After I read about the KTRU/KPFT deal, in which KTRU will broadcast over one of KPFT’s HD radio channels, I wondered what the folks at Save KTRU thought of it. At the time I posted, there wasn’t anything on the website about the deal, but there is now:
Friends of KTRU, a group of students, alumni and community members devoted to stopping the assignment of KTRU’s non-commercial (NCE) FM license, as well as KTRU’s student management, reject any notion that the dispute over the future of KTRU’s FM license and transmitter has been resolved by the agreement, announced today, regarding the simulcasting of KTRU’s programming on KPFT’s HD2 channel.
“HD radio is better than no radio,” said KTRU Station Manager Joey Yang, “but is orders of magnitude less viable than our current FM broadcast.”
Potential and actual listenership of HD radio is a fraction of that of conventional FM radio, and reception of HD radio broadcasts requires the purchase of a specialized receiver, putting it out of the reach of those with limited financial means.
The FCC has not yet ruled on Friends of KTRU’s Petition to Deny the transfer of KTRU’s FM license. Both Friends of KTRU and KTRU’s student management remain committed in their opposition to any sale of KTRU’s assets.
That quote by station manager Joey Yang seemed to contrast with what he had said in the earlier Chron story:
“We’re excited,” said Joey Yang, KTRU station manager and a junior at Rice. “We think HD radio is going to be a viable option for us.”
I was curious about that, so I sent him an email and asked him to elaborate. This is what he said to me:
Yes, I’m happy with the deal. HD radio, as I’ve said before, is better than no radio. We realize the value of FM, though, and still seek to deny the transfer of the license. That’s still the main goal. HD radio is still an up-and-coming technology, hence my comments in the Friends of KTRU release, but it’s important to note that FM was an up-and-coming technology once upon a time. So, to clarify, FM is much more ubiquitously available than HD radio, but I, and the DJs at KTRU, are very excited about the possibilities that HD radio holds.
Fair enough. I also asked him what will happen to the KPFT deal if the FCC ultimately denies the sale of KTRU’s license, as SaveKTRU and others have advocated:
If the FCC denies the sale of KTRU, then I guess we’ll have both an HD stream with KPFT and an FM stream. Two is certainly better than zero.
So there you have it.