Founded in 1976, 91.7 FM went live at just 50 watts. Credit: Courtesy / KRTU

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Throughout four decades of programming, Trinity University’s KRTU has been consistently committed to one thing: San Antonio.

Founded in 1976 as “fresh air for San Antonio,” 91.7 FM went live on Jan. 23 at just 50 watts. The noncommercial educational radio station was the brainchild of a few industrious and quite driven communication arts students. The founding group believed that Trinity University and the San Antonio community needed a college radio station that would reflect both campus life and important cultural developments in the city – backed by a unique and diverse soundtrack.

Forty-two years later, the “little station that can” is now broadcasting at 30,000 watts and is run by a professional staff of six with more than 50 community hosts serving all of San Antonio and the surrounding region, including the Hill Country. KRTU embraces its role as a leader in commercial-free, listener-supported radio specializing in diverse music programming that is locally curated and showcases regional musicians, with a focus on community outreach and education.

This sense of localism informs a great deal of the programming at KRTU. Since becoming a primarily jazz radio station in 2002, local jazz has become a fixture of both on-air and community programming. Community hosts feature local artists nearly once an hour during any given program. Groups like Small World, Zarabande, Ken Slavin, Doc Watkins, Henry Brun, The Dirty River Dixie Band, Audra Menconi, Adrian Ruiz, and the Regency Jazz Band are just a few of the local jazz artists heard on KRTU.

Music Director Kory Cook regularly features Texas artists during his one-hour educational broadcast, The Jazz Break At Noon. Luckily, many of the artists, like famed cornet player, Jim Cullum, are available for live interviews and in-depth discussions about jazz, history, and performing. This is truly a rare opportunity not afforded to many radio stations in San Antonio or in the area. KRTU is one of three radio stations in Texas and one of 60 across the country programming more than 15 hours of jazz.

The work of the South Texas Jazz Project (STJP) is solely committed to local and regional artists. The STJP is an initiative of KRTU that has been archiving the work of local musicians since 2009 and presenting it during biweekly, on-air programs by the same name Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m. Programs have included in-studio interviews as well as recordings from live concert events like Sunday Jazz at the Witte and Artpace’s Rooftop Jazz. STJP has profiled more than 100 artists, including Jim Cullum, Spot Barnett, Joan Carroll, Pierre Poree, Ephraim Owens, Armin Marmolejo, Gabriel Santiago, The Kashmere Stage Band, and Jackie King.

In the late evening hours (10 p.m.-5 a.m.), KRTU’s all-student-run programming, Indie Over-Night, features local artists from a wide spectrum of styles from alternative rock to electronic and experimental music. Live and Local on Thursday nights features local artists like The Foreign Arm, with exclusive interviews and in-studio performances. Most recently, Live and Local welcomed former San Antonio Spurs star Matt Bonner as a guest host!

However, localism permeates even beyond the music. The station takes great pride in working with organizations like the San Antonio Museum of Art, The Witte Museum, Artpace, the McNay, and local businesses like Twin Sisters, Liberty Bar, and Bella on the River. Some of these partnerships have been in place for nearly 15 years, demonstrating the long-standing commitment to local businesses.

For KRTU, supporting and fostering the cultural fabric of San Antonio is investing in the success and growth of our beloved hometown. SA 300 is a celebration of everything the city has experienced and all that has been produced in our little place in the Lone Star State. If we are not putting a spotlight on all that we have to share with the world, who is? KRTU deems our local musicians and artists as living legends and their stories, experiences, and music are an important part of San Antonio’s history, as is 91.7 FM – a San Antonio original.