UH to to Buy Radio Tower, FM Frequency and License from Rice University


1.  The University of Houston is in the middle of a serious budget crisis, requiring furloughs and other cuts to University programs and expenses - so how can the University afford to buy a second public radio station like KUHF?

  • No University funds will be used for the purchase.  One hundred percent of the purchase price will be paid by KUHF through its regular program of expanded underwriting from business and industry and ongoing private gift fundraising.


2.  From what sources does KUHF get its funding?

  • KUHF gets no funding from UH or from state funds. About 92 percent of its $8.7 million annual budget comes from community donations, 6 percent from a Federal grant and 2 percent from miscellaneous earned income.


3.  Why, specifically, does KUHF want to do this?

  • This new programming direction dramatically delivers on the University of Houston's Tier One promise to Houston. We are going to provide 24-hour NPR news and public affairs programming and 24-hour classical programming to all of Houston's radio listeners.
  • KUHF shares the goal of the University of Houston to "...be the engine of social and economic advancement of the metropolitan region and the state" and shares the commitment of UH to "...engage with its community and... hold itself publicly accountable for contributing toward community advancement."
    • A full-service NPR news & information station serves its community as a key provider of content in the 21st century information economy, where information is both the currency and the product - and a critical component of growth and progress throughout society.
    • Houston's continuing social and economic advancement will continue to depend on the general availability and widespread dissemination of information to its citizens.
  • Likewise, KUHF shares UH President Renu Khator's goal to "...expand and strengthen partnerships and collaborations with key arts organizations in Houston."
    • Houston's arts community is world class in all aspects, with Symphony, Opera, Ballet and Museums that position Houston at the forefront of global 21st century culture.
    • KUHF serves as the "Voice of the Arts in Houston," providing a "one-stop" media platform to unite stakeholders, stimulate community awareness and advance this key component of Houston society.


4.  What is the benefit to Houston of a second public radio station?

  • For 24 years, KUHF has broadcast a dual format of classical music and NPR news, sharing the single 88.7 FM channel.
  • As the audience for public radio has grown nationally and locally, news listeners in Houston have asked for more news and classical listeners in Houston have asked for more classical music - a zero-sum game on the single KUHF channel.
  • Public radio has demonstrated nationwide success in supporting, operating and expanding both news and classical radio formats, based on the non-profit, public service business model, in which all earnings in excess of expenses are automatically reinvested in the station.
  • Thus, to provide true 24/7 access to both news and classical for the Houston radio audience, a second FM channel is the single best option, and programming can be implemented efficiently and economically.


5.  Why an existing radio station, rather than starting a new one?

  • All available FM radio frequencies in greater Houston are occupied by existing stations, so if KUHF is to expand its on-air programs to full-time news and full-time classical, the only possibility is through acquiring an existing station.
  • Rice University made a decision to sell its student-run radio station and KUHF responded through the non-profit media broker Public Radio Capital to successfully negotiate the purchase.


6.  What are the benefits to the community?

  • Doubling the current KUHF news and classical music offerings, and providing both on-air, 24/7, will significantly increase service to the greater Houston community.
    • Now, KUHF alone attracts about 380,000 listeners each week; the two stations combined are conservatively projected to reach more than 500,000 weekly listeners, or about 10 percent of the population of greater Houston, a number that can grow dramatically.
  • On KUHF News, increased Houston-centered content will address, among many topics:
    • health and medical issues, including the implications of an ageing population;
    • science, technology and research as cornerstones of Houston's development;
    • education, K thru Graduate School, as a key to a community's future;
    • demographic and cultural trends driving Houston's evolution into the 21st century; and
    • business and economic development.
    • KUHF will also sponsor and broadcast town-hall forums devoted to issues of concern to the community.
  • On KUHC Classical, increased Houston-centered content will include expanded in-studio live performances, live remote broadcasts and full-length concert broadcasts of local performers.
    • Existing broadcast partnerships with Houston's arts organizations, including the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, Houston Friends of Chamber Music, Da Camera, et al., will continue on the new station and be expanded.
    • The Front Row will continue regular in-studio broadcasts, adding monthly remote live broadcasts from various community venues (Discovery Green, Bayou Bend, etc.)
    • Young performers and the upcoming generation of classical musicians will be featured in partnerships with area music schools, including concert broadcasts, media sponsorships and other cooperative ventures:
      • Moores School of Music at the University of Houston
      • Shepherd School of Music at Rice University
    • KUHC will also partner with arts organizations to promote educational outreach, audience expansion and diversity.