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Houston Public Media To Sell 91.7 KUHA; Classical Format To Move Online

Classical 91.7 KUHA Houston Public Media 88.7 KUHFHouston Public Media has announced its intends to sell Classical 91.7 KUHA Houston.

The company will continue the Classical format on 88.7 KUHF-HD2 and online once the sale takes place. The board of Houston Public Media has approved the intent to sell the frequency. No buyers have been approached yet regarding a price for the station.

Station General Manager Lisa Shumate told KUHF:

“We are making this change in recognition of the growing popularity, superior broadcast quality and greater efficiency of digital broadcasting. Placing our focus on HD radio and digital streaming for our classical music programming enables us to make the best use of technology and resources to continue providing the music and arts and culture content that our listeners enjoy.”

Houston Public Media, the owners of Public News/Talk “News 88.7” KUHF Houston, purchased then KTRU from Rice University in 2010 for $9.5 million and launched the Classical format in May 2011. After a poor fundraising campaign in 2013 the station eliminated four on-air positions and replaced the local programming with American Public Media’s “Classical 24” network.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

11 Comments

  1. Profile photo of troygud1


    I think it would be a good place for KSBJ or K-Love to set up shop over at at 91.7 because it would serve CCM listeners in Houston pretty much better.

    • Profile photo of Ryan Williams


      Univision owns the K-Love trademark in Houston and Los Angeles (CBS owns the mutually-exclusive, phonetically-similar K-LUV mark in DFW). That’s why EMF put Air 1 on 103.7.

      I’m sure KSBJ would love 91.7 for their NGEN youth format, but how much of a haircut is HPM willing to take? It’s certainly not going to get anywhere close to 9.5 in 2015. That signal is probably worth 5 million tops.

      • Profile photo of Ryan Williams


        Thinking about it today, I think 91.7 is probably more in the 3.5 to 4 million range.

        • Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


          That got me thinking about how much 105.7 would be worth–if KHCB’s owners decided to spin it off, in favor of buying 91.7. Granted, this assumes that they could, and would want to, make such a deal–partly because, besides being in the commercial band, it looks like 105.7 is the better signal.

          • Profile photo of troygud1


            105.7 considers to be prime property for any station in Houston, But KHCB isn’t going anywhere or it won’t be moving. It’d be nice for them to bring familiar christian artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, & MercyMe. Anyway, what Houston needs now is a classic hits or an active rock station.

  2. Profile photo of charles57


    “I think” = I’m Clueless. KSBJ is a top-10 station and a major influence in southeast Texas. There is no need for KSBJ to take on debt just to add a second full-power signal.

    And EMF is not going to step on KSBJ’s toes by forcing K-Love into a region that already has a strong Christian Pop station.

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      Charles is the name calling really necessary in nearly ever retort you make against someone’s comment you don’t agree with?

      That said there are limited buyers out there with the money for a major market non-commercial station and EMF has begun moving into markets where there are established local Christian AC stations such as KSBJ so not stepping on toes of others is no-longer a concern.

  3. Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


    I concur that EMF would be the most-obvious candidate–and that it wouldn’t sit out on a purchase just because of KSBJ. However, it looks like Univision still owns the “K-Love” trademark in the Houston market–based on its prior use on 106.5, which still sports the KOVE calls. Even so, Air-1 has supposedly been a great success on a move-in/rimshot (KHJK 103.7)–and, therefore, EMF might like to try to put it on a better signal.

    That said, I wouldn’t rule out KSBJ at least taking a look at buying 91.7–if only for its NGEN format (which is somewhat along the lines of Air-1). EMF would, of course, be in a better financial situation–although KSBJ might not mind spinning off some of its outlaying repeaters, if needed.

  4. Profile photo of Mark


    As you may recall, Houston Public Radio/University of Houston bought KTRU from Rice University. Even though Rice has already received a license for an LPFM that I assume will be given to the former KTRU students (the station has been continuing online and on one of KPFT’s HD channels), does anyone think that the KTRU gang will start a campaign to have the license given back to them?

    • Profile photo of johndavis


      Given back to them? Rice could buy it, but it’s not going to be a gift.

      The other possibility here is that a local arts group could also make a play for the station. By making the intention to sell public before starting to solicit bids, the school is trying to avoid the mess that’s currently going on with Classical South Florida’s sale to EMF, not to mention the mess that UH and Rice went through 5 years ago. If the arts donors are staying away because they don’t like HPM but they have enough to fund it on its own, now is the time for them to step up. And regardless of who bids, if the regents don’t see the number they want to see, they can just keep running C-24 and wait.

      As for KTRU, I can’t think of a better use of community low powered radio than an antenna on a stadium light pole blanketing the Rice campus. But even if Rice made a play to get 91.7 back, they’d need 96.1 because you can’t pick up 91.7 at Rice. Heck, it’s hard to pick up 91.7 cleanly at U of H!

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