Technical difficulties arose Wednesday when police tried to trace the threatening phone calls made to KTCU FM 88.7 “The Choice” that caused the station to shut down Tuesday night, a source close to the investigation said. The source said police wanted to look at phone records, but the phones at the station don’t have caller ID because they are analog. The source said police were looking for other ways to track the call Wednesday.
TCU Police took the case Tuesday night, when a KTCU disc jockey became uncomfortable after an angry listener called complaining about the station’s format.
The source said the caller never threatened bodily harm, saying the calls “were just harassing.”
TCU Police Sgt. Alvin Allcon said there is currently no suspect in the case, but the police station is working with Richard Allen, chair of the radio-TV-film department, and Russell Scott, KTCU station manager, to find a lead.
“The TCU Police Department has been outstanding,” Scott said. “When we called them, they were here within 10 minutes. They’ve followed up, and they’re taking the appropriate actions.”
A disc jockey said the caller claimed to have worked at KTCU as DJ in 1996. Allcon said this was the one major clue police had in finding a suspect.
“We’re going back through past KTCU DJs to develop a suspect,” Allcon said.
The source said police want to get in touch with the caller, but aren’t sure whether charges will be filed.
Scott said he thinks the caller has called the station in the past, but this was the first time he made threatening comments to a DJ.
The students who work at KTCU are holding up well, Scott said.
“I told the staff to make themselves more aware of their surroundings,” Scott said. “I don’t want them to be worried, but I want them to be aware.”
Scott said students are being more vigilant with safety measures, such as keeping the door locked at all times.
“What I’ve told the disc jockeys to do is anytime they feel uncomfortable, worried or concerned to first and foremost call the TCU Police Department,” Scott said.
Allcon said TCU Police are taking necessary security precautions, but declined to give details to avoid releasing important information.
Scott said threatening calls made to radio stations are not unusual, but the call made to KTCU was still a shock. Because it is a common occurrence, Scott said, they have taught students how to deal with this type of issue.
“This call was a little different, because this is a university radio station,” Scott said. “First and foremost we’re a laboratory, and we’re a radio station second. So even if there is just a hint of anything, we want to make sure the students are protected.”
Allen said former crime reports from cases around campus showed this same type of crime has happened in the past, but the DJs at KTCU deal with different circumstances.
“The difference is that radio station people are publicly out there,” Allen said. “They must learn how to handle situations like this. This can be a real learning experience for them.”
By teaching students how to talk and react to threatening callers, Scott said, they should have been prepared for Tuesday night’s call, but he understood if they were not.
“Sometimes it takes something like this to hit home, and for students to understand there is a reason they’re told these things and there is a reason to be aware of their surroundings,” Scott said.
News editor Bailey Shiffler and editor -in-chief Andrew Chavez contributed to this report.