KTRU is a college radio station in Houston operating at 91.7 FM. They broadcast from Rice University.

All of the radio stations in houston are awful (some more awful than others), except KTRU. KTRU is wonderful. They let students come in and DJ, and the programming is dictated totally by the student. The style of music played literally changes completely every hour and a half. You may tune in at one point and hear indecipherably distorted heavy metal; tune in later and hear classical music; tune in later and hear drum & bass; tune in later and hear Indian sitar music; and tune in later and hear "experimental" music that appears to be faint crowd noise matched with someone banging a pot really loud over and over. The only thing certain is that none of the music heard will be be popular music, and that the same song will never be played twice a day. Most of what they play you've never heard of; the closest you come to a "well-known" band is going to be something like Portishead or King Missle, and bands that common are heard only rarely. Overall, KTRU is the only station i even try to listen to anymore. A lot of what they play is unlistenable, but on those times the dj is playing something even the least bit good, it is always the coolest stuff in the universe. The only problem is that their transmitter is not very powerful, and in certain parts of the city the reception isn't great.

If you are ever in Houston, there are three specific weekly shows on KTRU i think you should try to catch: The ambient show (monday nights after 10), the really really obscure hip-hop show (tuesday nights after 10), and the electronic music show (friday nights after 10; style of electronic music varies from week to week). If your tastes don't match mine, they have a schedule (and realaudio streaming) at ktru.org.

One odd thing that's sprung up is a ritual most of the people who listen to the station has performed. The ritual consists of taking a whole bunch of the station's bumper stickers, which say "ktru 91.7 fm : rice radio", then cutting the bumper stickers up and rearranging the pieces into new bumper stickers that say totally different things. A lot of these look surprisingly realistic, as if they had been printed that way. Examples i have seen prominently displayed in different places include "ktru 91.7 fm : godhead" or "nobody understands house music", although the best i have ever seen would have to be the one on the back of st3o's suburban. He actually managed to spell out a sticker that said

ktru 91.7 fm

I really like listening to a radio station where you can almost never tell whether that sound you hear is static or actually part of the song.

"KTRU Houston is operated by the students of Rice University, and the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the faculty, staff, or administration of Rice University. KTRU is operated at a frequency of 91.7megahertz, with an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts. KTRU programming is under the supervision of the the board of governors; portions of our programming are mechanically reproduced. We now begin/resume our broadcast day. KTRU Houston."
The MRA has to be read when the station is turned on, off, and at 1:00 a.m. to signal the beginning of a new broadcast day.

I love being a dj for a college radio station. I am not a Rice student, but this is my fourth semester as a dj and this is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.

The KTRU mission statement, more or less, is to play music that does not get played anywhere else, and to be commercial free. We are totally nonprofit, the only ads we read are station promos and public service announcements. WE ARE AN INDEPENDENT MUSIC STATION with no corporate sponsors.

CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF: we do not think popular music is bad, or that because something is popular it is not good enough for us. But rather we strive to give exposure to artists and music that would not get played elsewhere.

It is actually quite possible to hear the same song played more than once a day, as there are requirements as to what music can be played and what must be played. For example, each dj has to play a certain number of alternate tracks per hour they dj (an alternate track qualifies as anything not classified as general rock, ska, children's, or hardcore.)

A popular joke about KTRU and its djs (and college radio in general) is that we all sound bored and/or tired and/or stoned. The fact is, and the reason this is such a common occurence, is because KTRU strives to let the emphasis stay with the music, and not on the people producing it. We are not allowed to create "radio personalities" or special dj names. We are not required to disclose our names at all while on air. We are not allowed to make dedications or give "shout-outs" (psshaw, the nerve). Thus, if we sound boring, it is NOT a good idea to call up and harass us because not only do we have the freedom to make fun of your ass on air, but because we sound like that for the best possible reason.

Perks of djing for an independent station include that you get almost complete control over what you play and what requests you take. If I don't like a request I have the power to say NO. I don't have to play anthing I hate, and I don't have to deal with callers if I don't want to.

In addition, the exposure I get to new or different kinds of music is priceless. KTRU has the only radio shows in Houston dedicated to some genres, including Navrang, Scordatura, and Genetic Memory. The music library is a wealth of knowledge and experience. I have learned so much about people, places, and even myself from the exposure to these recordings.

Music is an amazing teacher of culture.

And a college radio station has random, silly plusses like the first Sonic Youth album on vinyl, cassette tapes of Sylvia Plath reading her poetry aloud, and a Japanese hardcore section! It's like a constant underground music party.

If I could get paid for working there, I'd never want to leave.

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