'Chronicle' Finds KUT Guilty of, Well, Guilty of Being Successful

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 25, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Your article appears to find our NPR station guilty of, well, guilty of being successful [“KUT by the Numbers,” News, Jan. 20]. Those of us that listen to NPR and public radio nationwide can attest that few other stations combine the popular and informative NPR news programs in the morning and evening drive-times with an in-station news department as well as real local, eclectic music programs, hosted by genuine long-term Austin on-air personalities. In addition, KUT features excellent drive-time traffic reports and also wonderful features like the Austin Music Minute. David Brown already has begun to produce features on Texas music. He came from Los Angeles, with a nationwide reputation.
    What other Austin radio broadcasting outlet carried the entire Supreme Court hearings of Judge Roberts and, currently, Judge Alito?
    As a regular listener and supporter of both KUT and KMFA, plus a fan of the local music programming and promotion on KGSR, I think we need to encourage, not denigrate, local broadcasters.
    If you want to get on a high horse, then let's talk about the inexorable trend of commercial broadcast consolidation nationwide, so that one can be in any part of the country and the stations sound more or less the same. Satellite radio is growing fast based on unique content as a direct result of this mass radio conglomeration courtesy of the FCC rulings that now allow giant corporations to own large numbers of stations, plus other media, in a particular market. Hello, Big Brother calling?
    My wife and I have long contributed modest financial support to KUT, and following my retirement, I now serve on the Board of Directors of Austin public radio and KUT. However, I write this letter as a private citizen. If KUT is guilty of anything, it is the willingness not to be satisfied with the status quo, to add local news, to seek excellence. Your article seems to blame the community for liking and supporting this. The fact that KUT has a larger share of the audience in its listening area than practically any other public broadcasting station in the country should be a source of great pride, celebration, and recognition, and not some dark conspiracy theory that the station is forsaking somehow a vow of poverty and failing to run on a shoestring!
James George
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