Each day, KUT strives to provide content that reflects the diverse interests and tastes of our Austin audience. The creative freedom and inspiration we enjoy at KUT really comes from our community. What makes Austin so unique and vibrant is the willingness of our citizens to explore new and exciting possibilities. So, we’ve made it our mission to deliver comprehensive and unique insights in our programming that can only come through collaboration with smart, dedicated and talented people who reflect what Austin is all about.
KUT reveals every side of this creative community, from the weird to the refined. We’re committed to creating a more in-depth style of news coverage through the lens of local points of view and experiences. And we’re devoted to diverse, intelligent explorations in local music, lifestyle and culture.
We encourage you to get involved with KUT 90.5FM and explore kut.org, where you’ll find unique takes on dozens of topics by some of Austin’s most colorful personalities. Let us know what you like, what you love and where you think we’ve missed the mark. Because there’s no one point of view that represents Austin – it’s the contributions of many that make what you see and hear special. So by all means, join the conversation.
KUT creates experiences that deepen understanding and connect people. We are committed to authenticity, craft, context and the unique power of the human voice in all its forms.
KUT is a leading source for knowledge and ideas that enrich and sustain greater Austin’s unique sense of place, cultural identity and position as a center of leadership. KUT will inform, inspire and engage while becoming the most trusted source for news, information and the Austin, Texas, music experience.
Our Operating Principles
Public Service Committed
We strive for excellence in the quality and credibility of the programs we acquire and produce, as well as the reliability of our broadcast service. We organize work processes, procedures, resources, and priorities around audience service.
We approach every task with a clear goal in mind and always ask, “What is the outcome we are looking for?” We recognize that every action, activity, and communication produces a result, and we gear our efforts toward the outcome we seek.
We focus on quality performance and optimal efficiency by setting clear expectations, providing needed resources, establishing goals, structuring our work habits, and prioritizing our tasks. Each person is held accountable for their outcomes and is recognized for their achievements.
Collaboration and Respect
We accomplish tasks while respecting differences in approach, style, workloads, and assignments. We are mindful of individual differences. We promote the importance of collaboration, and we seek out opportunities to contribute to public service.
A Brief History of KUT
Established in 1958, KUT is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to The University of Texas at Austin and operates as a service of the College of Communication. The station is committed to supporting civic and cultural life in Central Texas through daily news coverage, high-quality documentary production, and exceptional music programming that reflects the Austin experience. KUT supports the mission of the University to educate and foster a more civil society, and provides public radio service to Central Texas via 90.5 FM in Austin and globally through http://www.kut.org/.
The actual start date of radio broadcasting at The University of Texas at Austin is uncertain, but the most reliable information indicates that the first radio license was issued to the University on March 22, 1921, and the call letters were 5XY, which existed primarily as a demonstration project for the physics department. A new license was issued in 1922 with the call lettersWCM, and on October 30, 1925 a new license was issued with the call letters KUT. Eventually, the expense of operating the station became too great for the physics department, and the University decided to discontinue the station in 1927. The catalyst for the rebirth of radio at the University was Robert F. Schenkkan, who came to the University in 1955. Schenkkan saw that obtaining funding was an obstacle and set the stage for a station that would be partially funded by the University and community. KUT-FM went on the air in 1958, broadcasting at 90.7FM with an old transmitter built in 1939 and 4,100 watts of power, a 268-foot antenna, and total signal radius of 15 miles.
KUT became a charter member of National Public Radio (NPR) in 1971, and carried the first-ever broadcast of All Things Considered in May of that year. KUT also contributed the first of, what would become in time, 14 of the station’s employees to the NPR staff. In 1979, KUT carried the November inaugural broadcast of Morning Edition, with Bob Edwards as host and, in doing so, helped to launch what has become one of the most important and honored public radio programs. In 1982, KUT began broadcasting in stereo at 90.5FM with 100,000 watts of power, a 1,595-foot antenna, and a total signal radius of 97 miles. In partnership with The University of Texas’ Center for Mexican American Studies, and with support from The Ford Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, KUT launched the national radio series Latino USA in 1993 at a reception in Washington, D.C., with President Clinton, cabinet secretaries Henry Cisneros and Federico Peña, and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in attendance. By the 1990s, KUT was consistently being recognized as “Best Radio Station” in The Austin Chronicle readers’ polls, and according to Arbitron research achieved a listenership of more than 100,000 each week.
After assembling a team of journalists led by veteran newswoman Emily Donahue, KUT launched Central Texas’ first full-time public radio news operation in 2002. The following year, the KUT Advisory Board was established by KUT Director Stewart Vanderwilt, Senator Ray Farabee, philanthropist Chris Mattsson, and the late civic and business leader Lowell H. Lebermann, Jr. to assist with long-term planning and funding projects. Get Involved, KUT’s community service program highlighting Central Texas non-profit organizations in need of volunteers, began broadcasting during the first week of each month in 2006. In the following year, KUT launched HD channel KUT2, an all-news and public affairs programming channel, and KUT3, a mostly jazz channel. Additionally, KUT, NPR, and 11 public radio stations launch an online music site, NPRmusic.org. In 2008, KUT launched an iPhone listening application designed to stream all three signals in HD, along with a fully functional mobile site. The University of Texas Board of Regents approved the design and construction of the Belo Center for New Media in 2009, including the new KUT Public Media Studios.
Today, KUT is one of the best performing public radio stations in the country, and routinely has the largest per capita public radio listening audience among the top 200 cities in the nation., More than 250,000 people listen to KUT in Central Texas each week. The station has received more than 100 state, national, and international awards since 2002, including 25 regional and two national Edward R. Murrow awards, seven National Headliners awards, and 11 New York Festival awards. Among those are a 2009 Grand Award from the National Headliners Awards and a 2011 Grand Award at the New York Festivals.
KUT Advisory Board
The KUT Advisory Board provides advice and support to further the public service and educational objectives of the station. For more info about the board, please click here.
Reports and Documents
Annual Equal Employment Opportunity Report – KUT follows the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Program Policy Statement of the University of Texas. For more information, see the University of Texas Policy Statement.
You can also visit KUT and view our FCC public file. For your convenience, copies can be made for a small fee.