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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Life + Arts

Don’t cry, KTRU is still available in HD

With the announcement that KTRU will broadcast over a high-definition radio channel, the UH purchase of the Rice University radio tower now has a silver lining.

In less than a week the student run station will be found on an HD station previously assigned to Pacifica Foundation’s KPFT.

Previous to this, UH was to take over the KTRU (91.7) tower and license in order to replace the student-run indie music station with 24/7 classical music, leaving KUHF (88.7) broadcasting nothing but news.

Many feared KTRU’s indie music would never broadcast outside of its online feed after the purchase. The deal is still pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

Students from both universities protested the sale via the air, the Web and in public. Both universities essentially covered up the purchase for as long as they could. UH and Rice officials kept the sale of the station a secret from students fearing a negative reaction, and once news of the sale came out in August, their fears were established.

The flamboyant cost of the KTRU purchase is an annoying thorn. What’s more, provost John Antel made it all the more relevant (and somewhat ironic) with his memo regarding our current budget challenges:

“In response to these (state funding) cuts it will be necessary for us to achieve significant cost savings. It is time to look at new business models and adopt better ways to manage faculty, instruction, administration, research and space. No university programs can be exempt from review,” Antel said in the memo.

If no programs can be exempt from review, does that include programs like KUHF or the soon-to-be new radio station? Seeing as how everything else essential (faculty, instruction, research) is going to be managed better, UH might want to consider that it already has KUHF as its prominent radio station.

KTRU isn‘t even going to broadcast anything new, it‘s only going to absorb half of what KUHF already broadcasts. Where does cost savings come into this?

The outcome for the radio stations isn’t a compromise, because that would require UH giving something in return for stripping KTRU of its FM station.

But on the upside, KTRU will still broadcast (on HD radio), and UH will get the extra FM station to boost prestige and appearances. That is better than nothing.

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