Rice University to sell student-run radio station KTRU 91.7FM for a reported $9.5million to the University of Houston.
Originally started by engineering students in a dorm basement in 1967, KTRU's mission was "to educate the station membership, the greater Houston community, and the students of Rice University through its progressive and eclectic programming in the spirit of the station's non-commercial, educational license."
In the 40 years since then, KTRU has had a rich and controversial history
, including a strange turn of events in 1991 which led to its power being boosted from 3,000 to 50,000 watts, and an effective listening radius of 50 miles, to prevent interference from its "neighbor" at 92.1FM, KRTS (now KROI).
Taking its educational mission to heart, the station earned a reputation for being independent, unusual, and (to many) unlistenable.
In 2000, Rice administrators locked out student and community DJ's over conflict related to increased university demands for athletics broadcasting.
After 8 days of protests and much negative media attention (including a petition signed by 2,000 students, staff and alumni, as well as Mark Hosler of Negativland, Paul Westerberg, and David Byrne) the station was reopened.
KTRU 91.7FM was chosen as best radio station in Houston in 2000
and best hip hop show in 2003
by the Houston Press.
The University of Houston intends to replace KTRU's current freeform eclectic programming
(including specialty shows dedicated to blues, jazz, bluegrass, reggae, africana, americana, experimental/noise, local music, children's music, and metal) with classical music and arts programming, thus freeing up KUHF (UH's existing station) to focus on 24-hour NPR news and information.