The Liberator

Not Austin’s first radio

Emma McBride, Staff Writer

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As the self-proclaimed live music capital of the world, Austin contains a variety of radio stations for its community to listen to.

Austin has had radio public broadcasting since 1958, when KUT had its first air date Nov. 10. Since then, 92 other radio stations have sprung up in Austin. Whether it is country music, pop music, news, talk shows or sports, there is a variety of radio stations for any persons listening preference.

KUTX is a station that has broadcasted in Austin for about 30 years. Matt Reilly, the program director for KUTX has 20 years of radio experience, including the past six with the station.

“I started out working in Austin at a commercial station called KTXR back in 1999,” Reilly said. “I worked there for about six years, five years, and then I moved to Philadelphia, and started working for a public radio station there called WXPM. Then, I was in public radio, so then I decided to come back to Austin, and I knew about KUT, so I asked them if they had a spot. And, they made one for me and I moved back ten-years ago, and about six-years ago, they launched KUTX and put me in charge of it.”

At KUTX, Reilly does a variety of tasks on a day-to-day basis. Generally, he manages the station and the songs that they play.

“Mainly I just manage all of the hosts, and all of the messaging that we in the station put out there,” Reilly said. “I also listen to a lot of music and decide which music fits for our radio station. Then, I answer questions from my staff about what we want to do going forward, and answer questions and comments from listeners.”

Reilly believes that KUTX, and other Austin radios as well are significant to the community of Austin because it is an essential part of the economy.
“When you hear an Austin artist on the radio, then you may be inclined to go see them play, and you pay for tickets at the door,” Reilly said. “But, you also might get an uber on the way there. If you have kids you might hire a babysitter. If you go to dinner beforehand, you’re spending money . . . So, it’s kind of about music getting people out in the town, and spending money in these different restaurants, and venues, and bars and things.”

While radio is not as popular as it once was because of the surplus of other entertainment sources, some students still enjoy listening to it. Senior Amber O’Rourke listens to the radio frequently because it helps her diversify her music experience.

“I listen to the radio a few times a week,” O’Rourke said. “I like to listen to music because I can find new songs… I wouldn’t find if I just shuffled my playlist like I usually do.”

O’Rourke usually listens to KGSR. Junior, Claire Worley also listens to KGSR because they play a wide variety of music.

“Most radios I’ve listened to are mostly pop music, and I’m not the biggest fan of pop,” Worley said.

Sophomore Alejandro Cervantes, on the other hand, listens to 96.7 KISS FM on the morning bus on his way to school.

“The bus driver puts it on,” said Cervantes. “It’s just something to pass the time . . . I like that it’s mostly pop music.”

According to Reilly, KUTX has the one main goal when it comes to providing music for Austin.

“We are a public radio, and we really strive to reflect the music scene of Austin,” Reilly said. “We also have [local artists] in our studio. We have about 350 acts a year . . . So, we’re very tied into the local scene.”

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Not Austin’s first radio