Lawmaker, UTRGV mull supporting public radio, TV

MCALLEN — A Valley congressman will meet with the head of UTRGV to discuss a possible partnership with the university in hosting public radio and TV stations.

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, sent a letter to UTRGV President Guy Bailey last month advocating support of radio and TV stations NPR and PBS.

“Dr. Bailey is looking forward to having this meeting with Vicente Gonzalez,” UTRGV spokesperson Patrick Gonzales said.

A meeting is scheduled for August.

According to Gonzales, there are two major benefits with the partnership.

“One is just to bring back public TV and radio which has a big fan base here in the Valley, and then secondly to provide the university with a platform to share the great things that are going on here,” Gonzales said.

Although the university president is interested in discussing a possible partnership, funding may be an issue, Gonzales said.

“I think everybody believes in the benefits and how important it is to this region…” he added. “The biggest obstacle for us would be funding. We have no discretionary funds that we can apply to creating or housing a public or TV or radio station.”

In the release, the congressman said he hopes to meet with Bailey to discuss UTRGV housing the stations within the university.

If such a partnership were created, it could to lead to reaching 1.5 million people in South Texas via radio and TV broadcasts — this in a region with “limited access” to these stations, Gonzalez said in the letter.

“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,” Gonzalez wrote.