We Want the Airwaves

Texas Watchdog Unearths More KTRU Sale Documents

We're all still waiting to see if the Federal Communications Commission will approve the proposed sale of Rice University's student-staffed station KTRU to the University of Houston, which (among other things) would more or less be the death knell for local music on Houston's airwaves.

No word on that, but in the meantime, Steve Miller of Houston-based investigative Web site Texas Watchdog has uncovered more behind-the-scenes emails about how the deal went down. Thanks to a ruling by the Texas attorney general's office, we now know, for example, that KTRU's call letters were not left off the agenda item to purchase "a radio station" at the U of H Board of Regents' August meeting by accident, per U of H PR official Karen Clarke:

Can you please tell me who is going to make this public on the UH website? As chief info officer at UH, I was not aware that KTRU would be specifically named. If you can let me know how you expect this will happen, I can take steps to manage it to a better outcome for all concerned.

Other emails reveal that the services of the broker U of H hired to engender the deal cost $200,000 plus expenses, and detail a big-time donor's concern with how U of H could justify spending almost 10 million dollars on a station practically guaranteed to lose money so soon after a round of layoffs, as well as KUHF CEO John Proffitt's worries about inheriting KTRU's inferior signal.

Fun stuff, unless you work for or listen to KTRU. Read the entire Watchdog report here.

And have a nice weekend.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray