In a city so well known for its live music scene, you might think the radio stations would all be happily playing Austin musicians most of the time. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Most Austin radio stations are owned by large conglomerates, and their playlists are programmed by non-Austinites.
Listener-supported KUTX does feature some local artists throughout the day. The station features periodic fund drives, but it often offers excellent perks for your donation, ranging from concert tickets to access to intimate in-studio performances.
Jody Denberg is perhaps the most well-known Austin radio personality. For years, he worked for KGSR and helped that station earn critical praise. When the station changed its format a few years ago, Denberg left Austin radio completely for a while. Now, he has a show on KUTX and helps lead the station’s programming efforts. He also gets some of the highest-profile interviews with internationally renowned artists such as Pete Townshend, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Brian Wilson. Another favorite DJ is Laurie Gallardo. She’s the consummate music nerd, in the best way possible. Instead of adopting the cynical attitude of so many DJs, she is upbeat without being fake. She’s a genuine fan, and it shows by how well-prepared she is when she interviews musicians.
For the most part, Austin bands only show up on the other radio stations when they have hit songs.
In March 2017, the highest-rated FM radio stations in Austin were: KBPA (BOB FM, 103.5, classic rock), KKMJ (Magic 95.5, soft rock), KUT 90.5 (NPR affiliate, news/talk), KASE-FM (KASE 101, country), KHFI (96.7 KISS FM, top 40) and KVET (98.1, country).
Format: Eclectic (listener-supported spin-off from KUT; KUT is mostly talk, KUTX is mostly music)
Call letters: KUTX (Music 98.9)
Format: Eclectic (rock, folk, reggae, blues, jazz)
Call letters: KGSR
Format: Hip-hop and soul
Call letters: KPEZ (The Beat)
Format: Classic hits
Call letters: KBPA (BOB FM)
Format: Alternative rock
Call letters: KROX (101X)
Call letters: KASE (KASE 101)
Call letters: KVET
Format: Top 40 Hits
Call letters: KHFI (KISS FM)
Format: Soft rock
Call letters: KKMJ (Magic 95.5)
Format: Adult contemporary
Call letters: KAMX (Mix 94.7)
Format: Classic rock
Call letters: KLBJ (The Rock of Austin)
Format: Community radio/college. Devoted to the music and political issues of interest to underserved minority communities.
Call letters: KOOP and KVRX
Note: This station is jointly run by KOOP and KVRX. KOOP is a volunteer-run community station and KVRX is the University of Texas' college station.
Format: Easy listening/Classical
Call letters: KNCT (operated by Central Texas College in Killeen)
Format: Local news and NPR shows, eclectic music (rock, Americana, blues, Latin American)
Call letters: KUT
Format: College (Texas State University - San Marcos)
Call letters: KTSW (The Other Side of Radio)
Call letters: KMFA (KMFA Classical)
Format: Jazz/R&B/Gospel/Talk; volunteer-run station focused on African-American community
Call letters: KAZI (The Voice of Austin)