This is my letter about the pending sale of KTRU to the University of Houston. Friends of KTRU will forward it to the FCC as an out-of-area comment.
The Rice University administration says that an internet radio station would serve the same purpose as KTRU, but something important would be 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 and you don’t stay up all night adjusting the transmitter to meet FCC regulations.
Taking on real responsibility outside of class should be available to every undergraduate at Rice. I was on the Will Rice College government, The Rice Thresher newspaper, and a a DJ and engineer at KTRU. 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.
Rice University does not offer degrees or even courses in Journalism or Broadcast Media. KTRU is the only broadcast educational experience available to Rice students.