Augie's Bonehead Decision Regarding KAUR

Like most people, I was initially more than shocked at the announcement last Friday that Augustana College was pulling the plug on KAUR. As the day progressed, though, my anger did not dissipate but I also began to understand that it really was no surprise. Augie has been looking to unload the station for over two decades, and I’m actually surprised it has survived as long as it did.

I can’t help but be disappointed, though, as the station ranks right up with Budget Tapes and Records and Ernie November as my main sources to discover new music in the 80’s and 90’s. Sure, I undoubtedly would have eventually discovered the Clash, R.E.M., Replacements, Cure, Joy Division, Lloyd Cole, Young Fresh Fellows, Camper Van Beethoven, and tons of other bands, but it was quite a treat to share these discoveries with listeners in my 18-year tenure as DJ and music director (84-85).

It wasn’t just the music that made that old studio in Old Main (and later in one of the dorms) so special. It was the people. Over the years I met so many great people, many of whom I’m still in contact today (including the beautiful and talented Goddess).

Since the Argus relegated this story to a three-paragraph press release, I contacted KAUR General Manager Tom Prochazka to find out exactly why the college’s administration made their decision, and his reaction to the news.

Scott Hudson: How did you find out about the decision to go online-only?

Tom Prochazka: There was a meeting with Dr. Mark Braun (Dean of the College), Bob Preloger (Vice President for Marketing and Communications), Dr. Jim Bies (Dean of Students), Ivan Fuller (KAUR Faculty Advisor), Ben Jensen (ASA President), Jessica Haugo (KAUR’s Assistant Program Director), and myself on Monday, May 11th. During that meeting we discussed a couple of things, including the recent Supreme Court ruling in the FCC case against Cher, before Dean Braun announced that the decision had been made to shut down the transmitter. From that point on, the administration took feedback on what could be done to salvage the radio station and the discussion focused on the potential future, as opposed to any chance for the present.

SH: Was there any knowledge that the school was even contemplating pulling the plug?

TP: There were rumors spreading around campus and I had heard rumblings of some sort of change coming up but the decision to end the broadcast transmission still came as somewhat of a surprise. I had asked, on at least three occasions, to convene the “KAUR Advisory Board” in order to get some feedback on what the college administration was thinking and to offer an “insider’s perspective” in any discussions. The board, which serves only as an advisory board to the President and not as a decision-making board, was never called together and, as a result, I didn’t know exactly where the college was looking to head.

SH: What were the stated reasons for this decision?

TP: Dean Braun cited several reasons during our meeting last week.

One thing mentioned was the listening patterns of our student body. Recently the ASA (Augustana Student Association) issued a student survey to measure interest in several campus-based organizations. The student feedback regarding knowledge of the station and listenership rates were troublesome. One thing the survey indicated was that, if the station were available online, students would be more eager to listen.

Another reason behind the decision was the level of student participation. This is two-fold: a) we have only two staff members lined up for next year and b) we do not completely fill our “clock” with student DJs. For the staffing situation I take partial blame; due to the rumblings of change, I was not as adamant in my search for replacement staffers as I could have been. I was hoping to have convened the Advisory Board early during the semester in order to get some idea of where the College wanted to go before picking up four people just in time to fire them! The volunteer involvement is a much trickier issue. The problem here is that students don’t want to take a show, during the day, when it would fall between classes. That typically leaves late afternoon and evening shifts for students (what I call the “premium slots”). Those slots fill quickly and then other students see that all that is left is early morning, day, and weekend slots and most college kids believe that they have other interests to pursue during those times (sleep, class, or what can be called “social” activity).

Reason number three was the curriculum. Currently there is no place for KAUR in the curriculum. The is a COMM 095 participation credit that students can take to get credit for doing a weekly show but the COMM (Communication Studies) department just recently released a “new major” design which no longer allows COMM 095 to take the place of an internship for the purposes of major requirements. On top of that, Augustana is such a small school that we do not have a specialized “Broadcast” major that would greatly benefit from the use of the frequency. The educational value we do place on the station’s use is that of experience: student staff get to experience real-life managerial skills in dealing with student DJs, with DJs from the Sioux Falls community, with the administration, with the FCC, with community requests, and with community complaints. Volunteer DJs get to experience something not widely available: professional radio. Yes, there are internships available out there, but those internships are much less focused on the student learning through their experience as they are on having someone available to do the grunt work for little, or no, pay. KAUR focuses on the education of the student DJs who learn how to operate a show, how to read live copy on the air, and how to better communicate when there is no script or prepared speech. This is a part of the college’s “liberal arts” education and tradition that will be lost without KAUR at Augustana; students may learn how to memorize a speech for class but will no longer have the chance to ad-lib live copy when moving from a concert promotion to a legal i.d. to the discussion topic at hand.

Another reason the Dean cited was space. KAUR has a relatively small broadcast studio in the Morrison Commons building. Not much larger than a cubicle, this was not the area of main concern for the college. KAUR also has offices in the basement of East Hall, a space that we share with Data Processing. Our offices effectively take up three-fourths of the space available in that basement. With the potential switch to streaming, that will not change much. We have already offered to give up the area we call “The Stacks” (a library and cache of all the old music, formerly played on KAUR, stored on vinyl). We do not need to keep that space to keep up a broadcast transmission… we can easily turn the vinyl over to the library and enhance their music collection while freeing up space in the basement of East.

Another concern of the Dean’s was the FCC and the local image of the station and the college. With the FCC recently bumping up their fine schedules (admittedly, fines now are quite hefty and burdensome) and the Supreme Court recently ruling, in the first part of a split case, that the FCC has the right to enforce standards, the Dean worries that the college could be effectively bankrupted by one fleeting instance of indecency. The nuances here involve the licensing of KAUR as a “non-profit” station (as is apparent by its position on the dial), the coverage area of the broadcast transmission, and the level of regular income of the college. Also, as an insurance policy, two pieces of technology are readily available to alleviate some of those concerns. “Skimmers” record the broadcast as it happens and make a record of what was said, when. That way, when faced with an FCC complaint, the college would be able to prove whether the accusations were founded. “Delay switches” also allow for the DJ to “bleep” out anything that may have slipped. These two technologies could easily be added to the arsenal of technology that the college already possesses.

Lastly, the Dean cited outside interest in leasing the frequency. Apparently a couple of interests have come forward (MPR, the Catholic Diocese,…) and voiced an interest in obtaining the frequency. MPR has been interested in 89.1 ever since their classical station went on the air (back in the ‘70s, I believe) but has not made an offer that interests the college at this point. With the Catholic Diocese we may be able to work something out (timeshare style) where they program hours that they need and KAUR operates as-is for the remainder of the time. Of the Spanish-speaking interests that have come forward, the college needs to be careful. Since the college would still be the license-holder of record, they would need to ensure that the frequency was operating as a non-profit. Any lease operating the station for profit (or worse, commercially) could potentially result in fines larger than would be seen for any utterance of vulgarity.

SH: What was your initial reaction? Other staff members? DJ's?

TP: As I said earlier, the decision still came as somewhat of a surprise but I was not shocked. My assistant and faculty advisor also were not alarmed as the winds of change had already been felt. What did shock us was the speed at which the decision was made and the fact that there was very little consultation of the student staff for consideration of other alternatives! Since I had asked to convene the Advisory Board a couple of times already, I had thought that was what we were meeting for.
The shock hit when Dean Braun said “The decision has already been made to shut down the station.” I did retard my anger and remained level-headed enough to consider what would happen in that instance, thinking the whole time about how one could save the station in its current form, because streaming is no replacement for sending a broadcast… it is merely a supplement!

SH: What have you heard from the listeners?

TP: The listeners have been great. They have been writing emails of support and letters of love. Many listeners have asked why the decision has been made and what can be done to change minds because they do not want to lose access to such a unique entity. One listener emailed the station:

“I've been listening to KAUR since 1973. I read in the paper the other day you will be going off the radio waves. I've listened to your station every day at work; most of the music I've bought I heard on your station. Now what Top 40? I really hate the thought of not being able to dial you in anymore! I really don't know what to say except I'm really bummed!!I went to your web site and read the same thing, my days at work will never be the same or as enjoyable (enjoyable as work can be).It's almost like losing a good friend. Where will I go for my alternative fix?!! Thanks for the 35 years you filled my days and nights with good tunes!”

Another listener, an Augie alumni from Harrisburg, had this to say:

“I am an Augustana College alumni graduate. My occupation finds me alone much of the day working in Sioux Falls with a radio at my side or in the dashboard of my car. I listen to KAUR almost exclusively, as I view most other stations with disdain for their repetitive commercial nonsense.
I was greatly disheartened to learn that Augustana plans to pull the plug on their KAUR radio transmitter. Won't you please reconsider this decision?”

SH: Augie has historically been relatively secluded from the rest of the community. Besides sports, KAUR has been, for decades, almost the only thing non-students know about the school. Do you think the school's exposure will lessen without the station?

TP: I hope not. The thought is that a streaming station will reach many more of the younger, high school audience that Augie wants to target. The problem I see with this is that, if no one knows that we are streaming (didn’t hear it on the radio or see an ad), no one is going to connect. The college is going to have to promote the heck out of an internet stream to raise awareness and the easiest way to do that is to have it supplement the broadcast so that listeners can stream if they want or they can listen in their car where they don’t have internet. Another benefit of this format would be the connection with alumni who are out of the market. By simultaneously streaming, providing downloadable content, and broadcasting live, the college would be able to enjoy a much larger exposure than it currently experiences. My fear, however, is that we make the transition to streaming-only and no one knows about it, where to get it, or they eventually forget as they move on to something else.

SH: To be fair, being online does potentially allow for listeners from all over the country...or the world, really. Is sacrificing local listeners worth any type of worldwide gain?

TP: In my opinion, no. Not when we would be capable of accommodating both. The drawback with streaming is the royalty and licensing fee schedule. In order to stay within our budget, we would have to limit subscriptions to an average maximum of 212. There is some wiggle room here but the math works out that 212 people listening 24 hours a day would be just under a consumption level requiring a higher fee. 213 people would put us into the next category. So, access to over 300,000 potential listeners by broadcast or access to under 300 listeners via stream? Why not 300,300+ by both?

SH: Countering that argument, online listeners are "preaching to the choir" in that only people interested in the type of music playing will tune in. One of the benefits of traditional broadcasts is the person scanning the dial stumbling on a song they've never heard before. You're rarely going to hear something you're unfamiliar with on any of the local channels, but even hardcore listeners to KAUR do every single day (or at least they should). What's your reaction to that analysis?

TP: I say that that is spot-on! College radio plays such an important part in today’s world, not only as an educational resource to the students but also as part of the music industry. Were it not for college radio, acts like Spill Canvas, Nodes of Ranvier, The Glass Atlantic, The Subways, The Arctic Monkeys, Minus the Bear, Coheed and Cambria, The Raconteurs, Deathcab for Cutie, Daphne Loves Derby, the Dropkick Murphys, and many others may not have become as popular as they are. Each of these bands, which has been or is still on KAUR, has hit “Top 40” charts, played on commercial radio stations (such as the KRRO), performed at the VMAs (the Subways), and enjoyed great success after getting started on college radio stations. Labels (and local bands) send CDs to college stations to promote bands that commercial stations will not necessarily take right away. The college stations play the songs and people call in to request them more and more often. The requests are submitted to the labels (as our part of the agreement to get free CDs) and they know who to promote, who to sink more money into, and, now, have statistics to back a band when touting them to commercial stations. Without such proven support, many acts will fall by the wayside as commercial stations receive far too many demos to review.

SH: What should people do if they have an opinion on this situation? Who should they contact to voice their concerns? Is there any chatter about people banding together to question the administration's decision?

For more information, people should check out as I will be keeping the site up to date (as soon as finals are over with) with all the latest happenings at KAUR. If people have questions, they can email the station at (making sure to put “ATTN:OPINION” in the subject line) or they can call 605-274-4385 (the KAUR General Manager and Program Director’s office) and leave me a message. People can also join the Facebook group “KAUR” and show their love and support in the forums there. And letters of support can also be sent to:
2001 S Summit Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57197

As always, listener feedback and support are welcome. If anyone wishes to contact any of the school administrators, they should email the station and I will forward the correspondence along.

Hudson's Reaction: I have to say that the FCC ruling about the Cher incident is complete BS. Cher’s expletive was aired on network television during prime time hours, and the rulings have gone back and forth. In fact, the final word has yet to be stated, as the ruling actually sends the case back to federal court.

Any potential liability would have to result from an official complaint filed by a citizen. KAUR’s listenership is obviously quite small, and is frequented mainly by open-minded music heads who are generally not too concerned about controversial language. Prochazka states that there are already safeguards to ensure that it’s unlikely that any such language would even make it on the air. These safeguards, along with basic DJ training and the fact that DJ’s don’t chatter as much as commercial radio, really make this a non-issue. (Plus, the Obama administration is unlikely to carry on the witch hunts that occurred after the Janet Jackson incident.)

While there may be some merit to some of the other stated reasons, they’re pretty petty and ignores the importance of the station in this city. Student listenership has never been huge, as quite honestly the typical Augie student have never been known for their hipness. As I noted in one of my questions to Prochazka, KAUR is one of the college’s few programs that reach out to the community, and that is exactly why the station needs to fight the administration's move. Plenty of people I’ve encountered over the years (including myself) have attended the school primarily because of the station. It may not have added much to my GPA or worked at all towards my majors, but I learned more by doing the 2 – 6 am shifts in my freshman year than I did my entire four years.

I have no doubt that the real reason for shutting down the station involves either MPR or the Catholic Diocese. The last time KAUR came close to going under was when MPR wanted the frequency 20 years ago or so. I guarantee that if either of these entities end up with the frequency, this Augustana alum will do anything I can to prevent anybody I know from contributing to either the college or the new owner of the frequency.


Anonymous said…
The Goddess said…
Not long ago there was a thing going around fb--15 albums that shaped my life. Except for a couple of Beatles' albums, every single one of mine was a direct result of the existence of KAUR during my formative years. It was the first place I heard bands like the Femmes, Camper, The Mats, The Fleshtones, The Housemartins, Gang of Four, and innumerable others. Perhaps I would've stumbled across all of these somewhere else, though never having worked in a record store it's hard to say for sure.

A couple weeks ago I noticed that a young relative of mine had updated her fb status to say she was listening to 89.1 and it SO rocked. I smiled at the thought that literally a generation later KAUR was still a rare hip and cool entity in the somewhat parched landscape of Sioux Falls.

I smile fondly thinking of the two or so years I spent as a dj at KAUR (at first Sioux Falls album station, then Sioux Falls alternative music source). I loved poring through the stacks pulling albums for my show. It was great reading notes other djs had written on the little piece of paper taped to the front of every album: great tracks, tracks to avoid, etc. And I grin slyly thinking of some of the shenanigans that occurred in the studio under my watch. =)

If it weren't for KAUR the goddess would surely be but a mere mortal. It was a critical part of the goddess training, and it is sad to see it go.
Jennifer Waits said…
Thanks so much for this great article about the inside scoop on KAUR. I've been involved with college radio for years and it saddens me when schools don't see the impact that their stations have on DJs, staff, listeners and the broader community outside of the school.

There have been way too many alarming stories recently of schools shutting down long-time stations, selling off FM frequencies, cutting funding, etc. It's not a trend that I like to see.

Now, more than ever, I think it's important to show support for your favorite college radio stations in whatever way you can: by listening, donating money, volunteering, writing letters to administrators about why college radio is a vital independent voice on the airwaves, blogging, etc.

The last thing that we need are more non-local entities (religious broadcasters, public radio groups in particular) buying up former college radio frequencies. Local radio should be a priority.
Anonymous said…
Thursday morning (May 28th) - I opened up my newspaper and almost choked on my breakfast. To my shock I learned that it was none other than Scott Hudson who was the jackass that was responsible for that public ear-soar KAUR. From 1981 to 1999 you broadcasted crap to victims of the Sioux Falls FM community. You owe an apology to the Sioux Falls community, Augie students and alumni, and finally an apology to all mammals for playing 18 years of shit. To think that you spent 18 years trying to force-feed that second rate music to South Dakota’s largest city is a scandal on an epic level of listener abuse.
My God…all those years that people in this community were trying to figure out what KAUR was trying to accomplish by playing the worst music ever recorded, and now I discover the smoking gun. It wasn’t the Augie students that were asking for all that bad music to be aired on the student radio. It was your arrogance! 18 years of it! All through the 1980’s and 1990’s I asked Augie students if they listened to that crap on KAUR, and all of them said "hell no". The guys at the Pomp Room had ongoing jokes about the KAUR format being selected by inmates at an asylum.
No one wanted to listen to that kind of music you clueless fool! The Argus just proved the point I’ve been trying to make with you for months now! You destroyed what could’ve been a multimillion dollar radio station that could’ve taken control of the entire FM market in eastern South Dakota! You spent 18 years throwing it all away. I’m just sick to my stomach. It’s like learning that someone I know just committed a homicide.
Not only that, but it was the golden years of rock music. Anyone with two bits worth of taste in music could’ve picked songs to play that kept a majority of listeners tuned in on a quality radio station at home and in their cars every day. You were handed everyone’s ultimate dream, just so you could “educate” a tiny group of listeners regarding your personal top ten list. And you used a college radio station to broadcast your failed music format.
In a very rare moment of time, destiny handed you an opportunity to blow away every corporate FM radio station with a format of mainstream music that could’ve put Augie on the map. And you squandered the opportunity, in favor of pleasing a tiny minority? From 1955 to 2000, it was every young person’s dream to take charge of a radio station and play what people wanted to hear - not what one person thought they should hear. Every guy I grew up with promised that if they because music director, they would keep commercials civil, and no DJ jabber. But most important - play music that a major of people enjoy. How could you spend 18 years blowing a no-brainer! The Augie alumni should’ve had you flogged for this outrage. The fact that someone didn’t take the radio station away from you demonstrates that Augie was clueless to the end. And they even ended their final decision with an extreme solution. Augie is not a school were intelligence prevails - just another case of the blind leading the blind.
This story completely supports my belief that the general public should be given the legal right to vote in favor of canceling any FM broadcasting license if the majority deems a station to be a waste of airspace. In conclusion, there are aspects of your personality that I like, and I appreciate you posting my rant opinions. But on this subject - you did it to yourself and the community.

Scott said…
Yeah, Kurt, my three hours per week really ruined the station.
Anonymous said…
The Argus Leader describes you as the Music Director for the 1980’s & 1990’s. I have no idea if that’s a misprint. Obviously the other people that worked at KAUR fought tooth and nail against playing a mainstream format that a majority of listeners would enjoy. So I’ll indulge your defense by stating that a small group of KAUR employees/(volunteers?) played music to a small group of listeners. And everyone was happy - except a majority of prospective listeners that tuned in to other FM radio stations. Thus the reason KAUR ratings were never at the top of the local market competition.
I love how you characterize these failures Congressman Hudson. And yet today, another thought occurred to me. I wonder how many Augie students tried to take back their radio station, so that a majority of students could listen to music they liked. I can’t help but wonder how many complaints about the station, requests for immediate change of format, and formal appeals to the administration were made by Augie students that weren’t interested in worshiping at the alter of the Replacements, Clash or REM. (As if the other stations didn’t play enough REM, lol). Lets do the math. Say for example that a median average of 1,500 students were attending Augie each year between 1981-99. And lets say 200 out of 1,500 thought KAUR was wonderful. Is that fair to the 1,300 that thought your music format stunk? Was there ever a voting opportunity given to the student body as to what kind of music format they would prefer? Or was this a music theocracy of socially correct a-holes that proclaimed, “thou shalt listen to Replacements, and like it.” I decree thy format holy and cool.
I recall a time that I tuned in to KAUR, and they were playing organ music. Not rock organ, or classical organ - but goth organ music. You know…the organ music that intentionally omits melody to guide it from start to finish. Just cryptic goth crap that only five people in town got off on. And we don’t need to mention which one of your moody DJ friends indulged herself in that fantasy world. ‘I will do as I please selfishness’ sank the Titanic. Prudent judgment and a conservative strategy would’ve been garnered from focus groups, and mass consultation with city listeners. Listeners would’ve stated their preferences if the selfish in the control room would’ve given in.
Think of the opportunity costs from this premeditated strategy to keep KAUR in last place in the local market. A station that ranked number one in ratings could’ve demanded more advertising revenue, expanded its staff and offices, and increased its broadcasting power. Playing the right music could’ve given Augie a bigger advertising platform to increase the size of the student body. And this all could’ve been achieved without playing the same songs over and over again that we hear on other stations. Once again, I like you - but a lot of people lost out on opportunities because of a selfish minority.

Scott said…
Seriously, Kurt, you're reaching here. I was music director during my senior year of college (84-5), and did shows for 17 years.

Yes, I did discover REM at 1981 when their debut came out! Not a decade later when they became overplayed radio stars.

So explain again how I'm responsible for all the ills of this city? And if that's the case, and you clearly hate EVERYTHING I write, why do you bother visiting this site?
Anonymous said…
“Seriously, Kurt, you're reaching here. I was music director during my senior year of college (84-5), and did shows for 17 years.”

Response: I’m reaching here?! So your 18 year involvement in this tragedy is just my imagination? The Argus Leader went searching for the driving influence that played a key role in the evolution of KAUR - and who did they contact for statement quotes? Why Mr. KAUR himself, Scott Hudson. That’s right, they didn’t go to goth girl the DJ, they went directly to the guy who defended the station format, and (as one Augie alumni put it) “…Hudson would’ve taken on format change proponents in a back alley knife fight to defend his station.” This would stand to reason, since your blog world revolves around your taste in music. I think people see you as the guy who’s trying to de-program the backward hillbillies of Sioux Falls that don’t know good music from bad after listening to “corporate radio.” At least corporate radio conducted studies to find out what people wanted to hear. You (and your pals) took the ‘I know what you need to hear’ attitude. By the way, isn’t that how you characterize the Mayor with his league of friends that want to build a new events center? I highlight this analogy because you pointed out that I should “explain how (Hudson) is responsible for all the ills of this city.” In reality I was only critical of SOME conclusions in analysis of city issues that YOU published in your blog world. If I had thought you caused all the ills of this city, I would’ve been nice to you a long time ago, and applied for Jody’s job in city hall.

“Yes, I did discover REM at 1981 when their debut came out! Not a decade later when they became overplayed radio stars.”

Response: Actually, university stations in the southeastern United States discovered REM, and other college stations followed up on the banter of news. Buying the first Van Halen album when no one knew who they were in ‘77, (as I did), would’ve been a discovery worth mention. Some people could follow the trend of where music was going, and some predicted that the Replacements would be a household name. But you don’t care about majority opinions on issues that you care about, anymore than the mayor does. Just lock in your preference and ram it down everyone’s throat.

“ And if that's the case, and you clearly hate EVERYTHING I write, why do you bother visiting this site?”

Response: If you’d taken the time to read my comments, there were various issues in which we were in agreement. But unlike your blog friends, I don’t go along with every decree issued from planet Hudson.

Anonymous said…
Speaking of KAUR keeping in its tradition of hiring idiots, I love the stupid comment from KAUR General Manager Tom Prochazka.
The Argus reports, “Prochazka said..most students don’t listen to the radio anymore.”

Really!!? I work with young adults between 18 - 28. They listen to Sioux Falls FM ALL THE TIME! Give me a buck for every time I have to tell them to turn the radio down. And yes, some of them are college students, and they have radios turned on in their cars also. But here’s the part I don’t understand about planet Prochazka. If radio is dead with America’s youth, then how come the Sioux Falls radio empire is thriving, growth and radio stations in the commercial realm are worth millions. The contradictions in logic from Augie leadership is mind blowing. If it’s not worth anything, then sell it. No, they don’t want to do that. Why? Because they’re totally clueless about FM radio in general. So they’re going to hold on to the license to broadcast, just in case someone grows a brain cell and decides if the right choice was made in the first place.
As if everyone has lots of extra money for high tech gadgets these days. A majority of people still drive down the street listening to radio, because that’s all they can afford. Now I’m sure Augie administrators asked the wealthy kids if they have computers and ipods, and god knows what else daddy bought them. But your average future working class student is still going to be listening to good old fashion FM radio, because it’s free - and attending Augie isn’t.
What Augie administrators should’ve done is turn the KAUR station into a true competitor with the other commercial FM stations. And then run Augie ads to bring in new customers. One comment that I would agree with is the justified paranoia over an FCC fine when some irresponsible kids plays profanity on the air. Student run radio was destine to die, but selling the broadcast license would be a mistake. My essay to the Augie administration will also point that out. College owned FM can be turned into a competitive leader in the local market, and advertise the school that provides the community service.
Anonymous said…
“ I guarantee that if either of these entities end up with the frequency, this Augustana alum will do anything I can to prevent anybody I know from contributing to either the college or the new owner of the frequency.”

Response: For someone that “only worked there three hours a day” for this radio station, your threat reaffirms my belief that you’re the guiding obsession behind all the bad music that was played on this FM station during the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. That, and the fact that your blog rant about the station’s demise was a diatribe of irrational analysis. You’re even ready to take on the Church. That would be the back alley knife fight your fellow classmate referred to in a presumed jest. And if your music program strategy had been different, you and the community would’ve been richer in the long run.

Dan Steele said…

The purpose of noncommercial educational stations is not to achieve ratings.

While there is the possibility for a well programmed station to attract broader audience numbers, the purpose of the very license of an NCE is to provide an "educational" service.

This could run the gamut between college radio stations for student music, talk and sports, classical/arts programming, religious programming or ethnic programs.

However, the purpose is not to rank in Arbitron, or to make a profit.

Therefore, while one could suggest that KAUR may have been in need of professionalism or more of a cohesive set of guidelines (which I cannot speak to, not having listened) your point regarding their commercial success is mute.

Noncommercial stations can utilize guidelines and basic professional technique to attract listeners, underwriters and donations, but this is to be a component of their approach, not their reason for being.

Dan Steele @ KSRQ
Anonymous said…
“The purpose of noncommercial educational stations is not to achieve ratings.”

Response: Nice try Mr. Steele, but I think we all know that educational radio stations and education TV stations would love to have an overwhelming majority of listeners/viewers tuned in to their stations. The more people that tune in to a station, the more popular the station becomes. And I doubt the people at KAUR didn’t invest all their time at the station, just so they wouldn’t be heard. So your retort argument is dogmatically political.

“While there is the possibility for a well programmed station to attract broader audience numbers, the purpose of the very license of an NCE is to provide an "educational" service.”

Response: A broad interpretation of “educational” could be haggled by an ambitious attorney in a court of law, assuming you could find a court with that degree of tolerance to allocate the time and expense to the subject. I would say that if you find KAUR’s format of music educational, and mainstream societies taste un-educational, I’d be amused to hear an attorney make that argument. Example: At the time Hudson claimed to be music director, why would The Clash be educational and Van Halen not. I’m not convinced that your idea of community service matches mine - but courts of law use reasonable assumption of doubt by a community of peers to determine whether vague definitions can apply to anyone’s personal tastes.

“This could run the gamut between college radio stations for student music, talk and sports, classical/arts programming, religious programming or ethnic programs.”

Response: So then once again…at the time Hudson is alleging to program music for KAUR, was Van Halen student music? Which students were “educationally” correct, and which ones weren’t? And I’m not convinced that “student radio” has to run like a late night talk/variety show. Maybe KAUR was a college radio station, that should’ve been run to promote the college by playing mainstream popular music. Why do you assume it had to be student controlled to be college owned?

“However, the purpose is not to rank in Arbitron, or to make a profit“

Response: I’m not convinced the legal purpose was condemned to poverty either. There’s an argument for self sustainability also, irregardless of legal inturpretation. I think the administration had a good argument regarding the burden of expense.

“therefore one could suggest that KAUR may have been in need of professionalism or more of a cohesive set of guidelines (which I cannot speak to, not having listened) your point regarding their commercial success is mute.”

Response: Essentially, you’re defending a failure based on a narrowly yet controversially defined role and mission statement. The fact that bad music choices made KAUR a failure makes any chance of commercial or critical success a mute issue. Does anyone make the argument that the Titanic would’ve sunk anyway, even if they had sailing a course much further south?

“Noncommercial stations can utilize guidelines and basic professional technique to attract listeners, underwriters and donations, but this is to be a component of their approach, not their reason for being.”

Response; Advertising for the college on a daily basis could’ve met the definition of commercial station. Financial self-sufficiency or host recognition were never legally denied to KAUR. YOUR argument was made annually by people who actually believed that “student run radio” was a legal entitlement. What the host chooses to do with the station is their business - which is what you’re being “educated” on with this recent “community service” administrative decision.


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