CPB Office of the Ombudsman

Change is Hard

Joel Kaplan

April 17, 2013

That's what Dr. John M. Rudley, president of Texas Southern University, says about instituting massive changes at a university that had numerous problems when he took over five years ago.

One of those problems Dr. Rudley cited was a dysfunctional campus radio station, KTSU, which was mismanaged and run unprofessionally. He eventually placed the radio station under the University's School of Communication and installed a local radio personality, Donna Franklin, as interim general manager.

"I was brought here to clean up Texas Southern University," Dr. Rudley said. "When I took over this job at TSU it was based on a history of mismanagement at the university. Over five years we've turned this situation around.

"KTSU was my last outpost. It was run by a bunch of volunteers. The old station manager didn't even include the students. We moved the station under Dr. Ward (James Ward, dean of the School of Communication) and now we can give the students work experience and have them work the machines."

Needless to say, the changes that Dr. Rudley is trying to implement have its detractors.

One of those detractors is "Albert" who sent the ombudsman a four-page single-spaced letter decrying what is going on at KTSU.

The policy of the ombudsman's office is to deal with all complaints provided that the complainant provides a name and contact information. We do not deal with anonymous complaints. However, in this case, "Albert" also complained to the local alternative weekly, the Houston Press, which last year posted an article that described why and how KTSU lost its listeners.

Much of Albert's complaint deals with the hiring of Donna Franklin and the involvement of Dr. Rudley in the inner workings of the radio station.

For her part, Ms. Franklin said,

"I can tell you this about the letter. I've seen this letter. You can't address something that's been sent anonymously. There's not someone that works for the station named Albert, and there has never been a volunteer here by that name. That's a personal vendetta and attack against me, which I will not address. When that person comes forward, then I will address that letter."

Dr. Rudley also said it is a waste of time responding to anonymous allegations but he wants to let the public know that changes at the radio station have only just begun.

"People don't think change is going to happen," he said. "All these people come out of the woodwork whenever you have change. I guarantee we will have change and we will make it different.

"I'm going to be recruiting a couple of other people to help run the station. If Albert is mad about Donna, he will be really mad when I'm through fixing KTSU."

About CPB

CPB promotes the growth and development of public media in communities throughout America.

Programs & Projects

CPB awards grants to stations and independent producers to create programs and services.