Students air opinions about KTRU deal

"KTRU specializes in something you can’t find on the radio, people don’t necessarily listen to the station, but they appreciate what it does.” — Rachel Farhi, English literature junior

"I have never heard of KTRU until now, and (the controversy) doesn't matter to me because I don't listen to UH radio or Rice radio." — Alyssa Buonfiglio, Sociology freshman

With growing disagreement stemming from the decision by the UH Board of Regents to purchase the FCC license of Rice’s KTRU station, UH students have voiced their concern over the issue, while others emphasize that the $9.5 million deal is either beneficial or irrelevant.

Because of the numerous petitions and protests of supporters against the sale — which includes UH purchasing KTRU’s 50,000-watt station tower — opposition has gathered momentum since the news broke Aug. 17.

Even those who are not avid listeners have heard of the student-run station from friends.

“I actually haven’t ever listened to it. I don’t even know what station it is,” Victoria Cantu, a 20-year-old philosophy major, said.

“I have friends that are really into the independent scene, and I didn’t know about it until recently. I know people who do listen to it a lot who don’t go to Rice, or to any school for that matter,” Cantu said.

KTRU began transmitting in 1967. Since then, listeners have tuned their dials to the station for music of different genres that are absent on Houston’s more popular radio stations.

Silence from both administrations over the plans has fueled protests and online petitions that have found their way to the UH campus.

"It seems illogical since UH is strapped for money. We don’t need another radio station; we have a radio station, it's doing fine." — Victoria Cantu, Philosophy student

"The money could be used to improve the dorms that I live in, instead of a station that doesn't have the attention of a majority of the students." — Alysia Bebel, marketing sophomore

UH student Chad Terry, a history and engineering major, said that he listens to KTRU daily, and prefers the eclectic mix of music versus KUHF’s classical variety.

“(Rice should) not sell it,” Terry said. “It’s one of Houston’s only stations that has a plethora of music.”

Mark Whitman, an architecture freshman, feels the controversy does not concern him.

“I don’t really listen to (KTRU) at all,” Whitman said. “I read about it in the paper, but only a paragraph.”

Geology senior Victor Attah, who listens to the station at least twice a week for its music programming, believes the UH campus will benefit from the purchase.

“They can put more stuff on the air. Students that listen to the radio will be able to know what’s going on,” Attah said.

In acquiring the FM station, UH graduate student Daniel Nicely also agrees that KUHF is benefiting from the purchase.

“I feel the acquisition of KTRU will be beneficial for KUHF, and it should increase the listener base and possibly add personnel resources,” Nicely said.

Art junior Donavon Cannon believes that the sale could also attract more listeners to KUHF.

“I think it would be a new avenue for school events,” Cannon said. “A chance to put more variety of programming on the air.”

Ryan Tiffin, kinesiology senior, had no knowledge of KTRU prior to this situation, but also believes a jump in listeners will occur with the purchase.

“I didn’t even know about it before this, but I think it would help boost the amount of listeners from before. It definitely wouldn’t be a negative thing.”

Additional reporting provided by students in the Advanced Reporting course.


  • Clearly Victor Attah is unaware of UH's plans for KTRU. They are going to play classical music on it all the time. The same format as KUHF has most of the day. KUHF will have more NPR programming and little of that will be about UH. Btw, regular listeners of KUHF know that the station has both NPR and classical music 24/7, they switch formats back and forth from regular air to HD air. You know, so you can enjoy that programming on your HD radio, because everyone has one of those, right? Right? Of course you do.

  • Just curious…has Rice stated that if this deal falls through, that they intend to continue to finance the operations and FCC license of KTRU? They are, after all, trying to sell it. No editorial comment intended, just a question.

    • KTRU is operated at no direct cost to the Rice administration. Operating expenses are covered by renting space on the broadcast tower and by a small student activities fee paid by Rice undergrads each year (a few dollars per student).

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