The University of Texas System Board of Regents has approved the purchase of classic hits KXBT 98.9 FM, allowing legendary KUT to split into distinct all-news and all-music stations…
Public radio station KUT/Austin’s music programming will migrate up the dial to 98.9 to a new full time home to be called KUTX.
The announcement comes after the University of Texas System Board of Regents approved the $6 million purchase from the bankrupt Border Media Partners. The station in question is currently classic hits KXBT, a 29,000-watt C2 class FM. Public Radio Capital is the broker.
The move comes after the Board delayed action on the decision a month ago, concerned about the future of radio. But they came around to ultimately agree to the $6 million deal– what appears to be a solid price after years of hyper-inflated station values.
The move comes on top of a strong run for KUT, having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the build-out of a spectacular new facility.
“Differentiating KUT’s news and music services across two stations is consistent with our strategic plan to double impact by 2020 and contribute to the long-term public service and sustainability of KUT,” said Stewart Vanderwilt, director and general manager of KUT Public Radio. “The new KUT Public Media Studios — with their increased production capacity, public spaces and direct audience interaction — are the foundation of this strategic direction.”
“Austin is one of only two state capitals in a major market without a full-time news and information public radio station,” continued Vanderwilt.
Vanderwilt had been considering expansion through the purchase of a second signal for several years.
Once the purchase is approved by the FCC, expected in the Fall, the music slate will migrate to KUTX 98.9. Also moving up the dial will be Texas Music Matters, the station’s strong music journalism programming. KUT will concentrate on local news, augmented by content from NPR, American Public Media, and Public Radio International.
In the July Arbitron ratings, KUT ranked 7th overall in the market with an audience of 231,000 people weekly. The station consistently pulls a 5-share.