KUT Radio 90.5 FM, listener-supported news and music from Central Texas, began a year-long 50th anniversary celebration on Aug. 21.
Since receiving the call sign of KUT from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Aug. 21, 1958, KUT Radio has nurtured and shared the most authentic and remarkable voices of the community – and the world – through local and national news, and through innovative and authentic music that is picked for qualities of substance and integrity. Today, KUT is one of the top public media institutions in the country, reaching 500,000 people each week through traditional radio, two HD Radio channels, the Internet, podcasts and mobile devices.
“The founding vision for KUT – to extend to the public airwaves the thoughtful deliberation and exploration of civic and cultural issues on a daily basis – remains relevant, and possibly even more critical, today,” said Stewart Vanderwilt, director and general manager of KUT.
Anniversary events are planned throughout the next year, including: two live broadcasts of “BBC – World Have Your Say” (Nov. 20, 21); a 50th anniversary gala at the Four Season Hotel (Feb. 28, 2009); a live taping of the popular events game show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” (May 28, 2009); and a line-up of soon-to-be-announced musical performers at the Bass Concert Hall (Sept. 3, 2009).
From the beginning, KUT has striven to be an integral part of the community it serves and relies upon for 86 percent of its operating budget.
Robert Schenkkan, a professor in the Department of Radio-TV-Film, led the effort to establish a full-power FM station that would become KUT. Upon receiving its license, which is operated by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas, KUT made its debut broadcast with “The Eyes of Texas” in November.
After broadcasting a mostly classical format for seven years, KUT diversified its programming to incorporate more arts and civic information. In 1970, John Aielli’s morning program evolved into “Eklektikos,” which continues to have a loyal fan base. The following year, KUT became a charter member of National Public Radio (NPR) and was one of the first public radio stations to carry NPR’s “All Things Considered.”