KTRU (91.7 FM), the student-run station at Rice University sold to the University of Houston just before the start of school last fall, will begin broadcasting on Pacifica station KPFT's (90.1 FM) high-definition channel, it was announced today.
This means the station won't be reduced to just broadcasting on the Internet, a move that didn't make too many radio station supporters very happy when they were told that's how they could continue operations. Although the Federal Communications Commission has still not given final approval to the sale, KTRU's entire programming schedule will begin broadcasting at 9:01 a.m. Monday, Feb. 14, on KPFT's 90.1-HD2 FM channel.
Rice President David Leebron took a lot of heat for the sales agreement, which was negotiated privately between Rice and UH -- even from people who didn't listen to the station at 91.7 but who felt the matter should have been open for discussion by students before the universities made their deal.
Rice sold its broadcast tower and license for use by KUHF. Leebron said in a press release today that some of the money from the sale -- its approval is still pending before the Federal Communications Commission -- will be used to help pay for the seven-year lease.
KTRU Station Manager Joey Yang said they will also be reviewing their playlist in their new operation. "KTRU is also adding new and exciting music we haven't traditionally played before," he said.
Listeners will need an HD radio receiver to listen to the KTRU broadcasts, but there is no subscription fee, the press release said.
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KTRU's two salaried employees, the general manager and chief engineer, will say on, and the entire slate of programming will be fed from KTRU's current studios to KPFT's transmitter. The programming will also stream online at both ktru.org and kpft.org.
Houston Press writer William Michael Smith contributed to this report.