Go to savektru.org to write yours. Deadline is December 2 if you live within the KTRU broadcast area, November 29 if you don't.
I am writing in protest of the proposed license transfer of 50,000 watt Houston radio station KTRU 91.7 FM (and its 91.5 FM translator) from Rice University to the University of Houston System (UHS). (File Nos. BALED-20101029ACX and BALFT-20101029ACY).
I find this proposal this proposal to be contrary to the public interest, for the following reasons:
* It increases consolidation of the limited number of Non-Commercial Educational (NCE) broadcast licenses in the Houston market into the hands of an ever-shrinking group of licensees.
* It drastically reduces the diverse range of educational programming choices, topics, and material available to listeners in the Houston market.
* It eliminates one of the last remaining NCE sources of locally-produced programming which uniquely serves local constituencies in the Houston market, and replaces it largely with nationally-syndicated programming feeds with little-to-no local input or specific local interest.
* It eliminates the best and most accessible training ground in Houston where students and community members can learn the practical skills of broadcasting, media programming, and broadcast industry business management.
KTRU was created by the students of Rice University forty years ago, and has been staffed and programmed entirely by student and community volunteers for its entire span of operation. KTRU's primary mission has always been one of providing an educational broadcast voice. It has consistently achieved this mission by showcasing underexposed music (artists and genres that other radio stations won't broadcast due to commercial concerns or rigid programming formats); and by increasing awareness of, and directly participating in, the Houston music and arts scene, through organizing concerts, producing and distributing compilations of live recordings, providing DJ talent for arts events, and curating stages at major local music festivals
KTRU's programming features a wide assortment of music genres, including classical, jazz, rock, folk, electronic, experimental, reggae, hip-hop, blues, African, Indian, and other world musics. KTRU provides the only radio outlet for the music of many of Houston's ethnic minorities. KTRU carries no syndicated programming whatsover; it is 100% locally-produced, made by and for the local community. Most of these local ethnic and musical communities would no longer have access to any broadcast outlets were KTRU to disappear from the airwaves.
UHS already owns and operates a 100,000 watt radio station in the Houston area, KUHF 88.7 FM, which broadcasts both classical music and news programs, mostly syndicated from National Public Radio (NPR). Under the proposal, KUHF would become a 24-hour NPR station, and KTRU's programming on 91.7 FM would be replaced by another UHS station, KUHC, with a 24-hour classical music format. This would effectively double the amount of nationally-syndicated classical music programming and nationally-syndicated NPR programming in Houston, while destroying all of the diverse locally-produced local-interest programming currently found on KTRU.
UHS's stated motivation for acquiring a second NCE license in the Houston market is one of prestige, in that it furthers their goal of attaining "Tier One University" status in Texas. One cannot fault their goal, but serving the interests of the broadcast community should be the primary mission of a licensee, not a mere afterthought. The Rice Administration, which for forty years has had no role in the programming of KTRU, is treating the license as a mere investment asset that must be liquidated. Rice and UHS formulated and implemented this proposal in secret, with no input allowed from or notice given to the students, faculty, or alumni of either university, or community members, or the station itself. Internal emails obtained from UHS via the Freedom of Information Act indicate that both Rice and UHS officials conspired to conceal and mislead the public over the proposed sale until after the UHS Board of Regents had already approved it.
oNeither party in this exchange has demonstrated that they have the best interest of the listening public in mind.
KTRU is an irreplacable part of the fabric of the local Houston community, and a shining star and influence for the remaining NCE licensees in the country who strive to provide truly unique and educational programming in their own broadcast markets. The public interest, both locally and nationally, would be best served by KTRU's continued existence on Houston's FM dial. I humbly request that you stop the proposed license transfer.
Thank you for your consideration.
Raymond J. Shea