The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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KUTE needs a home after ASUU’s ‘tough love’

By Andy Thompson

ASUU exhibited a little bit of tough love last week, doing its part to give KUTE radio the boot by cutting off the station’s $15,000 stipend for the year and essentially telling it to go somewhere else for help. KUTE needs “a sense of urgency in order to repair the station,” said Student Body President Jake Kirkham.

The station does need help, but cutting its funds will only impede any improvement. Another U student media outlet, The Daily Utah Chronicle, receives some funding from student fees. So should KUTE.

Of course, the U’s Board of Trustees must sign off on the ASUU measure on Dec. 11 before it is official–by no means a sure thing. Regardless of what the board does, ASUU’s assessment of the station is intriguing.

KUTE station manger Alfred Quinn says he agrees with Kirkham.

“KUTE is like some 45-year-old guy living in the basement of his mom’s house with no job, playing XBox and urinating into tin cans,” he said. “(KUTE) needs to get kicked out of the house, find a job and grow up.”

The first thing KUTE needs to do is go get its transmitter out of storage so the station can at least be heard on campus. Real estate on the radio spectrum is too scarce not to use at least the room allotted. The station’s deficiencies do not end with its reach, though.

Currently, the station relies on students who volunteer their time, which is often difficult for students juggling school, work and family. If those working for KUTE–most importantly, the student managers who run day-to-day operations–were compensated for their efforts, they would be able to devote more time to the station.

The one responsible for finding KUTE a home (and a job) is a task force that includes Ann Darling, department of communication chairwoman, and Athletic Director Chris Hill. They have yet to begin assessing the station, but there is speculation on campus that Hill’s appointment to the committee by the Board of Trustees signals the athletic department’s wanting to engulf KUTE into a sort of media conglomerate, following the glaring debacle of the mtn. TV station. But the athletic department does not have the expertise or the laudable motive to run a student radio station.

One sensible fit for KUTE could be the communication department. The station is an educational tool that needs direction and accountability that ASUU cannot provide.

Currently, the station is not providing the experience Quinn anticipated.

“I want to learn about media management,” he said. “All I’m doing now is streaming music. The experience is not comparable to that of other school media outlets.”

Which leads to another idea that has been batted around: Incorporate KUTE into The Chronicle. The two could converge their efforts in the new media, utilizing new technology to deliver podcasts and Web features that would serve the U and enhance the station’s presence.

A student radio station is a fundamental aspect of any university–as are all student-run media outlets. Not only is it an educational tool for the students involved with the station, it also serves the entire campus population. According to ASUU, the latter is not currently being achieved. But with a little help from friends in student media, this can be improved, and KUTE can then justify its funding from student fees. To not have KUTE would be an embarrassment for the U.

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