained musicians” being played on KTRU, just because they aren’t primarily a classical station. Classically-trained musicians exist across all genres of music and are certainly played on KTRU.

    What could be more American than college radio, which helps young people experience running an independent organization? It also offers listeners a choice of sounds not found on commercial, corporate-owned stations.

    The sale of KTRU has not been approved or finalized by the FCC. The station is still under the control of the students who manage the station at Rice University, so I’m hard-pressed to find examples of “insubordination and disobedience” or “disruption of programming.” They are simply expressing their desire to keep their station. Anyone in their situation would do the same.

    P.S. College students for the most part are 18 years old and older, making them legal adults. I’m not sure why “Realist” argues that college students are not adults.

  4. Classically Trained Musician December 6, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Oh, Realist, thanks for the great laugh this morning! who says comedy is dead?!

    Wait, maybe you’re serious? If you’re not joking, which actually would make your comment even funnier, here are some key points to consider:

    – Contemporaries of “the masters” said many of the the same things about the classical composers, including but not limited to Mozart and Wagner, that you’re saying about the music on college radio.

    – No radio format is more democratic and therefore more American than college radio, from the way it’s managed to the diverse musical formats programmed to the djs themselves to the audience served. (Generally speaking, ANYONE taking a class at a college can work at the station and become a DJ. That’s democratic!)

    – Classically trained musicians play and appreciate all kinds of music. Apparently from your comment, you’d be really surprised as to what’s on our iPods, and what kind of bands we play in.

    – Classical music is overwhelmingly composed by other-than-Americans.

    I could go on, but frankly this conversation is both ridiculous and boring.

  5. anonymous December 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    to Realist: Hitler said some of the same things as you, trying to suppress jazz and other emerging music, and making classical music officially approved music. In any case, Houston now has classical music broadcast from a 100,000 watt station, but if the KTRU take over happens that classical music broadcast will be reduced to a 50,000 watt station. So the KTRU take over doesn’t make sense to classic music fans. You are either off your meds, or a troll playing provoke and respond on the net.

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