The Top Goodbyes

The end of a radio era: KTRU signs off with some trademark defiance & a Twitter takeover

The end of a radio era: KTRU signs off with some trademark defiance & a Twitter takeover

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The end is here for KTRU. Photo by Tom T/PhotoBucket

"We might be going off FM, but don't bring us flowers 'cuz we're not dead."

With this last good-bye from KTRU station manager Joey Yang — plus the words of the Reverend Jesse Jackson at the 1984 Democratic convention — 91.7 faded into noise, then finally to static, at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning.

KTRU, now K-TRUE, will still continue to broadcast on KPFT 90.1 HD2 and stream online, in addition to being available through new iPhone and Android apps. For now, until KUHA takes the air in mid May, 91.7 will be static.

Rice alums, local music fans and the KTRU faithful took to Twitter to lament the end of 40 years of Rice radio on the local airwaves and share favorite memories — with enough voices that it became a local trending topic.

Some goodbye favorites:

"me and charlie naked playing horns on the radio and inviting anyone listening to come play with us." - Mike G. Switzer

"The first and only time I mispronounced Bruce Cockburn's name on the air." - Ray Shea

"the first time i heard Jimi Hendrix i was 7 — star-spangled banner — it was on KTRU, i was never the same" - ImNotLiza

"Favorite KTRU memory: giving away Black Flag tickets to the first caller who knew Prince's full name" - Todd Nix

The most eloquent eulogy came from New Zealand, where former KTRU deejay Doug Dillaman listened via the streaming Internet feed. (The irony of this is not entirely lost on us.)

"[Rice] 'not having a broadcasting school' meant that nobody, absolutely nobody, volunteered at KTRU for anything resembling professional reasons. It instead attracted a group of people who were in love with the spirit of the station — a freeform, eclectic, unprofessional mess of noise and beauty, where smooth segues were rarer than the sound of a record being played at the wrong speed for 20 seconds, and the most common word uttered by DJs, by far, was 'um'. ..."

KTRU is where my somewhat vague passion for music turned into a set of tastes that I feel comfortable calling my musical DNA. It opened my ears. In the last hour or two of listening I've heard Husker Du, Beirut, The Mountain Goats, Talking Heads, Old 97's, Mission of Burma, Yo La Tengo, Dinosaur jr, Otis Redding, Roky Erickson & the 13th Floor Elevators, Johnny Cash: this is what I mean. And more. There's a long psych track playing right now that's fucking gorgeous and I have no idea what it is. But it fits the mold, and even if I'm less likely to listen to, say, Japanese noise bands than I used to, I still feel at home with this kind of music. ...

Ultimately, I believe that quite a lot of who I am as a human being was shaped by my time at KTRU. It could have happened elsewhere, but it didn't. It's part of my blood, my neurological programming, my heart. And my first act every time I visit Houston is to turn on KTRU.

Well, until now.

Is your FM radio less complete without KTRU or are you looking forward to KUHA? Has anyone started listening online or downloaded the apps?

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