It seems like almost overnight, colleges across the country have lost their voices. From Houston to Lubbock, several college radio stations have lost funding and are being sold to non-student organizations.
But TCU’s campus radio station, KTCU, can sleep easy knowing that its voice will not be silenced.
“We have no reason to think we’re in danger; we’ve never been told anything like that,” Russell Scott, the station’s manager, said.
Although some schools are losing their stations because of budget cuts, KTCU has 30 students working at the station each semester.
Scott said KTCU is considered a learning lab for Film-Television-Digital Media majors. A majority of the students working at the station are enrolled in FM Radio Operations. Students get a first-hand learning experience in radio broadcasting working for the radio station, Scott said.
Students work between six to nine hours a week learning how to run a broadcast, operate radio equipment and edit audio, Scott said. Students also produce traffic and weather reports along with live-to-air public service announcements.
“The station is completely student run,” Scott said.
Through KTCU, students are introduced to the professional world of radio. Scott said during the day, students run a professional radio broadcast while adhering to the specific rules and regulations of broadcasting. At night, however, students can show more of their personality in their broadcasts.
Beau Tiongson, a junior sports broadcasting major, runs his own radio broadcasts on KTCU.
From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tiongson, along with alumni Shane Rainey and Curtis Clay, produce and run the sports show “Three Man Weave.”
“It’s just an everything-sports show,” Tionsgon said.
Along with independent projects, students are responsible for all sports broadcasts of football, basketball and baseball, among others.
“It may seem really small, but it’s a huge deal,” Tiongson said.
KTCU also greatly affects students who plan on a future in radio, like Suzi Mellano, a freshman sports broadcasting and deaf education double major. She said the few months she spent working at KTCU changed her view of radio.
“I never thought I would be interested in a future in radio,” Mellano said.
However, she said working and running her own radio broadcast with Tiongson has been an enjoyable experience.
David Whillock, Dean of the College of Communications, said KTCU is stable and there are no worries of it folding. The Board of Trustees still sees KTCU as an integral part of the curriculum, Whillock said. Although funding can always be more, Whillock said KTCU’s budget is operating to meet all its needs.
According to USA Today, colleges including Rice University, Texas Tech University and Vanderbilt University have either sold their stations or are in the process of doing so.
Whillock said KTCU’s direct ties to the curriculum contributes to its stability on campus.
“We didn’t design it like that, but it sure does help,” Whillock said. “For us to lose funding would mean TCU has to lose funding.”
Schools like Rice and Texas Tech did not have their stations incorporated into the course work, which may have contributed to why they were cut, Whillock said.