Houston Music

What If The KTRU And Fitzgerald's Sales Were Reversed?

Rocks Off is quite keen on alternate realities, the kind where The Joker is actually a superhero or Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four. That kind of thing.

This summer has seen two of Houston's seemingly most-stable institutions thrown into complete chaos. First, Sara Fitzgerald turned over the lease of the her club to Omar Afra of Free Press Houston and Jagi Katial of Pegstar, the masterminds behind the incredibly successful Free Press Summer Fest.

And earlier this week, The University of Houston regents voted to buy the transmitter and FM dial space of KTRU, a station that is often the sole showcase of local and underground talent.

But what if it were the other way around?


Fresh from the astounding success of Summer Fest, Omar and Jagi combine to buy the transmitter and FM dial space of KTRU. Heavily connected with the community, the two entrepreneurs use their skills and connections to lure more and more significant artists like the Flaming Lips, Peter, Bjorn, & John and Goldfrapp to the station for interviews and live performances. With FPH and a radio station under their control, Houston's almost secret but stellar indie-rock scene quickly rises to the top of the game, driving the static and stale Clear Channel to the outskirts.

DJ slots and internships at Rice become prestigious titles, with solid talent like Ian Wells becoming the next generation of music disseminators. Rather than being forced into the online world, the new KTRU actively embraces it as the future of radio, and begins to connect through live streaming video with acts all over the word. The station, once just a little college radio feed is now the driving force of new music in Texas.

Austin is forced to suck it.


Wishing to open the avenues for the increasing number of young fans of classical music, The University of Houston buys Fitzgerald's, intending to it into a sort of clubhouse for classical performances. Musicians from the Moores School of Music begin holding low-key and more avant-garde concerts at the newly renovated and de-pee-stained Heights venue, enjoying the freedom that a more community minded platform allows.

The open-mike-style recitals between classically trained musicians eventually start making their way onto YouTube, where you would not believe the amount of classical music being played by people in their teens and early 20s. The videos turn Fitzgerald's into a kind of 21st-century classical Grand Ole Opry. Eventually, the university turns over management of Fitzgerald's to a team of annually elected top music majors, who guide the former flophouse from punk rock to punk Bach.

New York is also forced to suck it.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner