Your typical evening commute may sound different on Thursday. At 5 pm on September 6, KGSR will switch to a new name — and a new sound.
On September 6, Austin City Limits Enterprises announced it is licensing the famous name to the radio station, transforming KGSR into Austin City Limits Radio. Like KGSR, which is still owned by Emmis Communications, the newly minted ACL Radio will air on 93.3 FM and 97.1 FM in the Austin area and worldwide at ACL-Radio.com.
True to its namesake, the radio station's rebrand will include music programming more in line with the Austin City Limits television show and its other co-branded entities: Austin City Limits Music Festival and ACL Live at the Moody Theater. (Think Willie Nelson, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Kacey Musgraves, and Gary Clark Jr. all showing up on the same shuffle.)
"The premise of Austin City Limits Radio is one that reflects how people actually listen to music in the on-demand digital age," said Emily Parker, program director of Austin City Limits Radio 93.3 and 97.1 KGSR, in a release. "There will be no format limits. Just as our audience’s personal playlists may include everything from alternative to pop, country to hip-hop, and everything in between, so will the music mix we craft on ACL Radio."
But a different sound doesn't mean Austin is losing KGSR's classic events like Blues on the Green and Unplugged At The Grove. Instead, said the release, the station will continue producing these signature events while also "honoring the station’s longstanding commitment to raise funds and awareness for a variety of causes."
For Austin City Limits, the foray into radio allows it to further shape, and perhaps somewhat protect, the city's music scene. Calling it a "natural" step, Tom Gimbel, general manager of Austin City Limits added: "To partner with another of Austin’s great music beacons in KGSR, one with a 28-year history in the market, is an incredible opportunity to enrich our local airwaves and serve the Austin community.”
In the spirit of this collaboration, the station is launching the Dell Music Lounge, which airs its inaugural performance on September 8 with Leon Bridges. Bridges, who has previously performed at ACL Music Fest and ACL Live at the Moody Theater, and on Austin City Limits, will be the first artist to appear on all four ACL platforms.
Mayor Steve Adler will ceremoniously "flip the switch" at 5 pm on September 6 during a special party at Arlyn Studios in South Austin. The first song? Willie Nelson's "Whiskey River," which was performed on the pilot episode of Austin City Limits in 1974.