KUT Public Radio Adds Second Station to Showcase Austin Music Experience

Aug. 23, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — In a move to expand its public service, audience and community engagement, KUT 90.5 FM has entered into an agreement to purchase radio station KXBT 98.9 FM.

The new station, KUTX 98.9 FM, will operate as a noncommercial public radio station broadcasting full-time music programming for audiences seeking the Austin music experience. KUT 90.5 FM will become a full-time news and information station.

This purchase was approved by the University of Texas System Board of Regents today.

New programming will begin on KUTX 98.9 FM and KUT 90.5 FM sometime this fall, following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval.

"Differentiating KUT’s news and music services across two stations is consistent with our strategic plan to double impact by 2020 and contribute to the long-term public service and sustainability of KUT," said Stewart Vanderwilt, director and general manager of KUT Public Radio. "The new KUT Public Media Studios — with their increased production capacity, public spaces and direct audience interaction — are the foundation of this strategic direction."

KUTX 98.9 will feature a public-radio-style music format with diverse playlists covering the broad spectrum of music that makes Austin a global music destination. Programming will include many of KUT's existing music programs along with interviews, in-studio performances, the music journalism program "Texas Music Matters" and local arts-related news and commentary. Additionally, the all-music station will provide a high-profile platform for promoting and sharing content from the new KUT Public Media Studios' Performance Studio 1A and the KUT-operated Cactus Cafe.

KUT 90.5 FM, NPR and Austin News from the Capital of Texas will continue to broadcast national news and information programming, including NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," "Fresh Air," "Wait, Wait … Don't Tell Me," "A Prairie Home Companion" and "This American Life," among other national and local programs. The new dedicated format will enable KUT to add additional national news programs and enable KUT's award-winning news team to provide a deeper level of context and a broader forum for the voices shaping Central Texas.

"Austin is one of only two state capitals in a major market without a full-time news and information public radio station," continued Vanderwilt. "Austin has all the demographic and social attributes — high levels of education, political engagement, civic participation and a strong sense of place — needed for a full-time public radio news station to thrive."

KUT and The University of Texas at Austin are purchasing the station from the Border Media Business Trust in a deal brokered by Public Radio Capital, an independent nonprofit organized to support the growth of public stations throughout the country, for $6 million. No tuition or taxpayer money will be used for the purchase.

KUTX 98.9 FM will provide roughly the same five-county metro-area coverage as KUT 90.5 FM.

Please read the FAQ on KUT.org for additional information.

For more information, contact: Erin Geisler, KUT Radio, Moody College of Communication, (512) 475-8071; Gary Susswein, susswein@austin.utexas.edu, The University of Texas at Austin

14 Comments to "KUT Public Radio Adds Second Station to Showcase Austin Music Experience"

1.  Luis said on Aug. 30, 2012

This is excellent news! KERA in Dallas is one of the premier NPR stations and also runs two stations, one dedicated to news, the other to muic. I hope the programming on KUT can be at the level of KERA. Thanks for the audio delight!

2.  Bill said on Aug. 30, 2012

How annoying! Now we have to tune to two different stations to hear NPR and the local music! I'll probably just switch to satellite radio now. (Been listening to KUT for many years).

3.  Jesse said on Aug. 30, 2012

This is fantastic news. I'm not a fan of the daytime programming on KUT as it's currently arranged. I usually listen until 9am and don't bother to tune back in until 4-8pm.

4.  Miffy said on Aug. 31, 2012

The integration of music programming into the KUT format is progressive to me. It's a stimulating break from your typical almost 24-hour news, which I enjoy, but do tire of. So, I have to program KUTX into my radio and switch the station when I tire of the news...I think I can live with that.

5.  steve said on Sept. 2, 2012

does austin need two public radio stations or does stewart need a media empire? me thinks the latter.

6.  Ronn Dula said on Sept. 2, 2012

I'm not sure how much difference it will make to KUT listeners - I gave up on trying to find music on 90.5 some time ago. It seemed they had gone to an all-talk, all-news format. At least this way there will once again be a station filling the music gap.

7.  Vinod said on Sept. 4, 2012

Did KUT solicit listener's comments before doing this? I bet most listeners want a single station

8.  Sunil said on Sept. 4, 2012

Does this mean that we're now going to have to listen fundraising pitches 4 times per year or will both stations be running them concurrently?

9.  dbunch said on Sept. 5, 2012

Wow. Don't know if I like the way this is going. Does this mean I'll have to switch back and forth to hear the national shows and then John Aielli and Eklektikos? Why mess with perfection? I think this is not the way to go.

10.  John said on Sept. 6, 2012

I'm fine with the 2 stations, but would like the short hourly news on the music station. I would also like the digital secondary broadcasts to restart, possibly on both stations.

11.  Neil said on Sept. 6, 2012

This was about time. I realized I was no longer in NYC when I first tuned in to public radio in Austin. I still listen to to WNYC online to get my news and talk radio.

12.  Tanya said on Sept. 7, 2012

This is a bummer. The oldies channel is the only channel I listen to in my car. :'(

13.  Rog said on Sept. 7, 2012

I feel encouaged by this move! Over the last five years of listening to KUT I've found myself tuning out at about 9:05 am with the first sound of whoever hosts that show and retuning in around 4pm and then checking out by 8pm. I've found other public radio stations in San Antonio and Dallas to be much more enjoyable. Besides there are so many radio stations that offer music and hardly any that offer international quality news and informationally programming. For some reason I actually feel angry about this haha. Maybe its me being tired of flicking through the stations trying to find something interesting to me!

A full-time news and informational programming show by NPR is exciting!

14.  Anonymous said on Sept. 9, 2012

Wonderful! I love the news and I love the music on 90.5, but get frustrated at times when I would rather listen to one or the other. I think splitting into two stations will be a great move.