Sunday, December 14, 2008

Actually, We Face East

Thanks to Jason Rhode for this. I got a little misty.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Crush with Link-liner

I noticed that this blog does not rate very highly to Google. If you like it and want to spread the word, please post the link to your various forums, comment threads and whereever around the internets. The FB group is fine and good, but we can't force everyone to sign up for that site, so here news and upcoming events and plans and efforts can be discussed and organized.


Orders were to shoot Bob Geldof on sight. To some fortune, he did not care and had no plans to attend the event.
Last night Jake's played host to a hastily assembled benefit concert for KTXT. La Panza, One Wolf, Thrift Store Cowboys, Coquelicot, Go to Hell, The Attack!, Gabriiel Unspellablelastname and DJing courtesy Ctrl-Z. IT WAS A THING! Attendance reached 370! Asses were rocked! Money was gained! I have fans! I do not trust that they are normal or sane persons!
Narcissism aside, it was amazing to see the outpouring of support and fermenting indignation from the community. Many of them weren't even part of the FB group, but we made sure they left with the proper addresses to educate their brainmeats. The station-in-exile spoke about the situation to inform those present that yes, what happened is total bullshit, and we will be fighting it hard.
LubbockOnline's Spotted and local photographer Kurt Hunt were on hand to record this joyous and life-affirming event. I will bring their galleries to you as soon as they are available/sobriety sets in.

Linky love!

Dangerbird is a blog that understands taste and excellence. They have put up a post about how important KTXT's plight and indeed, college radio in general are to music and the folks what love it. Go peruse their posts for a nice break, and then return to angry indignation.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Responses to frequently raised points.

There are some outright falsehoods and misunderstandings being propagated at the moment, I would like to take a bit to clear these things up. Consider this your obligatory FAQing.

1. Why should this matter to me?

KTXT is something rare and valuable in the country. With 35,000 watts of transmitting power, we are one of the largest student-run radio station in the country. It's a big deal that makes Tech notable around the country. Many students come to Tech solely for this experience, which they cannot get elsewhere. I'd love to see someone explain how removing this opportunity benefits or improves the school in any meaningful capacity.
A lot of us have put a lot of work into the station over the years, and the benefits can be reaped by the whole Lubbock community. We bring shows here that go on to be big stars. Try to get $8 tickets to a Deceberists show now! But a few years ago you could, courtesy KTXT. The music and programming on the station are free for all to enjoy. We are the last bulwark against total ClearChannel domination of Lubbock's airwaves. We play cool music for cool people. Or people who want to become cool. Or just fake it, or don't even care about coolness but just genuinely like what we do.
KTXT is cultually necessary for the growth of this town. There is no large, important city that does not have a thriving under-and-aboveground art scene, and we are an integral part of that. Lubbock tries to convey an image of big-town sensibility, but often stumbles and reveals itself to be a small-town with big dreams. This is one of those instances. The underground scene attracts creative individuals and groups who bring us cache that attracts more individuals. The scene brings in money from those who patronize it, and concentrate efforts to add to it, which does the whole community a service.
KTXT has also, for 47 years, trained students in the ins-and-outs or media careers. KTXT alumni have gone on to work for CNN, CMJ, to be artists and lawyers and business exectuives. And they return the favor to the school in donations and credit.

2. The station should/has to make money.

Well, no, it doesn't. The FCC license under which KTXT operates is non-commercial. We are not a for-profit entity. We exist to teach students about running a radio station, or working in the media business in general. To provide students with contacts that they will find useful in future careers in the music biz. To inculcate responsibility for an organization, its equipment and staff. To teach management skills and instill a work ethic. To train DJs and to allow students to discover themselves. Thinking about it as a radio station misses the point: It's a laboratory, and must be free to have experiments conducted within it.
But it is a lab which costs money to operate. KTXT can do this with underwriting, but that is often not enough. We hold shows, but after paying the band's guarantees, there is some but not a lot of money remaining to fill the coffers. We have, time and time and many different voices, wanted to do some sort of alternative fundraising, and we have been told by Texas Tech, to refrain from doing so. We were told to enjoy being a "kept woman."

3. You can transition into being an internet medium!

This is not a terrible idea and the first one many of us thought of. We then thought of other, better ideas. Internet radio is far from ubiquitous and requires an investment in strange equipment to have function the same as radio. And even then, a computer network is far less reliable than FM broadcasting. Internet streaming has long been part of our organization, and this time without KTXT is forcing us to build an infrastructure that will hopefully be able to operate along with the reborn KTXT.
But merely saying "internet" in media matters is like saying "free market" in economic ones. It is a power word, meant to magically fulfill whatever the ideal version of the system the invoker is thinking of. There's more to it than that. First off, internet is a "pull" medium as opposed to a "push" one. Someone has to make a conscious decision to visit a website or tune into a streaming station. Terrestrial radio is always there. The buy-in is negligible to free. This is too valuable ground to give up.

The argument that Tech presents, that radio is dying, holds truth only in the sense that nothing is permanent and everything will, eventually be over taken by something else. But their claims are alarmist at best. Radio is still thriving, and still a vital part of everyone's lives. If anything the thing that is killing radio is the over-corporatism of the medium. Stations are being bought up by companies whose only interest is playing the same 6 songs every hours and bringing the advertising-to-content ratio higher and higher. They have no interest in the different or strange. This phenomenon is known as a "monoculture" and it's dangerous because it inherently limits our ability to innovate, professionally and personally. It chokes out new ideas and experiences the same way carbon monoxide poisoning kills living things. KTXT is vital to the culture of Lubbock not jsut because it gives hipsters and nerds and punks a safe place to grow and prosper, but because we provide an alternative to everyone and we keep safe the path for new ideas to gain ground in the mainstream. We are actively protecting you from an all-Rhianna, all-Nickelback, all-Hollister world, and you're welcome.

Plus, and I don't mean this as an attack against these institutions, but if "internet is killing the medium" is a valid argument for ending some Student Media bodies, then La Ventana and The Daily Toreador had better watch their asses. There is no way yearbooks can at all compare to Facebooks, and I suspect that the DT has as many readers of their webpage as they do their print edition. The DT, in particular, could become a website-only venture and be financially richer for it, but we would lose a tradition and valuable experience-building. Which is supposed to be what university is all about.

4. What are we gonna do?

Well, we have some options. There is an effort to reassure the license under student control outside of the purview of Student Media. This solution requires us to get money for operating costs and workspace. Exact numbers on this are forthcoming, but it won't be cheap.
To assure continuity of the station as an institution, on thing that will have to be done is to recorporate. To set the foundation so that the station can continue to operate outside of any given executive staff, and will be able to meet the changes that come with time and human interaction. Canadian school newspaper The McGill Daily ran into a problem much like ours and their solution was to create a co-operative student-owned corporation. They secure funding through an annual student fee. Parts of this plan should be incorporated into any long-term independent survival plan for ths station.

5. What can I do to help?

This is an excellent question! Thank you for asking. The important thing is to watch this blog and the Facebook group for news and updates and to join in the discussion and add your voice to the echo chamber. Also, give us money. We already have several fund-raising ventures going. You can donate to us here. This is an especially good idea if you are outraged alumni. Give us the money you would have given them, or the money they asked for but you never cared enough to give. And then let them know! We will also be hosting several events to raise cash, such as concerts and such. If you have things you would like to donate in auctions (art, cool music-related antiques or memorabilia, etc) let us know! If you are fabulously wealthy and would like to offer us an endowment, this would be awesome too. We will also need volunteers for outreach and things. Contact us at or and let us know how you can help in any way.

We're also fighting a PR front, so spread the world. Let people know in no uncertain terms how this has changed your view of Texas Tech, or Lubbock in general. Local media has been all over this story, and if you are in a position to help spread it to the outside world, do it. Also, let the internets know. One angry email is nothing here, but if Pitchfork, Idolator, Boing Boing, or any other number of music or culture blogs get a pile of emails pointing to this story, they can't ignore it. Write your newspapers, your congressman, your dog groomer, dental hygienist, necromancer, grimy mutant, music video actress, David Sedaris or whoever.

Also, let the good folks at Tech know your displeasure with their actions with this handy contact list:
Guy Bailey
Office of the President
Texas Tech University
150 Administration Building
Box 42005
Lubbock, Texas 79409-2005
(806) 742-2121
(806) 742-2138

Jane L. Winer, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Office of the Provost
PO Box 42019
Lubbock, TX 79409-2019
(806) 742-2184 Office
(806) 742-1331 Fax

Office of the Chancellor
124 Administration Building
Mailstop 42013 Lubbock, TX 79409
(806) 742-0012 | (806) 742-8050 fax


The Station Manager Answers to
Susan Peterson, Director of Student Media: 742.3388
Who Answers to
Jan Childress, Associate VP for Student Affairs: 742-2691
Who Answers to
Michael Shonrock, VP of Student Affairs: 742-4360


Be nice but stern. We need to make it clear that this action is unappreciated by the community who supports them. Displeasure and anger are fine to state, but keep it civil and rational.

Any further questions? Lemme know!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Add your voice!

Submit your experiences with KTXT and thoughts on its dissolution here. Email me at with your story or to request posting privileges on this blog. You may also be interested in following the following Twitter accounts: onetruejp, john_shields, sarah_arnold, wombat881, michaelduff, imamthemaster.

We have a Facebook group as well: SAVE KTXT 88.1. Join and voice your support and let us know of efforts on other social networking platforms.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We have a purpose.

"when you punish a person for dreaming his dream,
don't expect him to thank or forgive you."
The Mountain Goats, "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton"
On December 10th, 2008, the Student Media department at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas pulled the plug on a 47 year-old tradition. KTXT was unceremoniously and without warning, ripped from the airwaves. A radio station that was one of the most powerful in the country was just ended. Without warning. Without discussion. Without any input from the students who listened and operated it.

For many of us, the station was the entire reason we came to Tech. Radio broadcast and media is our passion. We love playing music for the people that came to us. We wanted something more than the dross found on mainstream radio channels, and we wanted to give back to the body that first birthed in us an appreciation for things outside the norm. Things special to us, that were ours in a way that only completely heartless bastards could take away from us. This was not an act of economy or policy or failure, but an act of violence. Whole vital bits were cut out of hundreds of people. Pasts and futures were negated in one sharp swoop by people completely uninvested in this action's outcome.
Lubbock is not a glamorous or exciting place to live. There is drinking and church and school and herpes. And then there was KTXT, which occasionally incorporated these elements, but stood outside and above them all. If you felt disenfranchised or alone, or lost, or simply wanted more, we were there. For some of us, it has been an incubation stage, wherein we might find ourselves and hone our souls to better bite into life and meet the world outside. For some, it was a small comfort, a distant radiant beacon between our dusty conclave and a shimmering horizon we would, for whatever reason, never venture past.
There is no reason for taking this from us that is not petty. That is not small and hateful and awful. For us, without this, there is no reason to remain here, to continue to give Lubbock and Texas Tech our time, our love, our worth and energy and sweat and tuition dollars and voice and mind and heart and sorrow and pain and Goddamnit!

We will rebuild. We can persevere. We can take what we've learned, under your tutelage and through your cruelty. But we'd rather not. We'd rather the fields we cultivated, in soil made fertile from this city's history, be returned to us to tend and and seed and return the harvest to those who granted it us to us. It isn't ours and it isn't yours. It came to us from those who tilled it before, and we'd hoped to sow the favor forward. For the love of those who came before us, and the hopes of the ones who will come after, we ask this small thing. And we will strain hard to reclaim it. If we didn't, then what was it for? We are young and fecund and angry and we will rise from this and never thank you for it. And you will never even feel the weight of the innumerable future joys you have murdered. But I suppose they were never for you anyway.