TSM board candidate hopes to defend student media

McKay Proctor

Editor’s Note: This year four candidates are running for three available voting seats on the Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees, which oversees The Daily Texan, the Cactus yearbook, the Texas Travesty humor publication, Texas Student Television and the KVRX 91.7 FM radio station. Three candidates are running for the two at-large seats and one student for the one open Moody College of Communication seat. Candidates were asked shortly after their certification to write two 500-word columns, the first on the following question: In recent years, the student board members have been accused of not investing enough effort in their positions. If elected, what would you do to play a more active role in TSM’s affairs, and what changes would you try to enact? Candidates who participated in this first round wrote their own headlines. Only light typographical corrections were made. Among the at-large candidates, the top two vote-getters will be seated. For more information on the candidates, please visit our candidate database here.

My name is McKay Proctor. I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee.  I miss 91.1 WRVU. 

Throughout my childhood, Vanderbilt’s student-run radio station was an island of progressive taste in a sea of country. Sure, there were some Gregorian chants and Nicaraguan folk songs mixed in, but 91.1 WRVU was my window on the musical world. 

The summer of 2011, 91.1 WRVU died. Vanderbilt Student Communications sold the station’s broadcast license, upending the community of students, DJ’s and listeners that loved it. Losing WRVU felt like losing a friend. I’ll never forget it.

My dedication to the Texas Student Media Board comes from losing a piece of student-run media before I was even a student. I know how delicate, how precious these outlets are. When I begin my day with the Texan or listen to KVRX in my car, I remember the last time I heard WRVU. 

None of these outlets are guaranteed to stick around forever. We must defend them through consumption. We must treat them as the valuable pieces of student culture that they are. I want to take that attitude to the Texas Student Media Board to formalize my relationship with these wonderful cultural institutions on our campus. I will mirror the increase in responsibility with an upshot in accountability. 

As a member of the TSM Board, I would have a direct role in the direction of critical parts of our student culture. I could never take that responsibility lightly, but even less so when I felt the sting of mismanagement when 91.1 WRVU disappeared. We must appreciate them every moment we’re exposed to them, not just for their content, but for their very existence. We as a student body should feel blessed that these publications exist. If the board appointed to manage these outlets fails to appreciate that, can they expect consumers to do the same? 

As a member of the Board I would strive to change its reputation for under-achievement. Board members should be as engaged in their part of the process as the editors, staff writers, and DJs of the outlets are in theirs. 

I also wish to raise the profile of our media outlets to the level they deserve. KVRX is a phenomenal community-run radio station. The Daily Texan is a nationally regarded student publication. TSTV stands alone as a student-run FCC-listed television stations. The Cactus has been a part of student life since the days of old B-Hall. The Travesty is flat-out hilarious. Students need to know that, in part so distribution can reflect it, but also because they’ll attract students from a broader spectrum of campus to participate. Those people can then hold the TSM Board more accountable – a virtuous cycle where all flows from holding these publications in proper regard. 

I hope when you think about the kind of candidate I am and the sort of board member I will be, you see me tuning in to 91.1 on my radio dial in Nashville, and hearing the world through those airwaves. I felt the same amazement at those broad sonic horizons then that I do at the varied spectrum of Texas Student Media outlets now.  My name is McKay Proctor. I live in Austin, Texas. I love KVRX.

Proctor is an English and business honors senior from Nashville. He is running for an at-large seat on the Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees.