AUSTIN, Texas – July 22, 2019 – KUT and KUTX Associate Director of Broadcast and Content Hawk Mendenhall will retire on Dec. 31.
He joined KUT 90.5 in 2001 when the station was a music and national news format with a monthly listenership of 85,000 and no local news programming. During his tenure, he led the station through several transformational schedule changes that brought in new audiences and increased overall listening. Today, the station serves a monthly audience of about 600,000 through two broadcast signals, multiple digital platforms and a statewide weekday news show.
“Hawk was instrumental in helping to create the station’s newsroom, launch KUTX 98.9 as an all-music station, launch “Texas Standard” and kick-start digital operations – not to mention the car spots,” said Debbie Hiott, director and general manager of KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station.
“Most important of all, he has led the way in creating the sound and tone that lets anyone who tunes into our stations know that they are listening to Austin, Texas – with all of the fun, storytelling, creativity and weirdness that entails. And the fact that we are consistently at the top of the market in ratings is due in no small part to Hawk’s programming savvy,” she added.
In addition to leading programming initiatives, Mendenhall has been part of the cross-station team developing the Texas Newsroom, a partnership among the four major Texas public radio newsrooms that will produce more Texas-focused stories for national news programs and change the way NPR and local stations collaborate to cover the news.
He also has served two terms on the Public Radio Program Directors Association board.
Including his time at KUT and KUTX, Hawk has spent more than 40 years in radio at a number of commercial and public stations, including eight years at public radio station KUER in Salt Lake City.
“It’s been a great ride in Austin and beyond anything else I want to say how proud I am of what the people working at KUT and KUTX have accomplished over the years,” said Mendenhall. “These are two of best public radio stations in the country and all credit goes to the staff’s hard work and the amazing support of our listeners.
“As for me, I can finally start working toward that dream job as a Jungle Cruise guide at Disneyland.”
About KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, and KUTX 98.9, The Austin Music Experience
KUT and KUTX are community supported public media that fuel Austin’s love of discovery. KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, uses the highest editorial standards to report the stories that matter to Austin, and KUTX 98.9, The Austin Music Experience, enriches listeners’ lives with the music and experiences that reflect the spirit of Austin. Our work is directly supported by a community of members and local businesses whose investments power the music, news and conversations that matter to Austin.
Contact: Erin Geisler (512) 475-8071