Reliably Austin
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Proposal for Additional KUT Station Returns to UT Board of Regents

KUT’s bid to acquire a second radio station is coming back before the University of Texas Board of Regents next week.

At its Aug. 22 meeting, the Board of Regents' Academic Affairs committee is set to hear a proposal from UT-Austin that would acquire KXBT 98.9 FM on behalf of KUT. The terms of the proposal have changed somewhat since the regents tabled the initial proposal back in July. That proposal saw UT-Austin covering the entirety of the $6 million purchase price of KXBT, and KUT reimbursing UT for the loan over the course of 20 years. 

This new proposal calls for UT to contribute $4 million toward the purchase price, with KUT promising to repay the loan over 10 years. KUT would cover the remaining $2 million of the $6 million cost itself. It also states should KUT fall behind on payments to UT for more than four months, UT "will sell the license at fair market value as soon as feasible."

You can view the committee's agenda and backup information online.

As described in KUT’s strategic plan, station leadership wishes to acquire KXBT 98.9 FM in order to differentiate and expand its programming. Music programming currently heard on KUT would move to the new frequency, to be joined by additional programming in creating a 24-hour music channel. News and information programming currently heard on KUT would be similarly expanded into an around-the-clock format.

With the differentiation, “UT Austin has determined that the acquisition would contribute to the long-term public service and sustainability of KUT in a number of ways," read backup materials before the regents at their July meeting.

KUT wouldn’t be the first public Texas station to decide to offer music and news programming on two separate stations.

Since 1974, KERA has operated an all-news and information channel in the Dallas-Fort Worth region on 90.1 FM. In 2009, KERA launched a second all-music station, KXT 91.7 FM, which broadcasts adult album alternative music and programming.

Houston’s NPR member station, KUHF acquired a second radio station from Rice University in 2010. That station, KUHA 91.7 FM, plays classical music, while KUHF has an all-news and information format.

The UT Board of Regents convenes for a two-day meeting beginning Aug. 22. KUT management tells the newsroom they will not have any further comment until after the regents' meeting. 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.