98.9 KUTX Austin Begins Preview Mode

Austin's Greatest Hits 98.9 KXBT Austin University Of Texas Board Regents 90.5 KUT KUTXUpdate 12/28: 98.9 KUTX began its “Music Preview” at midnight on December 26. The jockless presentation will give way to the fully staffed version of the format on January 2.

The first hour of music on KUTX featured:
The Beatles – We Can Work It Out
Derek Hoke – Waiting All Night
Polica – Dark Star (Remix)
White Denim – Drug
The Cure – A Forest
The Bright Light Social Hour – Shanty
The Bad Plus – Seven Minute Mind
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Led Zeppelin – Going to California(BBC Sessions)
Corrine Bailey Rae – Is This Love?
Heartless Bastards – Only For You
James Brown – Try Me
Whitehorse – No Glamour In The Hammer
The Clash – This is Radio Clash
The Soft Pack – C’mon

Update 11/30: The University of Texas has closed on its purchase of KXBT. The station temporarily went dark at 2pm today as the Classic Hits format signed off with Don McLean’s “American Pie”.

As UT moves 98.9 to its studios, it will soon return to the air with Christmas music as filler until the new AAA format debuts on January 2. Listen to the sign-off of Austin’s Greatest Hits at FormatChange.com.

Update 11/26: KXBT announced today that the Classic Hits format will end on Friday, November 30. With the University of Texas’ AAA format not due to launch until early January, it appears some sort of filler programming (Christmas music? Preview loop of new station?) or silence will fill 98.9 in the interim.

Update 8/23: The University of Texas Board of Regents has approved the purchase of 98.9 KXBT.

When UT takes over the signal in the fall, following FCC approval, the station will flip to AAA focusing on local artists as KUTX. The addition of 98.9 to take on the music programming will allow 90.5 KUT to shift to all News/Talk programming.

The KUTX calls are currently in use on 88.1 in Somerville TX which simulcasts the programming of 90.5 KUT.

Update 8/22: The purchase has cleared its first hurdle as it passed a committee vote 4-1 today. The full Board of Regents will vote on the sale on Thursday.

Update 8/19: The Board of Regents will make another vote on the purchase of KXBT at their meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week.

A few addtional recommendations have been made to help ease the concerns of the Regents:

  • a. the 10-year loan amortization with interest be specified;
  • b. if required monthly payments fall behind for more than four months, license frequency is put back on the market; and
  • c. U. T. System will direct U. T. Austin to sell the license at a market price as soon as possible.
  • Update 7/11: The UT Board of Regents has tabled the decision on whether to go ahead with the purchase of 98.9 KXBT while questions about the proposal are answered.

    Original Report 7/7: The next station in the Border Media Austin cluster to be sold off could be Classic Hits “98.9 Austin’s Greatest Hits” KXBT Leander.

    The Board of Regents of the University will vote on Wednesday, July 11 to approve a $6 Million purchase of the station to make it a sister of 90.5 KUT-FM. Should the purchase be approved, KUT would shift all of its musical programming to 98.9.

    Border Media sold 92.5 KXXS to EMF Broadcasting and 1530 KZNX to America Telecommunications Group earlier this week. The only remaining stations to be sold in their Austin cluster will be Sports “104.9 The Horn” KTXX-FM/1260 KWNX.

    The proposal as seen on the Board Of Regents agenda reads as follows:

    U. T. Austin, on behalf of the College of Communication’s KUT-FM Radio, is proposing to acquire the license and all assets, properties, permits, interests, and rights of Border Media Business Trust used in the operation of FM radio station KXBT-FM serving the Austin market area. The acquisition is contingent upon Board of Regents’ approval as well as final consent by the Federal Communications Commission to the assignment of the FM and related licenses to U. T. Austin for educational purposes. The acquired station will be operated as a noncommercial music station by KUT as a service of the College of Communication.

    KUT’s purpose is to promote the mission, purpose, and values of U. T. Austin through programming, outreach, and education internship programs. KUT is a self-sufficient service and operates without general revenue support. By differentiating KUT’s current mixed format of news and music services across two stations, U. T. Austin has determined that the acquisition would contribute to the long-term public service and sustainability of KUT in a number of ways:

  • Create a bigger and broader platform to share the intellectual assets of U. T. Austin and central Texas with the community via a KUT News and Public Affairs station;
  • Establish KUTX music as an on-air and digital destination for the Austin music experience and provide a high profile platform for promoting and sharing content from the Cactus Café;
  • Expand educational internship opportunities across both stations; and
  • Strengthen financial sustainability by increasing net revenues and establishing operating capital and opportunity investment reserves.
  • It has been the desire, and a core element of KUT’s strategic plan, to differentiate and expand its public service across two FM stations serving the Austin market. KUT has worked with the nonprofit group Public Radio Capital, to identify appropriate station opportunities. In the past several years, KUT has considered and made attempts to acquire a station. These transactions have not gone forward, either because of higher bidders or other strategic reasons. Station management believes this is the most viable and attractive opportunity available now or in the foreseeable horizon.

    Station management, with the assistance of Public Radio Capital, has analyzed publicly available data on the sale of comparable stations. The most recent sale of a comparable FM station in Austin was in 2010 for the equivalent of $3.87 per person in the station’s coverage area. The offer for KXBT-FM is the equivalent of $3.83 per person in the station’s coverage area.

    U. T. Austin will pay $6,000,000 to Border Media Business Trust to acquire the license and all assets relating to KXBT-FM Radio. Public Media Company, the acquisition arm of Public Radio Capital, will be paid a brokerage fee of $250,000 at closing for their role in structuring the overall transaction. Because Public Media Company had the exclusive right to negotiate the purchase of the station from Border Media Business Trust, U. T. Austin made a $25,000 option payment this spring to Public Media Company. The source of funding for these two payments is KUT local funds.

    The initial acquisition will be funded from unrestricted Unexpended Plant Funds cash reserves of the University through an internal loan at 4%. These monies will be repaid by KUT to U. T. Austin over 20 years with interest from future revenues generated by KUT from sponsorship revenues and gifts. U. T. Austin leadership has reviewed the historical experience of KUT in generating sponsorship revenues and gift monies, has reviewed the pro forma for the acquisition, and has determined that KUT is very likely to be able to make such repayment. However, in the event that KUT is unable to repay the monies extended by the University for the acquisition in full, the College of Communication, which receives programmatic academic benefit from its association with KUT, has agreed to repay any unpaid balance from unrestricted Gift Fund balances it might have at the time. No restricted funds, including student tuition and fees, will be used to finance this acquisition. U. T. Austin is optimistic that, over time, revenue from the strengthened services will help KUT build reserves to maintain new studios in the Belo Center for New Media to provide for unforeseen contingencies, and to create opportunity capital for new initiatives.

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    1. Kevan says

      Wonder if 93-3 KGSR will flip away from Triple A now that KUTX is starting up. They should make it something good like dubstep.

      1. Lance Venta says

        There will be little to no overlap between what KGSR plays and what KUTX will be doing. And if there was, Why would the incumbent walk away without a fight?

        1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

          Many markets would do anything for one AAA station, let alone two. (Heck, I’d even include the reincarnation of “progressive country” KOKE-FM in the mix just for the heck of it… that would make it THREE different variants of the same genre.)

          In the end, the listeners win.

    2. Kevan says

      I do know that a while ago, like maybe a few months, KGSR really was low in the ratings / dropping. Not as bad as KVET is now, but yeah.

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