Assembly approves KUTE funding

By Edgar Zuniga Jr.

KUTE, the U’s student-run radio station, got a break last night when the ASUU General Assembly unanimously passed a bill giving KUTE $4,500 in funding.

Joint Bill 14 will now go before the Associated Students of the University of Utah Senate on Thursday night. If the joint bill passes in the Senate, the money would allow the station to resume its online broadcast stream.

“It’s great to have ASUU support our vision of what KUTE can be, especially with a unanimous vote,” said Jamis Johnson, a sophomore in computer science. “Having ASUU behind us shows KUTE is not just my personal dream, but (something) everyone believes in.”

A committee of students working to revive KUTE and the members of the Student Broadcasting Council emphasized that KUTE is “completely new.” The students are in the process of rewriting the KUTE handbook and are considering changing the station’s name.

The student committee said KUTE has new student leadership and will have a new management hierarchy reflecting the student-run radio station’s new vision. The students stressed the importance of KUTE as a laboratory for the more than 1,078 students enrolled in the department of communication, as well as students in marketing, sales, engineering and other fields.

Johnson said KUTE is important because not only does it offer students a source of entertainment, but creates a marketplace of ideas and a participatory atmosphere. The student committee said it has amassed more than 400 signatures on a petition calling for ASUU to reinstate funding for KUTE. The group also has a list of 43 students interested in working for KUTE.

Members of the student committee said they plan to improve KUTE’s online presence and hope to offer podcasts, forums, blogs and mobile updates.

Megan Bitner, a student and ASUU representative, said she voted to cut KUTE’s funding last year, but after hearing from members of the student committee she looks forward to seeing how the station reinvents itself.

“It’s really exciting to have this big roadblock out of the way because this will open doors to restructure KUTE,” said Keith Yowell, a senior in mass communication.

KUTE needs the $4,500 to pay the Recording Industry Association of America copyright fees it owes. Last year, the Copyright Royalty Board decided noncommercial radio stations must pay the RIAA fees for every year they streamed copyrighted music online.

KUTE has been in financial trouble since ASUU suspended the station’s funding in 2006. At that time, most members of ASUU felt that funding, which could reach a maximum of $15,000 a year, was not warranted given the relatively low number of listeners.

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Thomas Nelson

Jamis Johnson, a sophomore in computer science, speaks before the ASUU general assembly Tuesday night at the Officer’s Club on campus. The general assembly passed Bill 14 giving funding to KUTE. The bill will now go before the Associate Students of the University of Utah Senate.