Unsurprisingly, the Rice community is not happy.
“We are totally opposed to the sale,” said Joey Yang, a junior at Rice and program director of the station, which relies upon student and community volunteers for its eclectic music programming. “This is our radio station, and we’d like to keep it.”
KTRU launched a campaign against the sale Tuesday, urging supporters to flood Leebron and other administrators with “sincere and civil” protests.
Kelsey Yule, a Rice junior and KTRU station manager, said she had e-mailed Leebron and tried to call other administrators, to no avail as of late Tuesday.
“So many people are devastated that they won’t be able to listen on their commutes or at work anymore,” she said.
Wi-Fi access is widely available on campus, so students still will be able to tune in, she said. “But we really consider ourselves a cultural institution for the city.”
Rocks Off rounds up a bunch of reactions from local music scene folks, and nobody thinks the transition of KTRU to Internet-only is a win. Among the points raised are that very few people can listen to an online radio station in their car, and that nobody will want to work an overnight shift any more – why bother, when you can just make a podcast? At least with terrestrial radio, you can believe someone is awake with you and listening in.
Linda Thrane, vice president for public affairs at Rice, said administrators will meet with students about the issue, although no date has been set.
“We want to hear their ideas about what we can do to make the internet station better,” Thrane said.
She acknowledged that some students are upset about the proposed sale.
“KTRU is not going away,” she insisted. “It’s going to remain a student-managed operation. The students aren’t losing anything.”
Well, no, as noted above they are losing something – a much wider audience and influence over the local music scene, among other things. The administration would know this if they had involved any of the stakeholders in the process, which is of course another bone of contention here. I don’t think the administration fully appreciates how much of the discontent is driven by that.