Texas Watchdog Unearths More KTRU Sale Documents

save-ktru-protest-at-rice-university jan28.jpg
Brittanie Shey
We're all still waiting to see if the Federal Communications Commission will approve the proposed sale of Rice University's student-staffed station KTRU to the University of Houston, which (among other things) would more or less be the death knell for local music on Houston's airwaves.

No word on that, but in the meantime, Steve Miller of Houston-based investigative Web site Texas Watchdog has uncovered more behind-the-scenes emails about how the deal went down. Thanks to a ruling by the Texas attorney general's office, we now know, for example, that KTRU's call letters were not left off the agenda item to purchase "a radio station" at the U of H Board of Regents' August meeting by accident, per U of H PR official Karen Clarke:

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.

Other emails reveal that the services of the broker U of H hired to engender the deal cost $200,000 plus expenses, and detail a big-time donor's concern with how U of H could justify spending almost 10 million dollars on a station practically guaranteed to lose money so soon after a round of layoffs, as well as KUHF CEO John Proffitt's worries about inheriting KTRU's inferior signal.

Fun stuff, unless you work for or listen to KTRU. Read the entire Watchdog report here.

And have a nice weekend.


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15 comments
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Rice
Rice

Again, how is this a "community asset." Rice owned and paid for KTRU. It did not serve the University, it was not primarily run by or for students. If the "community" wants another station, it can have one at community express.

Kyle
Kyle

"it can have one at community express."

No it can't. None are for sale and the spectrum is full.

fact
fact

Its an irreplaceable asset.

Evan
Evan

Rice paid for KTRU electricity costs, but the license and transmitter were a gift. The airwaves are a public good and should benefit the public.

Mark
Mark

Even if the public doesn't listen to the station, which consistently gets hash marks in the Arbitron ratings?

And let's not kid ourselves. KTRU may win this battle, but they will not win the war. Rice is going to sell the station, no matter what--if not to UH, to someone else (and if they sell it to American Public Media, you'll get a remote control classical music station instead of the locally-programmed one UH is proposing). Instead of fighting, KTRU should be raising money to purchase the station from Rice, because that's the only way you're going to get to control the station. Otherwise, Rice WILL win in the end.

Evan
Evan

Isn't it that there were hash marks because KTRU did not take part in Arbitron ratings?

copy editor
copy editor

UH is the correct abbreviation for the University of Houston, not "U of H."

RADIOFAN
RADIOFAN

so lemme get this straight - KUHF plans to buy an FM station for 9 MILLION, launch 2 new full-time broadcast services, hire a new BIG salary "public media" CEO and "consolidate" staff - all in a matter of about 6 months?! WTF are those ppl thinking? how many JOBS will be lost in the process - all in an effort for quality "community service" ? REALLY?

OhNo
OhNo

OF COURSE they have to consolidate staff -- get rid of all the "little people" so they can pay for high dollar stations and fat salaries to more useless do-nothing CEOs. way to go "public?" radio.

Chase Hamblin
Chase Hamblin

"death knell for local music on Houston's airwaves" - come on Chris! KPFT plays WAY more local music than KTRU ever did! I love a student station as much as the next music elitist, but this idea that we are losing something so important the the local scene is a goddamn farce! Good riddance and please I am so sick of this "story."

H_e_x
H_e_x

While it is a damn shame that KTRU is being sold, KPFT does play more local music. If I want local and regional hip-hop, I turn to KPFT, not KTRU.

GlenW
GlenW

WHAT-eva. While KTRU may play some noise, they don't have the bs agendas that are put on KPFT. The Mighty 90 may be playing more music of late, they are not what I think of when I look for music on the radio.

Chase Hamblin
Chase Hamblin

That's fine, but all the playlists are public. KPFT plays and supports local music more than KPFT, period. That's my only point. I am not happy to see a station some people love going away, but again, the idea that the "local scene" is losing something so foundational is hilarious.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Subpoena the broker now before the file gets any further sanitized.

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