Free-Form No More?
Kansas University journalism faculty took control of campus radio station KJHK this week in a move designed to end a long-running dispute over the running of the small FM station. Mike Kautsch, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, surprised students at a KJHK board of directors meeting by announcing faculty-mandated changes designed to improve the station’s compliance with federal regulations. Critics at the meeting said afterward that the changes marked the end of student-led operations at KJHK and the use of “free-form” programming. Mike Mader, a KU graduate student and former KJHK staffer, and Rob Klatz, KJHK student summer program director, both said they were surprised by the faculty’s action and frustrated that the conflict hadn’t been settled through a compromise. “I expected more from professors, more from educators, more from our mentors. So many times students waltz through class, take everything an instructor says as the word on the subject and take a grade. At KJHK, students want a say in the way they’re educated,” Mader said. Klatz added that the changes could make it difficult to attract listeners and reduce the number of non-journalism students at the station.