For years, KUHF and KUHT have operated in the same building on the University of Houston campus as essentially separate entities. So, what's the point of merging the two under the collective name Houston Public Media? Edward Hugetz is Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning and Outreach with the UH system.
"The whole point of the merger is to position the stations and the university so that as we move toward 2020, that we can provide the Houston metropolitan area with more information that is relevant to them, particularly in those priority areas of the city — health and energy, the arts, and education."
The strategy for how to accomplish that mission will come from the new CEO of the combined stations. Hugetz says the goal is to get that person hired by this summer. Questions about staffing, programming, cross-pollination between radio and television, and how the merger will affect fundraising won't be answered for quite some time.
"We know there's a lot of questions about what the merger will look like. And what we ask is to be patient with us as we go through this, and we will keep everybody in the loop as these details become clearer."
The merger of KUHF and KUHT to form Houston Public Media will have no effect on KUHF's purchase of the 91.7 FM frequency from Rice University. That purchase is waiting on approval from the FCC.