Tag Archives: John Culberson

I contacted the FCC and my representative about the KTRU sale. Did you?

Today I finally sent an e-mail to the FCC commissioners encouraging them to block the license transfer and KTRU sale. Friends of KTRU provides a good form letter that you definitely should copy and send if you live within the KTRU broadcast area:

Dear Commissioners:

I am writing in protest of the proposed license transfer of 50,000 watt Houston radio station KTRU 91.7 FM (and its 91.5 FM translator) from Rice University to the University of Houston System (UHS).  (File Nos. BALED-20101029ACX and BALFT-20101029ACY).  This proposal is very definitely not in the public interest.

UHS already owns and operates a 100,000 watt radio station in the Houston area, KUHF 88.7 FM, which broadcasts both classical music and news programs, mostly from National Public Radio (NPR).  Under the proposal, KUHF would become a 24-hour NPR station, and KTRU’s programming on 91.7 FM would be replaced by another UHS station, KUHC, with a 24-hour classical music format.  Should this proposal be allowed to go forward, it would be an unfortunate example of increasing media consolidation, as well as of the squelching of local voices.

KTRU was created by the students of Rice University, and has been staffed and programmed entirely by student and community volunteers for the duration of its four decades on Houston’s airwaves.  It adheres to an educational programming philosophy, and accomplishes its mission by showcasing underexposed music: artists and genres that other radio stations neglect to broadcast, either due to commercial concerns, rigid programming formats, or ignorance of the very existence of such music.  Thus, since by definition KTRU’s programming cannot be found elsewhere on Houston radio, its exit from the FM dial would leave a gaping hole in the cultural landscape of the fourth largest city in the United States.

KTRU features a number of genre-specific specialty shows that shine a light on a wide assortment of classical, jazz, rock, indie-rock, folk, electronic, experimental, reggae, hip-hop, blues, African, Indian, and other world musics.  KTRU provides the only radio outlet for the music of many of Houston’s ethnic minorities.  The balance of KTRU’s programming is comprised of its unique eclectic free-form shifts, which in the space of an hour can feature music from all these mentioned genres and more, inevitably causing listeners to adopt a more open-minded approach to musical appreciation.  In all cases, the local volunteer DJ is in charge of what gets played on air, subject to minimally constrictive playlist requirements in the case of free-form shifts.  Were KTRU to disappear from the dial, it would be a major blow to diversity on the radio, as well as to radio listeners in general.

The proposed transfer would allow KUHF to increase the number of nationally and internationally syndicated programs it broadcasts from NPR, the BBC, and other networks with limited connection to the Houston community.  Syndicated shows comprise the vast majority of its programming, and increasing the number of these would obviously not provide any increased voice for local Houstonians.

KTRU, on the other hand, is 100% non-syndicated locally produced programming.  It provides local artists unprecedented exposure through frequent live in-studio performances and entire programs dedicated to musicians and performers within the local community who otherwise would have little or no access to mass media.  KTRU plays an important and irreplaceable role by increasing awareness of, as well as directly participating in, the Houston music and arts scene through organizing concerts, producing and distributing compilations of live recordings, providing DJ talent for arts events, and curating stages at major local music festivals.  As many of KTRU’s volunteer DJs are positioned within facets of Houston’s cultural community, KTRU is uniquely positioned to both respond and contribute to the vibrancy of the city on a local level, and to promote Houston and its cultural output on a national level through the college radio community.

Rice and UHS formulated and implemented this proposal in secret, with no input allowed from or notice given to the students, faculty, or alumni of either university, or community members, or the station itself.  UHS seems mostly interested in the prestige of owning two radio stations, as part of its quest to attain “Tier One” university status in Texas.  Rice apparently sees the proposal only in financial terms, wanting to dump a “declining asset” before it becomes worthless.  I don’t agree that a FM radio license is a “declining asset.”  I believe FM radio still plays a vital role in our culture, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

KTRU is truly a unique gem and an important part of the local community, and it would be to Houston’s great detriment to lose its voice.  The public interest would be best served by KTRU’s continued existence on Houston’s FM dial.  I humbly request that you stop the proposed license transfer.  Thank you for your consideration.

However, I wrote my own letter. Admittedly, I took a bit from the KTRU form letter and added my own bits. Specifically, I tried to emphasize that if there ever were a circumstance that could be treated as unique under the law, this is it.

Dear Commissioners:
My name is Evan Mintz. I am a regular Houston radio listener and I am writing in protest of the proposed license transfer of 50,000 watt Houston radio station KTRU 91.7 FM (and its 91.5 FM translator) from Rice University to the University of Houston System (UHS). (Files Nos. BALED-20101029ACX and BALFT-20101029ACY). This proposal is not in my interest, the interest of Houston, or in the public interest.
UHS already owns and operates a 100,000 watt radio station in the Houston area, KUHF 88.7 FM, which broadcasts both classical music and news programs, mostly from National Public Radio (NPR). Under the proposal, KUHF would become a 24-hour NPR station, and KTRU’s programming on 91.7 FM would be replaced by another UHS station, KUHC, with a 24-hour classical music format. On the other hand, KTRU provides an outlet for unique and local content that cannot be found anywhere else on public airwaves. Should this proposal be allowed to go forward, it would be an unfortunate example of increasing media consolidation, as well as of the squelching of local and unique voices.
While the court stated in Citizens Committee to Keep Progressive Rock v. FCC 156 App DC 16, that a majority of format changes do not diminish the diversity available, this license transfer is one of the rare circumstances where the commission should intervene. From the children’s show to MK Ultra, electronica, jazz and genetic memory, KTRU plays music that simply is not available otherwise on the public airwaves. While the commission certainly cannot guarantee that every broadcast need or interest be perfectly met on a fixed frequency 24 hours per day, as the court stated in Lakewood Broadcasting Service v FCC, 156 App DC 9, KTRU is often the only source not just for specific songs, but entire genres of music. In the fourth largest city in the United States, it is important that the commission preserve this unique source on the airwaves.
If the proposed transfer were actually to go through, it would merely allow KUHF to increase the number of nationally and internationally syndicated programs it broadcasts from NPR, the BBC, and other networks with limited connection to the Houston community. Syndicated shows comprise the vast majority of its programming, and increasing the number of these would obviously not provide any increased voice for local Houstonians.
If there can be any circumstance where a station is truly unique, this is it. The commission should stand up for the preservation of public interest in local and unique music. If KTRU falls, it will be the end of local and unique music on the Houston public airwaves.

 

However, I also wrote a letter to the U.S. Representative for Rice’s district: Rep. John Culberson (TX-07). Admittedly, my letter was not completely academically honest. In an attempt to appeal to Culberson’s vote to block Federal funding to NPR after the Juan Williams firing, I argued that while his vote there failed, he could succeed by blocking the transfer at hand.
This past October, National Public Radio fired news analyst Juan Williams after he made a controversial statement about Muslims on Fox News’s “the O’Reilly Factor.” In the resulting scandal and hubbub, many Republican representatives, including your Texas colleague Sen. John Cornyn, questioned NPR’s public funding. As Senator Cornyn tweeted: “Why should taxpayers subsidize NPR?” By November, Republican members of Congress attempted to roll back federal funding to NPR. However, this plan was defeated, despite your vote, in a 239-171 vote.
This should not be the end for your efforts. Currently, the University of Houston is attempting to purchase the license for the 50,000 watt Houston radio station KTRU 91.7 FM. This transfer would allow the current KUHF 88.7 FM station to become a 24-hour NPR station. Such a transfer would grant a louder bullhorn to national, syndicated NPR content and silence those who live in your district.
The proposed transfer would merely allow KUHF to increase the number of nationally and internationally syndicated programs it broadcasts from NPR, the BBC, and other networks with limited connection to the Houston community. Syndicated shows comprise the vast majority of its programming, and increasing the number of these would obviously not provide any increased voice for local Houstonians.
On the other hand, KTRU was created by the students of Rice University, and has been staffed and programmed entirely by student and community volunteers for the duration of its four decades on Houston’s airwaves. It is, is 100% non-syndicated locally produced programming. It provides local, Texas artists unprecedented exposure through frequent live in-studio performances and entire programs dedicated to musicians and performers within the Houston community who otherwise would have little or no access to mass media.
As many of KTRU’s volunteer DJs are positioned within facets of Houston’s cultural community, KTRU is uniquely positioned to both respond and contribute to the vibrancy of the city on a local level, and to promote Houston and its cultural output on a national level.
With this proposed transfer, NPR seeks to silence Houstonians.
I ask that you take up the fight against NPR for your Houston constituents and act to help block this license transfer (File Nos. BALED-20101029ACX and BALFT-20101029ACY).
Thank you very much.
However, KTRU also provides its own form letter to send to various representatives and officials.
KTRU’s letter is much more of an informational communication, encouraging politicos to simply get involved, ask questions, and bring attention to the matter.
Anyways, I am anticipating the legal decision and hopefully the appeal that will result from the FCC decision.
But even if the sale goes through, I would hope that the legal process would be burdensome enough to encourage Rice to simply bribe KTRU supporters by providing $1-2 million from the sale proceeds as seed money to establish a proper and high quality KTRU online and real world presence.

 

Burn Down John Culberson’s Twitter Account

Rep. Culberson is awfully proud of his Twitter account. He does it all the time. But if you don’t like what he has to say, its an awfully embarrassing outlet for one awful congressman.

Luckily, Twitter allows users to respond to other people’s tweets. Thus resulted in this day-long exchange between Culberson and various Rice persons.

johnculberson Very disappointing to see Sen Snowe become an enabler for Pelosi/Obama/Reid’s plan to nationalize health care & turn America into France about
3 hours ago from web

notABBY @johnculberson i’m very disappointed that you’re my representative to congress, but we can’t always get what we want. eh bien, c’est la vie!
about 3 hours ago from web

paulbtucker RT YES! @notabby: @johnculberson i’m very disappointed that you’re my representative to congress, but we can’t always get what we want.
about 3 hours ago from DestroyTwitter

evan7257 RT @notabby: @johnculberson i’m very disappointed that you’re my representative to congress, but we can’t always get what we want. || Yeah!
about 2 hours ago from web

TheRevDoctor RT @notABBY: @johnculberson i’m very disappointed that you’re my representative to congress, but we can’t always get what we want.
about 2 hours ago from Tweetie

evan7257 @johnculberson If we turn into France, does that mean we can lower the drinking age and get high speed rail? That would be nice. Get workin’
about 2 hours ago from web in reply to johnculberson

johnculberson When the fed govt decides when & how much to pay for which procedures, they run health care. Now imagine Texas Med Center run by fed gov’t.
about 2 hours ago from web

evan7257 @johnculberson Doesn’t that already happen via Medicare and Medicaid and VA? Do we need to get rid of those? Get workin’ on it!
about 2 hours ago from web in reply to johnculberson

johnculberson Solution is reduce cost of health care – make it portable & affordable NOT to nationalize it. Imagine MD Anderson Cancer Ctr run by fed gov!
about 2 hours ago from web

johnculberson @evan7257 And the French apparently have lower cholesterol than we do from drinking more wine than we do!
about 2 hours ago from web in reply to evan7257

[Woah woah woah. Did John Culberson just encourage more people to drink wine? Is that our health care solution, drink more wine? I've heard of some bad ideas before... BUT THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM! More wine for everyone!!!]

paulbtucker @johnculberson they DO have many, better health outcomes, including that pardox. but your idiotic tweets are not helping the case, btw.
about 2 hours ago from DestroyTwitter in reply to johnculberson

evan7257 @johnculberson I know! Make wine more available. Tax credits for wine and taxi expenses, to cut down on drunk driving.
about 2 hours ago from web in reply to johnculberson

mysticfeline @johnculberson I think it’s based more the absence of fried twinkies and congressmen opposed to allowing citizens healthcare.
about 1 hour ago from web in reply to johnculberson

johnculberson @paulbtucker Dist. 7 emails, phone calls faxes etc running 76% no, 24% yes; feds will run Tx Med Ctr, MD Anderson Cancer Ctr etc = disaster
about 1 hour ago from web in reply to paulbtucker

paulbtucker @johnculberson what about a poll on, you know, reality? who’s nationalizing anything? the bill is very, very moderate. Give fear a break.
about 1 hour ago from DestroyTwitter

johnculberson @paulbtucker Common sense: If feds decide when&how much to pay for which procedures, then feds control health care= feds run Tx Medical Ctr
about 1 hour ago from web in reply to paulbtucker

evan7257 @johnculberson Dont they already make those decisions via Medicare and Medicaid? And would everyone use the public option? I vote, answer me
about 1 hour ago from web in reply to johnculberson

paulbtucker @johnculberson speaking of your email, would you mind making that address public, so we can continue this privately?
about 1 hour ago from DestroyTwitter in reply to johnculberson

paulbtucker @johnculberson what’s the CBO score on common sense? I didn’t see that, my bad.
about 1 hour ago from DestroyTwitter in reply to johnculberson

evan7257 @paulbtucker No! Keep the discussion the public. Its fun to watch.
about 1 hour ago from web in reply to paulbtucker

notABBY @johnculberson 3/10 most expensive cities for health care are in TX & we pay $2800 above nat’l avg for coverage; feds cannot be worse @ this
about 1 hour ago from web

paulbtucker @notabby @johnculberson when we are widely lauded for our low cost of living otherwise. i’m looking for other options, public or not.
about 1 hour ago from DestroyTwitter in reply to notABBY

gracewichmann RT @notABBY: @johnculberson i’m very disappointed that you’re my representative to congress, but we can’t always get what we want.
8 minutes ago from web

So, still no answer from Culberson about how Medicare and Medicaid are federal programs, nor about how the bill would force everyone onto a federal plan. I guess he only uses Twitter when its convenient for him.

Also, I’m not quite sure if he understood sarcasm, or if he legitimately was encouraging more people to drink or what.

Well, thus goes government. America is going to turn into France and more people need to drink wine and the federal government will control all of health care under this bill, as they do in France.

[Also, in case I was laying it on too thick, France does not have a single payer system, as the British do. Rather, they have mandatory insurance via non-profit agencies. Patients pay the cost and then later recoup them via insurance. They also have choice of where and when to receive care. And according to that leftist rag, Businessweek, France's private/public mix is pretty good

So, apparently, Culberson has no idea what the French health care system is like. He just uses France as an epithet for anything bad or "socialist," whatever that means.

In reality, what Culberson fears is something like the British system. But "Turning America into Britain" isn't really as big an insult

My Congressman is an idiot, or thinks that everyone else is an idiot.]

Reposted at DailyKos