KNTU budget cuts may affect student wages, pay during semester breaks

KNTU budget cuts may affect student wages, pay during semester breaks

KNTU budget cuts may affect student wages, pay during semester breaks
November 15
00:08 2018

UNT’s student-run radio station, 88.1 KNTUmay be down one paid student staffer position due to recent budget cuts from the student service fee advisory committee, Russ Campbell, broadcasting professor and the general manager of the station, said.

KNTU’s student service fee allocation for the 2018-19 year was cut by $2,901.31 — from $152,063.94 to $149,161.69 — while the station was also informed it would be “weaned off” funding completely.

Campbell said their overall cut was 1.9 percent in student wages.

“We could be down one position, but we’re going to look for ways we can maybe supplement that,” Campbell said. “What [we would] normally fund would be nine part-time student staff positions.”

KNTU’s budget cut is part of a series of cuts to other campus entities from the student service fee advisory committee, such as the North Texas Daily, the Collegiate Recovery Program and the Toulouse Graduate SchoolKNTU also receives donations and sponsorships annually, which resulted in an additional $30,672.63 in 2018. However, those additional funds are not guaranteed every year.

The radio station, which does not stop operations during semester breaks, primarily features jazz, but news and sports are also part of its programming. Campbell said part of their student wage budget goes to paying students who work during those breaks.

KNTU is a student-run radio station, 88.1 KNTU, that is being “weened” off of funding. Cindy Ngo

“We may have to take some of the funds allocated for maintenance and operation and use those to supplement the difference in the cut we had in the student wages,” Campbell said.

However, he said he does not expect these budget cuts to affect the radio station’s production and said they’re going to work through it.

“But then there’s this other piece of it,” Campbell said. “We were told when we were given our letters that there were some funds available for wages if we were coming up short, and that we could request additional funding for that.”

KNTU, along with the North Texas Daily, were told they were going to be “weaned off” student services fee funding when they received their allocation letters in May. In the letter sent to the radio station, a timeline was not given for when KNTU would  completely lose funding.

UNT journalism graduate student Paul Valamides became involved in KNTU in Sept. 2017, first serving as a news anchor and now serves as news director.

“It’s a great resource to have here for students to get to learn,” Valamides said.

Valamides said he probably would not have been able to find another station to get the experience he’s gotten from working at KNTU.

Inside a KNTU Radio Station broadcast studio. Cindy Ngo

“Most other places where I could get a job in a radio station, they generally want people with at least a little professional experience,” Valamides said. “KNTU provides students a place where they can get that professional experience without having to have already had it just to get your foot in the door.”

Campbell also said one of KNTU’s most important functions is providing an “industry-standard environment” for students to learn about broadcasting.

“I don’t think anybody else duplicates what we’re doing,” Campbell said.

Working at KNTU, Valamides’ responsibilities range from editing scripts and overseeing and training news anchors to covering local news events and working to keep their website up-to-date.

In regards to budget cuts, Valamides said nothing has changed at KNTU since he started and they have not yet had to cut back.

“Obviously, when you hear that [the station will be weaned off funding], it’s a little bit worrisome,” Valamides said.

Journalism senior Patrick Pickett first joined KNTU in spring 2014 and worked there until December 2017. He believes his time at the radio station was invaluable.

“My time at the station gave me essential hands-on experience for understanding radio broadcast,” Pickett said in an email. “My interests these days are in podcasts and blogging, and KNTU set a strong foundation for my ability to do that more effectively.”

Pickett also said he thinks it is unfortunate the student service fee advisory committee decided to cut funding for KNTU.

“For aspiring journalists and radio broadcasters, they would lose one of the best primers they could ever have during their time in college,” Pickett said.

Featured Image: Radio personality broadcasting live for the KNTU Radio Station. Cindy Ngo

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Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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