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CBI Spotlights College Station Sales

Organization sponsors a ‘Minute of Silence’ to bring attention to the importance of student stations and localism

College Broadcasters Inc. wants student radio stations to broadcast dead air for a good cause.

Taking place this Thursday at 12 p.m. CST, a “Minute of Silence” aims to bring attention to what it sees as a rising number of sales of college stations. These 60 seconds of quiet, organized by CBI, are meant to shine a light on the importance such stations play in the lives of their communities. CBI’s website contains a list of student stations that have been sold or transferred to non-student organizations.

CBI feels the loss of student stations will have a “deep impact” on localism in broadcasting, and that those who benefit greatly from their existence, including alumni, commercial broadcasters and the music industry, won’t realize this until it’s too late. According to an announcement, local content lost is often replaced by programming from out-of-market sources.

“Student stations are often the last locally-focused radio outlet in their community,” stated Mark Maben, development director for CBI, in a press release.

Rice University’s KTRU(FM) is slated to go silent Thursday. The 91.7 FM signal will return, as KUHF, the University of Houston’s NPR affiliate.

CBI President Candace Walton told Radio World today that late developments between Rice University and KUHF, the NPR affiliate purchasing KTRU, means KTRU may stay on the air through May. “If this happens, the Minute of Silence will still go on with added empathy for the students, volunteers, educators and professionals who work at the station. The KTRU staff have been through a lot these past months. While any delay is frustrating for those of us trying to organize a protest, I’m certain more time with their beloved KTRU would be welcome news.”

The organization represents some 200 student media outlets broadcasting via radio, television, webcasting and related ventures. Sessions dealing with issues of localism and the disappearance of college stations are scheduled for CBI’s upcoming national conference in October.