A battle is raging within Texas Tech University. There is a fight to save 88.1 KTXT-FM, after it was shut down with little warning despite its 47 years of airtime.
KTXT officially signed off on Dec. 10, 2008, only 10 minutes after a meeting notifying the surprised and stunned station manager and staff of the unexpected shutdown.
“I walked into my meeting with the student media administration, thinking it to be a regular weekly meeting. It was in this meeting where I was told the station was being shut down,” Blake Porter, station manager of KTXT radio station, said. “After that it was me calling people to tell them what happened, the Facebook page being started, and then having events to let people know what happened,”
Porter said KTXT was shut down with little reason and even less warning.
“Susan Peterson [Director of Student Media at TTU] was the one who made the decision. They cite money as the reason for shutting it down.” Porter said. “None of us were notified beforehand of the shut down, I don’t know why.”
Peterson did not respond to phone calls from The Houstonian seeking comment.
Natalie Smith, Assistant Operations Director for KHSU-FM 90.5 “the KAT”, SHSU’s own radio station said KTXT should keep up the fight.
“Anything that I could do I would, because even if they wouldn’t get it back for me, for future generations of the school they need something like that if that’s the area they want to go into,” she said
James C. Jones, Jr., Broadcast Operations General Manager of SHSU’s Mass Communication Department said he is not fully aware of all the circumstances of KTXT but believes in student media.
“I believe in the student learning lab concept. I believe it is important for students to learn and understand how to have a voice that also works within the structure of the rules and regulation established by the Federal Communication Commission,” he said
For Porter there will be pride in success, but he is also prepared for failure.
“The support has been incredible. A lot of people are affected by the shutdown, and they all feel that shutting down KTXT was a wrong decision,” he said. “If the fight is successful, I will be overjoyed and wholly proud of Texas Tech for listening to the outcry and voices of their student body and alumni. If the effort is unsuccessful we have plans to bring back KTXT (under a different name, TTU owns the rights to the call letters) as an independent internet radio station.”
Overall, the administration’s handle on the situation has left Porter disappointed and ignored.”You go through high school as a kid and thirst for the day when you become an adult and believe that if you state your grievances calmly and professionally that they’ll be listened to,” he said. “And I’ve been getting that feeling that it’s the same old story happening again, we are not being listened to, even when we’re acting like responsible, professional adults.”