This Thursday: Take a Moment for KTRU & Embattled College Radio As a Whole
Tonight was a special “homecoming” deal up at KTRU, the student-created, student-funded, student-run radio station that’s called Rice University home for the past three(?) decades — the current student leadership invited all former DJs and staff back home to the station for a final shift before the university shamefully sells its frequency, license, and transmitter off to the University of Houston so they can broadcast more classical music.
The homecoming deal was (and is) a great idea, and I’ll admit, I was sorely tempted. But in the end, I stayed away; I’m just too damn mad about the damn thing to really be able to make peace with it and move on. Doing a final farewell shift (or partial shift, really) would’ve meant, at least in my own OCD-addled mind, that I’d somehow be okay with the sale of the station, finally. And I’m most definitely not — the picture over on the right pretty much sums up anything I’d want to say to the folks in charge at Rice right now.
Frankly, this whole thing makes me ill. I’d always thought it’d be awesome for my own children to (maybe) go to Rice like I did; hell, we’d talked about it with my daughter, who got a little confused and declared she was going to attend “Rice Village.” (No, I swear — she is really damn smart, smarter than me by far.)
Now, though, I’ll be encouraging her to go elsewhere; I want no more part of a place that will cheerfully sell off an “asset” it really doesn’t own, screwing over thousands of students, alums, and listeners for cold, hard cash because they went on a stupid building spree. I’m done with Rice, period.
My own little internal drama, though, misses the bigger picture, which is that college radio is being carved up and sold off all over the country right now. WRVU at Vanderbuilt, KTXT at Texas Tech, and most recently KUSF at the University of San Francisco have all been sold by their respective institutions in several years (the abrupt sale & switchover of the latter, btw, made the KTRU sale look like a friendly cup of tea with the family). College radio everywhere is under fire, with stations that only exist because of the students that’ve built them being simultaneously viewed as sources of cash and money-losing “businesses,” regardless of those stations’ original intent.
In light of all that, college radio association College Broadcasters, Inc. is holding a nationwide moment of silence at noon (Central time) on Thursday, April 28th. They picked the date in honor of my own KTRU; the station as we know it right now goes off the air for the last time at 6AM that morning. The idea is that radio stations everywhere (college or otherwise) should broadcast a minute of silence right at the hour. Check out some more details here, courtesy of Radio Survivor.
Granted, this is mostly about radio, but fuck it — I’ll be holding my own personal moment of silence at noon on Thursday. If you feel as angry and betrayed about what’s going on as I do, whether at Rice or elsewhere, I’d encourage you to do the same.