The FCC rejected a petition to block the license transfer of Rice University's student-operated radio station KTRU-FM, clearing the way for the controversial $9.5 million sale to close later this month. The University of Houston's KUHF will take over the college station's 91.7 MHz frequency and launch a full-time classical music service under the call letters KUHC.
Friends of KTRU, a group of students, alumni and other supporters who mounted spirited protests of the sale last summer, took its challenge all the way to the FCC. But, in a decision released April 15, the commission dismissed the Friends' petition, which objected to the transfer as a set back for broadcast localism and diversity in noncommercial educational radio.
"The decision shows a lack of commitment on the part of the FCC to its own public statements regarding the importance of localism and diversity in American broadcast media," Friends of KTRU said in a statement.
Rice students will be giving up their analog broadcast channel, but not their station. They will continue to program KTRU as an Internet radio station and HD Radio channel of Pacifica's KPFT in Houston, broadcasting on 90.1-HD2 FM.
Classical KUHC will originate from KUHF's studios on campus and should launch within the next month, according to Richard Bonnin, U-Houston spokesman.
Radio Survivor published a detailed analysis of the FCC decision.