“Our job is to expose listeners to music and information they can’t find on other radio stations.” This used to be what public radio was about. Not so much anymore. In fact, that statement is from the website saveKTRU.org, organized to protest the sale of Rice University’s college station and its assimilation into the KUHF/NPR borg. It seems those places that truly do walk the walk now are stations like KTRU and Vanderbilt’s embattled WRVU, whose website boasts the following (here):
WRVU welcomes any and all students to participate and the station has a longstanding reputation for being diverse! With the format change of 1996, WRVU made a commitment that would protect itself from becoming “just another college station.” DJs were pushed to experiment with international music and revisit great music legacies of the past. Likewise, this format change encouraged student DJs to develop “Specialty Shows” which provide in-dept musical explorations of particular artists, genres, or musical time periods. In short, WRVU does what a college radio station should — it educates.
Only in places like these are you now getting a taste of the free-form, unregulated music that once was a staple of public radio. Support your local college radio stations before they’re assimilated into the mainstream of Triple A pap or endless talk-talk.
Elsewhere, college stations seem to be disappearing with regularity. This post tells of the sale of Long Island University’s station WLIU to Peconic Public Broadcast. While the sale itself doesn’t seem as onerous to a cobbled-together group such as Peconic, the funding of the purchase gives rise to some doubts:
The deal was initially supposed to be completed by the end of June. But the station was granted a 60-day extension by the university, allowing it to tap into the pool of wealthy summer visitors to the East End. But just a month ago, with just two weeks to go before a new August 31 deadline was set to expire, Mr. Smith admitted that the group still had none of the money it needed in hand….
According to a statement released by Peconic, the final payment was made with $300,000 in cash donated by several individuals, with the rest covered by loans from the bank and the two private lenders. The bank loan must be paid back within three years and was guaranteed by six individual Peconic supporters, according to the statement.
This must be how they do things in the Hamptons — and seems to be a recurring theme in other cities such as Austin. During a flagging fundraiser in the spring, a number of limousine liberals bolstered totals and finally put the KUT drive over the top by making such pledges as anonymous $5,000 matching pledges to prime the pump. And an incessant barrage of ads — errr, underwriter spots — from luxury car lots and banks serve to remind us that this is not my happy home.