Nathan Bernier

The strong storms moving through Central Texas have knocked our FM transmitter off the air. Our engineers are working to get us broadcasting again as soon as possible.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Note: "Following the publication of the article previously on this page, it was subsequently reviewed by outside legal counsel. Fairness and accuracy are core to our guiding principles, and to that end, we have removed this story pending further review. We appreciate the work of the independent reporter and independent editor who worked on these stories in good faith. We will seek to provide more information on these matters in the coming days based on the outcome of ongoing reviews."


NOTE: “Following the publication of the article previously on this page, it was subsequently reviewed by outside legal counsel. Fairness and accuracy are core to our guiding principles, and to that end, we have removed this story pending further review. We appreciate the work of the independent reporter and independent editor who worked on these stories in good faith. We will seek to provide more information on these matters in the coming days based on the outcome of ongoing reviews.”

Julia Reihs/KUT

Stewart Vanderwilt is leaving KUT and KUTX after 18 years at the helm to become president and CEO of Colorado Public Radio. On his last day on the job, he reflects on his time in Austin, how public radio and the medium in general have changed during his tenure and where he sees the industry heading.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Stewart Vanderwilt, general manager and director of KUT and KUTX, announced today he is leaving Austin to become CEO of Colorado Public Radio.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

For people who have listened to KUT over the past thirty years, Bob Branson’s steady voice has been comfortingly familiar. We announced in September that Bob is retiring, and we wanted to drag him back into the studio one last time to hear about his three decades at this public radio station.

When did you start at KUT? What was it like?

When I started at KUT about 30 years ago, we did not have a news department. I don’t mean we did not have an award-winning news department. We had no local news.


Yesterday, KUT turned 57. So for this edition of Wayback Wednesday, we've cracked open the old photo album to share a few memories from the station's nearly 60 years on the UT Austin campus. 

Seeing as we're a radio station, we've also decided to share some of our best audio from our earliest years as well, including a reading from lauded poet Allen Ginsberg, a frank discussion about education and crime with legendary Texas politician Barbara Jordan, a lecture on non-violence in the tumultuous 1970s with Joan Baez and Ira Sandperl, and a discussion on writing and filmmaking with Texas laureate Larry McMurtry.

Take a look back in the slideshow above and take a listen in the audio player below.


The Texas Capitol will take on a somber mood Friday, as friends and family take time to honor the life of Former Texas State Senator and KUT Board Member Kenneth "Ray" Farabee. A memorial will be held in the Senate chamber Friday, December 5 at 2 pm. Farabee died at his Austin home on November 20. He was 81.

Farabee was born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the base of the High Plains.

But it was in Austin where he would make his mark, first as a leader in student government at the University of Texas at Austin and later in the Texas Senate.


Update:  KDRP founder Daryl O'Neal confirmed to KUT News that Larry Monroe died from complications due to the lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) early Friday morning.

A funeral will be held Thursday, January 23 at Keplinger Funeral Home in Hartford City, Indiana, according to KDRP. Pastor Gary Hall will officiate. Monroe will be buried at Hartford City Cemetery

Below you can listen to our remembrance of Monroe from KUT's Ben Philpott.



Original Post: We are sad to report long-time broadcaster and former KUT host Larry Monroe has passed away at the age of 71. Monroe worked for nearly 30 years at KUT and during his tenure he helmed the popular "Phil Music," "Blue Monday,"  "Texas Radio" and "Segway City" programs. 

Monroe became a fixture in Austin radio and in the music scene, as well — singing gospel songs on Easter Sunday with Willie Nelson, hanging out with Townes Van Zandt at The Hole in the Wall and, of course, providing eager audiences a constant source for Texas Music.   

Monroe was a native of Hartford City, Indiana, and began working in radio since the age of 13. In 1977, he came to Texas. He started his popular "Phil Music" program as a way to kill time during KUT broadcasts of Austin City Council meetings — filling time and keeping listeners enthralled between council sessions. 

After leaving KUT in 2010, Monroe went on to host at KDRP in Dripping Springs, continuing his much-loved programming with his signature style. KDRP founder Daryl O'Neal says they don't make broadcasters like Monroe anymore.

"He was an absolute legend and our patriarch," O'Neal says. "He was the patriarch of our radio station. If it weren't for Larry Monroe, KDRP would not exist in the vein that it does today."

Richard Glinka

You know Frank Tavares. You just don't know that you know Frank Tavares.

For over 30 years, Tavares has been the authoritative but friendly voice of those NPR underwriting announcements. You know, the ones that say "Support for NPR comes from …"

Starting this month, Tavares will be stepping away from those duties to make way for a new voice. Sabrina Farhi, the new voice of NPR underwriting, will be based at the group's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Tavares lives and teaches in Connecticut, and records the announcements remotely.

Courtesy of The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

The first graduating class at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders receives their diplomas this Saturday.

Among the graduates is 17-year-old Ana González, who was the subject of an Austin American-Statesman story profiling the school’s first grads.

Listeners to the "TED Radio Hour" Saturday afternoons at 2:00 and Thursday nights at 10:00 on KUT will hear a new voice on the show. NPR's Guy Raz takes over as host of the show this month.

KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talked with Raz about the new version of the show. The first episode, “The Unquiet Mind,” airs Saturday on KUT.

During our week-long casting call for public radio-loving pets, we received dozens of great entries from our listeners as well as (some furry) fans tuning in around the country. And while there were lots of cute critters submitted, the seven photos in the slideshow below are the National Pet Radio Contest finalists, which were selected by a panel of NPR judges.

Vote Now: Take a look through the images below, and vote on your pick to win by Sunday, Feb. 17, at 11:59 PM (ET).

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Good morning! You’ll need to bundle up: The National Weather Service says cold temperatures are sticking around today, with Austin looking at a high in the upper 40. Here’s what’s happening this chilly Jan. 2:

Here Comes KUTX: New Year’s Day has come and gone, but today marks a new start for KUT: Beginning today, KUT 90.5 FM changes from its current programming mix of news and music to around-the-clock news and information. KUT’s familiar music personalities – including John Aielli, Laurie Gallardo, Paul Ray, Jay Trachtenberg and company – begin broadcasting 24-hour music on KUT’s new frequency, KUTX 98.9 FM.

Kelly Connelly for KUT News

Samreen Ghauri is a visiting journalist from Pakistan. She works primarily in radio journalism, producing and reporting special features for the  NBS current affairs channel of Radio Pakistan, which covers 80 percent of the geographic area of Pakistan. She received her masters degree in mass communications from the University of Sindh, and has achieved numerous certificates on additional topics including gender, women’s empowerment, media, reproductive and sexual health rights, human rights and political education. She is visiting KUT as part of a program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists.

"In 2010, studying in the city of Manila in the Philippines, I discovered radio as the most effective tool of communication in the South Asia region," Ghauri says. "I developed materials for various organizations to communicate their advocacy issues using electronic and social media but primarily radio, which can reach the most people of all."

In my short time here, I’ve found Austin is a fantastic place to live and work. People are so nice and kind. I was excited when I learned that Austin is also known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Music is also a core part of our culture. Whether it is a social occasion, religious Sufi gathering, or piece of family folklore, music always comes up to help express peoples’ sentiments. Pakistan also has a rich heritage of performing arts; the music of Pakistan includes diverse elements featuring multiple cultural influences and strong folk culture.

KUT News

For the past two weeks, KUT News has hosted two students from Tunisia: Salma Abed, 22, and Khaoula Nagati, 23.

Traveling from Tunsia, to Washington D.C., to Austin and back again, Abed and Nagati are part of a traveling delegation of Tunisian journalism students, sponsored by the International Center for Journalists.

Abed graduated from the Institute of Press and Information Sciences in June 2011, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in electronic journalism. Nagati also graduated from the Institute of Press and Information Sciences.  

We asked Abed and Nagati to describe their experiences in Austin. They accompanied reporters from KUT on a preview of a futuristic design exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center on the UT campus, a event announcing a Formula 1-related scholarship program for the Del Valle school district, and an Austin Police press conference regarding pedestrian fatalities. Their visit also came as protests rocked the Middle East, tied in part to an inflammatory anti-Muslim film, and a bomb hoax on the UT campus evacuated the KUT newsroom.

KUT News

September 4 marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating Central Texas wildfires which claimed over a thousand homes and altered countless lives. 

The KUT News staff has taken the reporting it did at the time and built upon it, compiling hundreds of interviews, photos, videos and more. The results can be heard in “Forged in Flames: An Oral History of the Labor Day Wildfires,” a one-hour special airing Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 3p.m. and  Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. A website featuring an interactive timeline, interviews and much more is also launching on kut.org Sept. 4.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

(Click play to hear an interview with KUT director and general manager Stewart Vanderwilt.)

For decades, KUT 90.5 FM has provided a mix of music and news programming. But that’s all about to change. 

The University of Texas’ Board of Regents voted unanimously this morning to approve the purchase of KXBT 98.9 FM.  KUT will expand into two broadcast frequencies, with one station for music and one for news.

The deal still needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission. KUT Director and General Manager Stewart Vanderwilt says audiences won’t notice any changes for a few months.

“We’re saying by the end of fall because certainly we’ll be planning for the launch of these, and the planning begins in earnest immediately, but we have to follow the FCC process," says Vanderwilt.


Austin Police Want New Helicopter, More Staff

The council is set to discuss purchasing a new helicopter for the Austin Police Department today.

The department says its current fleet is old and in need of maintenance and that a new helicopter would enable officers to more quickly respond to some emergencies.

APD also wants council to approve a bigger budget for the department so it can hire more staff.

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.

Laura Rice, KUT News

KUT Has Officially Moved

After more than three decades, KUT has emerged from Communications Building B on the University of Texas-Austin campus – to a brand new building right across the street.

The new KUT Public Media Studios is on the corner of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton. Finally visible, with windows and with an environmentally responsible building, the new location is home to a 72-seat performance studio, outdoor stage, and production studios.

We’re happy to finally have a space to match what we strive for in innovation, responsibility, and interaction – and to be able to see outside!

KUT News

The University of Texas Board of Regents tabled the request to purchase an additional radio station for KUT Austin this afternoon.

The UT Board of Regents was being asked to approve UT-Austin’s purchase of 98.9 FM on behalf of KUT. KUT would repay the university its $6 million purchase over 20 years, at four percent interest. “No restricted funds, including student tuition and fees, will be used to finance this acquisition,” states backup information on the Board of Regents’ agenda.

Under the proposal brought to the regents, KUT would use the new frequency as a non-commercial, all-music format, and KUT 90.5 FM would become an all-news and information format.

When asked for comment, KUT's management told us, "The chancellor said his office has received some questions about this proposal. We'll work with him and the regents to answer those questions."

Serendipiddy http://www.flickr.com/photos/40274854@N08/6568751975/

UT Regents meet Wednesday, and among the items they’ll consider is KUT’s request to purchase KXBT 98.9 FM Radio from Border Media Business Trust.  KUT management told us they have no comment at this time.

Photo by KUT

John Aielli has hosted KUT's Eklektikos for decades. He was hospitalized Wednesday for a heart attack. John's prognosis is good and he is expected to recover soon. KUT has a thread going on our Facebook page and Spike Gillespie set up a blog called Get Well Soon John!

[View the story "Well Wishes for John Aielli " on Storify]

Photo from the KUT archives

On Wednesday, September 7, one of our retired KUT colleagues, Leo (Leonora) Siedo passed away. Leo held a variety of roles at the station and was part of the senior management team for a number of years. A graduate of Austin High School, she went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin.

While still in school, she started working part time for KUT in 1966, and in 1971 became a Senior Clerk. Over her 30 years, she become a Manager and one of the first Assistant Directors at the station. She was one of the steady hands during a difficult period of Director transitions in the late 90s.

The Radio Television Digital News Association announced yesterday that KUT News won six Regional Murrow awards. It's the largest number of Regional Murrows ever bestowed upon our newsroom. Here's some background on the awards from RTDNA:

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Republican leaders in the US House unveiled a list of proposed spending reductions that would cut more than $74 billion from President Obama's budget request for the current fiscal year. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers today said he would like to increase that cut to $100 billion.

Photo by KUT News

Ever notice how the volume on your TV seems to get louder when the commercials come on? The US Congress sure did. And earlier this month it passed the CALM Act, which orders the Federal Communications Commission to figure out how to make it stop.

KUT building
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

During our mini-crisis this morning, when the power was cut to several dozen buildings at the University of Texas and KUT went off the air, some people on were wondering, "Why don't y'all have some backup power?"

Our 100,000 watt transmitter does have a backup generator, which is why you would have heard silence if you tuned in this morning between 7 and 8:30. If the transmitter lost power, you would have heard nothing but radio static.

Even though we work in the media, some of us still get giddy when we see a coworker's picture in a local publication.

The Statesman profiled KUT's Michael Crockett in today's paper. Crockett has hosted the Latin music program Horizontes on KUT 90.5 FM for the past 22 years.