East Texans form group to oppose radio station sale

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Mark Antony Owen
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East Texans form group to oppose radio station sale

Post by Mark Antony Owen » Fri May 26, 2006 5:59 pm

By KATHERINE SAYRE
Thursday, May 25, 2006


'We've made a decision,' Kilgore College official says

TYLER — A group of Tyler-area arts supporters and classical music listeners decided Wednesday to form a committee in opposition to a proposed sale of Kilgore College's classical music station KTPB.

"We need everybody to understand that it's at risk and something can be done," said Otis Carroll, a listener and donor to KTPB-88.7 FM.

The meeting, held by the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, spurred discussion among leaders in the arts, education and economic development in Tyler about how to protest the possible sale of the 15-year-old station and keep classical music programming on the airwaves in the Tyler-Longview-Kilgore area.

Kilgore College trustees approved selling KTPB's broadcasting license and equipment to national Christian pop music broadcasters Educational Media Foundation. Under the sale, the college would be paid $2.46 million over 10 years for the station.

The FCC, which must give final approval of the sale, started a 30-day public comment period Tuesday.

Kilgore College officials have said an impending cut in funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and waning listener donations contributed to the decision to sell the station.

"It's admirable and we can appreciate the public stance on wanting to maintain the arts," said Chris Moore, Kilgore College spokesman, in response to Wednesday's meeting. "We can respect that and appreciate that, but the bottom line is we've made a decision. It was a decision that was unanimously supported by the board and the administration. .. With the revenue generated from the sale, we feel that revenue will better benefit our number one concern, and that's students."

Gene Decker, a Jacksonville resident who attended Wednesday's meeting, said having a public radio station contributes to quality of life — a key factor in attracting businesses and new jobs to the area.

"We have a lot of potential for good quality of life in East Texas, but we're throwing it away fast," Decker said.

Nancy Wrenn, executive director of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, said Christian popular music is already broadcast on several stations in Tyler, while KTPB provides the only radio outlet for classical music and the arts.

She said the group's opposition to the sale isn't about being opposed to Christian music.

KTPB broadcasts religious and Christian music in classical styles, she said.

The group discussed recruiting a lawyer, inviting already-established Christian pop music stations to the effort and finding ways to oppose the sale to the FCC.

"A public asset like a public radio station is not a money-maker," Carroll said during the meeting. "It's not supposed to be a profit-center."
"Neti, neti."

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Fri May 26, 2006 6:51 pm

Am I glad that I live in Southeast Texas then! :)
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Post by Lance » Fri May 26, 2006 8:24 pm

One has to admire the citizens of Tyler to move ahead on this and try to stop it. If there are surrounding radio stations broadcasting other types of music and not classical, it behooves them to fight. I can see where $2.5 million would probably look good to the college over the next decade, however, if the station receives support from local citizens and the surrounding area, then another similar station seems pointless. It will be interesting to see how the FCC deals with and allows the sale to be finalized. I'm not sure if the college is a state- or private one. That may make a difference.
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Re: East Texans form group to oppose radio station sale

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 26, 2006 9:22 pm

shadowritten wrote:Kilgore College trustees approved selling KTPB's broadcasting license and equipment to national Christian pop music broadcasters Educational Media Foundation.
Horrors! The best classical music station in DC, the oldest college/public broadcasting station, was WGTS-FM on the grounds of Columbia Union College, a 7th Day Adventist school in Takoma Park, Md. For most of the weekdays it played classical music. Come the weekends, it was mostly religious broadcasting. Somewhere in the 90s it went to all Christian Pop. A cultural tragedy.
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Re: East Texans form group to oppose radio station sale

Post by Lance » Fri May 26, 2006 9:42 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
shadowritten wrote:Kilgore College trustees approved selling KTPB's broadcasting license and equipment to national Christian pop music broadcasters Educational Media Foundation.
Horrors! The best classical music station in DC, the oldest college/public broadcasting station, was WGTS-FM on the grounds of Columbia Union College, a 7th Day Adventist school in Takoma Park, Md. For most of the weekdays it played classical music. Come the weekends, it was mostly religious broadcasting. Somewhere in the 90s it went to all Christian Pop. A cultural tragedy.
Did anybody (citizens) bark about the change? This is a private school, so I suppose they can do whatever is best for their "budgets." A pity.

If I could get enough funds and place a transmitter in my back yard and a huge antenna atop the house, I would start broadcasting as WLGH (!) - so contributions are most welcome! Lawyers will be most acceptable to work with the FCC to establish a 6-hour-day [8 a.m. to 2 p.m.] of nothing but classical music and news. If we grow like I think we might, then we could have a western division as KLGH. Why "LGH," well, I'll let you figure that one out. If dreams could come true, this is what I would want to do in the world. Ah, dreams!
Lance G. Hill
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Re: East Texans form group to oppose radio station sale

Post by RebLem » Sat May 27, 2006 4:32 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
shadowritten wrote:Kilgore College trustees approved selling KTPB's broadcasting license and equipment to national Christian pop music broadcasters Educational Media Foundation.
Horrors! The best classical music station in DC, the oldest college/public broadcasting station, was WGTS-FM on the grounds of Columbia Union College, a 7th Day Adventist school in Takoma Park, Md. For most of the weekdays it played classical music. Come the weekends, it was mostly religious broadcasting. Somewhere in the 90s it went to all Christian Pop. A cultural tragedy.
I really have to question the faith of any "Christian" who is totally uninterested in listening to Bach or Buxtehude. :twisted: :roll: :twisted:
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Re: East Texans form group to oppose radio station sale

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat May 27, 2006 1:12 pm

RebLem wrote:I really have to question the faith of any "Christian" who is totally uninterested in listening to Bach or Buxtehude. :twisted: :roll: :twisted:
It was all demographics, I'm sure. E.g., they played classical music as a throwaway because the people who sustained the station - the 7th Day Adventist listeners - didn't listen during the day. They were all at work. They made all the money necessary to support the operating of the station from donors who listened to the weekend programming. I've emailed them to ask what happened and why after 50+ years they went to dreck (I didn't say that). It's just a a mystery to me.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat May 27, 2006 7:51 pm

Following up, here's the email I got in reply from WGTS:
Dear Corlyss:

Thank you for your email. I am sorry you are disappointed, the change to Contemporary Christian music occurred almost 10 years ago (1997). WGTS began in 1957 as a 10 watt station on 91.9. I was Program Director and then Station Manager of WGTS while it was still classical music with religious programming on the weekends.

From about 1979 to when we changed formats the audience had dwindled to almost zero. Unfortunately the Washington DC area just would not financially support or listen to Classical Music on WGTS. It would have been great to continue classical music if we could have afforded to pay the electric bill and rent.

Classical music is still available in the area on 91.5FM WBJC and 104.1FM
and 103.9FM WGMS (103.5FM is now WTOP-FM).

Thank you again for writing.

John Konrad
General Manager
WGTS 91.9
Washington D.C.
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Post by jbuck919 » Sat May 27, 2006 9:43 pm

I'm not renting a car with XM radio this summer as I did last year. I'm just going to drive my mother's Hyundai, where I get excellent radio reception from several classical stations in the cell-phone dead zone of the Adirondack Park (go figure). There is also excellent classical broadcasting over satellite TV, but I suppose I will have to watch reruns of Matlock and Murder She Wrote. She is my mother, you know, and I can always be reading a book.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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