KTRU is Dead

I just received an e-mail from Rice President David Leebron explaining the sale of KTRU’s spectrum, transmitter, and antenna to the University of Houston. This will give KUHF two powerful transmitters for their NPR and classical music snoozefest, replacing the eclectic voice of Rice. Leebron pointed out that KTRU’s Arbitron numbers were invisible, that the $9.5 million from the sale would help fund the new East Servery (kitchen), and that the station would continue on the Internet at ktru.org.

I was a KTRU DJ from 1979 to 1981 and I helped install the new antenna on top of Sid Rich that finally got the signal beyond the hedges.

I sent him this reply.

Something important has been lost—students volunteering their time to operate a station that meets FCC regulations. An internet station cannot provide that. It is the difference between playing sports in a refereed league that enforces penalties and a pickup game on the quad. This is the same as dropping a varsity sport and pretending that intramural sports are the same thing. No one fines you $7000 per swear word on the internet.

Taking on real responsibility outside of class should be available to every undergraduate at Rice. I was on the Will Rice Diet, The Thresher, and at KTRU and I learned different things at each of them. When Rice gives up one of those opportunities, the undergrads lose out. You cannot measure the undergraduate experience with Arbitron.

I’m glad that my efforts to make KTRU successful have been so profitable for Rice, because I’m not inclined to donate again. I hope my college mates at Will Rice enjoy the new 91.7 Memorial Servery.

Walter Underwood
Will Rice 1981