Since 1976, KRTU 91.7 FM has brought you programming that is educational, engaging, innovative, and most importantly, a reflection of the vibrant Trinity and San Antonio communities.
Student-Focused Since Day One
KRTU made its first broadcast on January 23, 1976 at just 50 watts of power. Founded as a student-run, non-commercial educational (NCE) radio station, it broadcast a variety of genres in its first year, including rock, country, classical and jazz. News reporting and in-studio performances played a key role in the station’s original programming.
From its inception, KRTU has served as a student laboratory offering experiential learning for Trinity University students interested in the radio. By 1982, faculty members in what is now the Department of Communication had begun to offer one-hour practicum courses in radio production and management to all Trinity University students.
New Decades, New Genres
From the 1980s through the late 1990s, KRTU’s format offered a mix of classical music and jazz. By 1999, the station began broadcasting at 8,900 watts and introduced alternative indie rock programming in the overnight hours.
Since adopting jazz as its primary music format in 2002, KRTU has earned international recognition as a first-rate cultural force in jazz radio. Around thirty-five specialty programs highlight the vast spectrum of jazz, from classic jazz artists and recordings to premier, modern-day pioneers and regional artists. One of only 52 FCC-licensed jazz stations nationwide (and one of two in Texas), KRTU keeps jazz relevant within a modern context while emphasizing its historical significance, contemporary value, and diversity.
Innovative Technologies and Initiatives
In 2008, KRTU joined the first wave of radio stations in the country to begin broadcasting in Hybrid Digital (HD), allowing listeners to enjoy its music over both traditional radio and the internet. The expansion was made possible through a technology grant from the AT&T Foundation.
The year 2015 brought more exciting growth to KRTU. The station introduced a new pilot of its Growing Jazz initiative, originally launched in 2004. The initiative brings experienced jazz musicians into schools for workshops, mentoring, and inspiration. In the same year, KRTU also released a new website and an improved free mobile app (available on iOS and Android).
40 Years Young
KRTU celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2016 with a concert featuring Benny Golson. As a birthday gift, the station implemented new remote broadcast technology made possible with the receipt of a $25,000 grant from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, a fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.
In April 2017, KRTU launched a new broadcast signal at 30,000 watts—a significant increase of more than 2,500 square miles!
Richardson Communications Center completed.
Academic major in Communication first offered at Trinity University.
KRTU goes live, broadcasting at 50 watts.
Department of Communication class offerings include “Broadcast News Writing.”
KRTU begins offering one-hour practicums in radio broadcasting and production.
KRTU upgrades to 8900-watt broadcasting.
KRTU adopts a 17-hours jazz format.
Growing Jazz educational initiative is launched.
KRTU operates with six full-time paid staff members.
KRTU begins broadcasting in High Definition (HD) and undergoes a major facilities upgrade.
The South Texas Jazz Project begins archiving and broadcasting the work of local musicians.
KRTU celebrates 40 years!
What began as a strictly volunteer, primarily student-run college radio station is now a professional non-profit, widely respected media outlet, and exemplary student laboratory. KRTU is operated by six full-time staff members and employs up to twelve student interns throughout the year. Each semester, more than twenty students complete courses taught by KRTU professional staff members in audio production, radio announcing, and media management.
KRTU maintains one of the largest in-studio collections of jazz recordings in the country. Vinyl records, the original format used at KRTU, continue to be played on a daily basis. In addition to a robust collection of vinyl and CDs, the station maintains a digital library of over 100,000 songs.