Austin Culture of Giving 2012
Culture of Giving

KUT: Community-built radio for the whole of Austin

KUT: Community-built radio for the whole of Austin

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Courtesy of KUT
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In the studio. Photo by Paul Woodruff
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Guest at the KUT public media opening. Photo by Paul Woodruff
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The lawn outside KUT. Photo by Filipa Rodrigues
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The Eggmen in Studio 1A. Photo by Filipa Rodrigues
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In the summer of 2009, two days after I had packed up a few suitcases and moved from New York City to Austin on a whim, I was sitting in the Congress Avenue bus lane in a rental Jeep staring at the Capitol and crying.

I was listening to KUT and a song about Brooklyn came on. Feeling sorry for myself and terribly melodramatic, I decided to pull over and weep. Eventually the song ended, my tears stopped, and I pulled back into traffic. But I never stopped listening to KUT.

Nearly every Austinite has a story about KUT. Whether it’s spending a morning listening to John Aielli play whale sounds or partying with Laurie Gallardo at a concert, KUT is more than a radio station, it’s a cornerstone of the Austin community. “[We have] hundreds of thousands of listeners,” explains Stewart Vanderwilt, Director and General Manager of KUT. “But we try and interact as if we’re doing it with one person.”

 In a year when public broadcast repeatedly came under fire, it’s more important than ever to stand with KUT, to let politicians in Washington know that they can never take John Aielli away from us. 

That philosophy was the model behind KUT’s new studio in UT’s Belo Center for New Media that the radio station moved into in September. “It’s enlivened what we do,” says Vanderwilt. In addition to performance spaces designed to accommodate larger audiences, the new KUT studios are almost entirely glass, allowing people a glimpse into the inner workings of Austin’s public radio station.

But if you thought 2012 was a big year for KUT, just wait until 2013 and the launch KUTX, an all-music, all the time radio station. “It cannot be under estimated how substantial this is,” Vanderwilt says of KUTX. With the launch of 98.9 KUTX in January, 90.5 KUT will morph into a news-only station featuring even more public radio programming. “By creating two parallel stations, we can provide more of the two things that are the heart of the station.”

For as much as KUT plays a role in our lives as Austinites, we play an integral role in funding the station. In a year when public broadcast repeatedly came under fire, it’s more important than ever to stand with KUT, to let politicians in Washington know that they can never take John Aielli away from us.

“If KUT plays an important role in your life and you’d miss it if it wasn’t there, consider investing in the place that plays that role in your life,” says Vanderwilt.

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KUT is a member of I Live Here, I Give Here. You can donate to KUT here, or directly from this page using the donation tool below.