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KUT 2016 logo.png
City Austin, Texas
Broadcast area Austin metro area
Branding KUT 90.5
Slogan Austin's NPR Station
Frequency 90.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
90.5 HD-2 for simulcast of KUTX
90.5 HD3 for Jazz
First air date 1921, November 10, 1958
Format News/Talk (Public)
ERP 100,000 watts
HAAT 207 meters (679 ft)
Class C1
Facility ID 66573
Transmitter coordinates 30°18′51″N 97°51′58″W / 30.314167°N 97.866112°W / 30.314167; -97.866112[1]Coordinates: 30°18′51″N 97°51′58″W / 30.314167°N 97.866112°W / 30.314167; -97.866112[1]
Callsign meaning University of Texas
Former callsigns 5XY (1921-1922), WCM (1922-1925)
Affiliations NPR
Owner The University of Texas at Austin
Sister stations KUTX
Webcast KUT Live Feed
KUT HD-2 Live Feed PLS
Website www.kut.org
Belo Center for New Media (A0704) - KUT/KUTX offices

KUT FM 90.5 is a listener-supported and corporate-sponsored public radio station owned and operated by faculty and staff of the University of Texas at Austin.[2] It is the National Public Radio member station for central Texas. Occasionally there is confusion between KUT and KVRX 91.7 FM, the University's student-run radio station, because both are owned by the University of Texas and are based out of the UT campus.

KUT's main transmitter broadcasts with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts and is located 8 miles west of Downtown Austin at the University of Texas Bee Cave Research Center.[3] KUT is licensed to broadcast in the digital hybrid HD format.[4]

KUT ident used until 2016.

A second station, KUTX, serving San Angelo at 90.1 MHz, was sold to Texas Tech University in 2010 in part because Angelo State University had become part of the Texas Tech University System. The call letters were changed from KUTX to KNCH. The KUTX call letters were moved to KUT's repeater station in Somerville, broadcasting to the Bryan/College Station area on 88.1 FM. On August 23, 2012, the UT System Board of Regents voted to move forward to purchase KXBT-FM 98.9 FM (Leander/Austin) from Border Media Business Trust. On January 2, 2013, KXBT became KUTX, creating an Austin-based sister station for KUT. At that time, KUT adopted an all-news/talk format utilizing programming from NPR, the BBC, PRI and others. The music programming formerly heard on KUT was moved to KUTX to create a full-time music service, primarily an eclectic mix of alt pop/rock, folk, Americana, bluegrass, jazz, blues supplemented by specialty programs including Twine Time, Folkways, Across the Water (Celtic music), an Horizontes (Latin music).

KUT was first established under its present call letters in 1925, but was absent from the airwaves from 1927 until 1958.

HD Programming[edit]

  • KUT HD1 is a digital version of the over-the-air analog signal.
  • KUT HD2 is a simulcast of KUTX.
  • KUT HD3 is an all-jazz format. (An HD Radio is required for all HD stations.)[5][6]

Local productions[edit]

Local productions include Eklektikos, hosted by John Aielli (with KUT since 1966); Music with Jay Trachtenberg; The KUTX Sunday Mix with Jody Denberg; Folkways; Left of the Dial with Jeff McCord; Twine Time with Paul Ray; and David Brown's Texas Music Matters, a weekly one-hour program covering the Texas music industry. Latino USA with Maria Hinojosa also originated at KUT but is now independently produced.


Like other public radio stations in the United States, KUT broadcasts on-air pledge drives in order to raise monetary contributions from listeners. Listener contributions and corporate sponsorship, termed "community support", account for roughly 80% of the station's budget. Sponsors are noted on-air in the form of abbreviated announcements called underwriting spots.


KUT's beginnings[edit]

The actual beginning date of radio broadcasting on the UT-Austin campus has never been fully substantiated. There is an unofficial reference to an on-campus radio operation as early as 1912. But the most reliable information indicates that the first broadcast license — bearing the call letters 5XY — was issued to the University on March 22, 1921.

A year later, a new license was issued, bearing new call letters WCM, which the station used to identify itself until 1925.

In these first years, the station was used for a number of purposes, beginning as a demonstration project in the Physics Department, whose Professor Simpson L. Brown had persuaded the administration to let him build the station in the first place.

Beginning in 1923, though, funding concerns prompted a transfer of operational control to the University's Extension Division for extension teaching. One of the stipulations of the transfer agreement was that funds would be provided for operations and maintenance to put the station in a "first-class" condition. The funds, however, did not materialize and broadcasting suffered until a state agriculture official needed a means to broadcast daily crop and weather reports.

A deal between the official and UT's Extension Division allowed agriculture broadcasts for one hour per day in exchange for equipment maintenance. At other times of the day, the University would broadcast items of interest from the campus, including a number of faculty lecture series.

But by the end of 1924, the Physics Department decided it wanted the station back, and with the approval of the Board of Regents, the Physics Department regained control in the summer of 1925. They had a new license granted on October 30 and it bore, for the first time, the call letters KUT.

KUT history 1925-1927[edit]

Professor Simpson L. Brown — in addition to his teaching and research work in the Physics Department — served simultaneously as general manager, technical director, and producer. Programs were aired 3 nights a week from 8 to 10 with no sponsors or commercials.

There were concerts by the University Symphony and other Austin musical organizations as well as discussions, lectures, and speeches by faculty, state officials, and agriculture experts. Weekly services were broadcast from St. David's Episcopal Church and, during football season, fans could listen to play-by-play descriptions of the Longhorn games.

KUT's early years were ambitious but, by 1927, ambition had outrun the funding. The expense of operating and maintaining the station had simply become too great for the Physics Department to sustain. University President Harry Benedict appointed a committee to study the matter, and the committee recommended that the project be discontinued. The station was dismantled and the equipment returned to the Physics labs for experimentation.

KUT would not re-emerge for 30 years.

KUT chronology 1958 to present[edit]

1958 - KUT signed on the air on November 10, licensed to The University of Texas, using a General Electric transmitter built in 1939 and broadcasting at 90.7 MHz from the School of Journalism (now Geography) building at Whitis Avenue & 24th Street: power (4,100 watts), antenna height (268 feet), total signal radius (15 miles).

1961 - KUT moved to newly refurbished quarters in the Radio/Television building on Speedway, a site now occupied by Robert A. Welch Hall.

1965 - KUT reformatted to an arts and information program schedule following the demise of Austin's commercial classical music station (KHFI), and began the first live Saturday afternoon airings in Austin of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.

1970 - KUT was qualified by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to receive financial assistance provided to noncommercial radio stations for the first time ever by the federal government. Of the some 600 noncommercial radio stations that were licensed by the FCC at the time, only KUT and 69 others met the CPB qualification criteria.

1971 - KUT became a charter member of National Public Radio (NPR); contributed the first of, what would become in time, 14 of the station's employees to the NPR staff; and carried the first-ever NPR broadcast (All Things Considered) in May.

1974 - KUT moved to completely new, specially-designed quarters in the College of Communication complex at Guadalupe & 26th Street.

1975 - KUT hosted Bob Edwards, then co-anchoring All Things Considered, and the NPR news production team during dedication week for the new Communication complex. The national All Things Considered broadcasts were transmitted each evening that week from the new KUT studio facilities.

1979 - KUT carried the November inaugural broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition, with Bob Edwards as host; in doing so, KUT joined 106 others of NPR's 157 member-stations in launching what has become one of the best and most honored of public radio's national programs.

1980 - KUT installed its new public radio network satellite earth terminal and became NPR's southwestern regional uplink, one of only 17 network stations with the capability to transmit as well as receive satellite-delivered radio programs.

1982 - KUT began broadcasting in stereo at 90.5 MHz with 100,000 watts of power, antenna height at 1,595 feet, and a total signal radius of 97 miles—bringing to fruition the federal funding and extraordinarily lengthy regulatory application process that had been started in 1972.

1984 - KUT won the Texas Governor's Barbara Jordan Award for "excellence in the communication of the reality of disabled people" through the production of SoundSight, a weekly news-and-features program for blind and print-impaired listeners.

1986 - KUT, jointly with the UT McDonald Observatory, won The Ohio State University Award for production of the astronomy radio series Star Date. The series was cited for "excellence in educational, informational, and public affairs broadcasting."

1988 - KUT celebrated its 30th anniversary with a series of special events, capped by An Evening with Bob Edwards, NPR's Morning Edition host.

1990 - KUT was recognized, for the 10th consecutive year, as the "Best Radio Station" in Austin by The Austin Chronicle's readers' poll.

1991 - KUT held a special one-day fundraiser to assist NPR in meeting emergency budget needs for news coverage of the Persian Gulf War. The $25,000 raised by KUT was the second highest amount raised among all of NPR's participating member-stations.

1992 - KUT presented the first of its continuing annual celebrations of the short story—Selected Shorts on Tour—a collaboration with New York City's Symphony Space, producer of NPR's weekly series Selected Shorts (now distributed by Public Radio International).

1993 - KUT celebrated its 35th anniversary and—in partnership with UT Austin's Center for Mexican American Studies and with major initial grants from The Ford Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—launched the national radio series Latino USA at a "Cinco de Mayo" reception in Washington, D.C., with President Clinton in attendance along with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and cabinet secretaries Federico Peña and Henry Cisneros.

1994 - KUT completed the construction of a new on-air control room and library suite, using 50 percent federal matching funds to replace and upgrade the equipment in this control room and in the production control room; total project cost was in excess of $100,000.

1995 - KUT achieved a listenership benchmark according to Arbitron research: more than 100,000 people were listening to the station each week.

1996 - KUT completed the installation of its second station (KUTX 90.1 FM) using 75 percent federal matching funds and, delivering its signal via satellite, initiated a first public radio service for the 100,000 residents of San Angelo in the West Texas heartland; total project cost was upwards of $150,000.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Radio Station Information for KUT 90.5 MHz FM, Austin, TX". radio-locator.com. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  2. ^ "KUT AND KUTX PUBLIC RADIO". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  3. ^ "KUT How to Listen". KUT. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  4. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/sta_det.pl?Facility_id=66573
  5. ^ http://hdradio.com/stations
  6. ^ http://www.freqseek.com/tx/Austin/hd-radio-stations.aspx?page=1

External links[edit]