Student-run radio should prevail

There is a good chance that if you attend college in Houston or frequent any of the independently owned retail businesses around town you’ve seen the petition; maybe you have signed it too. The petition I’m talking about is the one that is focused on showing opposition to the sale of KTRU, the mostly student-run radio station of Rice University.

While there may be valid arguments and unknown behind-the-scenes stories from both sides involved in the deal, the solution will not come from arguing about the imminent sale.

To solve the real problem, which is the fact that now neither university located in Houston has a student run radio station, we must work together to find a solution to satisfy the students and only then do we have a chance of selling to whom it may concern. It would only make sense that both universities have some interest in attracting students to their school for a radio program that they are nothing but proud of.

The potential for a dual solution seems obvious. If UH buys KTRU and then nears a monopoly on university affiliated radio in Houston, why can’t there be a program started for the cohort of people who want to earn a degree in the related areas of radio broadcasting?

It would surely be in the best interest of UH with all it’s radio technology to develop a program for that part of the academic market.

This might also be where Rice University comes in. The staff who were already dedicated to teaching radio broadcasting shouldn’t be forced to go elsewhere or retire. The cooperation of both universities could lead to an amazing program that would further the growth and prestige of our great city, not to mention attract people from all over for a program located in Houston.

Even if the universities eventually ceased to cooperate and the radio stations along with their educational programs belonged to just one campus, the city of Houston would still be better off.

We must also not forget what a student run radio station brings to our city. In the interest of all, a student run radio station would allow Houstonians to have one more choice when turning their radio dial.

As Rice University demonstrated to Houston, a student run radio program helps out local music and the undiscovered talent that we all are looking for.

Both universities should realize that the solution lies with a radio station that is as diverse as it’s population.

Andrew Taylor is an economics senior and may be reached at [email protected]


  • I'm a little confused on this piece. "To solve the real problem, which is the fact that now neither university located in Houston has a student run radio station" at this moment in time no deal has been signed – the UH Board has only given President Khator the ability to negotiate the deal – meaning that right now there IS a student run radio station – KTRU.

    Secondly, while I support the idea of UH Students benefitting from being involved in KUHF productions – the current agreement between the university is one where KUHF "is licensed to the University of Houston, but is fully self-supported through gifts from individuals, corporations, other non-profits and foundations in the greater Houston area." This is why the deal was so easy for the Board to approve – it does not affect the University's budget. Since the University does not support the operation of the station, it makes it very difficult if not impossible to make any demands on the station in regards to its programming or operations.

    So, I think that, while UH student radio is a wonderful position to take, it is highly unlikely.

  • The Houston Chronicle has an excellent explanation what has transpired so far regarding the secrecy of the University of Houston and Rice University in the matter pertaining to KTRU 91.7 FM. See it here:

    Both schools apparently thought they carry out this transaction and no would care. I care, and there are many more like me that care. We live in Houston and many are students or graduated from both universities. As a UH alum and Houston resident, I strongly oppose the sale. KTRU should remain on the public's airwaves.

    What appalls me the most, and even assuming if Rice is hurting financially, why didn't the administrators there go to the students, alumni, and community and say:

    "Look ladies and gentlemen, due to the downturn in the economy and the university's growth, Rice will need to economize. We need to find a creative approach to financially sustain KTRU. I value your participation in finding creative solutions to this matter."

  • I hope both universities begin to repair the damage done. I hope Rice comes to its senses and restores KTRU to the gem it is as a Houston community resource. Long live KTRU on the airwaves!


  • One small problem with the story – you have no idea how KTRU is run.

    You wrote:
    "The staff who were already dedicated to teaching radio broadcasting shouldn’t be forced to go elsewhere or retire."

    There are no such staff at Rice. From about 1970 to 1991, KTRU was entirely student managed and operated; literally everything from applying to the FCC to tuning the transmitter to every facet of on-air operations was done by the students. In 1991, following the 50,000 watt upgrade, Rice contracted out certain aspects of engineering maintenance to professionals. In 2000, the University forced the hiring of a station manager. There's no broadcast or media school at Rice and no instruction associated with KTRU.

  • There's a misunderstanding here. For at least the last four years while I was there, Rice has had exactly zero classes involving radio broadcasting, with the exception of a one-semester-only student-taught course last fall. KTRU is entirely run by students, with a bit of staff support–a general manager, an engineer who fixes the equipment, and an office assistant who takes care of FCC paperwork. Rice does not have any classes about radio engineering or radio journalism (in fact, I believe there are no classes directly related to journalism in any form, except perhaps a video documentary class). In a way it's not such a bad thing that students learned everything entirely through hands-on experience instead of in a classroom.

    Anyway, just wanted to clarify that a radio broadcasting academic program is totally out of the question for Rice, though it would have been an interesting idea to discuss *before* Rice sold KTRU.

  • NPR / PBS or whatever it goes by these days is entirely corporate. It might technically have a non-profit organization status, but make not pretense about it, NPR / PBS is as corporate as any nationwide private sector media franchise outlet. It is not run by students, or for students. NPR / PBS is the old original self-appointed enforcer of political correctness. NPR / PBS is at its core opposed to everything that student run radio represents, which is an endangered habitat for free speech.

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