Rice President David Leebron Plays a Painful DJ Set On KTRU

Disclosure: The author of this piece volunteers for KTRU.

On Wednesday afternoon, Rice University president David Leebron pulled up a chair inside of the KTRU Rice Radio studio and played some of those rooty-tooty, groovin' oldies.

In other words, music that KTRU has made a point not to play since its 1967 inception.

Leebron remains a scapegoat in the controversial gutting of Rice's radio station that sent Rice's broadcast tower, 91.7 FM 50,000-watt frequency and Federal Communication Commission license to the University of Houston.

After Leebron spearheaded the $9.5 million sale of (in Leebron's words) the "vastly underutilized resource," folks wanting to hear KTRU's free-form programming must do so via a high-definition radio or an Internet connection.

While hurt feelings remain, Leebron's set on Wednesday -- a bizarre "event" to begin with -- illustrated that the Rice prez doesn't own a lot of Jandek, Arthur Doyle or Black Leather Jesus records.

From Bob Marley's "Buffalo Solider" and Tom Lehrer's "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" to Roy Orbison's "Love Hurts" and Don McLean's "Vincent," the 58-year-old Leebron is more in tune with post-dad-rock. (Or would it be pre-dad rock, like grandpa-rock?)

Leebron provided commentary after each number, coaxing crickets out of the corners after saying things like Port Arthur-born Janis Joplin "qualifies under the Texas provision" and Meat Loaf has an "incredible array of very interesting songs."

On a deeper and darker level, the conspiracy theory-minded of listeners probably screamed at their HD radios and smartphones when Leebron played two versions of "Money (That's What I Want)" and Edith Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," which Leebron said translates to "No, I Don't Regret Anything."

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Offering the man a guest DJ spot seems like a strange, poor decision . . . UNTIL a snarky blog post shows up criticizing his musical choices for the set!  Burn AND scor- wait.  Sorry, this comes across as childish, not as a stinging attack on a man with whom you have legitimate issues.


No tinfoil hat here. I don't think Leebron intentionally gave angry KTRU supporters the finger, no, but to a lot of folks, him blithely guest-DJing on the station he sold out from under the students and community was a pretty tone-deaf move. He could've used it as an opportunity to repair some bridges with a lot of KTRUvians like myself, who are still mad as hell at the university, and he chose not to.

Beyond that, I think he proved once and for all that no, he never really has listened to the station, before the sale or since.


the "dj's" age is not an issue here...  at least two of the genetic memory hosts are in their mid 50's...  i myself am in my 50's and i can assure you this playlist is an embarrassment...  the butthole surfers and any number of so called hip artists are in their 50's, jeez...  does the author fear he may all of a sudden acquire an affinity for lawrence welk when he turns 50?...

the dude simply has shitty taste in music...

Ian T. Komouss
Ian T. Komouss

That is really weird that he played Norwegian Arms.

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