Monday, August 23, 2010

One fewer alternative

And so the number of alternative voices on the Houston airwaves is about to get even smaller with the plan for Rice University to sell the tower, frequency and broadcast license for long-time college radio station KTRU to the University of Houston. The purchase will allow the University of Houston to move its classical music station, KUHF, to 91.7 FM and operate the current station at 88.7 FM as an all-news and information station.

KTRU was a voice, sometimes a very odd voice, for the quirkiness that enveloped the Rice University community. There was no set playlist, every DJ spun their own records and result was a melange of music styles. KUHF, on the other hand, is a classical station and broadcasts syndicated National Pubic Radio content. NPR is funded largely by donations from corporations and foundations and while the news broadcasts might give a slightly different spin than the networks, the formula was generally to have the obligatory pundit from the left and the pundit from the right "debate" the hot button topic of the day. No one ever challenges the basic premise, just the way it's spun.

With the demise of KTRU, the only alternative voice left on the dial belongs to those lovable anarchists down on Lovett Street, KPFT.

With corporate radio having a stranglehold on the Houston dial, the loss of even one alternative voice is too much.

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