KUTE on probation for alcohol violation

By By Rita Totten

By Rita Totten

The KUTE Radio staff has been silenced again8212;not for their behavior on the airwaves, but in the Union.

As of Sept. 23 at 4 p.m., the KUTE staff is no longer permitted to use the facility it rents in the Union because of an alcohol-related infraction, said Union Director Whit Hollis. Since the beginning of Fall Semester, four separate incidences regarding the consumption of alcohol in the KUTE studio have occurred, prompting the Union administration to place KUTE on probation until further notice.

Union workers found empty beer cans in the studio and the trash cans, Hollis said.

Chris Mosher, who hosts a late-night KUTE program called “Nobody’s Listening, with Stone Phillips,” said it’s disappointing and disrespectful that some people aren’t taking KUTE seriously, but that this wasn’t the first time the radio station has had limitations placed on them.

“It’s almost a tradition that we get put on probation a few times a year,” Mosher said.

The first time it was discovered that a disc jockey was drinking in the studio, a meeting was held between the KUTE staff and Hollis. Hollis warned the staff members they would lose their 24-hour access to the Union and the studio if another incident occurred. Because KUTE airs late night shows, staff members are permitted to enter the Union after hours.

When it was discovered that KUTE staff was propping open Union doors to allow friends and guests access to the building after hours, the administration revoked KUTE’s Union access privileges. Hollis notified the staff members that they would be removed from the air if anymore misconduct occurred.

Hollis said evidence of alcohol being consumed in the studio last Tuesday prompted the probation.

“As Union director, I took immediate action,” he said.

KUTE is now working on a new policy and retraining staff, Hollis said, and he believes the station will begin re-airing sometime between now and the spring semester.

“We’ve tried everything to keep them on the air,” Hollis said of the four chances administration allotted KUTE. “We want a student radio, but they’ve got to follow the rules8212;and the law.”

Sean Halls, KUTE station manager, said the suspension of broadcasting was ultimately brought about by DJs not following policy.

Halls, a senior in English, said in addition to student code of conduct infringments, state and federal laws were also violated by having alcohol in the studio. Halls said he is drafting a new policy regarding conduct and security measures. The new policy will be presented to the Broadcast Council. If it passes, Hollis will review it and take it to the Union board for approval.

“Union board wants to be reassured that we will be monitoring the studio,” Hall said.

Hall said this incident is unfortunate because KUTE was problem-free for a year and a half before now.

Mosher said he was informed of the probation in an e-mail from his program manager.
Neither Halls nor Mosher said they knew who was drinking or propping the door open.
Hall said he won’t set a date as to when broadcasting will resume.

“I would like to be back on the air next week,” Hall said, “But I know that’s not realistic.”

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