Houston Emcee Calls KTSU a "Concentration Camp," Station's Assistant General Manager Responds

Categories: Spaced City

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Somebody hearing Diana Krall's interpretation of "Body and Soul" on KTSU may not associate the jazz standard, immortalized by Billie Holiday, with a "concentration camp." But according to a longtime Houston entertainer, that's exactly what's going on behind the scenes at the local radio station.

In addition to the Nazi Germany motif, local emcee Chris Tucker says that Donna Franklin has created a "slave mentality" environment at The Choice KTSU 90.9 FM. Franklin, the assistant general manager of Texas Southern University's radio station, says this isn't true and that Tucker is acting on a "personal vendetta."

According to the two, the hubbub started to conflagrate with the formation of the Concerned Legends of KTSU, an anonymous group that, to date, has published and distributed five e-mails.

The manifesto-style letters (each entitled "What Are They Doing to the Black Jewel?") pines for KTSU's "keepers of the flame," ranging from The Frog Prince and Maurice "The Gangster" Jackson to Shirley Wolford and Pam Collins. These legacies, explains the unknown author, have been left for dead for dentist-office jazz.

"'The Black Jewel' is now experiencing a dulling effect of its uniquely shiny and beautiful glow, and is in grave danger if not checked and soon, of being forever changed by the current leadership regime absolutely bent on changing everything this 'Jewel' shines for," states one of the letters.

The cause of this so-called sheen-altered jewel, according to the Concerned Legends, is Franklin, who, three years ago, started at KTSU as an on-air DJ and in the sales department after a stint at The Wave KHJZ FM 97.5. A year and a half ago, Franklin was promoted to assistant general manager at KTSU.

"The radio station is in a serious decline," Tucker tells Hair Balls. "The quality of the music has really declined greatly and the employees are under siege. They're just there because there's money involved. When they come to work, they have a feeling of a slave mentality. It's just an awful environment....[Franklin] runs the place like a concentration camp."

As of the time this post was published, attempts at talking to other KTSU DJs were unsuccessful.

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MadMac
MadMac

Every campaign, the oldies show meets it's goal, (love to Myron Anderson, your work speaks for itself) the gosple shows meet their goals, (respect to Reverent Charles Hudson), and the Friday blues cruise, (Slick Rick!) makes it's goal. Meanwhile, the jazz programs struggle, every single campaign. Ms. Franklin has been a breath of fresh air and I think she's brought support and recognition with her. I hated to see the loss of programs like "Jazz Latino," but as I say in a post below, if the support is not there, the station must make a change.

Mr. Tucker's action produces neither light nor heat. It's controversy for the sake of publicity. He should team up with Lloyd Gite and found a new group called Concerned MoMos.

Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker

With respect to your comments:  First the word is Gospel and the man's title is Reverend Charles Hudson.  This is Chris Tucker and you obviously know nothing about me.  As far as publicity is concerned sir, I have been in the eye of the public ever since I was born and do not need publicity stunts to generate ratings or buzz.  To be completely honest as far as the quip about bringing support and recognition to KTSU, I was the producer/engineer for the first national news exposure KTSU ever received when Washington, DC's Powerpoint program ran a story submitted by the then news director about the election of Lee P. Brown as Houston's first African American mayor.  Furthermore, I happen to be the only member of that air-force in history to have received the Emmy Award.  Donna Franklin didn't have any credentials or accolades when she was gifted the position and has brought nothing new to KTSU since she has been there!  The arbitron ratings tell the whole story of her arrival and the station's demise...you should check the facts sir.  

'stina
'stina

I'm just sad that they got rid of Juan Flores' Jazz Latino show on Saturday nights. That show was awesome.  Stopped giving them money when they got rid of Juan. 

Jim C
Jim C

Donna Franklin has no idea what "jazz" is.  Smooth R&B crooning is not jazz.  R&B songs that have horns is not jazz.  Instrumental versions of pop songs is not jazz.

If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.

MadMac
MadMac

Miles Davis did phenominal work on two pop covers for "You're Under Arrest." Wynton Marsalis said it wasn't "true jazz."

Then he did a cover of "Lucy and Lynus," so much for experts and what jazz is.

Bill
Bill

Can't speak to the treatment of the employees, but the quality of music and programming certainly has declined over the last year.  Don't listen anymore, letting my membership lapse. Smooth jazz is bland and tasteless, like Budweiser.

MadMac
MadMac

Hm, Sinbad plays Miles Davis, Waymon Tisdale, and a mix of everything happening in jazz, so I'm not sure you and I have listened to the same station. While I've watch the programming shift, I've understood the root cause; a lack of support. The changes made reflect what the public supports. Jazz Latino for example wasn't cut from the air for any other reason than listener support or a lack there of. JazzHouston even attempted a grass-roots effort to return the show to the air and couldn't generate enough support. This is a public radio station. If the people don't write the check, the programing must change or the station goes silent. 

I prefer original programing, smooth or otherwise, to NPR-produced segments.

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