Heroes and Villains

Yesterday a correspondent sent this along via the message box in the left column:

Re: a recent op-ed in the Washington Post by the CEO of New York Public Radio, ending with what is obviously a cut-and-paste from the “170 Million for public media” people.

“At its core, public broadcasting belongs to the American people; it stands as a testament to our generosity and curiosity. In the midst of cynicism, public media organizations firmly believe that learning is a lifelong and joyful pursuit. Democrats, Republicans and independents must consider all of this when trying to determine whether public media’s unique commitment to local communities and learning is worth the cost.”

Huh — since when did replacing local programming with canned NPR crap and destroying college stations equal a “commitment to local communities and learning”?

The aforementioned Washington Post piece is rife with comments following the article bewailing the supposed left-wing bias of NPR (who’d have thought so many conservatives followed the Post?) — contrary to the sites such as NPR Check (link on right) quoted herein on occasion, which cite examples of its pro-business/government bent.

More germane to this site is the expansionist policies of organizations such as the CPB, PRC, and SRG (Station Resource Group) and their effects on local free-form and college radio stations. In that vein, recent developments at Rice University’s KTRU — soon to be the University of Houston’s — require further examination. As a Feb. 5 post on the KTRU website, here, says of student feelings in the matter:

“HD radio is better than no radio,” said KTRU Station Manager Joey Yang, “but is orders of magnitude less viable than our current FM broadcast.”

Potential and actual listenership of HD radio is a fraction of that of conventional FM radio, and reception of HD radio broadcasts requires the purchase of a specialized receiver, putting it out of the reach of those with limited financial means.

Joey refers to deal cut with KPFT to broadcast KTRU on its HD channel . . . A “fraction” of conventional radios is putting it mildly, as conservative estimates of HD ownership put that number at 1.5 million, as opposed to 700 million+ analogue radios — after eight years of hard sell. Of course, Bob Struble of iBiquity, HD’s monopoly overlord, is ecstatic that anybody might be forced to broadcast on IBOC, given the legal woes that have beset the company and the underwhelming consumer response to the junk science.

The wags on the radio-info.com discussion board, as noted by Jack Hannold, have little good to say about Rice President Leebron’s face-saving attempt to salvage demi-hero status out of the debacle, in a thread entitled “KTRU/Houston Goes to HD Radio to Die.” (The prez ventured that some of the money from the looting of the student-run station would be used to help pay for the seven-year lease of the HD channel from KPFT.):

DtoTheJ: Rice University’s student-run radio station will remain on the air after all. The university said Saturday that KTRU will broadcast over a high-definition channel assigned to radio station KPFT, beginning Feb. 14.

In other words, KTRU is basically leaving the air, void of any visibility whatsoever.

Chuck: Nobody but an occasional radio geek or two is going to go out of their way to buy an HD radio without something interesting to listen to. The real problem would come down the road if HD actually gained some traction, and the host station decided they wanted the sub channel back. That could get very sticky. Get a good contract up front.

Greg Smith sent along a post from the Houston Press blog, which carried a story describing the deal, yielding several less-than-complimentary comments:

drod: F*** James Lebron and f*** Kantor UH, who the hell has HD radio?

And this ominous note:

ribalding: May be speaking too soon, as the CEOs of KUHF and HUHT were just fired . . . with cause.

The Houston Chronicle blog, here, carried some humorous asides:

“Many people would still rather have the 50,000-watt signal, but I think this is a very good outcome,” Leebron said. “It shows our students’ entrepreneurial spirit and shows their maturity,” he said.

As opposed to the ordure of the original backroom deal that precipitated this whole mess? And this, a deft heave of a bone to the dog:

UH also agreed to provide paid internships for six Rice students a year for three years, according to documents filed with the FCC.

How magnanimous of them. And this postmark from the Houston section of the radio-info.com discussion board:

FilioScotia: So KTRU fans will get their programming on KPFT HD channel 2. Ho hum.

As one who worked at KUHF for nearly 18 years, and watched the enormously expensive addition of HD capability, I can testify that, so far, HD has not been worth the investment for KUHF.

For several years now, KUHF HD2 has carried NPR’s daily lineup of talk and information programs. Over the past two years, KUHF has learned that almost no one is listening on an HD radio, because almost no one is buying them. People who DO own them complain constantly about the spotty reception.

Here’s the cold hard truth: The vast majority of people who listen to KUHF’s HD schedule are listening ON THE INTERNET. KTRU’s owners and managers are going to have the same experience and learn the same lesson: HD radio is not worth the expense. They’ll find that most of their audience will be listening Online. Just as it is with KUHF HD2, and HD3, the audience for KPFT’s HD2 broadcasts will be so small they won’t be able to measure it.

This is why KUHF is buying another radio station for pete sakes.

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The Watchdog and the Cougar

The Texas Watchdog turned up some interesting facts about the sale of KTRU, Rice University’s student station, to the University of Houston in a post entitled “KTRU broker cost University of Houston $200K; deal inked within months of U of H furloughs, other cuts.” The following just points out the discrepancy between the motives of those seeking to do service in the “public interest” and their actions to achieve same. As we’ve noted, college radio seems to be nothing more than collateral damage in the battle for the non-comm radio airwaves between NPR and religious programming:

The University of Houston agreed to pay $200,000 plus expenses to the non-profit firm Public Radio Capital for serving as a broker in the $9.5 million deal to acquire Rice University’s student radio station KTRU, according to a contract for the deal obtained by Texas Watchdog.

The contract was included in more than 250 pages of e-mails and other records released by UH, following a January state Attorney General’s ruling that determined the records were open. UH had fought their disclosure and succeeded in withholding some information.

The deal securing Public Radio Capital was finalized in June 2009, with the purchase approved last August — all within months of the U of H instituting furloughs, a hiring freeze and pay freeze as the state struggled with declining revenue and projected budget shortfalls….

One donor, whose name was withheld, e-mailed Grover Campbell, VP of government relations at U of H, and referred to a report that found classical programming would lose money. KTRU was meant to complement U of H’s NPR affiliate KUHF; the university planned to use the additional frequency to broadcast classical music around the clock and turn KUHF into an all-news channel.

“I did speak with Ed and he basically confirmed what was in the report – classical is expected to lose $1M/year for the university plus the cost of acquisition and financing,” the donor wrote. “Hard for me to understand how to justify that for a university that is laying people off.”

The Watchdog piece by Steve Miller, referred to us yesterday by curlydan’s comment, is an excellent bit of investigative reporting, worthy of extensive excerpting:

SIGNAL ‘LESS THAN IDEAL’

Much of the new correspondence involves John Proffitt, the CEO at KUHF, U of H’s public radio affiliate who was a chief advocate of the acquisition. His e-mails show officials knew there would be challenges with the KTRU signal.

“KTRU has – I will be charitable – less than ideal coverage in the southern half of our 88.7 range. An important consideration,” Proffitt told Erik Langner, PRC’s director of acquisitions in an email on June 15, 2009.

Langner responded that he was aware of the problem, saying in a missive the next day that KTRU’s signal to the south has “shortcomings” but that he was intent on proving that the station’s non-commercial, education signal is “one of the best” in Houston.

As the deal moved forward, U of H officials worried about how the idea would be received publicly. Previously released messages showed a concerted effort to conceal the transaction from the public.

Rice ensured administrators were kept in the dark about the deal, too. In a June 2009 e-mail to Proffitt, Langner cautioned against making any contact with Rice.

“No one at Rice, other than the president and a select number of advisers, knows that this is happening,” Langner wrote. “It is critical at this stage that no one at Rice is contacted with regard to this transaction.”

By April 2010, Langner was promising UH officials that any public consternation and protest would fall on Rice, not U of H.

KEEPING CALL LETTERS OFF PUBLIC NOTICE

The released records detail the behind-the-scenes plotting to keep the call letters KTRU off the agenda for the Aug. 17 U of H Board of Regents meeting to approve the purchase — a move that open government advocates have criticized.

Seeing those call letters on the agenda would no doubt attract public attention. U of H public relations official Karen Clarke fired off an e-mail on Aug. 10, a week before the meeting, to Langner and demanded to know who decided to include the KTRU call letters on the publicly-posted agenda:

“Can you please tell me who is going to make this public on the UH website? As chief info officer at UH, I was not aware that KTRU would be specifically named. If you can let me know how you expect this will happen, I can take steps to manage it to a better outcome for all concerned.”

Langner, too, appeared worried about including the call letters:

“When I spoke with John Proffitt yesterday afternoon, I was informed by him that the agenda would include the KTRU call letters. I have no other source for this information and no other reason to believe that this would be the case. So it seems that there was simply a misunderstanding with respect to this topic. If the board materials and website are not going to list the KTRU call letters, then I have no idea how this would become public.”

The letters were eventually left off the online posting for the meeting, as well as the backup material for the item regarding the sale.

In doing so, the board and university may have violated the state’s Open Meetings Act, a point that the group Friends of KTRU has brought before the Federal Communications Commission.

A ruling from the FCC may take months, though its performance to date as a lapdog to consolidators’ interests doesn’t give rise to much optimism in regards to the public interest. The material released to the Watchdog pursuant to the open records request can be found here. Way to go, Steve and the Dawg.

FCC to Rice Radio: Piss Off, Small Change

FCC Response to Austin Airwaves’s Request to Deny transfer of NCE License KTRU-FM, Houston, TX

Dear Consumer,

During the license renewal process, listeners of the stations whose licenses are up for renewal may participate in the process either by filing a petition to deny or informal objection against a renewal or by filing positive comments about a broadcaster’s service.

You can submit a protest against a station’s license renewal application by filing a formal petition to deny its application, or by sending us an informal objection to the application. Before its license expires, each station licensee must broadcast a series of announcements providing the date its license will expire, the filing date for the renewal application, the date by which formal petitions against it must be filed, and the location of the station’s public inspection file that contains the application. Petitions to deny the application must be filed by the end of the first day of the last full calendar month of the expiring license term. (For example, if the license expires on December 31, we must receive any petition at our Washington, D.C. headquarters by the end of the day on December 1.)

Broadcast licenses generally expire on a staggered basis, by state, with most radio licenses next expiring between October 1, 2011 and August 1, 2014, and most television licenses expiring between October 1, 2012 and August 1, 2015, one year after the radio licenses in the same state.

You can also participate in the application process by filing a petition to deny when someone applies for a new station, and when a station is to be sold (technically called an “assignment” of the license), its licensee is to undergo a major transfer of stock or other ownership, or control (technically called a “transfer of control”), or the station proposes major facility changes. The applicant is required to publish a series of notices in the closest local newspaper, containing information similar to that noted above regarding renewal applications, when it files these types of applications. Upon receipt of the application, the FCC will issue a Public Notice and begin a 30-day period during which petitions to deny these applications may be filed.  (All FCC Public Notices are included in the Commission’s Daily Digest and are posted on our website at http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Digest).

A petition to deny or an informal objection to a radio license renewal application may be filed AFTER the filing of the license renewal application. Notices of the filing of license renewal applications will be posted in the public notices listed at, for radio station applications: http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/audio/cur_Broadcast_Applications.html. It is expected that the Commission’s website will also post notices of the filing of television station license renewal applications prior to the commencement of the next television station license renewal cycle in 2004. The Commission’s Consolidated Database System (CDBS) will also contain records pertaining to the license renewal applications.

The last day for filing petitions to deny is ONE MONTH PRIOR to the license expiration date.

As with renewal applications, you can also file an informal objection to these types of applications, or any other applications, at any time before we either grant or deny the application.

Petitions to deny broadcast station license renewals (a signed original and two copies) must be mailed or delivered to one of the following FCC addresses:
U.S. Postal Service Mail-
Office of the Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
ATTN: Audio Division, License Renewal Processing Team
Mail Stop 1800B

OR

Video Division, License Renewal Processing Team
Room 2-A665
Messenger or Hand Delivered Filings, and Filings Delivered by Other Than USPS-
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission,
C/O Natek, Inc.,
236 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.
Suite 110, Washington, DC 20002
ATTN: Audio Division, License Renewal Processing Team
Mail Stop 1800B

In addition, courtesy copies may be sent directly to the Audio Division, License Renewal Processing Team (for radio) or the Video Division, License Renewal Processing Team (for television), using the addresses set forth above. A petition to deny must contain a certification that a copy of the petition was also mailed to the station, and must contain an affidavit of a person with personal knowledge attesting that the facts contained in the petition are true.

Again, if you have any specific questions about our processes or the status of a particular application involving a station, you may contact our Broadcast Information Specialist for radio or television, depending on the nature of your inquiry, by calling toll-free, by facsimile, or by sending an e-mail as noted below:

If your question relates to a radio station:
Toll-Free: (866) 267-7202 (Voice) or (877) 479-1433 (TTY)
Fax: (202) 418-1411
E-Mail: radioinfo@fcc.gov

If your question relates to a television station:
Toll-Free: (866) 918-5777 (Voice) or (866) 787-6222 (TTY)
Fax: (202) 418-2827
E-Mail: tvinfo@fcc.gov

Thank You.

Smoldering Fires, Bright Lights

Here at the beginning of a new year it’s a bit of a tradition for both individuals and groups to look back on the past year and look forward to the year ahead. Here at Keeping the Public in Public Radio, the contributors and editors don’t want to be left out, so we’re going to take a look now at where we have been for the past year as well as what we see ahead for us. The smoldering fires of the past, the bright lights of the future . . .

And, of course, at the beginning of 2010 this site did not exist. There were instead smaller groups scattered around the country, around the globe. Most of these groups were born of outrage, and of frustration. The common thread between them seemed to be the degeneration of the trust and bond between public radio stations and their longtime supporters. Supporters who had believed in the basic premise of public broadcasting, and believed in the spiels heard so often during the pledge drives. The basic premise being that public stations existed to serve the under-served, and the spiel being that the public stations belonged to you, the paying members. The ones whose pledge dollars went towards the type of programming that you just couldn’t get anywhere else. I believed that when I heard it here in Austin, Texas, & Jeff Boudreau believed it when he heard it up in Boston, Mass. Gwen Fortune believed it down in Gainesville, Florida, and Dru Druzianich believed it way up Seattle,Washington. All over the country we were finding these little groups, mainly thru Facebook, all formed around the outrage that came when station managers suddenly turned their collective backs on their paying members. Serving the public was no longer on the agenda; instead they pursued the Golden Fleece of Arbitron numbers, and of corporate underwriters, both of which should have been anathema to public broadcasters.

Our group here in Austin was originally formed after a major programming change at KUT-FM, as well as what we still fervently believe was the shoddy treatment of three longtime and much-beloved deejays. Our 1,800 members worked together as a group to try and restore sanity and integrity to KUT, but in the long run money and hubris won out and we were left wondering where to turn next. So at a meeting last January it was decided to reach out to these groups around the country, to try and join our experiences and our energies towards shining a light on the practices being adopted by station managers nationwide. And thanks to the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook, and Internet tools such as Google Search, we were able to contact a few true believers in the basic concept of public broadcasting and the creation of this site first started being discussed.

Our earliest, and I would say the most stalwart of our original contacts, was Jeff Boudreau in Boston. He brought amazing energy and knowledge to our group, and without him I do not believe we would have ever gotten off the ground. And this is just one of his projects for saving public broadcasting and promoting folk music throughout the Northeast region, indeed around the country. A quick look at the links he has provided under the “About” heading here at our site gives just a glimmer of his projects.

We also contacted a dismayed classical music lover down in Gainesville, Florida — Gwen Fortune. Or at least I first thought it was just plain ol’ Gwen. But after corresponding with the wonderful Gwen I came to realize that she was actually Professor Gwendolyn Fortune, an educator and author, as well as a classically trained soprano recitalist. Her newest book, Weaving the Journey, is now out. Gwen has provided us with many wonderful insights over the past few months, radio matters being just one of her many passions. I strongly recommend looking into her work, visiting her website, or maybe finding her on Facebook. I always look forward to my next message from her.

We also contacted Jamie Peters in Tennessee & Dru Druzianich in Seattle, and without their help we would never have been able to get a national group going. But finally, with all of these individuals across the country pulling together, we were able to get this site up and working. And as of today we have had almost 25,000 hits on the site, a figure that most of us would never have dreamed possible back when we first reached out. That is a figure that directly relates to all of the input and effort from everyone involved, something that I believe each of us can take personal pride in.

But of course the unspoken sadness & frustration behind all this work was the realization that we had not been able to make any meaningful progress on our original, local issues. To the best of my knowledge, not a single station that these groups were originally formed around have ever made any concessions to these most passionate of supporters. And those are the smoldering fires that I referred to at the start of this, the still-warm remembrances of what started this ball rolling, the issues that brought us all together to begin with. And it is my hope that even though we are looking at the larger picture now, that none of us forget those local issues at the core of everything. Public broadcasting was always intended as a local medium, no matter how hard NPR may push the other direction.

But if those are the smoldering fires, then how about the bright lights? With all the frustrations each of us has had to deal with the past year or so, it could be easy enough to miss them, but I can find them when I try. And one is here right at my feet — this wonderful site that we have all managed to grow and nurture. Knowledge has always been power, and the shared knowledge that we gather here makes each of us stronger moving forward. Money & clout may be what the station managers have going for them; we have belief in our ideals and our commitment to them. There are any number of “wear ’em down slowly” analogies I could cite here, but I think we all already know that this is going to be a long struggle. But a long struggle is not a lost cause, so I am sure we will persevere. Already this site has garnered more attention & visitors than I ever imagined. If the station managers choose to ignore the unhappiness we have uncovered here, it will be at their own peril. We are not the “disgruntled few” they would like to make us out to be.

And I feel that is best reflected at our sister site of the same name over on Facebook. As of this writing we are almost 700 members strong there, a number which is not stagnant but continues to tick upward as the word gets around, slowly but surely. As bright lights go, the Facebook site positively glows, as I am constantly amazed at the scope of the comments and input we receive there. It far exceeds anything envisioned when I first became involved with this endeavor. As wonderful as the 1,800 members here at the Austin group were, I honestly believe that the members and visitors to the Facebook site do more to shine a light on public radio issues than anything we could have ever accomplished alone. Which, of course, was just the idea. . . .

Another of my bright lights has been the recent posts, both here and on Facebook, concerning the proposed sales of college radio stations across the country. At one time these type of events would have been been carried out quickly and with little or no input from the students whose assets were being sold off. But due (IMHO) to the publicity generated by groups such as ours, the concerned students at these colleges banded together and formed their own Facebook groups and fought the good fight to have their voices heard. Vanderbilt University in Nashville being one and Rice University in Houston another. At Rice the students put up one hell of a fight, but things are not looking promising. But this site’s “Radio Jim” Ellinger worked closely with that student group and helped to get internal documents released via the Freedom of Information Act, which at least gave some honest insight into the process. I see a bright light there in how we were able to not only communicate the issue nationally, but also to reach out locally to provide assistance.

Looking further down the road, I see some possible bright lights on the horizon as well — one of which comes from the current brouhaha over possible cuts in funding to public broadcasting, much of it brought about by the firing of pundit Juan Williams after what were deemed racist remarks on a Fox News program. This week NPR decided to throw a bone to the right-wing noise machine by firing senior VP Ellen Weiss. Normally Republicans threatening to cut public broadcasting funds would set my teeth on edge, but strange times make for strange bedfellows. And I am seeing the publicity on this as a way of bringing increased public scrutiny to the concept of public radio, and I think we will be ready to help inform on that front.

And even further down the road we may be looking into how we may use some of these issues when our respective stations’ licenses come up for renewal with the FCC. KUT in Austin’s license comes up for renewal in August 2013, and there is already talk of filing a formal petition for denial of the renewal application due to commercialization and failure to serve the public interest. We will be looking more into that as the date draws nearer, as this could be another avenue to approach our collective issues from. This and other ideas are constantly being brought to our attention by the readers at this site, and they show the determination of the many not to give in to the few.

And for me, that is my look at what I see as the smoldering fires of the past as well as the bright lights of the future. I am hoping that others may contribute their own thoughts on these; the beginning of a new year is always a great time to contemplate such things and then approach them all with renewed energies. We always appreciate hearing from any & all, so please let us know how we are doing!

But before I sign off there is another person I need to acknowledge for the creation of this site, not to mention it’s ongoing existence. And that would be our webmaster, Craig Hattersley. It was my conversation with Craig last January that produced the first steps on this journey, and he has been involved every step of the way since. And when it came time to make things happen, he was the one who grabbed the bull by the horns. This entire site was envisioned, designed, set up, and maintained by Craig. The daily posts that you see, those are direct from Craig and his unwavering commitment to this cause. We first went on line last April, and to the best of my knowledge he has come up with a new post seven days a week since then without fail. Any and all who enjoy this site or have found something of interest here owe Craig some thanks. He’s a low-key “below the radar ” kinda guy, but I want to shine the spotlight on him here just for once. Thanks a million, Craig, and a big hats off to you!

—Rev Jim

The Air War in Houston

Writing on the site Radio Survivor, Jennifer Waits heaped kudos on the stalwarts at Rice University fighting for their student radio station. The bean counters at Rice and UH had countered the petition students had filed with the FCC, and now the students have fired back:

On December 13, both University of Houston and Rice University sent in letters of opposition to the FCC in response to Friends of KTRU’s “Petition to Deny.” Today, Friends of KTRU fought back with a reply to the FCC that enumerates all of the reasons why the stated oppositions by Rice and University of Houston do not address the negative impact of the station sale on the public interest and on the educational intent of the FCC license at issue….

“‘The claims of Rice University and the University of Houston System miss the underlying points of the Petition to Deny,’ said Joey Yang, KTRU station manager. ‘They failed to address two of our major points: that the license transfer undermines the educational purpose of the FM license, and that elimination of KTRU-FM will harm the FCC’s commitment to localism. We call on the FCC to recognize these and the many other salient points in our Petition to Deny. The future of Houston radio depends on it.’”

The letter states flatly that in the sale of KTRU to University of Houston, a changed format is not the main issue:

Rice continues by demeaning its own students’ educational experiences at KTRU, calling the student-run operations broadcasting over the KTRU License nothing more ‘than an extracurricular activity,’ while noting that UHS [University of Houston System] has a broadcast journalism major that will better prepare students for a career in professional broadcasting. The students who have single-handedly run KTRU since its inception would surely disagree with that assertion, particularly those UHS [University of Houston System] students who were unable to obtain hands-on experience at KUHF [the University of Houston radio station] and found opportunity and open doors at KTRU to gain practical broadcasting experience.

Jennifer further enumerates the arguments presented by the students:

They go on to explain that the sale of KTRU would be detrimental because it “does not truly serve the educational public interest.” I was also pleased to see that in their letter, Friends of KTRU mentions the growing trend of universities selling off their student radio stations in order to make a profit and seeks the Commission’s assistance in addressing this trend before more educational radio stations are lost. They also point out how sad it is that Rice University, in its letter of opposition, suggests that prospective students seeking broadcast experiences should apply to other institutions.

Additionally, the letter makes the point that if the FCC approves the sale of KTRU to University of Houston, the resulting public radio station will not have as strong a commitment to localism as the current student-run KTRU. The plan is for the University of Houston-run station to air mostly syndicated national and international programming and according to the letter written by Friends of KTRU, “UHS’ Application reveals not one additional program to be added to its stations that is specific to the local Houston area.”

We too are impressed by the fight the Owls are putting up and share Jennifer’s hope that others may learn from their experience in this battle.

Rice Update

Two attorneys reviewed the Texas AG’s decision and provided Austin Airwaves with this response. We thank them for their efforts on behalf the the greater SAVE KTRU Radio community.

AG only exempted from disclosure a limited set of documents, and that the rest should be released.

1)  Things that UH didn’t want to release b/c of a third party’s commercial interest (Public Radio Capital, the engineering company, the title company, etc.) can all be released.
2)  However, e-mails that contained “highly intimate or embarrassing” information that was not of legitimate concern to the public interest can be redacted.  And UH can redact a utility account number & the e-mail addresses of members of the pubic from the disclosure.

Make sense?

Also, UH Assistant General Counsel Ruth Shapiro sent Jim Radio an audio CD recording of the UH Finance & Administration meeting and Board of Regents meeting “at which the radio transaction was discussed.” Unfortunately, the CD arrived broken. The envelope was not padded or protected. She said she would send another right away, and expected to release the remaining documents, “before the holidays.”

Following a decision from the Texas Attorney General’s office regarding its request for documents from the University of Houston System, Austin Airwaves expects to post another large quantity of documents related to the secret sale of Rice Radio in the coming days. Please stand by . . .

Fried Rice, WikiLeaks Version

Jim Radio of Austin Airwaves filed a request with the University of Houston under the Texas Open Records Act seeking information about the sale of the Rice University student radio station. The U of H responded by appealing to the attorney general’s office, crying foul.

The attorney general’s subsequent response is couched in lawyer jargon, but the gist seems to be stating in effect that the documents requested were “private” and “proprietary” — making reference to some documents as “highly intimate or embarrassing” (assuming it’s not “of legitimate concern to the public”). Hunh. Imagine that.

Here, for your reading enjoyment, are both the UH request to the AG’s office as well as the AG ruling, though, as Jim notes: “This late in the game, I’m not sure what good can come from this, other than to further embarrass Rice/UH officials with their recalcitrance and arrogance . . . However, they seem to be largely immune.” First UH’s reaction to the request (click to enlarge):

Then the AG’s response:

So there you have it. This may be, to paraphrase a comment from a political cartoonist, another case of too many skeletons and not enough closet space.

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