Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the First “All Things Considered” Broadcast
On May 3, 1971, KUT was among the first stations in the country to broadcast “All Things Considered,” a fledgling radio news program from an emergent journalism outfit called NPR. At its launch, the program was carried by about 88 member stations and heard by fewer than 2 million listeners nationwide.
“All Things Considered’s” lead story that day was a feature-length piece about 20,000 people who gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War. It turned out to be one of the biggest antiwar protests in American history and NPR’s 24-minute sound portrait was eventually inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.
Today, more than 60 million people – including 300,000 Central Texans – access NPR content on multiple platforms each week. In collaboration with member stations like KUT, NPR provides an essential service to local communities, and serves as a lifeline for rural America and those seeking vital information during emergencies.
When KUT moved into a specially built broadcast space in the new Jesse H. Jones Communication Center at Guadalupe and 26th St. on the University of Texas campus in 1974, NPR spent a week broadcasting “All Things Considered” from KUT’s studios as part of the dedication of the new communications complex the following year.
A few years later, in November 1979, KUT was among the first 100 public radio stations to carry the inaugural broadcast of “Morning Edition,” which has become one of public radio’s best and most honored programs.
Starting in the 2000s, KUT collaborated with NPR’s Next Generation Radio project – a multimedia training project where diverse college students spend a week working alongside professional journalists to hone their multimedia storytelling skills. KUT has hosted this digital journalism training more than any other public radio station and has employed at one time or another nearly a dozen graduates of the program.
In 2019, KUT, KERA in Dallas, Texas Public Radio in San Antonio and Houston Public Media announced a collaborative journalism project with NPR – called The Texas Newsroom – to increase coverage of statewide issues, share resources and boost reporting from underserved regions, including the border with Mexico.
“For the past 50 years NPR has been an essential, trusted source for international, national and local news, and cultural programming featuring music, history, education and the arts," said NPR President and CEO John Lansing. “‘All Things Considered’s’ first broadcast was a vivid report on demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Times may have changed but NPR's mission and commitment to informing the American public has not. We just went through a summer of racial unrest, a global pandemic, and a very contentious election year. NPR is covering all of this and no longer just on the radio; we are meeting our listeners where they are and addressing their interests and needs.”
Everything you love about KUT and NPR is made possible by community support, from sustaining members, to Business Circle members to local sponsors. Looking ahead, there is much more KUT and NPR can accomplish – together. We have new ideas, innovations, and ambitions to reach more and more people with trusted news and quality programming and live up to our goals of inclusion and diversity – in the people we serve and the people who work for us.
To celebrate 50 years, NPR has prepared a full slate of programming and a special section of its website. Be sure to tune in to KUT 90.5 at 10 p.m., Wednesday, May 5 for NPR’s “Fifty and Forward,” hosted by Audie Cornish and featuring other NPR journalists exploring how the news and journalism have changed over the past 50 years, as well as how the network has been shaped by its talented reporters, producers and hosts.
Follow along and share your NPR anniversary wishes and stories using the hashtag #NPR50.