KCOU bill voted down in MSA senate

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | 11:14 p.m. CDT; updated 2:05 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — MU's Missouri Students Association turned down a bill in a senate meeting Wednesday night that would have given KCOU, MU's student-run radio station and auxiliary of MSA, funds for a new tower and transmitter.

"I think there is a better solution," said Erin Moran, chairwoman of MSA's Student Affairs Committee. "I support KCOU, but I just don't think that this bill is the best bet financially for future Mizzou students."

When Hudson Residence Hall closes for renovations Feb. 1, control of the building's utilities will transfer over to the contractor. This means that KCOU will no longer have access to its transmitter on Hudson's roof.

The MSA bill was originally drafted because of the misconception that a decision about KCOU's future had to be made by Oct. 29.

But senate speaker Jonathan Mays said Wednesday that the Oct. 29 deadline was no longer relevant because it only referred to the temporary option of running a power cable from Plaza 900 to the Hudson Residence Hall rooftop.

"That was a date for one option," said MSA President Jim Kelley in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "The whole picture wasn't there last night."

KCOU runs no risk of going off the air until February. Mays said that according to Federal Communications Commission rules, KCOU can file for a special silence permit. The permit would give KCOU extra time to buy a new tower and transmitter while retaining its FM license.

It would also give KCOU and MSA more time to go over their options.

"I think we're going to sit back down and continue to talk about the points raised here tonight and answer these questions," said Kelley after Wednesday's senate meeting.

And the discussion is not over.

"We will continue to seek a solution to the situation, whether from MSA or outside," said Jonathan Hutcheson, program director and chief engineer at KCOU. "It would be unfortunate for students to lose their radio station because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation, the facts and financial figures. We hope that through continuing efforts and dialogue, we can get through this and reach a real solution that takes into consideration the best interests of the students, which I firmly believe is the continuation of KCOU."

MSA senators Josh Travis and Ryan Morimura, two of the bill's proponents, say they plan to propose another bill in two weeks, giving senators a chance to become more informed on the situation.

"There's a lot of information that I think people aren't sure about," Morimura said. "I think we're going to have a similar bill two weeks from now with similar language. We'll make changes to tighten it up."

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