Congressman Gonzalez Plans to Start Dialogue with UTRGV Regarding Future of Public Radio and TV in South Texas
WASHINGTON – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) sent a letter to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley President, Guy Bailey, requesting a meeting to discuss the future of public radio and TV stations in the Rio Grande Valley. Given the recent shuttering of local NPR and PBS radio and TV stations, Congressman Gonzalez is engaging stakeholders to explore the possibility of housing them at the university.
“Despite being home to close to 1.5 million people, the Rio Grande Valley now has limited access to public radio and TV broadcasts,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “This cannot be possible – not in one of the fastest growing regions of the country.”
Congressman Gonzalez enjoys NPR’s Morning Edition and This Old House on PBS, among others.
“NPR and PBS have something to offer for the whole family, and it is up to us to make sure we afford these same opportunities to the people of the Rio Grande Valley,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “I am ready to work with UTRGV, the Texas Association of Broadcasters, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio, and the Public Broadcasting Corporation, and any others, to bring back top-rated programing that enriches the lives of children, young adults, working adults, and senior citizens.”
Congressman Gonzalez would like to follow the model of the University of Houston System, which houses both NPR and PBS radio and TV stations at the LeRoy and Lucile Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting at the University of Houston and the two stations operate under Houston Public Media.
Below is the letter Congressman Gonzalez sent to President Guy Bailey:
April 22, 2019
Dr. Guy Bailey
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
1201 West University Drive
Edinburg, Texas 78539
Dear Dr. Bailey,
For years, Rio Grande Valley residents have had limited access to our National Public Radio (NPR), and Public Broadcasting System (PBS) stations. I am committed to bringing this problem to the attention of federal, state, and local officials, and build a coalition of educators, broadcasters, elected officials, philanthropists, and concerned citizens from throughout the state and country to work with federal regulators to get any required approvals to restore access in our region. Together, I believe we can turn this challenge into an opportunity.
My staff in Washington, D.C., recently met with representatives from NPR, PBS, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Through these initial discussions, we learned that there are a number of resources available that may help us overcome existing obstacles. Much time and planning is needed to take on this initiative and it is important that we work together to encourage the efficient use of resources and to put all the best people to work on solutions.
I believe partnering with the University of Texas System is the best approach and that the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley would be an ideal home for the new NPR and PBS station to broadcast to more than 1.5 million listeners and viewers in South Texas. Students and the entire Rio Grande Valley community would benefit from these efforts as the radio and TV station could be used as both a teaching tool and a learning lab for aspiring journalists, meteorologists, producers, VJs, DJs, and musicians. As a strong supporter of public broadcasting, I kindly urge you to consider the University’s potential role in preserving such a valuable resource for our community.
With this in mind, I would like to meet with you, and could do so in the Rio Grande Valley or Washington, D.C. Please contact Executive Assistant, Paulina Carrillo, at Paulina.Carrillo@mail.house.gov, or at (202) 225-2531 to begin organizing this meeting.
Member of Congress