Tag Archives: NPR

Secret Intern Hero of the KTRU-KUHF sale, and lucky students

As the battle to block the KTRU sale continues (or at least make it so miserable for Rice that the university gives KTRU $3 million to set up a proper online station and ground music presence just to get everyone to shut up), there will inevitably be unsung heroes.

As in all battles, some brave soul will recognize the higher cause and throw herself upon the sword of justice, sacrificing for the greater good and the RZA.

KTRU ain't nuthin' ta fuck wit

In this new batch of e-mails from the KTRU open records request, we learn the tale of the The Bravest Intern. (pdf: KTRU KUHF intern hero)

“she withdrew (we hope only temporarily) in part because of her loyalty to the opposition to the sale.”

Those are some good words to see. The sale masterminds think that KTRU supporters and Rice students will just roll over and capitulate. They think KTRU will not put up a fight. But we are fighting on the blogs, and we are fighting in the courts, and we are even fighting on their own turf. This one student laughed at KUHF and the Rice administration, and demonstrated that loyalty cannot be bought. There is no price high enough for student dignity.

Rice Vice President for Public Affairs Linda Thrane seems to think, again in that Dolores Umbridge tone, that Rice “constituencies” are merely ignorant about the matters at hand and need to be reminded that some “lucky students” will “really benefit” from the sale, because it will result in a few internships.

Perhaps Rice needs to be reminded that with KTRU, students are not the interns, they are the managers. KTRU was made by Rice students and run by Rice students. KTRU and its student leadership competes on the FM band with every other station, and often wins. But now, these students are being fired or demoted to internships.

KTRU offered leadership opportunities, radio experience, and personal expression for dozens of Rice students. Now there will be six Rice interns fetching coffee for the University of Houston.

Lucky them.

Lucky, to have a student-run station sold without notice or discussion. Lucky, to have unique and local music replaced by nationally syndicated wire. Lucky, to have students’ own shows replaced by internships for a few.

This isn’t lucky. This is shit. And it is about time Rice recognized it.

If Rice needs to sell KTRU, fine. KTRU supporters will stand in opposition and do whatever it takes to block the sale — that is a given. But at least Rice could see that this is not lucky for them. It is an awful, heart-wrenching experience in which the alma mater we knew and loved has stabbed us in the back. And the least that Rice can do is say, “Yes, we know it sucks, but we had to.” But they haven’t

Rice has not recognized that this sale is an attack on its own students. Instead, they think we should feel “lucky.” Lucky that dozens may suffer, and tens of thousands of radios go silent, so that half a dozen can get internships. Lucky.

And they haven’t even explained why. Does Rice really need the money? Was KTRU below some objective standard of student popularity or Arbitron rating? Did the board not like that many DJs were not students? Did the university fear on-air FCC violations?

Where is the financial study justifying this sale? Where is the hard evidence? There is none. The Board decided that KTRU wasn’t worth it, and so they threw out the students with the transmitter.

And the “constituencies” are supposed to feel lucky.

I feel lucky that I attended a university with people brave enough to withdraw from an internship in solidarity with KTRU.

So keep writing letters. With every records request, we see that University of Houston and Rice administrations receive and read letters in opposition. Show them that this one brave student is not the only one willing to stand up for KTRU.

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Burn Down Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me’s Bluff the Listener

As part of the necessary steps to achieving proper bourgeoisiedom, I was listening to the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me podcast on my iPhone while maintaining various yoga positions this past weekend, when something besides the usual Carl Kasell witticisms caught my attention: Rice University was mentioned in the Bluff the Listener segment. However, anyone who knows anything about Rice could have easily told you that the Rice story, which was about an academic study of Lindsay Lohan, was false. Can you find the giveaway?

Mr. LUKE BURBANK (Host, “Too Beautiful to Live”): Facing its worst budget shortfall in nearly 100 years, Rice University in Houston recently made the controversial decision to only fund research projects that involved multiple departments. At first we were worried we wouldn’t find a subject that raised research questions throughout multiple academic disciplines, said PhD candidate Rick Cupfner(ph). But then it came to us, something, or should I say someone, who mystified literally everyone here at the university and hence, the study of Lohanology was born.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BURBANK: What began as a co-project between the Women’s Studies and Communications departments to study Lindsay Lohan has now grown to include the medical school, Department of Psychology and Linguistics Department.

Do you see the problem? Rice has neither a Communications department, nor a medical school! (Oof on the Med School reference. That hits a little close to home.) And to get technical, Rice does not have a Women’s study department either, but rather a “Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality.” Smooth move, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me. Time to hire some better fact checkers for your fictional segments. Obviously, this completely undermines the legitimacy of NPR’s entire news reporting operation.