Sure enough, there’s a $9.5 million station sale in Houston. With KUHF owner University of Houston doubling up and acquiring Rice University’s KTRU (91.7). Monday’s TRI “Wheeling and Dealing” section told you the U.H. board of regents had approved spending up to $10 million to acquire a second FM. Final price almost reached that — $9.5 million. Now KUHF can follow the example of so many other public radio stations and specialize. KUHF (88.7) will be dedicated to news/talk/information. KTRU will be re-branded as KUHC (for “classical”) and be a full time classical and fine arts station. They’ll run both stations out of the same facility on the campus, says the Houston Chronicle. Class C2 KTRU is programmed by Rice students and features (among a lot of other things) local Houston bands. Rice tells the Chronicle it will use the proceeds for various improvements on the campus, with input from students. Some of those students aren’t happy about the loss of KTRU — but they’re outvoted by the administration. Speaking of voting, the vote by the regents of the University of Houston was 5 to 3 — far from unanimous. One regent gripes that the school has “very little oversight” over the station and that it “has not had as its top priority the promotion of the university, students or faculty.”
The students, however, are not happy at all, and have formed a website (saveKTRU.org — link on right), a Twitter page, and Facebook and google groups. They’re particularly incensed that this was done in secret, just before the students returned for the fall semester. An earlier attempt to sell the station met with outraged protest, as chronicled here. From the website:
KTRU is actively opposed to Rice University’s attempt to sell its broadcasting license and transmitter to the University of Houston. The organization, which operates through the will of the student body, does not endorse any plan that changes KTRU’s operating abilities.
Rice University has made an attempt to sell KTRU’s broadcasting license and transmitter in secrecy without consent or consultation with KTRU or the Rice student body. This puts the city of Houston and Rice University in danger of losing a vital media outlet.
KTRU refuses to recognize the validity of any agreement as a result of our exclusion from the negotiating table.
KTRU is a one-of-a-kind institution, a powerful, 50,000-watt college radio station that is run and operated by the student body. Only a handful of other college stations in the country have such an asset.
KTRU is known throughout the Houston market for a variety of award-winning shows, including but not limited to it’s weekly Hip-Hop show, the Vinyl Frontier, MK Ultra, wednesday night Blues, Sunday afternoon Jazz, and a local Houston/Texas music show, as well as international music from almost every country on Earth. No other station in the area provides such an array of music.
KTRU is the only 24-hour-a-day student media at Rice University. It is, after Rice Athletics, probably the most visible symbol of Rice within the Houston community. KTRU is the only radio station who broadcasts Rice’s nationally renown baseball team, as well as the home for women’s basketball games.
• WEKU in Kentucky is dropping classical music during the day in favor of all-talk, according to this post on the website of the Lexington Herald Leader. The story says “Its management hopes to find a home on FM radio for a second listening stream that would be the only station in the Bluegrass to play primarily classical music.” So, for now, suck it up, longhairs. Maybe they’ll crank up an HD channel for you…
• At the website pjstar.com, word is that Peoria’s four local radio stations will be bought up by Advanced Media Partners, pending FCC approval, a company headed by Mike Rea, part of the AAA Radio group that sold the stations to Independence Media four years ago. The writer here, Steve Tarter, lays out a wish list of formats he’d like to see when the deal goes down. Best of luck, Peoria. Keep your powder dry.
• In Wyoming, a station that formerly ran jazz has now moved it to an HD channel, according to this post. The analog channel is now stuffed with offerings from upstream, including the BBC and NPR. The article said, optimistic that listeners could tolerate the signal mashed into an HD3 channel:
The good news is that public radio has launched a 24-hour jazz station in the Fremont and Hot Springs counties area effective Aug. 1 and is available on HD3 only if you have a HD Radio. This way public radio can offer these services without having to find another analog frequency on the FM dial.
Public radio has also launched a 24-hour classical channel in the Fremont and Hot Springs counties area and this one is available on HD2 using a HD Radio which can be purchased for a price of $50 to $200 depending on what your budget can handle. The classical channel will be available for receiving with an analog radio sometime in the next couple of months in the Riverton area and might be receivable in Lander.