Dear Renu Khator: Use KTRU To Spread UH Sports

Dear Dr. Khator:

Now that some time has passed, I thought I would offer up my congratulations on the University of Houston's purchase of KTRU from Rice. I know that you have probably been hearing from some angry people, but seeing as how the station didn't even generate enough listeners to register  in the last ratings book, I somehow doubt that you're being flooded with very many phone calls or e-mails.

I like the plans I've heard. NPR 24/7 on KUHF, and that classical crap that I never listen to on KTRU. It will be nice to be able to get some legitimate news on the radio whenever I want it, instead of being stuck in my car and having to hope that KTRH might do at least one legitimate news story in its newsbreaks during Rush Limbaugh.

But I'd like, if I may, to offer up some suggestions for the uses of both of the school's stations. Seeing as how the school now owns the stations, how about letting some of your communication students make use of the facilities? I know that I was pissed off when, way back in my days as a student when I was majoring in Radio-Television, I was informed that students didn't really have anything to do with the radio or the TV station. But why not get some of the kids and let them help with the news. Let them cover the sports teams and the city alongside your pros. I bet you'll get some really good stuff.

Now here's my big plan, and it deals with athletics. Now that you've got KTRU, why not use it for some sports programming when you're not playing the best of Mozart? Not just any sports programming, not the football or men's basketball teams where the school is hopefully making some cash off their deals with ISP to air on 790.

No, I'm talking about some of the minor sports, like baseball and women's basketball. Why not give them some exposure to the masses? Maybe somebody who is a Cougar fan will hear those games and get interested in something besides the football team. Or maybe you'll get somebody interested who is just driving around, trying to find something non-Clear Channel-programmed to listen to.

This might be a good way to grow some of the other sports programs without the pressure that would come from putting the games on 790. There definitely wouldn't be any ratings pressure because, frankly, it doesn't sound like anything can do worse ratings-wise than what KTRU was already doing. And since most of the major Houston sports media tries to ignore UH as much as possible -- except for those of here at the Press, of course -- this would be a good way to get the message out on a consistent basis about UH sports.

I'm sure the school can come to some kind of arrangement with ISP and Tom Franklin so he could have a weekly or daily program devoted to all things UH sports. And maybe you could get some young kid, some up-and-comer like Jim Nantz was all of those years ago, who would love to do the baseball and women's basketball games for real cheap.

KTRU -- yes, I know you want to call it KUHC, but I'm still programmed to type KTRU -- would become the destination Cougar station. I know it's hard to believe if you listen to, or watch sports programming in Houston, but there really are a lot of people who went to the University of Houston and who are interested in what's going on with the sports teams. Give them a chance to get interested again. Give them a chance to hear from Todd Buchanan and Todd Whitting on a consistent basis. Let them hear from the swimmers and the soccer players. Let Leroy Burrell talk about the great track program.

The purchase of KTRU provides a great opportunity. It not only gives Houstonians a place where they can listen to quality news programming 24/7, but also, if used correctly, it finally gives Houstonians a place where they can go, where they will want to go, to get information on UH sports when you're not playing classical music.

And I think I can guarantee this. UH sports programming will get you a better rating than KTRU's old migraine radio format.

Sincerely, Cougar Grad

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