Bass and melodic rhythms reverberate across Mueller Lake Park on Friday, April 21. Children run about, laughing and playing. Parents spread colorful quilts and blankets on the grass. They sip on lemonade as they enjoy the spring weather and live music.
KUTX-FM 98.9, a full-time music service broadcast from UT that streams worldwide, is celebrating its 10th year with a birthday concert series and the release of a limited album, “KUTX Live!: Ten Years On.” The album features 20 different studio sessions with artists over the years.
The radio station launched in 2013, splitting from Austin NPR’s KUT. KUT was originally split 50% music-50% news. The separation came about after market research showed that there was a local interest for a public music station.
“We realized that there was room to do 100% of two things,” program director Matt Reilly says.
The vision for KUTX was to reflect the Austin music scene. To do so, it needed to get away from the commercial radio model. As a public radio station, KUTX is a nonprofit organization, soliciting donations from individuals and businesses. Public radio has more freedom and is not held back by corporate interests or bogged down by ratings.
“(Being a public radio station) isn’t, on paper, a safe thing to do, (especially) to be playing unknown Austin artists at a high frequency,” Reilly says. “But we’re member supported and so we have the freedom to take some more risks.”